After almost two months of off-again on-again training, halted frequently by the reemergence of a partial tear in my right calf, I got through the last week of training without reaggravating the injury and felt like I had a good shot at being able to pace the Lincoln Marathon half tomorrow for the sixth time. I was excited but nervous; if I reinjured it in the race, I’d have an awful long walk, but more importantly I’d be letting down all those who counted on me to pace the race for them.
My buddy Brian had come up from Kansas City. We’ve paced Lincoln together two or three times now, and we have run many other races together as well. We know each other from 4-H Camp where we were staff, later the University, and afterwards in life, simply friends. We run together, but we also just hang out whenever we’re in the same town, and I’ve come to love his family and he mine. Brian offered to lead pace which took some pressure off of me, and we arrived at the starting line with plenty of time.
People running our pace gradually began to appear and congregate. I was reintroduced to Debbie, who I had paced for before, and who this time brought her daughter along for the run. I met Roger, whose daughter was with him running her first. Pacing is great; it’s essentially a two-hour coaching gig, and I love getting to meet people and help them meet their goals.
Out on the course, I was tight, but managed not to hurt the calf further. While running, I saw many old colleagues, some of whom I ran up to and gave a big sweaty hug. So, too, I saw Officer Messersmith, a friend from college, and we briefly shook hands. One of my current graduate students ran with me for about a mile and we talked about her thesis research. In all, it was a great day, hampered some by the heat climbing into the 80’s. I got Debbie’s daughter over the finish line along with a few other young folks and ultimately felt pretty great about it.
After the race, Brian and I drank our chocolate milk and headed back to Omaha. We stopped at HyVee and got burgers to grill, and when we got home I fired it up. Sonja, Titus, and Zooey joined us and we sat outside on the patio enjoying the summer sun. As is Brian and my custom, we opened a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate another race well run.
The Saint Gregory Brut Rose’ N.V. from Graziano drinks well above its modest price point. Brian, not unfamiliar with good wine, asked if it was French, a question understandably inspired by the complexity of this wine. Floral aromatics and consistent bubbles advance to a wine that is bready and toasty with hunts of burnt cream and char, rose hips, earthy characteristics, and dried cherry. Complex yet easy-finking, this wine was perfect for the patio and paired brilliantly with celebration. The Graziano family has always made terrific, reasonably priced wines, and this is certainly no exception.
After Brian went home, Sonja and I got the kids up from their naps and took a walk in the dual stroller. I was hoping to work the lactic acid out of my muscles, but I tired quickly. We went home and I threw a stir-fry together, and shortly after putting the kids to bed I retired myself, reading a bit from a new book I’ve picked up and watching an episode of Big Bang Theory with Sonja before closing my eyes even before the sun’s last light stopped peeping in the bedroom window between the blinds. It was a long day, a good day, and a great way to kick off the advent of summer.
Cheers to the advent of summer,