Sunday, June 04, 2000

Might as well be walking on the sun.

My hometown is terrorized by the Mark Twain quote of "that the coldest
winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." The platitude makes it
way through the city on buses shaped like cable cars, and gets mentioned in
hotel lobbies when an entire tourist family realizes that they should have
packed something more than their Hard Rock tee shirts and shorts. This is
not an "it's not the heat but the humidity" city. The costal fog is much a
summer ritual as waiting for the Giants to get over .500, the North Beach
street fair, and watching Willie Brown deal with Muni.

But despite my over packing of my usual race equipment - extra power bars,
running shoes, and a back up jersey, I was unable to bring the costal fog
with me to the Rock & Roll marathon in San Diego. It was a scorcher of a
day. The piercing sun was a dermatologist's dream.

The race itself was well organized for the parts I could remember. In the
blurry last few miles that all marathons become, it seemed to melt into a
Frank Zappa concoction of Rock & Roll, teenage cheerleaders, and Advil.
There is trouble in the deep haze when you get band number 21 confused with
mile 21.

But at times the right rock ballad did push me along. I was happy that it
was not four hours of Britney Spears covers, which would have hurt my
stomach far more than the ultima sports drink did. There is a difference
between having a good time in a marathon, and a good marathon time. I am not
sure if you can do both in the same race.

I ran this one concentrating more about the road than the clock. It is the
kind of thing I am trying to seep into other parts of my life - to deal with
those moments like last week when my father suggested that I start using
Agrecian formula. Somehow I don't think my medicine cabinet is ready just

But somewhere in background of this season there has been the steady notion
of time. At the team social we learned from Dr. Ablin that it takes four
months from a million cancer cells to go to a billion. The malignant growth
goes from a silver dollar to a quart. It represents the danger of
exponential growth.

But the flip side is that four months is also the amount of time it takes to
train for a marathon. By being an ambassador to the team and recruiting more
friends to join in the cause either by helping with funds or water stops, we
get exponential growth in funding research. Towards that end I am collecting
fundraising letters to hand over as templates to next web captain.

Four months brought us countless job changes. I think the number one cross
training activity of the team was interviewing.

Four months brought us two births. I figure I have few years until Skylar
beats my marathon time. That's when I take Geritol.

Four months brought us a tragic loss. I have no words that are better than
John's. I feel far more humbled by the efforts that a great deal of people
did helping the McDermott family than anyone's marathon time.

Four months was the amount of time my brother spent between diagnosed with
cancer and getting into remission in 1987. This season he wished he could
have gone to more events as an honoree before heading to Michigan. He talks
a great bowling game. On Saturday he ran his first marathon, and, like his
eldest brother, went out too fast only to crater the last 6 miles. He also
blames the heat.

I still can't believe that I have run two of these things - I wish I had
some better wisdom than the necessity of body glide and the importance of
thanking everyone who put me on the road.

To April, John, Mike, Jay and Timmy thanks for guidance.

To the captains and mentors it has been great to work with you.

To Kristi and John, thanks for being the glue.

I know the season is not over, but I thought I would say thanks before our
mailboxes get completely full.

My brother today instead of taking the day off to recover spent the morning
playing golf. Mark Twain called that "a good walk spoiled." I imagine given
his fondness for cigars he would say the same thing about marathons. All I
can respond is the proudest races I have ever run are the ones with team in