Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Level Eight

I think there is a certain nuttiness in all weddings. The groom might forget that his tux is at his parents; a bridesmaid might learn that tequila is never a good a thing; or it might just be in Cleveland.

In the past for the morning of a wedding I would usually have only three questions – where did I put my keys, is there a good dry cleaner nearby, and did my family find out. But times have changed and I now I get the question "do you want to do the 10 mile guy run or the 5 mile chick run?"

The second one was billed as a level-two difficulty level and level-eight view and was a short drive from Calistoga, a town designed by Mark Twain for the straight eye. There a rows of little homes that still look like Bartles and James would come off of the porch only this time they would be selling mud bathes instead of wine coolers. It is a far more of a chick's run kind of place. When staying at the roman spa I decided to do what the Romans would and went for the five miler.

The course started near a creak and made its way up a hill on a dusty trail. Supposedly there were red woods, but as the trail continued to get stepper and steeper the only thing I wondered about was how was this exactly a two? Was the next entry in the book – Everest level four? The view was gorgeous though. The trail ended at coyote peak, a small rocky out cropping where you could see down through the valley. We sweaty few paused there for a moment perhaps releasing that after so many early morning jaunts, Sonoma bike rides, and arch rock runs, that the next time we would exercise together Lisa would have a new last name.

Then we made our way back down the hill and tried to avoid the roots and rocks on the trail that felt less sturdier than we came up it. We joked about the dangers of Lisa twisting something, but I thought she would have a matching white splint stashed away because every other detail about the wedding was so well planned.

The ceremony and reception wandered through the boundary of effortless and magical. Under a scorching sun, pre wedding lemonade just seemed to appear. We had leaf shape fans for programs, wooden umbrellas to block the light, and small stones to tell us where we would sit. It seemed to be incredibly lucky, but I know somewhere there is a very large binder with all of this stored.

The band rocked. I don't know whether they grooved off the crowd or the crowd just melted over them. I believe that life is better with a great horn section. Theirs would divide up and march down the aisles for a stereo affect that would break an audio salesman heart. The evening built and built until I found myself more drenched from dancing than I did from running. And then came Cedric's love train cigar salsa line. The place shook. I think we cheered the band into an extra set, and I know we should also do the same for our hosts.

And so I want to say thanks so much for a great weekend. My wedding hope is that you continue to find music all around you. And my wedding wish is that you go through life with great friends on a trail that is level-two difficulty and a level-eight view.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Chasing Spidey

This weekend I did another run. The official name of the event isn't the tourist shuffle, but the route does go from fisherman's wharf across the golden gate bridge and back. It is a distance that you do have to train for, but can also go to Oktoberfest the day before. In my view of hell the devil does not play the fiddle but the accordion.

The race started a few ticks after dawn as a mobile mosh pit; the narrow course barely fit the sneaker wearing hordes. After a few minutes the crowd thinned out and that was when I found myself running with a small pack that had my pace. There was a large guy wearing a belt with six goo bottles attached like he was a plumber, two cute girls with different styles of jog bras, and a guying wearing a Spiderman outfit.

Halloween is a year round celebration in California. You know you live in a nutty state when Northern Californians were the ones that didn't vote for the aging action star. I am working on the theory that Southern California must have much better weed.

We cruised along the northern edge of the city technically called the Marina but is actually affinity housing for peroxide blonds with expensive wardrobes. Most of them would still sleep for a few hours more before going to Starbucks or the Grove.

I decided that somewhere on my list of great exercise ambitions was to beat the arachnid.

Spidey wasn't backing down. I could make a little ground on him when he had to lift his mask up to get cyto max at water stops, but he kept on prancing with his spidery strength.

The thing is that if you run next to someone wearing a costume everyone along the course will point that out to you. All I heard besides sea gulls were cheers of "go Spiderman."

Throughout Spidey's career he has beaten among others Dr. Octopus, the Green Goblin, and Kingpin. But he has never encountered the obstacle that cause Lance Armstrong to quit a few laps early – San Francisco hills. New York might be great if you like baseball or Carrie Bradshaw, but San Francisco does wonders to your quads.

When we hit the last long flat I took off and never saw web crusader again. Even at the after race expo as I wondered if the booth for running massage should somehow be combined with the booth with the girls from the new Hooters, I couldn't see him. I guess he had gone back to being to Peter Parker.

I think competition can sometimes bring out the best us (unless you are giants, cubs, or red socks fan). Where would literature be with out the old man and the sea, or Ahab and his whale? Without Nobel prizes how would I hear about so many authors from around the world?

And so whether your next great event is running with the bulls in Spain or just running to video store to rent "Finding Nemo" try to pass the person next to you. Unless, of course, he is wearing a Flash costume.