Thursday, June 12, 2014

Battle in Seattle

The Colorado sun shone brilliantly when I came home from the Battle in Seattle. I had no war wounds. In fact, I wasn’t even sore. I was just happy to be back in the sunshine after my first cross-country running experience.
            With a Boulder Road Runners team, I competed in the United States Track and Field Association National Club Championships on December 10.  In the masters division, more than 150 women 40 and over attacked a 6k course on slick damp grass.
            Seattle-classic cloud cover and forty-degree weather called for a layer or two more than our orange and white team singlets, plus gloves and hats for the wimps among us. But spirits ran high as the masters men competed followed by men’s and women’s open divisions (under age 40).
            By 5 p.m. it was standing room only in the ballroom at the Seattle Renaissance Hotel. Individual and team winners received rowdy cheers, applause and medals for their accomplishments. A celebratory dinner completed a memorable evening.
There’s a camaraderie among those committed to most any sport that makes one thankful for the existence of human community. Running is no exception. It took a huge number of dedicated people to pull off the USATF event at such a professional level.  The last minute details were tended to in damp, nasty conditions. Volunteers along the course shouted encouragement to runners all day long.
I jumped at the opportunity to go to Seattle, because of the meet, but also because I have connections there.  My grandson Adam, newly-graduated from college, recently moved to Seattle.  I crashed on his couch for a few nights. During my stay, I came to appreciate the graceful way he and his two roommates approach jobs, graduate school, keeping house, and living harmoniously together. In their neighborhood, we ate pizza at Tutti Bella, and saw A Child’s Christmas in Wales at Stone Soup Theatre.  We hung out for a while at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament where Adam and his girlfriend, Allison, played with great enthusiasm.
 I once in lived in Seattle, and after nearly fifty years, I’m still in touch with long-time friends from my days at Queen Anne High School. I was in town long enough to catch up with their lives and reminisce over a long lazy lunch overlooking Puget Sound. Saturday evening the generations came together as one of my high school friends and her husband entertained Allison, Adam, and me for a festive beef bourguignonne dinner.
            What does this rambling have to do with running?  I’d like to suggest that should an opportunity arise to participate in a running event in a place where you have a history, or that you’re curious about, or where you have special friends-GO!  Don’t talk yourself out of it because you don’t have time, it’s too expensive, or it’s a whole lot of trouble to pack up and travel.
The memories you come home with will far outweigh any travel hassles you may encounter. Wherever you go, when you come home, you’ll be grateful for the Colorado sun.

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