A Flashback and a First

May 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

The Flashback

Sunday, as I drove home from the Pleasanton Half Marathon, I had a flashback…

After I graduated from high school, I worked in Pleasanton for a short time. The job isn’t important – the flashback involves my daily “I think I can, I think I can, …” journey home in my 1971 Dodge Demon – my first car, purchased for $700 (down from the asking price of $900 due to the cracked windshield and various interior “issues.”)

Anyway, heading to San Jose on Interstate 680 South, there’s a section called the Sunol Grade that took its toll on my nerves each day – again, in my 1971 Dodge Demon: equipped with its slant six, 225 engine, Non-synchronous, three-on-the-tree transmission, baby moon hub caps, and probably the third front bench seat I’d swapped out from a local junk yard for a nominal price and significant sweat/effort.

You see, planning strategy was everything:

  • Just past the 680/84 interchange, move to the fast lane
  • Begin to pick up speed – cautiously
  • Level off at about 70/75 MPH – DO NOT GO HIGHER as vehicle may will begin to vibrate
  • As grade increases, gradually depress accelerator until it is at floor
  • If it is a hot day, keep eye on temp gauge. Turn on heater full blast if engine temp is rising. Roll driver’s window down – do not attempt to reach across and roll passenger window
  • Maintain speed with eyes forward – people may be expressing frustration, disbelief, laughing, or placing bets
  • At Andrade Road overpass, move to #2 lane – again, eyes forward
  • As speed decreases, begin to move to #3 lane – glance around, checking for pointing fingers, shaking heads, and people crying from laughter
  • When speed decreases to 45 MPH, grasp steering wheel tightly at 10 & 2 and begin back and forth rocking motion and under-breath muttering to provide “assistance” in propelling underpowered vehicle forward/up increasing incline
  • At 40 MPH, cave in and move to #4 lane – frustrating truckers who now have to pass you in #3 lane. Continue back and forth rocking motion and under-breath muttering
  • If speed continues to decrease before reaching the summit, consider downshifting to 2nd. If downshift takes place, add repeated “c’mon!”s and steering wheel punches to back and forth rocking motion and under-breath muttering
  • Upon reaching summit, exhale.
  • Begin to increase speed and ease back to #1 lane – in order to give appearance that you’d been in that lane since Andrade Road overpass or earlier.
  • Rub dash and express a kind word about vehicle
  • Replay process in mind, deciding if any modifications will be required for tomorrow’s journey home

Ah, the good old days…

The First

I can say with about a 98% confidence level that this morning was the first time I’ve worn dayglow neon…

Training Journal – 5/1/12:

  • Current plan: Half-marathon program: taper week, part deux
  • Today’s session: 4 mile easy run
  • Comments: Still slightly stiff after Sunday, but I eased out the kinks this morning with a 4.47 @ an 8:40 pace.

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