I returned home this morning from Carmel-by-the-Sea where I was participating in a racewalking clinic with Dave McGovern. The same one I attended last year. Since making the decision to discontinue walking for the time being I reconsidered whether I should cancel my plans to attend but after our schmooze and supper on Friday night I discovered eight reasons why being there was so important.
These are the folks I got to know last year and with whom I've encouraged and been encouraged by for these many months via a casual little mailing group we formed following our first racewalking clinic gig. I love these people. Love. In the real sense of the word.
Vickie has become nothing short of freakishly fast racewalker and were she not so incredibly kind I might feel inclined to envy her. Becky's racewalking form is a pleasure to watch and Ann isn't anyone I'm going to be catching up to anytime soon. Better form, faster speed. Melody is our Disney athlete with a half or full marathon at Disneyland or Disneyworld always up ahead on her calendar. My personal suspicion is she's got a secret thing going on for Goofy but if she says it's about the race. Fine, sure, whatever. Then there's Sue who I refuse to mention on my blog until she ponies up and gets her sorry racewalking booty on the internet! Apparently she's too pre-occupied driving her 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle down the road to the haunting tune of "Hotel California" playing over her 8-track tape player and 3-inch woofers and tweeters to catch up to modern life! And when it comes to "the boys," they've already had center-stage on my blog and in my heart more than a few times. Steve is the definition of humble tenacity and five months after the fact, I still can switch on the tears remembering those last yards as he ended toward the Portland Marathon finish line. Then there's Brandon. I could describe him in single words like funny, generous, thoughtful, and tenderhearted but let's just say, if you're needing some inspiration and encouragement Brandon is the guy you want in your corner. A true-blue sweetheart. And then there's Dave. As in pavement-blistering member of the US National Racewalk Team stop-by-my-website-and-buy-some-of-my-merch-as-long-as-you're-there Dave McGovern. Elite athlete. Trainer and coach extraordinare. A really nice guy with a certifiably twisted sense of humor.
These are the eight people who in one weekend a year ago made up for all those really horrible years I endured in gym class with their kindness and genuine encouragment. So where else should I have been this weekend but with those eight and the other racewalking pleebs and pros who joined us this year?
I haven't done any racewalking, fitnesswalking, powerwalking or hurry-up-or-you're-going-to-be-late walking in months and so it felt great to get out there and give it a go again. While my foot placement is solid (a nice roll from heel to toe) and my front knee lift needs more heighth, the place I noticed the most improvement from last year was in my posture. Last year I was pitched forward, bent at the waist, shoulders rounded. This year it was stomach in, back straight, shoulders back. Thank you core training. Thank you D_wn, my personal trainer! After this weekend of hanging out with bona fide racewalking atheletes and all-around cool peeps, I'm giving some thought to aiming for a local 5K race. Not as a fast walker but as a racewalker. Right now I couldn't keep the pace or the form for 3 miles but I'm just simmering on the idea for the time-being and seeing where it leads.
Funny story. I woke up Saturday morning in the hotel and realized when I went to pull my yogurt and blueberries out of the mini-fridge that I'd forgotten to pack a spoon. I looked around the combination kitchen/bathroom, a combination I don't imagine will ever take off in residential home design, and spotted a cellophone bag containing coffee stirrers, a pack of sugar, and a napkin. I took the three plastic coffee stirrers and tying them together at one end with dental floss fashioned a utensil with which to eat my breakfast. The spirit of McGyver lives long after it's vanished into syndication!