February 1, 1998
In 1998, I began running more frequently with GVH, and primarily with my friend Jennifer Aguilar. She qualified for Boston Marathon, and I helped her with a lot of her longer runs (maybe the pace and conversation were just right!). Along with many members of the club (and Kevin), I was running the Davis Stampede Half Marathon again.
Two goals in mind (since ‘Just to Finish’ wasn’t going to be that hard):
1. To improve my time
2. To improve my time on this course (2:12 last year)
Like the CIM a few months earlier, the forecast was for torrential rain. Yay. I put on my usual tank top and shorts… people thought I was crazy, but I reminded them, you will have a heavy cotton shirt to remove at the end; I will have only a tank top.
The course seemed really different with all of the rain. One section, which goes by the UC Davis airport, under a gantlet of olive trees. was slick and difficult to run on, since the trees had shedded many olives, cars had driven over them, and the rain spread out the oil on the pavement. The water station in this section was totally abandoned; there were cups lined up on the table, full jugs of water underneath, and the cups were partially filled with rainwater. I suppose we didn’t really need CUPS of water.
From that section, there is a mile-or-so section on Russell Boulevard, along some fields, before turning and crossing Highway 113 and running through UC Davis. Winds were gusting at this point and the rain was blowing into my face and all over my glasses. I didn’t encounter a single person along this section and no one passed me. As soon as we turned out of the wind, however, about 5 people passed me and thanked me for being a valuable “wind block.”
Along the homestretch, I noted that Riva (unlike last year) was not far enough ahead of me to take the time to backtrack along the course and goad me in to the finish (probably didn’t want to get wet any more!). Despite the rain, I finished in 1:44:32, a 4-second PR! Kevin was a few minutes ahead of me, and Riva was the female winner in 1:30 and change.
Since Kevin was still 24, he placed second in his division and I placed 10th (Kevin would have been 9th in my division). Most people hung around for a while afterwards, since no one wanted to venture out into the rain. Kevin and I had an interesting talk with the 1998 Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Tony Miller (the first Democrat I voted for… and he lost). You got to respect a political candidate who can run a 1:49 half marathon!