On my way to work this week, two songs reminded me of my teenage years and my first set of wheels. The first song was Adam Sandler's Ode To My Car, which was written long after my high school days, but which always makes me think of that mustard Mazda 323 hatchback. The second song, Led Zepplin's Kashmir, reminded me of driving home from track practice with Ben Janczyk, a drummer and a runner, and a fellow Kailua schoolmate who did not yet have access to his father's fleet of 1964 Mustangs and was forced to bum rides in the 323. The stereo was a costco special, back in the early days of costco in Hawaii, when you had to drive an hour to the stadium to then wait in line for another hour, to get a discount. That was something my father simply could not resist. So, with speakers on the back seat (not mounted in anything of course, just magnets touching the seat belts) and a glovebox full of every Led Zepplin cassette tape, Ben and I would drive home, over the Pali, and talk about nothing remotely important.
I suppose the hard part of being young is that you don't realize how your decisions will affect your memories and opportunities. So, instead of running cross country, which is a gateway drug to ultra running addiction, I chose the water polo team, and instead of taking track seriously, I did all sorts of things other than showing up for week 1 in the spring with something resembling running fitness. Oh, if I had only known back then what I seem to have discovered now, that running can be such a wonderful, fickle, joyful, addictive thing.
And how funny that I can still spell Ben's last name. Or another childhood friend, who went on to quarterback the Harvard football team, Mike Macizewski. We remember things from childhood which were permanently imprinted in our brain out of necessity, or just because they were unusual or noteworthy. But ask me to spell the last names of my current co-workers and I'd probably mess up at least half of them.
Anyway, fast forward to 2010 already, right? I seem to have stumbled into a new chapter of my life, perhaps not entirely by choice, but yet at the same time with a bit of eager excitement. I ran my first 50k today, ran my fourth 50 miler earlier this year, paced one friend to his first 100 miler at western states, and quickly booked a trip to pace another friend at Leadville. Interestingly enough, we come full circle with that last one, since that friend grew up on Dune circle which is maybe 2 or 3 blocks from 51 Pueohala Place, where I spent my first 18 or so years, minus the first two in San Diego. I used to try so darn hard to beat Rod at tennis when we were kids, and I never did, not once, despite many attempts. He just had my number.
So, what is the plan? 2010 Honolulu marathon head=-to-head challenge. The trash talking and heckling will start after we get Rod to the finish line at Leadville for his first big 100 mile W (OK, maybe that is a little too much pressure, perhaps we shoot for top 5 to be safe.) I know I can't possibly beat that skinny little punk on dirt, so we shall see how 180 lbs fares against 130 on Kalaneanaole. Train hard now, Rod, because once we get this Leadville thing out of the way, it's going to be big boy pants time.