Wednesday Feb 08 2012
The discovery of running
By: Amanda Calzada Gold Country News Correspondent
You always have more in you than you think. I let these inspirational words of Olympian Summer Sanders carry me a continuous 13.1 miles this past Sunday in Fleet Feet’s 30th annual Davis Stampede. It was not only an honor to run in such a great event, but a further honor to run on a scholarship from the Stampede committee. Sunday marked my second time running at the annual Fleet Feet event, but my first half-marathon. Last year I ran the 5k since my friend had signed up to run the half. Watching him nearly collapse at the finish line just under than two hours was somewhat intimidating, but inspired me to try the event at some point in my life. And honestly, the distance was not as daunting as I originally perceived it to be. With realistic goal-setting, dedication, and a positive mentality, the distance is possible. Heading into the race, my biggest fear was not my endurance since I had been averaging between eight and nine miles a day since the summer. I was afraid I would was going to not pace myself efficiently, especially given the amount of nervous energy I harbored at the starting line. I figured a strong start would augment my confidence, so I began accordingly. The first seven miles, I ran between the 1 hour 45 minute and 1 hour 50 minute pacers. I did not realize I was averaging 8:18 a mile until the last three miles, the most strenuous part of the race. The 10th mile began at sloped bridge overlooking Highway 80. By this time I felt tension in my left calf, and naturally my form began to fall apart. I had entered the race with a concrete goal of running under two hours and maintaining a constant speed from start to finish. It was a great surprise to clock a chip time of 1:48:46.94 and place fourth among my age division in the half-marathon. As nice as “winning” is, the real joy of running an event such as this one is derived from the camaraderie. Imagine running in a race of nearly 1,200 people-people from all over Northern California and all different paths of life. The very same people a runner races against are the very same people encouraging the runner to keep going when he or she wants to quit. The spirit is as contagious as the common cold and as beautiful as the race’s scenic route. Overall, the course was fair, flat, and included pavement, grass, dirt, and bike trails. The event was a great adventure unlike any other. I clearly remember the last 100 meters – my stomach felt as if it were on an upside down roller coaster, my heart was pounding irrepressibly, and beads of sweat clung to my face. Such an acquaintance with physical pain terminated in an instant, having yielded an unprecedented sense of accomplishment: the ultimate runner’s high. As difficult as the running seems, it’s the discipline that is more difficult. Once you’re past the pain barrier, the uncomfortable feeling is a negligible force opposing the goal. It’s as if you hit a point where it hurts to slow down. The power of the human body surpasses that of any engineered technology. The body has to be pushed to reveal its greatness as a gift in entirety. My race was dedicated to all those who have inspired me including, but not limited to, my family and high school swim and cross country coaches Mrs. Adrienne Tacla and Mr. Daniel Pereira, respectively. I would like to thank my friend, Amanda Dilbeck, who encouraged me to pursue the half-marathon and ran a strong race with me. Equally, I appreciate the support of my non-running friends, Edith Lopez, Isaac Cepeda, and Devin Fenton in particular. I am grateful for all of the time and energy the Stampede committee and volunteers invested in organizing an outstanding event that encourages a higher quality of life for all ages. This event has by far been my favorite street race. I highly recommend the Davis Stampede and Fleet Feet races for competitive runners, new runners, and those who would just like to try a new experience. From the kids’ fun run to the half-marathon, there’s something for every one of all ages and abilities. Visit changeofpace.com for more information about upcoming events, including Run Rocklin. Running is an incredible exercise for a variety of reasons, including mental health. Don’t be afraid of your potential physical and mental stamina, as you just may surprise yourself. After all, you always have more in you than you think.