Bring on the hundred-degree heat North County is known for! Hot wind, dry air and pavement that melts under your shoes. I’m ready for it! My fingers are cold typing this as I look out the window at a dreary, overcast sky with sixty-degree temps, in June.
High School track and field season is over, spring marathon training has passed, and our first local half ironman triathlon has come and gone. A few days ago, my watch had the gall to tell me I was “de-training”! I must admit, that while I love working towards big goals, I also love going out for a run or ride with no particular goal in mind. There is no pressure. No worrying if it was enough. Only the enjoyment of getting outside (preferably when it’s warm and sunny!)
While track season may be over, we’re gearing up for our 2nd Annual Youth Track and Field camp with Templeton Rec next week. Our THS student coaches will show our incoming third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders the ropes on some of their favorite track and field events. Athletes can come run, jump and throw with us on June 13th, 15th, 20th and 22nd at the Jack Allen Field at Templeton High School from 10am-12pm. Sign up at Templeton Rec Department online or email Melissa Johnson at email@example.com
This camp will prep our youth athletes for the Atascadero All Comers Meets held on Wednesdays July 12th, 19th, and 26th at the Atascadero Track. Registration is $5 a person and welcomes all ages. Sign up at the track the night you want to compete. It was so fun watching our track camp kids compete last year and we’re looking forward to it again this year! Send me an email if you want to volunteer with us!
New to our team of sponsors this year is Fluid, K-man Cyclery and Movement for Life! Fluid is a local sports nutrition company that started in 2005 as a Cal Poly Senior Project by Richard Smith and David Brown. They have been fueling our runs for years now making sure we don’t cramp up on the go and keeping us well recovered with their post workout recovery drink mixes. (Talk to Tony about his recovery coffee!)
Kman Cyclery has been keeping central coast bikes tuned up since 1999 and ours more recently for triathlon training. Owners Keith Schmidt and his wife Robyn are not only local athletes and coaches but are a big part of putting on the Atascadero All Comers Meets and heavily involved in local running and cycling events.
Movement for Life Physical Therapy has not one, but ten locations on the Central Coast alone! One of our favorite run club runners, Jen Seay, is one of their physical therapists and a integral part of our TRC team. Movement for Life supports several local community organizations and it’s an honor to have them now supporting ours.
Back again for 2023 is our sponsor April Fehrer with A List Properties, Hug A Mug Coffee Shop in Paso Robles, Tenet Health Central Coast, and West Coast Auto and Towing! A huge THANK YOU to ALL of our sponsors! We are so lucky to have you on our team!
As I get older, I’ve come to realize the importance of utilizing different perspectives and styles when trying to make improvements (aka the importance of teamwork.) While it’s easier sometimes for me to work alone, I’ve found that working as a team makes us stronger. What I lack in leadership or direction, someone else can bring to the table or complement with their own strengths.
To grow Templeton Run Club and make it a community organization all runners enjoy and feel comfortable being a part of, I need help from you. You don’t need to be “fast,” you don’t need to be buff, and you don’t need to run marathons. In fact, I would love to find a leader that wants to start a Walker Wednesday group. We’ll be looking for runners of all paces to lead group runs (yes, I’m looking at you 12 min/mile pace group) and for individuals that want to become more involved in helping with TRC social media, apparel, and events.
Our next meeting will be on June 22nd after the track workout at Barrelhouse Brewing. Please join us or send me an email if you are interested in helping! We would love to have you!
As a reminder, the best way to find the most current information on Templeton Run Club group runs and events is on Strava and the Templeton Run Club Calendar on the website. Our run club days are Tuesday mornings, Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings. Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming! (Sometimes it’ll inspire others to show up and sometimes we’ll cancel if it looks like no one is going.)
Last but not least, here is another another written contribution by one of our club members, Tony Lopez, on running with the club and his first Boston Marathon. Please reach out if you would like to write for next months newsletter!!
Templeton Run Club
PO Box 522
Templeton, CA. 93465
by Tony Lopez
Long long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, I sat on a couch. Pleasantly plump, freshly married, and happy. My wonderful wife comes home from work one day and tells me about her co-worker wanting Kellie to join her in getting in shape doing Crossfit. Every day Kellie would come home telling me about the different exercises and equipment they would do and use. Eventually, her enthusiasm actually got me off the couch! I installed a pull-up bar. I made a plyo-box. I scoured the ads for Olympic weights. I was still mostly on the couch, but a good workout fascinated me…I could watch it for hours!
Months went by, and Kellie had switched to a different job. We had a semi-functional gym, and she continued Crossfit at home. I joined in sometimes, and so did the kids. One day she came home somewhat excited because one of her co-workers had given her a 13-week challenge. From couch to half-marathon! Only 13-weeks. I figured I was already on the couch, so I was halfway there!!!
I was not a complete stranger to running. Many years ago, I used to run a fair amount: During grade school with my dad, High School by myself, and College with my brother, Mike. I ran my share of 10k’s. 5 milers were the usual fare, and anything over six I would consider a long run. My longest race was a 10-miler. But I did mention that that was many years ago, right?
Now I am going to admit that I failed the challenge. Being the Neanderthal that I am, I went out and did too much too soon and started collecting my personal list of ailments: shin splints, stress fracture, and Plantar fasciitis. Not exactly the PRs that we brag about but a valuable lesson nonetheless.
Ultimately, I did complete my half-marathon, and with all the pain and injuries accumulated along the way, I had declared: Half-Marathon and no more! Any thoughts of ever doing a marathon were completely erased from my mind. Actually, I don’t think they were erased…they just had never even entered my mind. I was hooked on running, just nothing more than a Half.
It was a cool and pleasant Thanksgiving morning when that changed. I had finished the prep work for our feast, and I had started the turkey in the oven, so what better time to go out for a run than while everything was cooking? And that is when everything changed.
Moss Lane has always been my favorite route: dirt road, some hills, some cows, a tunnel of trees, and the occasional lone runner. But today was different. With a grunt, I passed someone coming from the opposite direction, with a nod and a wave a few more. Then a small group… Curiosity got the best of me, and I asked if they were part of a group, and I heard “Templeton Run Club. Look us up on meetup.com…”.
Soon thereafter, I joined TRC. We had our weekly long run on Saturday. Tuesday morning at the Park and often a Thursday run. We discussed our goals and desires to grow our little club and came up with the idea of training together for the City to the Sea Half marathon. Our fearless leader, Rosalie, introduced a set of warm-up exercises that we perform every day before we run. It truly does help get your legs and arms going and ready before our runs, and I have been, for the most part, injury free ever since. Along with the warm-ups, we started Thursday track night, which challenges you to learn different paces for different events.
As a group City to Sea 2021 was a smashing success. Twenty of us in Atomic Blue Shirts doing our warm-up together inspired random runners to join in with our pre-run/race ritual. Whether you were running or spectating, our shirts were easy to spot from a distance. We did TRC proud that day.
Riding high on enthusiasm, we plotted our next group event: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. Gulp. Yes, the word Half was dropped. Somehow I got convinced that I could run a marathon. Now I will say I have been very blessed to be part of TRC, with many years of Marathon experience under their collective belts. I pity the fool that tries to train for a marathon without it. We slowly increased our weekly mileage. We had our long runs. We had our track workouts. We had our beer. Oops, let’s just call that our strategic planning meetings. Week after week, we worked towards our goal. Mountains 2 Beach came, and I bonked! Blame it on starting too fast. Blame it on having Shingles. Blame it on the heat. Blame it on the beer. Blame it on chasing halter-top girls in the First Half… I ran 18 miles at a great pace and then just died. My legs cramped up. I stopped, stretched, and proceeded over and over until finishing with a time of 3:50:48… I was crushed. I needed under 3:50 to qualify for Boston. I had just limped the last six miles for nothing. To add insult to injury, M2B people had messed up the route, so everyone ran half a mile more than they should have. Making it a totally depressing day for me.
Now this bonk was in no way a fault of my TRC running buddies. They were the best. Now, imagine, if you will, a chipmunk drinking coffee, inhaling helium, and talking super fast. That would pretty much summarize my newly acquired little sister and running buddy, Susan. Susan had run Boston the last 9 years in a row and easily qualified for Boston yet again this year. I got a call from her, and she is saying that not only did she get accepted to Boston, but they used her adjusted M2B time! ( Remember, M2B messed up the course! ). I had submitted my M2B run just for fun, and son of a biscuit, they accepted me using an adjusted time!!! Considering my first marathon experience, I was not super excited about going to Boston, but my lovely wife Kellie said, “If you qualify, you are going!” So now I was Boston bound.
Minus the beer, we pretty much duplicated our previous M2B training schedule, but I listened a little harder this time. Rosalie’s haunting voice echoed in my head: “Trust the taper…..trust the taper…”. Susan’s constant “Slow down, we should be running way slower than our race pace.” We built our miles and then tapered. After our very last taper run, as we headed to our cars, Susan said don’t forget your throw-away shoes… Forget them? I had no idea what she was talking about! You see, rain was in the forecast for Boston, and with that, you have a whole different level of preparedness. Basically, wear throw-away shoes, socks, a sweater, a rain poncho, foot cream, and toilet paper. Bring real shoes and socks in a plastic bag and have a spare trash bag to sit on. Imagine that. I had been running hundreds of miles with her nonstop, talking about everything under the sun, and she saved this information until the absolute last run!
Boston. Birthplace of our nation. A little tea party 250 years ago started this town on a long road to our Independence. Many good ideas have come from this Eastern seaboard town, such as Independence, Marathons, and beer, but we are here to talk about the Marathon, so I’ll keep the beer to myself. Boston is home to the world’s oldest annual Marathon, so along with 30,000 of my closest friends, we get to trek 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to downtown Boston, but how that happens is left for us newbies to discover.
The logistics that are involved in managing 30,000 runners are quite overwhelming. The Commons is the downtown park where everyone congregates mid-morning before the race. Here we are filtered into waves of runners based on our bib colors and loaded onto a series of buses that take us to the start line. Simple enough until you realize at 100 people per bus, that’s about 300 bus loads! Losing somebody in those crowds is super easy, but apparently, some have mystical powers of re-appearing unexpectedly, as I would be happy to tell you about over a beer or two.
After a long drizzly ride, we disembark into a flood of people trying to figure out how to stay dry and where is the starting line. Remember 30,000 runners. You don’t just fire a pistol and say go! Several waves separate the elite from us, mere mortals. The elites start at 10 am. Next wave 10:25, then 10:50, and finally 11:15. My wave was 10:50. But within each wave were corrals! Based on your qualifying time, you are assigned a corral, so the faster qualifiers start before, the slower ones. Remember my TRC buddies? The ones I trained with mile after mile. Well, they were assigned corrals 3&4, whereas I was back in 7. I admit, I tried to sneak into their corral, but I got called out and had to do the walk of shame backward thousands of runners to my corral. 10:50 crept around, and we all got ready to start. Rain ponchos and throw-away gear was tossed aside as the minutes crept by, and finally, we started towards the start line! From where the bus lets you off to the actual start line was just under a mile!
As with any race, you have to jostle for position hoping for the crowd to thin out enough to run free. Well, that never really happened, but you get used to it, and that was part of the charm of this race because accompanying the myriad of runners was an endless sea of crowds lining the course. There were parts of the race where the crowds were so loud, cheering, screaming, and howling that you couldn’t even hear the runners next to you. You were engulfed in this hysteria that makes you forget any little pain you might have felt. The flood of emotions moves you. I might have given out my share of high fives along the way, but I did skip the kissing section.
Remember my Bonk in M2B? Well, that was my biggest fear: that I’d run 18 miles and then cramp up. I decided early on that I would never catch my TRC buddies because they started 3 minutes before me. My strategy for Boston was to treat the first 21 miles like a training run. I soaked in the crowds, my fellow runners, the scenery, and the drizzle, constantly telling myself to slow down. After the first 16 miles starts a series of four hills that culminate with Heartbreak Hill. By itself, Heartbreak would be a nothing burger, but coming after a series of hills, it really takes its toll on some. As I started up Heartbreak, just after mile marker 20, I looked around and smiled because I knew I was feeling great and I had my secret weapon waiting at the top of the hill: Kellie! Sure enough, as I crested Heartbreak, I spotted Kellie, Joe, and Sandi. The hardest part was done, so now it was time to race! I found some kid weaving through the crowds at a pace I thought I could maintain, and we took off down the hills onward to Boston with my blocker making a path for me. It was a great theory that lasted for a while, but the crowds were still way too thick even so far into the run that I could only keep up with him for a few miles. I had studied the course beforehand and knew some landmark buildings that beckoned me toward the finish. It is at this point that the crowds are what really get you going. It was such an awesome feeling making the last few turns, looking way down the street, and seeing the finish line. In my mind, I was sprinting to the finish…reality might have disagreed. But, stepping over that finish line made everything worth it. Later reviewing the pictures, all you could see was me reaching to stop my Garmin as I crossed the line, whereas the seasoned runners like Susan put on more of a photo finish smile and flourish!
Speaking of Susan and Rosalie too, we never talked about how to find each other after the race… Remember, still 30,000 runners, and it never thinned out. After crossing the finish, you are suddenly on autopilot. Herd mentality. Stop running. Move forward. Keep going. More runners are coming in behind you. In a daze, I crept forward, but out of nowhere, I spotted my TRC buddies 100 yards ahead! Somehow despite the thousands of runners between us, we reconnected in time to receive our swag, all of us finishing within less than a minute difference!
I write all of this, reflecting back to the beginning: me on the couch. Yes, I am still happy and sipping that beer, but I have traveled a long journey from that couch to this one, but now I do see a future that includes Chicago, New York, and Boston… but I also look forward to many long runs with my buddies and friends in The Templeton Run Club!