A Whole New Life at 64

Meet Terry K, a true inspiration we've had the pleasure to get to know and his Grape Stomp race report:

At age 62 my doctor had me on blood pressure, cholesterol, and diuretic medicines.  I was tilting the scales at 357 pounds.  At my annual physical, he convinced me that I needed to take some drastic measures.  By age 64, I had lost 137 pounds and was off most of the meds. In January of 2011,  a dear friend got me to sign up for a Fleet Feet 5K training program.  I had never been a runner in my entire life!   By the end of the year, I will have competed in six 5K , one 5 miler, five 10K, one 7.6 mile relay marathon leg, and two ½ marathons.  That’s 15 races, 88.3 miles in one year!

I turn 66 this December and have found, late in life, the joy of running.  A sense of accomplishment to be sure, but beyond the personal achievement, I truly enjoy the people I run with.  I have chatted with total strangers while running in the longer races, which I find amazing.  Also, the people that I train with week upon week are wonderful, caring people.  I feel very fortunate to have found this common ground.  My wife, Bonnie, is also amazed.  She thinks aliens have stolen her husband and replace him with this running fool.  Well, I was always a fool, but now I run.

Race Report: Grape Stomp 10k - 2012

Fleet Feet 10k Group

I think just about everyone in the 10K class attended the Grape Stomp today.  I pulled into Robertson Park in Livermore at about 6:30 this morning.  It was cold and still dark.  Due to my early arrival time, I got a choice park spot.  I texted Heather P., Kathy K., and Cheryce J. to let them know.  This was a MAJOR improvement over last years’ race when I had to park about a mile away from the Start/Finish line.  I sat in my car for a bit gathering my bits and  pieces together.  ARRGGHH, I forgot my Garmin watch!!!  Dang!   ARRRGGGHHH, I forgot my water!!!  Holy Smoke, how dumb can you be?

By way of excuse, here is how my morning preparation went.  First, Bonnie and I attended an adult  Halloween party at our next door neighbors’ house.  I drank too much wine and didn’t really eat properly.  It was an evening of sipping wine and ‘grazing’ on the snacks.  Not good.  To my credit, I had taken the time to attach my bib to my running shirt, and layout shorts, socks, and shoes.  At 5am, I woke up and decided to just get up rather than wait until my planned wake-up time of 5:30.  I got up, got cleaned up, and dressed.  Wait a minute, where the heck is my timing chip doohickey?  I quietly turned the office, the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and laundry upside down.  Panic was setting in!   What was it that Katy, Anna, Paul, and Debbie have all stressed over the years???  Get everything prepared the night before, right?  Underline the EVERYTHING!  I found the darned thing under one of the dining room chairs.  Who knows how the heck it got there? I sure don’t.   I know that I must have looked at the Garmin watch and the water bottle numerous times as I was professionally trashing the entire house.  However, time to get on the road was fast approaching.  Yes, I know, I said that I got to the park really early.  You are right, I could have taken the time to calm down and check that I had everything.  But, the way I am wired, I try to be early…  always…  No exceptions…  Well, I achieved that lofty goal.  I arrived way early.  Sans watch…  Sans water bottle.  Very disappointing, don’t you agree?

Did I mention it was darned cold?  I got out of the car and took off my jacket.  I knew that I was going to warm up as soon as I got going and I hate having to mess with carrying a jacket.  I met up with Kathy K., Aminta D., and her friend and sister.  We walked over to the Fleet Feet ‘tent’.  (Hey Debbie, what the heck do you call that shelter you had setup?  Tent Is the only word that came to mind…  I understand that nouns are the first to go when you get old.).  I think I was the only one who didn’t have a jacket on and was one of a very few wearing shorts.  But I think I look very dapper in shades of blue.  I was doing what my daughter calls the pee-pee dance just to stay warm.

The first thing I noticed when I had time to look around was the huge line of runners just now checking in.  The line was three and four people wide and stretched clear across the grassy area next to the bathrooms.  Speaking of bathrooms, there were only the two true gender specific bathrooms and five or six porta-potties.  The lines for those facilities were almost as long as the check-in line!  All of us Fleet Feeters were quite smug in the knowledge that we had been properly taught to pick up our stuff ahead of time and I am sure there were no Fleet Feeters in the check-in line.  The porta-pottie line is another topic all together.

Gradually, everyone from the 10K class arrived.  Like I said before, I think just about everyone was there.  I ‘fessed up to Katy and Paul that I had forgotten my water and watch.  Katy found something positive to say by observing that I was going to be running a little lighter.  Which is true.  But I was also running a lot dumber!  We took pictures and chatted about subjects too numerous to mention.  It soon became clear that the ½ marathon wasn’t going to be able to start at 8am as planned.  However, the good news was that the sun had cleared the horizon and it was beginning to get just cold rather than darned cold.  Finally, they were calling the ½ marathoners to start about 30 minutes late.  I chose this time to go in search of a restroom.  No luck!  The lines were awful!  Oh well, back to the start line.  All of us 10k runners were queuing up for our start.  I found several of my training class classmates clustered midway in the pack.  I joined them and we all waited nervously for the start.  I say we waited nervously…  Truly, I can only speak for myself when I ascribe adjectives and adverbs.  It was my own nervousness that I am relating here.   For the rest…  Consider my remarks just colorful commentary.

BTW, did I mention that it was darned cold?  I was losing communication with my feet and hands.  The hands thing isn’t as important as feet thing…  Next year, long pants and long sleeve shirt.  Maybe mukluks and woolen socks.  Anyway, soon, we were off, also about 30 minutes later than projected.   Ah, but now things began to warm up!  The feet came back online…  Also, I couldn’t help but notice the articles of clothing that were being shed along both sides of the Arroyo Mocho trail.  This race was an out and back.  The initial and final stages were over a dirt trail with lots of rocks.  Difficult to run on in my ‘Do It Yourself’ minimalist running shoes.  Soon, however, we were on the paved asphalt part of the trail.  I was trundling along when I heard an ominous whooshing sound coming from behind.  I glanced to my left to ascertain the source of the sound as Alice went by.  She gave me a merry salute and was gone.  Do any of you remember the Disney cartoon about the tortoise and the hare?  I remember that the tortoise gets upended and spun around on his shell as the hare goes by.  That was the image I had as Alice cruised by on her way to an amazing 54 minute 10K run.   Folks, that’s way less than 9 minutes per mile!  I think I waved and gasped out a ‘See you at the finish line’.  On we went.  Further out on the Arroyo Mocho trail than I had ever been before.  New territory.

At mile 1.5 we had a water station.  I gratefully took on a couple of swallows of water and almost immediately wished that I had persevered in my porta-pottie quest before starting the run.  I considered running off the trail but I figured the way things were going today, I would probably run thru poison oak or poison ivy or get bitten by a snake.  Trundling on…  We came off the trail towards the right in a nice neighborhood and began making successive  left turns.  At the second left turn and I beheld a beautiful orange porta-pottie.  I angled towards it.  Was it there for the race or was someone having construction done?  I didn’t care, I only needed 30 seconds…  even 15 seconds would do.  A woman in front had the same idea.  I followed her and stopped.  Precious seconds ticking off the clock.  I decided I didn’t need it that bad so I re-crossed the street, got a cup of water from the water station and struggled opening the Energy Beans.  I came to another complete stand still.  Dagmara sang out as she passed…  Two other ladies from our training group (sorry, I don’t recall your names) also passed.  So, I trundled on.   The run back was marked by a lovely conversation I had with a gal from Benica who was running the ½ marathon.  I was certainly glad that I hadn’t signed up for 13.1 miles today.  I don’t think my bladder would have survived!   Soon, the dirt trail came into view and I knew I had less than 0.5 miles to go.  I picked up the pace a bit but I had no chance of catching my four Fleet Feet classmates who had passed me on the trail.  My goal for this race was to run a sub 60 minute race.  I don’t think I was even close.  I think Dagmara had a 59 something and the two ladies whose names escape me must have been near the 1 hour mark.  I didn’t see any clock at the finish line and I haven’t seen anything online either so I am just guessing.

So, what have we learned from this exercise?  Get  ALL of your things together the night before.  Stack them up in a neat bundle.  Always be polite, and run like the wind!

Hope you all had as much fun as I did!

You can email Terry at tlkummell at sbcglobal dot net

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