[I wrote this yesterday, but had no Internet.]
I am sitting in Woodward Park in Fresno, California. At this point, I have been here a little under an hour and a half. I got up at 3:45, and left the house at 4:15, so that I could be here by roughly 7:15.
For a race that lasted twenty minutes.
Correct that: a race that lasted slightly under seventeen minutes. I am not sure of the exact time, and quite frankly I am not going to hang around to see the official times posted. [It turned out to be, for the Red-Headed Menace, 16:50.]
It may seem a long way to go for such a little event, except it wasn’t. It was this year’s Clovis Cross-Country Invitational. Only the top seven runners in each division from his high school are allowed to compete. The top runners in the state — and some of the best runners in the country — go to Clovis. It is a big deal.
Last year the Red-Headed Menace was twenty-fourth on his team. This year he is sixth. He worked very hard, made an amazing improvement over the summer, and so is getting to go to the top events.
Originally, I was going to skip Clovis (see: three hour drive starting at 4:15, above). I was planning to attend the Stanford Invitational, a similarly important race held about half-an hour away, and starting at a much more reasonable hour. (At Clovis, they reverse the usual order, starting with Varsity and working down to Frosh/Soph, rather than the other way around. My theory is that they want to have the best runners have the coolest weather, so they have a chance at the best times.)
The morning of the Stanford race, Red-Headed Menace woke up sick: so sick, in fact, that he didn’t even care he was missing the race. (That’s sick.) So Clovis was his first big Invitational. How could I not go to that? He’s a senior; I won’t have many more chances to seem him race. And I am not driving to the Mt. Sac Invitational in a couple of weeks – it’s in Southern California.
I would have regretted missing this. Besides, it was a chinchilla race.
Now if I could only remember where I parked the car.