Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A trot in the park

It was an early start on Sunday, up at 5am, quick all-essential breakfast and out at 6.15. Like most mornings here, it was bright and sunny with clear blue skies. Despite the chill in the air, the mountains looked as always, beautiful bathed in a soft golden glow. Amazingly the grass in Ruth Hardy Park was crisp with a touch of frost. No doubt the hundreds of other early morning feet like mine, would leave behind bruised, damaged grass but parks are for people and in this case runners! This was the morning of the Palm Springs Half Marathon. Have I suckered you in to at least read the first paragraph? Well - I'll try and keep the attention for all you mono-interest gardeners. As I've mentioned before, running the streets is a wonderful way to see what grows in an area, the good and bad gardens and as you saw in the last post, how some people abuse them!

Incidentally its a local event that has run for years, and yet the local paper, the Desert Sun for some reason ignores it. On the Saturday, there is a cycle race and on the Sunday the Half Marathon. The cycle race always gets full press coverage, the run is ignored - I wonder why? Did the runners offend the paper at some point? 

Pre-race - lots of nervous runners killing time
At 6.50, nearly 1000 of us lined up for the start. I shed my sweatshirt and tied it to a street sign and yes it was still there at the end - runners are honest people! I  shivered and wondered if I had been unwise to dress in a sleeveless running vest but I know that a chilly start can soon be followed by fierce sun - hence the early fixture here. I always find the singing of the 'Star Spangled Banner' before the race start quite moving and don't recall the National Anthem ever being sung at UK events. The compere counted down, the klaxon sounded and we were off. My fingers felt frozen but within a mile or so the body warms and settles to a comfortable rhythmic pace.

Lining up for the start - not sure whether this is a classic example of a lousy photo or whether the two giggly girls who took it for me deliberately lined up the sign behind my head!

Now I have to admit, I had great intentions of making a separate trip around the entire race route to take garden pics for you all. But laziness is a terrible thing and the day before the race I was - resting and now after the race, I'm  - yes you guessed it - resting! So just a few pics that I've taken in the past around the streets where the race takes place. Nothing really special but perhaps you will see why I find running these streets a pleasant experience.

Typical desert garden but some still love their grass

How about this for low maintenance?

Carniea gigantea - Saguaro cactus - they grow easily here

Always the mountains and bougainvillea everywhere

One of my winter favourites, Euphorbia 'Sticks of Fire'
Typical mid century modern house and I love this simple front garden
A Spanish style property - I'd love to see the garden inside.

Wonderful variegated lemon that grows in an old neglected garden near the end of the race
Running is simple of course - it's just putting one foot in front of the other and doing it again and again...! I wonder how many steps in 13.1 miles? Passing the three mile point I start to relax. It was here where my knee gave out a couple of years ago, leaving me in pain for weeks. Somewhere around six miles I started to overtake the younger runners who set out like rockets and have faded - I love that. Who said 'Hare and the tortoise?' Anyway after two hours and 6 minutes, I crossed the finish line to thunderous applause, (slight exageration) along with 967 others.  My placing, 518 and 25th out of 39 in my veteran category. Not bad for a pensioner!

Bit warmer than two hours previously!

1 comment:

  1. Well done, for completing it and a good placement! I like the way you combine running and plant spotting but I suppose it all depends on location, which in your case is ideal! That Spanish inspired front garden looks intriguing!