Monday, May 15, 2006

auburn's favorite son (abroad)

So a lot has happened to the fair city of Auburn, my hometown in the Sierra Nevada foothills, in the six years since I moved away to go to college. Commerce has boomed, the experiment of a town without Burger Kings went bust, and Placer High School gave in and paved that dust field where everybody parked anyway. And, not least of all, Auburn went and got itself officially titled the Endurance Capital of the World.

At second glance, perhaps this is not such a flattering title. Without any context, one could reasonably think Auburnites are proud that they have managed to stick it out here for so long. Goodness knows my Placer classmates thought of their 18-ish year terms in "the A-hole" (please pardon their Czech) as something to be endured (although probably half of them have moved back by now to raise their kids---and who knows? maybe I'll soon be among them). But in the big picture, 160-or-so years is hardly a stretch next to every little similar town in the Czech Republic---Sokolov "endured" the Black Plague, for one.

But when you take it with all the new murals that have gone up in the past two years, then you know that Auburn means endurance sports. And with that in mind I suppose they have a case. After all, if Mercer, Wisconsin can be Loon Capital of the World, then why can't Auburn, with its full, annual slate of world-class long distance races be the head city of those who just won't quit?

I suppose all of this is just a round-about way of annoucing that yesterday I became an international citizen of the town that raised me up when I fulfilled my goal to run in the Prague International Marathon. If you've been reading this blog over at least the past two months, then you know that this was a crazy idea from the beginning, especially to me. Well, it never felt crazier than when I was doing it, and I almost cried for joy when I saw the sign that signaled the last kilometer, but now it's over: 4 hours, 38 minutes from start to finish, 2,443rd place.

Today it will take me at least that long to walk to the grocery store around the block.

Thank you, family and friends---Beth, Christie and Chrissy, Mom & Dad, Sam & Nick, Zach (who showed his studliness and also finished the race---well done, sir), and everybody who showed up to cheer us on---for helping out, running with, and just being interested. You need to convince yourself that you want to run a marathon, but you can't get to it, let alone do it, without good friends. Thanks, guys.

I'll post pictures when I have 'em :-)


At 15/5/06 18:37, Blogger The Dorrs said...

Nice one, Joel.

And I must thank you again (and Mike) for your kind friendship last year at the know what I am talking about. I am truly grateful that I wasn't there alone.

We miss you.


At 15/5/06 19:00, Blogger Abbers said...

I will have you know my husband did all the leg work for that title.
You have to have 4 legs to compete in half of the endurance races here.
Love you, I'm so proud of you. Now ice your knee!

At 15/5/06 23:56, Blogger James said...

Once again, you make me proud.

Congrats brother. See you sooner than later.

At 16/5/06 16:21, Blogger James said...

In substituted reflections I'm going to write about subbing experiences and things that happen while I'm subbing, if at all I remember to or not. So it's topic specific. I suppose I should have put that on the page itself...

At 21/5/06 23:58, Anonymous Peta said...

Congratulations, Joel, I'm happy for you that you finished the marathon!! I hope you got the gold medal, too (which you surely deserved for your 2,443rd place, I think that's being the first of the middle people, yeah?). Zach was wearing it in the school the other day, it was so funny :))

take care,

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