Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A run that was SO RIGHT and went SO WRONG

Jack got home from my brother's bachelor party in New Orleans very late on Sunday night.  As we were talking back and forth during his travels back home, I told him I was ready to RUN HARD on Monday and couldn't wait to pound the pavement. He understood as every runner does- 3 days without an intense run leaves a parent ready to pound it out. Mind you I had a blast with pur girls while Jack was gone, and we played tons on the rainy days inside, but my body was ready to push it.

Monday morning came, the four of us walked to the park together and then I took off for my run. My goal was to do 6 miles with a comfortable pace the first 2, push it the second 2 miles, and then blast it the last two miles.  I had my iPhone Pandora station set to Katy Perry, favorite running capris and tank comfortably rockin', and was rolling along the beach path before I knew it.  I ran upon a familiar gait and came upon Annie C. from Power Fitness PDX.  We chatted a few steps and I rocked on.  My pace was comfortable, about 7:20/25.  I noticed so many people on the beach path and thought about how great Alameda is to raise kids; how fun it is to ride bicycles to the beach and even if overcast bring buckets and shovels to play in the sand.  When I got to the Windsurf Shack my eyes continued to look towards the sky and the tons of kite surfers - kites dancing their way above our heads.  I spotted an Irish kite made of shamrocks and smiled, knowing it was a sign I would make my kite surfing dream happen.

Coming up on mile 3-4 I decided to pick it up a notch.  Smiling at every runner, giving the runner wave and nod, my body moved forward into racing mode.  I was on the latter part of the See Jane Run course that I'm racing this upcoming Sunday, June 5th, and my body naturally started to kick into higher gear.  Checked my watch-whew miles 3 was faster averaging 6:40/45 pace! My smile was growing and I was feeling good.  But that soon changed.

At the turn around and I began running back towards home, my body was in a good place.  I felt in tune with each step, my mind wasn't stressing on much, and then....I saw 4 police cars and two firetrucks ahead of me at Willow. My initial thought was Heaven forbid, a child was hit, but I continued my pace and ran closer. I was ready to close my eyes, fearing the heartache of identifying to closely with an injured child's parents', but was surprised to see fire fighters and police officers holding binoculars looking towards the water. Phew, I thought, a fun bit of sea life came towards the shore and they were probably called upon to assist with a rescue. The joys of living on an  island ... I thought.

Once I passed Willow St. and all the cops, I pushed it faster determined to see what my body could do.  Continuing down the nature path, running through Makenzie's school and towards home, my pace pushed 6:15/6:20 the last 2.5 miles!  The sweat across my brow and down my back was intense, while my runner's high was strong.  You know the of sweat induced pride from a great run.  I opened the front door excited to share the good run with Jack and the girls, in addition to sharing there was some fun action at the beach that may be some fun animal life. Heck, it happened in the '80's with Humphry the Humpback Whale in the Bay, so there must have been some fun excitement in the Bay again!

After talking and showering, we got distracted and decided to do some errands instead of rush back to the beach.  Thank goodness we changed plans ...Today I brought up in Power Fitness PDX that there was something great at the beach yesterday.  Not having any inkling of what a boot camper was about to share, my heart sunk when hearing what the real "something" was at the beach.  A man walked into the water attempting to commit suicide and the Police and Fire Departments didn't have the water jurisdiction to rescue him. The many people at the beach didn't act act on the Good Samaritan law since they thought the Fire and Police had it under control.  A 20 year old gal finally went out to help rescue the 53 year old man, but it was to late. 

Hearing this has infuriated me.  Being a lifeguard and swim instructor for years, I would have run into the water and waded to get the man to the shore.  When running by the scene, everyone seemed non-chalant as if it wasn't an emergency but a safe rescue situation.  Having experienced a dear friend's suicide just last August, it is a horrible experience and you feel helpless in not being able to help the one you loved. You feel helpless not being able to save any life- knowing the person or not.  The government officials had the people at the beach, those running by and those who lived in all the apartments on Shoreline, with a false sense of security that they had the situation under control.  Typing this has my blood boiling.

How is it, on an island, there is no jurisdiction to rescue people in the water?  How is it possible that a man can commit suicide in the middle of the day, with so many watching feeling the situation was under control?  How can there not be funds to pay for water rescue training of all officials, but there is money to pay for nice pensions and comfortable salaries??

Needless to say, the run will forever be remembered.  One that is so sweet in speed, but bitter in experience.  A run that made me think about why we are living in California, a state I love so much, but am so disappointed in with the government and where spending limits it's officials.  So I write in hopes others are outraged too. I write in sharing my sadness that a life was lost while others looked on thinking he was ok, and in hoping it is a situation that will never be repeated for the rest of my daughters' lifetime. Once an island girl, always an island girl. But this was one day I wish I grew up on a different island....

** To read the story about the drowning, please read here & here

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I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey