When the Waring annual Spring break goes into effect, many of us in the Waring community are out of touch with the lives each other lead on these breaks. With this in mind, I thought it would be valuable to hear about an excursion Waring's Building and Ground's husband and wife team, Dianne and Pavel Jirka went on this past spring break.
For Dianne's birthday, she received an extremely unique gift from her daughter, Waring alum, Rachel Jirka. Rachel signed both Dianne and herself up to run canyonlands, a half marathon in Moab, Utah. When Dianne was younger and living out west, she remembers watching Canyonland's inaugural race over 40 years ago, and thought at the time, "I would like to run this one day."
Well, not only did Dianne finish running in it, so did her daughter Rachel, making it a family bonding experience that will not soon be forgotten.
Dianne explained to me that Canyonlands was two races in one and that you could choose to participate in a half marathon that started at 10:00am or you could run in the 5 mile that started at 9:30am. Dianne joined the 60+ group of over 500 5 mile runners and completed her race, running 14-minute miles. "Being 4,000' above sea level took a bit to get used to, especially because of the fact that I was sick for the two weeks leading up to the race, but after the first mile, I started feeling ok. Flying out 4 days before the race also helped me acclimatize." As mile 4 and 5 hit, Dianne relied heavily on the training she undertook over the past four months to complete the race.
Dianne attributes her ability to train for this 5 miler to the mild winter we have had. "I'm not sure what I would have done if we had a winter similar to last year's winter." The mildness gave her the ability to get outside on a regular basis, even if it was just walking at times. I asked Dianne, How do you start preparing for a race like this if you don't regularly run as part of your daily schedule? Dianne said, "you start off very slowly, just like I did. When I first started, I jogged 30 yards down the sidewalk and back, eventually working up to 14-minute miles. I am proud of the goal I achieved, although the best part of the trip was getting back to the finish line where Pavel and I cheered Rachel onto the finish of the half marathon."