Life As It Happens

A Personal Record

[This post originally appeared on May 2, 2021]

So I’m at the San Leandro Marina, getting ready to go for a 7-mile run. That’s part of my training for Not the Monterey Half Marathon – more about that later. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, I’m feeling good, and as ready as I can ever be to jog/walk seven miles.

I’m parallel parking our new plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivan in a marked space along the road, and as I’m doing it, I incorrectly estimate where the front of the car is (hint: a lot further ahead of me than it is in the Prius). I manage to tap the rear bumper of the car in front of me.


A 40-year-old black woman in running clothes jumps out of the car that I had just bumped, understandably pissed off. I immediately mask up, get out of the car, profusely apologizing from the start. We look and neither of us can see any evidence of the bump. I offer to give her my insurance info. She says, “Don’t worry about it, but learn to park your damn car.” Which, fair enough.

I get back in the car, assemble my running paraphenalia, put on sunscreen and head out. The woman whose car I had hit had already left her car and headed off down the same direction toward the ocean-side path that everybody takes. I warm up, get my tunes and GPS fired up, and start my running app.

Half a mile into my run, I realize that I better not do any math in my head (“What percentage of 7.0 is 0.5?”) so I need to think about something else. That is when, to quote Elena Catherine, I get an idea from my brain. 

Praising all the necessary people, including Lynn Conway (look her up) for the smartphone, I continue walking and tapping into my Galaxy S9. Then I strap it back onto my arm and resume running. 

As I’d hoped, a few minutes later, I see the woman whose car I’d bumped (she had a recognizable gait). I put my mask on, turn off my tunes, and catch up with her. She looks at me, and even though she’s wearing reflective sunglasses and a mask, I’m pretty sure she’s not smiling.

“Ma’am, I felt really bad about bumping your car back there. But I saw your sweatshirt…” I hold out the phone so she can see the screenshot of the $100 donation I sent to Black Girls Run

I think I see her cheekbones rise. I definitely see the thumbs-up she gives me. “I appreciate you. You have a good day.” “Yes ma’am, you too. Enjoy your run.” 

Even with the extended slow pace while I was tapping into the phone, I get the seven miles in under 90 minutes, which was my goal when I first set out. My running app puts up a sticker that says it’s a New Personal Record – I’ve had the app for 2-3 years now and haven’t run that far since it’s been turned on. I have 7-8 half-marathons under my water belt, so seven miles isn’t a personal record. 

But having my brain come up with an idea for such a quick and relevant apology – I think my app should have given me a Personal Record sticker for that.