I just signed up for a 23K mountain trail race coming up in a few weeks (september 19th, I think). The guy running the race was really friendly, and gave me lots of information, but seemed the “understating” type. I’ve got no clue how difficult the terrain will be, and as it’s 2+ hours away from my home, I’m not exactly going to head over for a pre-race checkout of the course.
So, this ought to be fun. 15+/- miles run over varied elevations, with roots, loose rocks, streams, and what have you. I’m so jazzed for this.
Okay, I was kind of lazy about wanting to hoof out to the woods and run yet again in darkness. So, I went to the gym instead, and ran in front of a bank of televisions. There’s something odd about running while watching COPS *and* Olympic coverage at the same time. On one screen, there’s this big fat black guy covered in flour and raspberry jelly because he and his girlfriend were involved in a food fight. On the other, there’s Misty May and her beach volleyball partner rolling around in the sand together after their victory (think pure thoughts!).
I’m SUCH a sweat sprinkler when I’m on the treadmill. It’s because I can’t hide from my pace. It’s there in front of me the whole time. Slowing down requires a complex technical equation, involving hitting lots of buttons in the correct sequence. Either that, or I have to hit the down arrow a LOT and it sounds like, “HEY! Look over here! The fat sweaty guy can’t hack it!”
I headed off into Maudslay at 5:30AM, and there was this guy walking up the trail ahead of me. But damned if I didn’t have a tough time catching up. Turns out, he was one of Marshall’s type of racewalkers. The dude was FAST. I passed him and then went off into the woods to continue running. I do about another half mile and POW! This guy is in front of me again (he took a different path). I have to WORK to run past this guy because he’s taking hills with these super long legs like there’s nothing to lose. And I was running FAST! Anyhow, he made the run more fun, because it became like a spooky, dark woods version of Where’s Waldo.
Thanks to EVERYONE who wrote me regarding my blues on Sunday. I’m still mulling over the feelings that experience uncovered, but I have a few things to share. For one, I think all those guys were very supportive, even when they left me in the dust. They were really friendly to me. For another, I was training for distance, and I have to conquer my distance before I build the speed. Finally, I’m on my path. It’s not finished. I’m new here. In the span of all humanity, I’m a blip. So, no problem that.
In the first mile, I saw a little baby deer hauling butt too get away from me. I saw an owl roughly the size of a bathroom trash can fly away from me. Oh, and there was this swamp stuff. Shin-deep water the color of coffee and the smell of sh…..
Did I mention running into the running club?
Okay, what the Hell is up with those elliptical machines? I tried one at the gym this morning and it kicked my sphincter! I mean it. I did 10 minutes and even that felt like it was killer. But what the F? I mean, I am going to run 12 miles tomorrow in the woods, at a fairly okay clip. So why does this machine kill me?
And why does it seem like ladies use them like it’s no big thang?
Wednesday saw me running a 5K on the treadmill at the gym, to test out the new trail shoes before I got them muddy. Nothing much to speak of, but still some more mileage into the training book for the week.
This morning, I ran six miles in Maudslay. It was dark when I started, but still hazy and muggy. By the second mile, I looked like I’d fallen into the river. By the last mile, I smelled like it. It was a great run, especially when I wanted to quit around mile four. Somewhere, I just started saying, “Stick with the Plan,” and then, “Plan with the Stick.”
Okay, I can’t do math. My run last night were sub-10 minute miles (not closer to 9), with a burst at the end. I did a fair job of it. Ran with a guy named Bob. I’m really happy with my performance, and I feel pretty good considering I did a 10 mile run the day before, the gym and home workouts before the race. Mind you, I’d forgotten there was a race. I might’ve done that stuff differently. But whatever.
48:30 for 5 Miles!
I kinda-sorta almost forgot I have a 5 mile race tonight at 6PM. It’s on the beach at low tide. I can’t wait, because that’s one of my typical weekly stomping grounds. I’m doing it for love. No real goals in mind. Finish without death, either mine or others. : )
I also picked up some new trail running shoes (pic). I hope they work out, but I’ve got a date with the treadmill tomorrow to lab test them. If they chew, I can give them back. No problems.
I stepped onto the field at 5:08AM. It was pouring rain, the side-swipe of Hurricane Charlie writ small in little drops. It was still dark, but every time I attempted to use my flashlight, it just mucked up my night vision, and didn’t give me much visibility. It’s dark, pouring, and I’m alone in the woods. Perfect!
Strangely, the run part was easy cheesy. When did running so many miles become okay? I flew down the trails, skittering here and there over exposed roots and loose stones, but never once dumping. Muddy? Oh yeah. I had soakers before the first mile. But everything was so electric. I felt alive. Oh, at the beginning, when it was really dark, I couldn’t shake those Blair Witch feelings, but hey. Sure made me run faster.