Friday, December 21, 2012

Pigtails 50K

I don't have any pictures for this race...I could get some easy enough, but just picture a flat trail through the woods, well, mostly flat anyway. And a stream next to it surrounded by Evergreens and other fauna - that was the gist of it.

For whatever reason I just wanted to run a sub 4 hour 50K, and although I’ve done it in training runs before - but never an “official” race so I figure this was a good place to cross this one off the list since I can’t seem to run a good 100. I did have some pretty decent fast training runs in the past few weeks so I figured I’d give this a go. Although this is nothing like I usually run, 0% single track, over 50% on paved trails, it is still fun and felt good to actually motor along at a decent pace and to run rhythmic…is that what I was doing?  The first ½ of the course is gently downhill, which was making it tough to not run too fast since I felt like I was fighting myself just trying to stay above 7:00 pace.  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the wind was at my back also. I went through 13.1 somewhere around 1:33 something and barely felt like I was running. We turned around shortly after that and I quickly noticed I was on a gentle uphill, and a nice little head wind just for the fun of it. Occasional snowflakes dropping from the sky were much more welcome than rain would have been. The miles were still ticking by semi ok in the 7:15 – 7:25 range but as I passed mile 18 I noticed my quad was starting to tighten up. And when the legs start to tighten the mind usually does some weird thing where time slows down and the miles feel soooo much longer. But really it was fatigue setting in. I’m old. I’m getting slow. That’s life but I still run semi ok for someone just past 40, right?  That’s what I tell myself anyway. Besides, I still enjoy it just as much as I ever did.  At the mile 21.7 aid station the 50K people had to take a different trail for a short out and back to get all our  mileage in, that was a nice little (and I mean little) hill followed by more gentle uphill. Which of course we all got back on the way down. After that it was just try and hit sub  8 minute miles as best as I could and survive to the finish. I made it in 3:56 and some change which equates to about 7:30 per mile per my garmin and the mileage I had. I actually thought I would be somewhere around 3:50. But whatever – it was a fun day running, got lucky with the weather, and it’s not often that I have a sub whatever goal and actually make it. Time to rest up, take some time off, get my knee healthy, and do something else for a (very) short time before it’s back to the single track. Thanks to all the volunteers out there, there were awesome. I would have loved to hang out and talk Tiger Mountain a little longer with them like the girl at mile 21.7 and again after the 50K bonus out and back, but I needed to get the race done before the snow turned into rain. I’m still trying to figure out what to run in 2013. Zion – check. A couple small races. Check. Need something for later in the summer but not sure where I want to go?

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Waiting Game

Zion. Coming soon
 to a run near me.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

Wait is defined as “to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed” (

Someone once asked me to wait for them. A week turned into a month which turned into many months. Then a year. Then more months on top of that. All hiding behind lies and self fulfilling agendas. I was going through a lot of stuff in life at the time besides this. I became hugely depressed. Most days I didn’t even want to wake up, and there was no denying that I was at a point where that was a distinct possibility. It turns out that person is a liar. A user. And a piece of shit that I am thankful things didn’t work out with. I was at a point where I was no longer me, but I let that happen. Lesson learned though - so I take some positive from that.

Another person asked me to wait for something just recently also. I couldn’t get an answer to what in fact I was waiting for. So the answer is no – I’m not waiting. Life doesn't wait, and most often I won't either.
How does all this tie into running? Or life since for me the two are so closely intertwined? I don’t know if I can explain it clearly (or concisely) but I’ll try. I’ve had people ask me how I am going to feel when I’m crippled at 70 years old from all the running I do now. Again – am I supposed to wait for that to happen through natural causes or osteoporosis, old age, arthritis or atrophy? Am I supposed to save my knees, hips, ankles, and whatever else I’m supposedly wearing out so I can win the weekly mall walking lap race against the other old geezers? Would that entail sitting around doing nothing now? Only to save myself for that time? So I can be an able bodied old bastard I should let present life pass by? Where is the sense in that? I don't see it.
The only thing I have figured out for myself is that life is about now, today, in this moment which I am in control of - as I get out of each day I wake up and think how awesome each moment within this day will be. I am not going to live for anyone outside of my kids and people close to me.  I am going to be there for them from the moment they were born to the moment I die, and come hell or high water there is nothing that could ever stop me if needed. And in between I am going to experience life to the fullest extent I can. I am going to see all parts of the world that I always wanted to. I look back and think of all the places I have seen a sunrise or sunset, in all different mountain ranges and all time zones. My own picture book in my head could be it's own Ansel Adams gallery. And it is still growing because I am still living for now because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Sure, I have regrets and many wasted days in the past, but the fact is I have learned so much in living life so far it makes me realize that even the bad days weren’t completely wasted because they brought me to where I am now. In a good place, seeing so many new things and meeting so many interesting people from all parts of the world and life.  It’s a pretty amazing journey I’m on right now, and this ride is just getting good. I can’t wait for it to continue. And I’m not going to either. And I still have many miles left to run.