Monday, June 5, 2017

Like Addition to Calculus, I Got This

Typically, if you are coming off a lackluster performance you want to get the bad taste out of your mouth as quick as you can without being crazy impatient about it. Of course, I'm impatient and last weekend's performance in Delaware at the New Moon Quarter Marathon just annoyed me. It wasn't awful, but not what I was looking for personally.

Instead of chalking it up to one of those things, it made me more determined to make up for it. Thus, the 40th Annual Columbus 10K (something I had been looking at for awhile) was to take place the following Sunday. There may have been warning signs like "its my weekend to work", "you work THAT SUNDAY AFTERNOON", "your place of business has a major regional event headlined by Author Melody Warnick, of which your employer has been working on for six months, on that day" and "you have to drive an hour there, run the race, fight the Columbus Sunday traffic afterward - along with the hour drive return - to then shower and be at work on time". All of these warning signs were absolutely true. Would I be making things worse and causing more trouble that what it was worth?

This reminds me of one of our regulars the library. The other day, John, tried to argue with us about how much time he has to use our public computers. Each person gets three hours per day. On this day he logged on with 2 1/2 hours of the library business day left. Meaning, he would not get his three computer hours before we closed. John made his way to the front desk to express his concerns and wanted an explanation. The computers do shutdown 15 minutes before closing everyday to prevent folks from taking advantage of our closing duties and John knows this, he uses them every single day.

After explaining to John why he was getting shorted computer time (several times and not comprehending), he still had this dumbfounded look as if we were trying to pull a fast one on him. He looks at us and says in a less than happy manner, "So, I get three hours. But since you have decided to close, I'm not getting what I'm supposed to be getting, is that right?" Not wanting to argue any longer, I gave up

"Yes, John, that is correct,"

"That's what I thought," as he turns to go back up stairs - obviously satisfied with himself, "See, I went from addition to calculus. I know what I'm talkin' about."

...touche` John, touche`.

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Getting back to the running thing, aren't warning signs merely strongly worded suggestions anyway? Not strong enough this time I guess ... PRESS ON!

The sold out Columbus 10K (1,000 +) would traverse portions of The Scioto Mile and downtown, in the shadow of Nationwide Arena, through the short north, past historic Goodale Park, meandering in midst of the Victorian Village & Harrison West neighborhoods, then onto the Olentangy Trail to head back to the promenade on The Scioto Mile. Great weather added to an exciting mix and as I was waiting in the corral, my The Buck Fifty Teammate - Gary - walks up. Having someone familiar to feed off of was a welcome addition.

At the horn I had to remind myself to keep in check and not take off like I wanted to, since I have a habit of wanting to blow by everyone at the beginning - tailing Gary helped. Less than 200 meters in and working my way through the crowd, from behind, some impatient jerk squirms through the small opening between the girl next to me and I. When he does, he has to then take a quick step in front of me to avoid falling or running into someone else. That step clips my left foot and I roll my ankle. "What the hell?!", I blurt out while trying to regain composure and hoping the pain in my foot subsides. The jerkoff never slowed or said anything, just pretended like it never happened. My foot was still a bit tender, but not enough to stop. Casual thoughts of speeding up and delivering a kidney punch may have crossed my mind. (My foot is still a bit tender today, the day after)

At the start, I'm the one in the gray t-shirt. I almost look
out of place not wearing a singlet and adjusting my
MacGyvered Garmin Watch.
Making it back to Earth and keeping an eye on Gary, I work my way through my progressions. My legs feel good, My breathing (nose & mouth) is systematic without too much effort and I'm going at a clip that is slightly faster than I wanted - but not overwhelming. I'm also constantly reminding myself to make sure something is left in the tank for the second 5K. At the mile marker, I'm right around six minutes. Still faster than I wanted, but I was in good shape.

For the next two miles a group of us hung together, jockeying here and there but for the most part it was three women and four guys within ten to fifteen yards of each other. Around the halfway point, we began to thin out. Gary is ahead of me, but not far away and we are at just over 19 minutes (I'm 19:09) as we make the turn to head back south along the Olentangy Trail. Here I'm focusing on keeping my pacing intact and pushing just a little more - in race training is fun. I'm used to having a variety of folks kick it in during the back half of races as I don't seem to have that extra gear. Today, however, only a handful of folks found the gear I didn't have. Having studied some 10K strategy and keeping within myself was paying off.

With two miles to finish, I just wanted to maintain and avoided looking at my watch - not wanting to be disappointed if my time wasn't where I thought it should be. Exhaustion starts to creep in and Gary has distanced himself a bit, I make it a point to focus on what is directly in front of me and possibly have some sort of finishing kick. We make it back to The Scioto Mile and the finish is just above us as we have to  pass it and continue south along the Scioto River for a half mile before looping up hill to return north to complete the course. I'm joined by two other exhausted runners in crossing the finish shortly thereafter.

Half mile to go along the Olentangy Trail,
posing a bit.
I'm handed a finisher's medal, grab some water, a Clif Bar and a banana, then find Gary to recuperate and discuss. My watch says 38:34, but it was still "finding satellites" for a good 15 seconds after we started. Still, though, it would be a killer time for me - a PR by more than two minutes. And by PR, I mean a personal best running a 10K with other people and not just by myself training along the residential streets of Marion.

We regain ourselves and shoot the bull. I casually wonder, "Do you think we made the top five for our age group?" He squints his eyes a bit, "I don't think so." It was a fast race and the top five in each age group receive an award. "Unless the top finishers were in our age group," he says jokingly. I then let my hopes of age group placing die off.

While waiting for nearly everyone to finish to conduct the awards ceremony, Gary and I got in line to have some of the former Olympians on hand to sign some autographs. Since my nieces and nephew (ages 11, 8 and 5) have just started running, I had 2012 Olympic Finalist Bridget Franek sign one of the super cool 40th Columbus 10K commemorative posters for them. Also on hand were Butch Reynolds and Bob Schul.

Bridget Franek Autographed
Columbus 10K poster
Finally, the awards ceremony took place and the overall winner came in at 30:04 (He also looked like he was twelve years old). I was able to take solace in the fact that I was within nine minutes of the winner, coming in at 38:46 and good enough for 55th place. Gary finished in 38:04 and placed 49th. With the age group announcements we were surprised to discover we had made the top five for the 40 to 44 segment, finishing 3rd and 4th. For that we also received a Columbus 10K tin coffee mug. So, I guess I was able to make up for the crappy performance the weekend before.

From there I had to bypass the race after-party at Land-Grant Brewing and head home in order to go to work. Luckily, traffic wasn't so bad and I made it home in more than enough time to chill out for about an hour before heading to the library. Work was slow, but I'm glad I bit the bullet and squeezed in the race.

My finisher's medal and age group
placing coffee mug.
Looking at my running shoes, my orange New Balance, I realize I need to put them to rest. I bought them when I started running again last August and have put 536 miles on them this year alone. That doesn't count the miles put on them from August through December of 2016, so they more than likely have more than a thousand miles of wear and tear. And they look worn out with the tread now either non-existent or down to barely visible nubs, not to mention a couple of rips and tears from trail running.

Also, I will be boxing up the remnants of what was my Garmin Watch this week and send them off in order to have a refurbished version (one not being held together by paperclips and sandwich bag twist ties) sent to me in return. I will somehow live without keeping track of my mileage and time for the time being. Maybe it will make the Garmin Hall of Fame (or Shame)?!

Having raced on consecutive weekends for the first time in years, I now do not have another race in mind for the time being. It will be a welcome break, but racing is fun again and I hope to take part in another before the end of June. If not, it will likely be July. Part of me says I should slow down and not get myself into trouble, but I'm in a groove and will slow down when needed - but I'm not going to stop. Not unless I seriously have to, which isn't likely to happen anytime soon. I'm 41 and just getting started. To quote Gary, "Growing old gracefully is overrated." 

Now, who wants to go get into - or cause - some trouble?

                                                                   No Trouble - The Weepies

Knocking on my door, it was trouble that I need
I figured he would fall
But he took me anyway
Always gonna pay for the kindness that you lose
For the kindness that you lose

I don't need no trouble
But sometimes trouble needs me
I don't need no trouble
But it's plain to see
I don't need no trouble
But sometimes trouble needs me
I don't need no trouble
But it's plain to see
Sometimes trouble needs me

You're the only trouble I need

Runnin' Summer 2017 Tour:

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