18 July 2010

The Busted, the Skipped, and the Planned

It’s a bevy of scattered topics this week, a plethora, a myriad even. Nothing big, so plenty of small. Well, that’s a lie of sorts, one is quite big, but hard to relate.

On the “What’s Busted And How Long Till It’s Fixed” front, my hat is off this week to the fine folks at New Balance, who may, just may, be becoming my savior. I’m a week into shifting to the NB 1225s, and that lump on the back of my Achilles is fading. Not gone, but fading, not hurting, and, I think, better. As a control experiment, I strapped on the Asics this morning for eight miles on some dirt roads and indeed, rebuilt the lump a little. Maybe that was too easy to call science. The jury’s out, but they’re leaning. Meanwhile, mileage is hovering around a weak-pulsed thirty per week.

On the “Coulda’ Woulda’ Shoulda’ – But Didn’t, No, Scratch That, Couldn’t”, front, as previously reported, I skipped out on the Boilermaker this year. Not only would I have risked renewing those lingering injuries, but my reduced training would have made a credible race pretty unlikely. Add to that the fact that sis and her clan couldn’t do the event this year, and it was a foregone conclusion.

Now, the Boilermaker is a world-class race, drawing the finest of Kenyans and their brethren. You do it for the spectacle, the pure mojo, the fun, and of course the after-race party. You don’t expect to win, place, or show, other than to show your face. So imagine my surprise when reviewing the results of last week’s event to see that it just so happened to be a sparse day among the 45-49 year-old male farts. You realize of course that that only happens when I’m not there. As soon as I show up, so do all the fast guys. But since I wasn’t there, while the winner took my age group at a typically Boilermakeresque non-human 46 minutes, a truly Ethiopian 4:56 pace, second was a distant one, nearly 53 minutes, and, say what? Excuse me? Third place was a mere ten seconds ahead of my Tri-Valley time, fourth equal to my time, and fifth another half minute back.

I know, I know, you can’t really compare any one race any other. Course and weather vary, fitness fluctuates (don’t I know it!), and the phase of the moon is probably different. You name it, there’s no assurance that you can run what you ran last week sometime next week. But just the thought that I could have been in the neighborhood, could have, with a good day and some good luck, maybe, just maybe, hit the medal stand at a race like the Boilermaker. Dude, ponder the concept… Of course the alarm clock went off and it was time to wake up, because, ehem, I didn’t go, I didn’t run, it doesn’t matter. But it was cool to think about it. There’s always next year.

And finally, to build a weak segway on what we’ll call it the “Alarm Clock Doth Ringeth Too Early” front, there have been way too many late nights lately. Half is due to real work, but the other half is running work, as my race director duties are building to a zenith since our club’s Running With the Wolves 10K is a mere ten days away. As I noted in the intro tonight, it’s really not small. It’s big, it’s huge, it’s a ton of work, but if you asked me to describe exactly what it is, the best I could tell you is coordination of, and death by, a million emails. And phone calls. And stuff like building scoring software. Yeah, we’re like that, a do-it-yourself kind of organization. Last night I built a team scoring algorithm that broke even my bizarre records for spreadsheet excess. Quick! Trivia! What’s the last column in an Excel spreadsheet? The answer? “IV”. I know, because for the first time in my life, I actually used it last night. Yes, all two hundred and thirty columns. And now I think I need an IV. Those people who tell me that running will kill me have no idea just how it will do so. It won’t be on the roads, it will be at my desk, and it will be ruled race-direticide.

But the race is ready to launch. The sponsorship drive went over the top. Pre-registrations already exceed our runner count for last year. We just got our course USATF certified. Shirts are in shipment, awards are engraved, staffing plan is in place. We’ve built more cool PVC devices for directing and amusing our runners. Food and water are in the works. Hot diggity, our crack team is pulling this off. So if you run and you’re within fifty miles of Marlborough, Massachusetts, I expect to see you on Wednesday evening, the 28th of this hot month. Print out an application now and show your bones! And start praying to the Weather Gods.

When all this is over two weeks from now, I will return to normal life: sleeping (at least a little more, never enough) and running, interrupted by the rest of life.

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