Monday, June 22, 2009
On the training front, I have NO heat acclimation yet. I have been doing most of my runs in the very early morning or very late at night….and with the mild spring…I am feeling it when I run with some higher temps. When we took off at 8:45PM on Saturday evening, it was 95 F. I do know that at this point last year, I was much better in the heat.
Saturday had scheduled a 2 a-day run as I met some runners early morning 6:30 AM to run a 5 mile run on the Erwin Park Trail…running hard. At 8:45 PM, I met Lynn Ballard, Mark Blendon, for the evening run. Rochelle Frazuer showed up later at about 10:30PM. Lynn wanted to show us the new trails he helped build at the Frito Lay property. All I can say is that the 3.5 mile loop is incredible with some climbs, some rocks, some roots…a good challenge. Lynn thought it would be good to take off at a quick pace to familiarize the trail at least once in the day light. We whipped through a couple of loops rather quickly and things felt decent, but I could tell that the heat was getting to me. At about mile 8, the stomach was nauseous and I had to drop Lynn’s pace if I was going to run a full 20 miles. Miles 8 through 16, I lingered behind, Lynn and company, but never too far behind…always able to regroup with the company a few minutes later at our self supported aid station in the parking lot. I remember having a “come to Jesus” meeting with myself at about midnight on the trial in regards of not getting in the driver’s seat and driving home at the next aid station stop. I do have to admit that part of my sick self enjoys the solitude of suffering on the trail. No one to talk to except the constant conversation with that little voice in my mind that keeps telling me that normal people don’t do this to themselves. In the words of Mark, “In Ultras, you have to keep running when it quits being fun.” In miles 14 to 16 the stomach improved a bit but it had quit being fun. The group had decided to knock out 4 miles on the crushed stone walking trail that circumnavigates the Frito Lay Property (at my suggestion.) The night breeze actually made it feel cool at this point…of course it’s all relative. I learned about Rochelle finishing the last 5 miles of a 200 mile race in flip flops…at this point I was able to actual smile at that.
At 2:00AM I had wrapped up 20 miles and was going to call it a night. Lynn, Mark and Rochelle were going on…remember Lynn and Mark will be toeing the line at the Hardrock 100. Some people would consider the night I had a horrible training run. I think of it differently….only as an opportunity to press on when it would be really easy to quit and go to bed. I plan on to doing some runs in the heat these next few weeks to acclimate myself. Until then Run On…even when it ain’t fun!
POST NOTE: Lynn's son, Keith joined us for a few miles. Unfortunately, because I was lagging, I didn't get to talk much with him. I expect we'll see more of him out there with his dad.
Monday, June 15, 2009
When I run alone all night, it is a far cry from apocalyptic; although it may seem like it at 0300 in the morning. The loneliness only intensifies any suffering the body is doing and it is during these times that my mind is purified. In the words of the apostle Matthew, the chaff is burned up. My thoughts are turned to what is important and they come to realized that juice stains on the carpet brought forth by my three year old is not something to get upset about. The tiny fingerprints left by three kids on the computer screen, are not only temporal but trivial...that the soul is more important than the body and at this point the body is hurting. Running alone at night tends to cause me to reflect on these things.
So when I got an email from a fellow North Texas Trail Runner, Lynn Ballard, about an all night on Friday, running on some new trails...I responded, "I am in." It appeared that there would be a good group of us, but the previous days of a rain deluge left the trails unrunnable and the plans for the night run with the group to be rescheduled at a later time. Knowing Lynn was going to be running at some point on the weekend, I inquired of his plans. Partially because I needed to get a long run in and partially because I wanted to be held accountable. He responds, "Lets still run on Friday night. I got a 7.5 mile loop on the golf course. Meet at my house. Call me when you get in from the Bill Cosby concert...I will wait for you."
The week had taking it's toll both physically and mentally and frankly I was dreading this run....but I cannot leave Lynn hanging out to dry. At a 10:45 PM I call Lynn and tell him I am on my way.
The humidity had turned the warm Texas air into a sauna. Lynn and I look at each other and mutually say to one another, "let's get this thing done." Despite the humidity the chaff began to be swept from the threshing floor into the fire. But this time it was different. It was not from the pain or the loneliness, but from camaraderie between two guys running into the night. We begin talking about what is important...what is not....lessons learned from the four 100 milers Lynn has finished. (Lynn is training for the Hardrock 100 miler with no garantee he will get in...he is on the waiting list.) Lynn's 3 kids are grown and he is about 12 to 15 years further down the road than I am in that respect. We talked about what is important to impart to your kids, what running does for the soul. We talked about patriotic things, about spiritually things, about things that actually mattered. We talked about courage and heros. The kind of heros that give up their gunners' seat in a helicopter so that Lynn's uncle could get medivaced out of a hot zone in Vietnam. The chaff was burned.
From a long run standpoint, it was not my best run by far. I didn't go quite as long as I wanted and the humidity beat me up pretty good... the legs just didn't seem to have it. It still was on of the best nights of running.
Hopefully, Lynn gets into the Hardrock. If not, he will pace someone...probably through the night...it is best that way. The chaff will be burned. What is important will be left unquenched. Running does that...and so I run on!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Luke had a baseball game at 0930 so I came back after my run, took a shower and we were ready to roll. I help coach and the head coach would be absent for the game. Since we play modified coach pitch at this age, yours truly had to deliver the ball to the plate for our batters to hit. Needless to say the Cubs have got to work on some hitting...much like the major league team. Luke plays the catcher position. He has always wanted to play catcher. I have tried to talk him out of it telling him it's hard on the body. I ought to know, I played it through high school. Problem: much like me, he ain't listening to his old man...my dad tried to tell me the same thing...kinda makes me proud.
That afternoon, Luke wanted to go ice skating...so there we were...looking like Bambi on ice. We escaped any real harm and went to a much safer location...The LEGO store in the mall. BIG Fun I tell you...don't know who enjoys that more, me or Luke.
Sunday Morning up again for a 0530 trail run at Erwin Park. I was meeting some real gazelles out there, but that doesn't bother me as I plow ahead as need be. I had planned to go 10 to 12 miles. Again, it was a big struggle. I think that last weekend's race was still taking it's toll on my body. I mailed it in at 8 miles and got ready for church. Sunday afternoon consisted of flying a kite with Macy and playing Bocce Ball with Luke. AD/HD Rocks.
Latter this month I am going to take art classes with Macy. She loves the arts and it helps me develop the right side of the brain. Something that being creative in Magic - slight of hand does as well. I have had requests to post some video of me preforming magic and someday I plan on getting to that...Hope you all had a great weekend and upcoming summer. I also hope to get my running mojo back because as of now I have an all night run planned for Friday night.
Yesterday I was reminded of my mortality. I will cover this at a later date. Running helps me relieve the stress and to focus. It helps me be a better husband. It helps me be a better father...and so I RUN ON!
Macy at her end of school dance recital a couple of weeks ago
End of School.....yeeeah Babyeeeeeeeeeee!