Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blue Springs 50/50

The Blue Springs 50/50 is one of the smallest marathons in the country. The race also includes a 50K and a 50 miler. This actually a trail race, but the trail itself is exceptionally smooth, fine crushed gravel; an excellent surface upon which to run. It was a little strange, when asked by other runners what race I'm in, having to reply, "Oh, just the marathon." While the aid was adequate, this is a race where you need to be self sufficient. B.Y.O.W.

My today race consisted of 4 stages.

The Serenity Stage - Miles 1-6

The quiet and calm of an early Sunday morning before daylight, leads the mind to ponder thoughts about the virtues of running. I'm reminded of what a wonderful life I lead; from the family support I receive to the amazing physical and mental benefits that running a marathon provides. Smooth jazz songs flow through my headphones in time with the gently rushing waters of the Little Blue River along the trail. The sun slowly rises above the horizon and promises to take the chill off my body. At the moment, there's no place I'd rather be.

The Delusional Stage - Miles 7-13

I'm warmed up and now into the race. Things are going well, my pace is good and thoughts of a personal best dance in my head. The magic number to me is 4:20 or averaging a 10 minute mile pace. There's no mile markers on the course and I wear a Bulova Accutron, not a Garmin, so I'll have to rely on feel for my pace. I'm most certainly running below 10:00. And I feel great! I begin thinking about how close to a BQ I would be if I keep this up. The adrenaline is pumping as my mind is racing as fast as my legs. Yeah, this could be the day I put it all together.

The Faded Glory Stage - Miles 14-20

Somewhere around mile 14, reality begins to set in. My shadow looks up at me and laughs, "I told you to take it easy, you didn't even train that hard and you expect to set a PR?" I'm still hanging tough and begin to try and think of a Mantra so I don't have to listen to my shadow. "I've got inner strength, that will keep me going." I try to keep reciting, but along comes a new pain I've never felt before. Soon, this pain in my left foot hobbles me enough to where I need to walk. Walking provides little relief and the pain intensifies. It feels as if my shoe lace is too tight, so I loosen up the bow, but to no avail. After walking a half mile or so, I give running another attempt. The pain hasn't completely gone, but at least feels bearable for now. The aid station around mile 16 is approaching and this is located at the start area, so I am considering calling it a day. I reach the aid station and miraculously, the foot feels OK now. I grab a couple of Aleve and continue on. The Aleve works wonderfully, at least for a couple miles. Here I am, nearing the 20 mile mark and the pain has returned with a vengeance.

The Hallucinatory Stage - Miles 21-26

My mind now has to deal with the constant pain in my foot as well as the tightening hamstrings and a mental state that can't focus on anything positive. I'm past the point of no return so I have to finish. My pace has slowed dramatically as I watch Survivor Man pass by. Wow, a celebrity, what's he doin' out here? After a quick blink of the eyes, he's gone. Damn, I had some questions. I bit later I notice a 5 piece band playing in the adjacent meadow. Journey to the Center of the Mind? Is this a 1960's experiment? Wow, I need water. I need to lay down. Or is it lie down, I don't know, I'm confused. Eventually, the gates opened and I entered the 26.2 zone.

I have no idea how I made it through the last 5 miles!

Finish Time 4:44:01

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A New Direction?

Have you ever had a day as bad as this guys? It's a lesson we all learn eventually, don't try new foods the night before a big race.

Myself, I'm going on a new Runners Diet, where carbs, protein and fat all come together in a tasty sandwich that just has to be good for you!

Autumn has delivered a new boost of confidence in my running lately. Looking back over my logs for the last couple months, I found many entries with words like struggled, tired, slow. Now, with temps in the early morning in the 40's and 50's, my energy level has been renewed and the legs feel fresh.

But, as with all good in life comes the equalizer. I am now struggling to keep my job, tired of all the company BS and slowly become more depressed.

It was announced a few weeks ago that my position at work is going away. The company, always careful to market the same old strategy with a different name, was kind enough to not call this "downsizing." Instead, I am caught up in Role Consolidation. Any sarcasm in the previous sentence was purely unintentional. Yes, someone else will do my work.

OK, so it's not like I'm surprised, we've been dealing with this for years. I've survived many previous downsizing and/or outsourcing efforts and seen many of my long time friends get let go. I should have seen this coming. I work in a dying business, check printing. Hell, I don't even write checks anymore. But, it's a job nonetheless and has given me a comfortably lifestyle for 35 years.

The good news; they haven't yet announced who is affected. I could be one of the fortunate few who they keep on. Realistically, I stand about a 25% chance of keeping my job. You know what, I'm not sure I want to. I'm sick of living on pins and needles about this time every year. Unfortunately, the stock market, the job market, the general economy all make this a bit scary.

Regardless, I haven't felt like writing much lately; for that, I apologize. I have been trying to at least keep up with reading my favorite blogs, but thinking of humorous, witty comments has been difficult, so I will only show as another tick on your site meter. Thankfully, running has gone well lately and keeps me focused on the big picture. As always, I feel better after a good run and it helps offset the 'I don't give a shit' attitude I've been carrying around.

But life goes on, just maybe in a new direction. I will start a new career if needed; something I enjoy doing, not just another boring job. Maybe a brain surgeon or selling German roasted almonds at the mall.
As Jack Handey once said, "If you're robbing a bank and you're pants fall down, I think it's okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny. "