RUTS – A Training Run
This isn’t a race report. A race didn’t happen.
For me, anyway.
A 90-minute drive out to Paducah, packet pickup, scouting out the course (a 1/2-mile horse track) and a bit of futzing around and “GO” was yelled just after 8pm.
Since it was a 10-hour time trial, there wasn’t too much movement at first. Other than the relay teams, which took off like bats out of hell, the rest of us settled in to somewhere near a 9-10 minute/mile pace. Early on the hoof marks from the horses gave some of us a concern, especially wondering what they’d be like at 3 am when we were all tired. Luckily they were flattened out a bit in the first couple of hours.
The first few miles were a bit stiff, which was understandable considering I hadn’t run in three weeks and other than the Country Music Marathon, hadn’t run anything longer than seven miles since April 16th, over six weeks ago.
Since the track was slightly banked, the plan was to run the standard counter-clockwise for the first two hours, then switch to clockwise for two hours, then back to counter-clockwise for two hours, continuing to the end. That worked well, switching up the scenery a bit every two hours so that you weren’t looking at the exact same turns/straights for ten hours.
I talked to a couple of people in the first couple of hours, mostly because they were interested in my 6-minute run/1-minute walk strategy. So we talked as long as the run or walk session lasted, then I continued.
The one beauty of this run was that I got to do what I haven’t been able to do since I haven’t been running – think about whatever comes to mind. Mind you, my brain is usually going a million miles a second on a variety of topics at once. But when I run, I can actually settle on one topic and think it through. And that’s how this race became a training run.
The legs were feeling real good during miles 7-18, but I had already thought things through. I wasn’t going to run the full ten hours. There was still way too much stuff to be done to get us ready to fly to Germany on Tuesday and my taking all night to run ten hours, then sleep most of the day away, would really put us into a bind. Besides that, Goddess was out there supporting me in every way possible, getting ready to sleep in the truck and then tip-toe around me in the room as I slept all day. I just couldn’t, and wouldn’t, put her through that. She’s my Goddess for a reason.
During mile 18, the legs started to protest their longest run (barring the marathon) since late March. I wasn’t surprised. But I also knew that no matter how I felt at that moment, it would change. But my mind was already made up – I’d go four hours or 20 miles, whichever came first. Turns out that both happened at the same time.
So I pulled off the track, informed Goddess of my decision and turned my chip in. Being the Goddess that she is, she pressed me really hard to make sure that I was doing what I needed to do and not doing it because it was suddenly becoming more difficult. I was quite adamant that I was. So she acquiesced, helping me pull the shoes off and packing stuff away.
We had a pleasant drive home and slept in bed, instead of a truck or grassy field.
And I’m great with that!
A couple of moments:
- Watching the high school cross-country relay team get ready for a night of fun by playing Frisbee and goofing around really took me back to my cross country days. Those were certainly some good times.
- Watching the volunteer who handed out drinks and food for a couple of hours, then run his leg of his relay team, then get back to the table to serve really impressed me. He said we were the crazy ones, but I shook his hand for his dedication.
- With the truck parked in the infield and the tailgate facing the track, Goddess got to see the full rhythm of the run, from slow to fast, painful to fluid. And she certainly helped. For several laps, she held up pages from her “Shape” magazine to let me enjoy the models as I passed.
- At about three hours into the run, they had piping hot Little Caesar’s pizza delivered. I’m not a fan, but damn it tasted good at that point.
- At about that same time, the stable workers started showing up. Apparently they didn’t get the word that we would be using the track, so they stood there for a while trying to figure out what they were going to do, conversing on cell phones and with each other. But mostly they leaned against the fence and enjoyed watching the women jog by.
- I broke out the mp3 player for this one. It was a completely closed course and there was plenty of room to maneuver, unlike a trail race, so I brought it along. Goddess suggested that I put them in, so I did. But the battery was dead since I hadn’t used it in six months or so. I guess that should have been something to check on the night before.
Steve Durbin and the crew of the West Kentucky Running Club (WKRC) put on yet another great event. They were the ones that put on the 60K trail race that I ran in March. Not only did they put on the event and man the timing station and feed table, they ran the race. If you are ever in the Paducah area, definitely look to see if they’re holding a race. You WILL NOT be disappointed.
And we’re off to Germany. See you on the other side.