When: Saturday, April 10, 2010 6:15 AM-10:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)
Wait – Did That Really Happen?
Last Saturday started just like every other Runners World Training Run Saturday, with a 4 AM’ish wake up, allowing for the traditional strateegerizing and philanthropizing session to contempulate on the upcoming run to Sand Springs, the upstream Arkansas River city to Tulsa’s west. While discussing the various breathing techniques and proper arm swing motions with my good friend Bill, we mutually arrived at the conclusion that it would be so much more time efficient to drive versus run to Sand Springs – and so we did. With a couple of hours to kill before daybreak, I suddenly remembered the generous offer of my OSU-attending daughter to “Please feel free to come to Stillwater and visit me any time I’m not there”. I’m soooo very proud of her, as she’s soon to graduate with a well earned degree in Fraternity Diversity Appreciation Studies, with a minor in non-greek Male Social Accompaniment.
After 15 to 20 minutes of fruitless knocking on the door of her Stillwater residence, a thoughtful call to home base confirmed that my daughter was indeed, still comfortably resting in Tulsa for her Easter weekend visit. Although the surprise visit wasn’t everything I envisioned, I take comfort knowing that I still have that open invitation to try again another time. With that, and it being only 6:30 AM, Bill and I were suddenly overcome by the irresistible aroma of yet-to-be-grilled Dana burgers and dogs from Lake McMurtry, the site of the world famous Leap-O-Doom 50K trail run. With my Sherpa ancestry via an unordained union from a previous life, thrice removed, I suggested that there was no better time than the present, as in roughly another hour and a half, to wipe the shine off those always close at hand spankin’ new trail kicks. After performing an assortment of camp chores for his Hole-E-Ness, AKA “Pretty Boy Brian”, he graciously agreed to allow us to enter the race. Although a little concerned about the 50K distance, Brian assured us that a 50K was very similar in print to a 5.0K, without the dot. “Just take it slow” he said, “and you should be fine”. With that ever present twinkle in his eye, and the slightly pouty smirk, we were hooked. I mean, how could we resist?
I’ve since rationalized that my role in a 50K trail run is the Sweeper position – the one that comes behind to make sure that everyone successfully made safe passage. Some have since challenged whether I was actually running or rather was I just periodically jumping up and allowing the earth’s spin and naturally occurring gravitational forces to do their thing, which eventually resulted in me ending at the finish line without ever venturing from the start line. My response is simply that Trail Zombie Ken shook my hand, presented me with a “participation award”, and said “I’ve never seen anyone accomplish so little with so much”, which of course translates to indisputable evidence of exhaustive completion. Plus, there’s no instant replay in trail running, so let’s just mutually agree that I must have finished something.
Now I do feel a need to disclose the unadvertised beauties in running the Lake MacM trail run. We all started in the slight chill of a gorgeous spring day. Taking Brian’s advice to “take it slow” to feet, and while never admitting that I may have taken ever so slight advantage of that advice, it was indeed enjoyable to watch the Redbuds start with their purple blooms, leaf out to their full green, switch to brown with the summer heat, and eventually morph to Fall hues before gently falling to the ground before the full onset of winter. All this passage of time, and yet super Trail Diva Dana is still at the grill, turning out fresh burgs and dawgs, TZ is still driving without purpose from one abandoned aid station to the next checking on his long gone volunteers, and Brian is still playing solitaire at his Official’s computer and tirelessly refueling the generator.
I must admit that I was slightly surprised and dismayed this week with the receipt of a fine from Oklahoma’s Park and Recreation Services. They have made an unsubstantiated claim that I somehow induced cruel and unusual infliction of pain and suffering upon dozens of rocks and tree roots. It seems that many of said rocks and roots were kicked so often and so hard that they have been irreparably softened and permanently disfigured. All I could do was shake my head in disappointment as I slowly limped back from the mailbox to the recliner. When it rains it pours, as this was just another low blow received while I was dealing with an acute ice shortage that was playing havoc with lower limb reparations.
Which of course brings us to this week’s RW Training Run – our final long run in preparation for the Oklahoma City Marathon. We are scheduled for a sweeeet and timeless 22 miler. That’s right, timeless, as in no watches, Garmins, etc. – in fact, only self-contained Arm-Hand timing devices are allowed. Be forewarned that if contraband timing devices are discovered by eagle eye Coach K or any other incognito snitches, they will be confiscated – the arms and hands I mean. Past experience has shown that reconstructive attempts at the end of the run have not been overly successful, possibly due to periods of rapid blood loss followed by slower and less voluminous spurts. We will run multiple loops back to the starting line, allowing us to gauge and calibrate our pace by the single, lonely, official, Coach K monitored digital clock. Too late for the short version, but LEAVE THE WATCH AT HOME!
Also, in preparation for the OK City Marathon, our starting time has been “sprung forward” to 6:15 AM. For those keeping score, this is indeed earlier than previous runs, meaning that depending on pace and distance that we will likely finish our last long training run sometime after we start. So, see you Saturday morning in all your weightlessness (no watches to slow us down), and please, please, please, remember, no rocks allowed, and try not to step on my toes.