"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Hey, I Know That Guy!"

Saturday was the Afton Trail Races (25K and 50K) and Helen's already done an excellent recap - apparently she can be timely when she's not running! There was a large crowd and some very fast runners, especially given the heat and humidity and more than a few "Team Steve" T-shirts to be seen with the back reading "Run. Race. [Retire.] Repeat." and almost having an address for this blog (sorry, Helen, no "www").

I volunteered this year and as I was one of the later additions, I think I was just plunked down where there was a space to fill. I started by parking duties; when I got down there, I got asked "So, how should we do this?" Apparently, I looked like I knew what I was doing. We got people parked as orderly as possible and then I had to run off to my other duty of marshaling the course at the newly changed part of the course with two-way traffic - and I mean "run" literally, so I didn't bring a chair or food for my 6 hour stint. It was fortunate that I was close to one of the aid stations, so I could dig into their provisions for bug spray, which kept my slap-happiness down to a slightly less than lunatic pace of mosquito squashing; there were baby frogs (toads?) all over the course nearby and they will have an unending food supply!

It was extremely humid and quite hot this year. Lundstrom, Russell and Brian Peterson blazed the course, being 10 minutes ahead of everyone else half-way through. Pat had some issues and dropped, but Chris and Brian made it look easy. I had to laugh when they went by and there was a chorus of "Hi, Steve." "Hi, Steve." "Hi, Steve." I may not be a contender any more, but I guess I'm still a presence out there. That's pretty much the way the day went for me; standing still, getting greeted by people who went by me (4 times in the 50K).

There was a little difficulty in being sure the 25K runners went one way as the 50K'ers went another for a few minutes, so when Alicia came by asking if I wanted an assistant, I said yes (really, it was mostly because that many hours of standing in the woods by myself was getting dull). Soon I was joined by Nichole, who's training for the 2012 Olympic marathon trials and who I finally get to mention here. She works for Red Wing Shoes, so noted I was wearing their Vasque Blurs (2008 model...) and we ended up talking about cross-over between cross-country skiers (she also works for Finn-Sisu sports) and runners and then went on to other typical runner conversation.

I have to quote myself. At one point, I said, "Some runners set reasonable goals, train adequately, avoid injury and run smart races. I don't believe in it. It's just not me. I say: Aim too high, train like a maniac, race like an idiot, get hurt and just keep going." Whether she was laughing because I was funny or she was just humoring the lunatic they left her with in the woods, I'm not sure.

Everyone kept asking why I wasn't racing and I felt like I couldn't say I'd retired (Thanks again, Helen), so I let it out - repeatedly - that I was going to race the next day.
Sunday the 4th.

It was 80 degrees with a dew point of 72 at 5 AM. I hoped that I'd get to the Excelsior Firecracker 10K before the storm and that it'd stop raining before the race. That almost worked - if I'd left 10 minutes earlier, I'd have beat the storm, but there'd be no one there to register me yet. I was the first race-day entrant and found myself telling the guy, "Write the chip number on the waiver, then take the money, then give me the chip and a t-shirt, size medium." After 600 races, I guess I know the routine better than the volunteers.

I was trying to be very low-key and not really race, just get in a fast 10K to see what kind of condition I'm in and see how the training's going. I used to do this race every year and always about 36 minutes, but it'd been 10 years since the last time. [Later, I looked it up and I'd done it in 2006 in a very slow 39:24. I had trouble remembering that. Then it hit me. To give you some idea of what the summer of 2006 was like: June 1st, I weighed 164 lbs. and August 1, I weighed 147. You can imagine how stressful things were if I lost 10% of my weight in 8 weeks!]

I wore the Garmin, feeling like a total "Fred," but wanting to keep the pace steady for once. I hit the mile in 6:20 and was feeling okay, but something was not right. The next mile was 6:17.

Then I quit.

Sure, my heel was hurting. Yes, I was breathing harder than I should have been. But I quit as soon as there was any effort involved because my head just wasn't right. I didn't feel like racing. I can't go into a race and not RACE. I could've gone on and even if I slowed, I would've been well under 40, but I just didn't care, so I jogged back to the start. All the way, I heard people greeting me (hey, Todd, good to see you again!)

I overheard one girl watching the race say, as she pointed me out, "Hey, I know that guy!"

Yeah, the one going the wrong way. The one who quit. The one who should stay retired.


Nichole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichole said...

Sorry to hear Sunday didn't go well. Just need a mental break before getting back into things before Mankato?

shannon said...

Thanks for the advice about the hills at the ATR. I was surprised by the number of runners that registered for the 50K, I can't imagine running the loop a second time. Also, Thanks for volunteering.

sea legs girl said...

I thought being a "Fred" was now actually considered a good thing. It was just one race and you are a runner and that's not going away anytime soon, no matter how many t-shirts say you've retired.

wildknits said...

First - thanks for being out there at Afton. Missed you on my 4th time through that spot but then again, did wonder about the "joys" of standing in one spot for so long.

Sorry you are not feeling like racing. Makes it hard to push when you can't find the motivation. I may not be all that fast - relatively speaking - but I get it about wanting to put your best effort forth on race day or why bother.

May be that a break is what is needed and things will come together again. After all the shirt did say "repeat" at the bottom ;->

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I ran a 10k this weekend and PRd.

My time?


Not to be unsympathetic, but a sub-40 10k. O, boo-hoo-hoo! Poor you!

I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. I'm just angry because you made me feel like a Phred.

But who are you kidding? You're not retiring! What else would you do? Plus you'll make RBR cry and I hate to see grown trannies cry. They get that mascara all over their prominent Adam's apples. NOT a pretty sight.

RBR said...

Haven't we talked about running when the weather is teetering between rain and all oxygen bound in water vapor?

That is it. You need to come run with me. We can see pretty sights, argue about the origin of disease names, and actually have fun running without broken bones or bloodshed. I know, it sounds like the Loch Ness monster of running to you, but it exists I swear.

If nothing else you will be dying to race after taking 5 hours on a 30k course. :)

@G: ppft I wear waterproof mascara. This ain't my first rodeo.

Helen said...

1. I can't believe you keep track of your weight that closely and for years...
2. Why enter a race thinking you won't race when you know you've never been able to do that?
3. No idea what you mean about the www
4. Rubbish about staying retired that's not going to solve anything
5. But you need to get healthy and train if you are going to race
6. I am going to find Bloody Nose Girl's name by tracking the photos vs times

wildknits said...

Just a side note: the address works with the www. in front of it ;->

It was an honor to race for Team Steve on Saturday. Just glad a requirement wasn't injury or bloodshed - though I think I may have been on the verge of heat stroke a time or two (and was taking my life in my hands wearing a TC Running company logo near some other Northwoods team mates).

Helen said...

the www was missing from your shirt? weird...

why enter a race you haven't trained for when you know you cannot not race a race? I know that it sets me back - I would rather sit out a race than have a crappy one. But I guess it's hard to sometimes. get healthy and be ready for teh next race... you know we don't want you to retire!

SteveQ said...

It DOES work with the www! It didn't used to!

The reasons I went to the race were not race-related, I guess.

As for getting healthy and training for a race... you've known me HOW long?

Helen said...

hmmm something weird going on - I commented on your blog and also my own last night but neither comment showed up so then i tried again today - and it still took a while to show up (and no comment moderation on either)... I guess that is blog.spot way of telling me I am already spending too much time on on this...

wildknits said...

Just think of the fun we could all have reading the post about a healthy Steve racing?!?