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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rocky's Run and "Run Free"

I decided that I needed to get a race in this year, it being November already, so I did the Rocky's Run 6K which benefits the U of MN's women's cross-country team. The race is named for Rocky Racette, who ran for the U, made the US Olympic team at 5000m for 1980 (the year the US didn't compete) and died in 1981 in a car crash. I ran with Rocky twice and am probably one of the last people who remember her.

The plan was to go out conservatively - that's always the plan, never realized - because I felt I was only in shape to race about a mile. About 1000 meters in, I was passed by Kirt Goetzke and knew I'd gone out faster than planned. I hit the mile in 7:00, exactly as I had in 2012, when I finished the race in 29:08. I intentionally hung back from there, trying to use the wind (which was strong) and the hills when I could and was relatively comfortable. Perhaps too comfortable, I thought, as Andriette Wickstrom passed me. When there was 1000m to go, I tried to go into final drive mode, but there just wasn't anything in the tank; I haven't trained or raced enough. I saw BJ Knight, Bonnie Sons, Matt Lutz, Scott Purrington, Mike Bjornberg and Andriette ahead and felt I could take them all, if I just pushed hard enough. I kept telling myself to kick, but the gradual uphill and headwind held me back. I picked up the pace with 400m to go and, at 200m, finally hit that next gear. I passed 6 people like they were standing still, including Danielle Gordanier (who told me later that some young guy named Mark with a cheering squad tore by her at the end - Marc Cabrera actually finished a step behind her - I think I was the "young" guy!), Dan Sparkman and in the last step, Dale Heinen. I was 57th overall, in 27:58.

I was doubled over, trying to catch my breath for 2 minutes after the race, while everyone else chatted. If your body doesn't scream "YOU'RE SUFFOCATING! STOP!!!!" at the end, it doesn't feel like a race to me. But I guess that's just me.

Run Free

Monday, I went to see the film "Run Free" which came out of the book "Born to Run" and purported to tell the true story of Micah True. It did justice to the facts, but it just re-framed the mythology for its own uses, which is what people do with myths and what keeps them alive. The truth, as I see it, is that, in a group of spoiled children, the one that occasionally recognizes that he's a spoiled child looks like a prophet to the others. Am I saying that ultrarunners are spoiled children, or Americans are? Both.

The documentary owes a lot to Werner Herzog's "The Great Ecstasy of the Sculptor Steiner," which is about a ski jumper and the narrative style borrows from Errol Morris. That's a compliment, actually.

There's supposedly a Hollywood film in the works on the same subject, which will create a whole new mythos. I'll probably watch that, too.

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