Sunday, April 19, 2015

Running Thru it.

Last Saturday morning it was 10 x 400m in about 1:22 on a :75 rest cycle. Didn't sleep that much, woke up real early. Was dreary, dismal, grey... and raining.  But I went anyway. I couldn't not go. Because if I didn't, I wouldn't have known what else to do with myself.  Time was standing still. Or moving very, very slow. I knew I couldn't make it go backwards. Back beyond when my Dad called to tell me the doctors asked if he wanted to put my Mom on life support. Back beyond seeing my Mom laying there with tubes in her cold body. Back beyond when she would open her eyes and stare lifeless at us, unable to respond.  Back beyond when I was told she had passed.

No, I knew that was impossible. So I ran. I ran hard. I lined up each time and took it. I took them like only us runners who have been battle scarred throughout a lifetime of competitive running can take them.

And then it was over. Then the thoughts come back some more. And over the hours and days that would follow I learned about grieving and pain and loss and sorrow. But I kept running. Because I had to.

I went to track practice last Monday and Wednesday night and ran with kids. We ran hard some of the time. We played games and goofed off too. Running is fun, its important the next generation knows that. Heart ache, grief, sorrow... hopefully those things can wait a good while for them. But nobody knows. So we do the best we can, while we can.

Last Thursday before the memorial service I ran 3.33 miles at threshold pace. At one point I looked at the white painted line by the road's edge and told myself just follow it and don't think about nothing else. Just go. It's like God. It's there. Just follow it. Don't think about it. Keep taking the next step. Whap whap whap whap whap my shoes hit the macadam.

Then Saturday it was 16 x 200m in about :37-:38. 200m jog/ rest. One after the other. It's rhythmic. It's soothing in a somewhat painful way. Three deer scattered as I ran hard. They regrouped later up the dirt road by the wood's edge. Then scattered again as I ran hard. When I finished I looked up the road and there they all stood perfectly still...watching me. I waved. Told them I was done. Said thanks and that I was going home. And was leaving theirs.

Sunday and I ran a 5K with some of the kids. I ended up with Holly and El. They are both seven. We ran and chatted. El said people shouldn't litter cups after the water stops. Holly kept asking me how far we have left to go. I kept fudging the answers a bit. Her knees hurt and she wanted to walk. But she didn't. She finished strong. 28 minutes. I was happy for her.

This week I'll do a lot of it again. I don't know any other way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Back on the Track

It felt good to step back on the track last night at the first Cape Fear Flyers Club practice. The familiar sight of hurdles, the long jump pit, lane markings... conjure scatter-shot memories, slightly blurred from the passage of time. Yesterdays long gone, reaching all the way back to grade school and those joyous, care-free times spent running Booster Club Track in my home state of Pennsylvania.

The smiling, eager kids buzzing around the track at break neck speeds. Slow down we think and say, the 800 meters is much, much longer than a thirty second burst of unadulterated adrenaline. Ahh, no worries, they'll eventually learn. We did.

The kids forge friendships and perhaps make new rivalries. It's their turn to make memories. The smell of the infield grass and rubberized track, the sound of a coaches whistles, and the steady voices of those counting off lap times. We all share in such a colorful, swirling amoeba-like environment that touches all the senses. Everything is just perfect in our own little corner of paradise.


Spent the weekend down in the country-side of Brunswick County. Did a lactate threshold run Friday evening. Started with a three mile warm-up to get the legs going and the wind pipes clear. Followed by 3 miles close to threshold pace, which split wise came out at 6:20, 6:21, 6:11. Pleased with the effort. Controlled, yet fairly hard. Solid work.

Ran a few miles Easter morning with my Dad. Then put down another 8 solo. Did six, one minute fast bursts at the beginning of each mile, at or below 5k pace.

Ended the week with 70 miles. Legs pleasantly thrashed out. Me hungry, and eating a lot of food. Planning a cut back week mileage wise this week.

The show goes on.