Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Statement of Fact Regarding My Preparation For the Inaugural FlatRock 101k Ultra Trail Race

Given that 101k is twice the distance of my longest race and nearly twice the distance of my longest run,

Given the universally agreed upon bad-ass-ness of the trail as described in the many trip reports by runners of the Flatrock 50k which took place this September,

Given the setbacks and disruptions to my training that will definitely occur, because shit happens,

Given the balance I have chosen between running and everything else, and my body's demonstrated intolerance for high-volume training when I try to alter that balance,

Given that--let's face it!--this race is going to be a meat grinder no matter how hard I train,

It is a fact that, on April 27th of next year, I will not be adequately prepared to run the Inaugural FlatRock 101k Ultra Trail Race.

Conclusion: I will need to find something other than adequate preparation to get me across the finish line.

What will I find? Ask me on April 28th!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Recondite Quips and Hockey Fight Clips

"Cheerfulness is an exquisite type of cruelty."
--Martijn De Vries

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Six Hours of Tontitown Park

I don't know why the idea didn't strike me sooner, but the one-third mile walking path at Tontitown Park couldn't be much better for six- or twelve-hour running events. It's paved, dead flat, and there's a public bathroom with a sink where you can fill water bottles. These few weeks would be better spent on remote Ozark trails since the leaves are changing, but I wanted to be close to the car just in case Mrs. DMG needed me for some reason. She's still pretty gimped up. Other circumstances made today the day.

There's not much to say about the course itself. It is a gently curved path, a little over a meter wide, which surrounds some swings, playground areas, a bocce ball course, and a grove of trees, mostly large oaks. Along the path are newish park benches engraved with familiar names of rich Italians living in the community. The grass is mowed and trimmed with smooth transitions from pavement to grass, making it easy and safe to rest your feet on the soft loam when the pounding of the asphalt becomes too uncomfortable. It was nice.

More interesting was the people I saw. I got there around 8:15 after dropping Donald off at school. That was just in time to catch the last of the morning fitness people, mostly walkers. They cleared out by nine o'clock leaving only me till lunchtime.

The first to arrive was a middle-aged man in an expensive European sports sedan who stayed inside his car with the windows up and the engine running. It's an aberration, I thought, a strange individual. But then more and more showed up, people sitting in their cars at the park. (Nearly all killed their engines and cracked their windows open, but still!) Around and around I ran--about four minutes a lap if I didn't stop to fill my water bottle--and there they stayed, sitting in their cars only yards from a comfortable park bench, only yards from a walking path. I wondered what planet I was on.

Of course, there were several actual walkers on the path, and not all of them retirees. There were two super-hot babes, not super-hot in the Cristina Renfro sense but super-hot in the bony, rabbit-starved sense promoted in all the women's magazines, both wearing black tights which lifted the buttocks and deepened the separation between them. They were wearing competing perfumes and conspicuously turned away to avoid acknowledging me or any of the other trail users.

Another super-hot babe, super-hot in the Cristina Renfro sense except quite a bit more so, embarked on a walk just as I passed the lot where my car was parked. Several laps later, I was astonished not to have passed her yet. I looked across the park and spotted her actually running! I did overtake her shortly after that and she gave me a smile and a warm greeting. She did at least six laps, running much of it, and did it without being a bitch. She probably weighed nearly as much as the two prissy women put together and was ten times more attractive that either one of them.

It thinned out after lunch, the car-sitters went away, and I finished my laps having figured out how fast I had to go to beat my PR of 26 2/3 miles, set on my last Six Hours of Don Tyson Parkway event a few months ago. I hit 81 laps in 5:52. Earlier in the run, I'm sure I could have mustered two four-minute laps, but not after six hours, not without killing myself. I walked one more lap bringing me to 27 1/3 miles in 5:58. I was pretty happy.

Last night, before we went to bed, Mrs. DMG told me she would pick up Donald from school so I could keep running into the night. It was her idea. I didn't commit one way or the other but said I would call after six hours to let her know my plan. I did consider running twelve hours or even 50 miles depending on how I felt. It was tempting. As my six hours expired, though, I asked myself a question: Who is the bigger bad-ass, the runner who drops his kid off at school, runs 27 miles, and then walks another 18 miles or so; or the runner who drops his kid off at school, runs 27 miles, and then picks his kid up from school? It was a no-brainer. I actually had time to get home so we could pick Donald up together, which was really nice.

Not a bad day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Heartland 50 Trip Report

It both baffles and thrills me to know that some of you, dear readers, have actually enjoyed tracking my training progress for this super fun race which took place yesterday, so I thought you deserved a trip report. I had basically stuck to my training plan for twelve weeks, which must have been a good plan because I felt supremely prepared to finish the distance and possibly even post a decent time.

I was scheduled to work Friday but ended up getting the day off because . . . umm . . . I got laid off. Nothing I could do about that, though, so I just used the extra time to rest and pack drop bags. I had all my stuff arranged by the door so as soon as Mrs. DMG got home from work in the morning, I could load everything up and take off for Kansas. About midnight, just as I had used and then packed the last item, my toothbrush, Cristina called to tell me she hurt her back and was being taken to the emergency room. And that was pretty much that.

There is no consolation prize. There is no other ultra I could go and sign up for in the next few weeks which would be a substitute for Heartland. Heartland is the race I dreamed of and prepared for. It is the one Autumn race, out of many great possibilities, that I most wanted to run. I have a little time now to decide what my next project will be.

It has not been a bad experience, the Heartland. I had great fun and learned a ton during my training. I also acquired some nice gear that will make my winter running more comfortable including a lightweight vest, a proper running jacket, and especially the really kick-ass headlamp Mrs. DMG gave me for our ten-year anniversary. My old headlamp, while great for reading Chekhov short stories inside a tent, was not quite adequate for running technical trails at night under a thick canopy. Now I'm fixed up physically and gear-wise for some serious winter fun!

I'm obviously disappointed that I wasn't able to race, but I don't feel bad about it. If anything, it actually feels good to be needed around the house, which I definitely am and will be for a while. The Heartland is just a race. I'll catch it next year.

This is as close to Cassoday, Kansas as I ever got. I have to say, distance running takes a fraction of the gear that kayaking does. The yellow duffel and the two drop bags on top contain all the running gear I own. The rest is camping stuff for a night at El Dorado State Park, which will have to wait till next year.

Editor's Note: I am actually on a "rolling layoff" meaning I will be required to work some weeks and denied the priveledge of working on other weeks. I won't go into it. I also can't go into Mrs. DMG's injury because it occured at her work, other than to say it appears to be serious but not catastrophic. She is doing much better now than she was 48 hours ago but will need help getting around for a while. For all those who claim to love life, I hope they get it good and hard. Me, I've had quite enough of it lately.