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!