Friday, June 3, 2011

Trogdor the Runninator

Still wiped from my Running Day stroll, I forced myself out to Dragon (Swartz Creek's mascot) territory.  I'm pretty sure the last time I went there was high school soccer in maybe 1996.  So it's been a while.  I'm amazed at what schools look like these days.  The sports facilities are ridiculous compared to when we were kids playing in fields of crab grass and mud.  Blame our nation's education issues on whatever you want, but I think obsession with sports has really displaced a lot of resources from their proper place.  I guess that's a rant for another day and another blog, though (probably a blog of mine that will exist only in my head).

Anyway, back on topic, I went out there so Jason and I could finally do another run together.  Sure, we run together a lot, but the last official one was the The Martian two months ago.  I left early and found the school just fine, but following the signs to race registration in the building was another story.  I hate to admit that I did about 3 laps through the building following signs with arrows until I found the "Registration Here" sign.  There were a couple signs that said "race restrooms" and since I didn't bother reading and just like to follow arrows like a dummy, I kept running into restrooms and a dead hallway ending in a gate.  If anyone would have actually been in those hallways, I may have been embarrassed.

Anyway, I finally figured it out, and signed up.  I decided to not get a shirt, because I'm drowning in shirts around here.  I've made a rule that every time I get one, I have to get rid of two, so I'm kind of careful what I get from races or buy now.  I'm pretty sure I could wear a T-Shirt for every day of the year and not do laundry, but I need that tie-dye Stone Temple Pilots shirt from 1996 with the cigarette burns in the back, you know.  What's even worse is that I sew pretty decent, and have some pretty good stain fighting and laundry skills, so my clothes last much longer than a normal man.  That reminds me, I still have to get rid of two for the Mackinaw Bridge shirt, ugh.

Back to the race again.  We're noticing that there's a lot more people out these days.  I swear the races have grown by at least 50% each since last year.  I actually had a few shots last year of winning my age group, and one race had only 4 people including us in there.  I'm sure that one will be 5 times bigger this year.  I think we're starting to have a nice revival of health in this country, and that's pleasing, despite the fact I'm probably never going to have another shot at winning my age group.

The other thing I've always noticed is how much everyone likes to display their running shirts at the races.  Sometimes I think I should too, just to kind of show I belong and I've been there before.  I probably won't, though.  For the SC 5K Challenge yesterday, I just felt like wearing my "Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local" shirt that Bill Murray's title character wears in "What About Bob?"  I don't know why.  I didn't even feel like I needed a "vacation from my problems," which is usually when I wear it.  That, and when I'm actually on vacation.
I just feel more comfortable wearing something that's more about who I am than what I've ran.  Of course there are a few shirts I have that are an overlap of both running and pop culture.  Sometimes I like to go out running in my Homestar Runner shirt, and giggle to myself thinking that someone will go to the web address on the back and think it's something to do with runner culture, and it will just be Strongbad cartoons.
I'm also waiting for a fitting run to pull out my new find, an official Run Fatboy Run shirt
This way I get to have running shirts and still wear shirts that are for weirdos.  Now I just need a shirt with the Blue Lantern Flash logo from Blackest night.  Who knows, maybe I'll make a friend or two.  With a running shirt, it's more like "oh you like to running in other places besides this specific path too?"  

Coming up to the start of the race yesterday I wasn't thinking about anything as interesting.  My thoughts were mostly with how dead my legs felt.  I kept thinking that when I eventually wrote about this race, it may be called "Draggin' with Dragons."  When the race started, I just knew for sure that would be the case.  I really started to fear that one of my legs was going to buckle and wipe me out, or I was actually going to have to quit and walk a 5K.  I just wasn't feeling it.  

I had a conversation earlier in the week about running and how I've kind of set up things for assured success lately.  I keep putting off another half marathon because I'm afraid I might fail at it with the higher temperatures, or any number of other reasons.  Ok, so maybe I did a lot of races during that stretch in March, but I've taken it easy since then other than the Martian.  The conversation's conclusion eventually was me realizing that maybe I could use a failure or two to relight that fire under me.  During the first mile I told myself "today is the day for failure."  

So in that moment of the race, I decided that success for that day would be running the whole way, and "great success" would be anything under 30 minutes.   After I saw that 1 mile marker I started to believe that I could get through it.  I did, and by some sort of black magic managed to run a 27:32.  In case you haven't been keeping track, that's a new record (if only by 6 seconds).  I couldn't believe my eyes when I turned the corner and knew, from the clock, that I had a chance at being in that range.  There was even some sort of doubt that the Loons race was a fluke or maybe that I had mixed some sort of assortment of cold medicines just right in my body to give me some sort of runner high to give me that fast time.  Well here's proof staring in my face that I can do it again, and even do it when I wore myself down completely the day before.  Unbelievable.

I did finally sign up for another half marathon yesterday as well.  I'm doing DxA2, running from Dexter to Ann Arbor.  I have a friend who's got a suite down there this weekend for whatever reason.  I think we were all supposed to go down and stay all weekend and hang out, but he forgets we're not that cool anymore.  That goes double for me, because I'm all codependent, and with the lady working, I'm not going to party in Ann Arbor all weekend just for the hell of it and leave her here.  Plus I had a bunch of yard work to catch up on and maybe a couple window panes I wanted to replace this weekend.  I'd like to pretend that the running and some of the other things I do now are just a "remorphing of awesomeness," but I'll fully admit that in the eyes of my single dude friends, I'm probably just lamer.  I'll join the party Sunday after running my Half Marathon and hobble along like an old man.  Maybe I'll get all up on some brandy and hip pain know, go nuts.

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