1st overall in 1:00:57 (7:34 margin on 15:30 5k'er Mitch McLeod). The course wound around so tightly that the race map looked like a constricted small intestine. Fortunately, I was the quickest undigested corn kernel on the day, finishing a couple minutes up on my intestinal course record from last year. Unfortunately, the all-time digestive tract record is still held by The Magic Schoolbus.
|Magic Schoolbus unions are ruining this country.|
Things have been great since my last blog post about a month-and-a-half ago. Law school winter break came and went, I got in a bunch of training/adventures with a perfect girl over the holidays, and was endlessly entertained by the possibility of President Gingrich. Alas, law school is back in session, the holidays are over, and a resurrection of Newt's candidacy would require a phoenix-like rise from the ashes of his anti-charisma. Unfortunately for the Speaker, upon rising from the ashes, he would be charred to a golden brown. When Newt sees his new color, he will either eat himself with gravy, or write himself off as a lazy welfare recipient.
Another candidate is in a similar situation, but no one wants to deal with golden brown Santorum.
Anyway, training has really taken off over the last month. January marked 15 months since I stopped biking seriously, and I feel like the running base is really taking hold. The hope is to run close to a 4-minute mile this spring, so the goal has been to taste pennies twice a week. This usually requires a super hard workout, though watching a Republican debate or Tebow's throwing motion also works.
|Unrelated, but always relevant.|
After a few hill workouts to get ready for the trails, I traveled to Little River for the biggest trail race in the region. Megan was on the trails early to get in a workout, and I am very happy she wasn't racing, because it would be embarrassing to get trounced by someone who wears size 6 shoes. Seriously, she is the best athlete I have ever seen (better right now than I will ever be), and it was so motivating to know I would be following over her footsteps. Her extremely small footsteps. Walking a mile in her shoes would be a difficult task for a Barbie.
At 9 AM, the 500 10-milers toed the line (a group that included the awesome Scott, Alicia, Shannon, and Anthony). AND THEY'RE OFF!
|Trail shoes are essential.|
One of the most important parts of any race is having a good, motivational song stuck in your head. Because that song will repeat. And repeat. And peat-re. And rat pee. Until you go crazy and purposely run into a sharp object. Sadly for myself and for sharp objects' peace of mind, my brain usually makes a beeline straight towards Miley Cyrus, or a particularly catchy jingle used by a local car dealer. At Little River, without ample warning or good reason, it was the following:
You can tell that law school has started because I just whipped out a colon. However/Whereas/Therewith/May it please Honorable Judge Judy, I hadn't heard Weird Al's White and Nerdy for a few years, but my brain still saw fit to completely eliminate any chance I had of taking myself seriously. That slim chance was further microfied by a big, fancy-pants law school event earlier in the week, where a friend saw that I had tucked my dress shirt into my boxers. As any friend would, he reminded me of my wardrobe malfunction by giving me an atomic wedgie. So perhaps my subconscious was giving me a signal with the song choice. If only Weird Al had made "Pooping in the USA", things would have been perfect.
|The fact that this guy is on the receiving end of a wedgie makes more sense now, doesn't it?|
The first mile was all downhill on roads and bridle trails, and I hit the split in just under 4:30. The plan was to go hard until the super technical stuff began, so I focused on pumping my arms and pushing to the edge for the first 4 miles. As the trail began to get ridiculous, thoughts of speed were replaced with thoughts of urgency. I attempted to sprint out of every 180 degree turn, while resisting the urge to do sweet ollies off of the mountain bike jumps.
To be honest, most of the race is a blur. The sun was shining beautifully through the bare trees, the forest was still and placid, and the thoughts were White and Nerdy. What I do remember, though, is seeing footprints in the few muddy sections, and seeing pine needles scattered softly up the trail. Knowing that there was only one other runner up ahead made each of those sights so inspiring. It gave everything perspective.
Sometimes, whether sitting at a desk, or doing another mile on the treadmill, or eating the same boring breakfast, it can be easy to feel trapped, or lost. Life can be constricting, the world can feel small, and deep thoughts can become choking curses. The flip side to introspection can be asphyxiation, the answer to Why can be tears. I never really talked about it, but at times, I felt that way in New York City. My perspective was through a soot-stained tailpipe. My response to why was to cry--inside tears, the manly way, but the feeling was just as real. Crossing the finish line at Little River, I felt lost, but a different type of lost, and just for a moment. My eyes darted side-to-side, suddenly finding a beautiful smile a couple feet away. Ducking under the caution tape to hug that other runner who had blazed the trail before me...well, that put everything in perspective.
Perspective is powerful. Hugging that other runner, anything is possible. Why? Why not.
And we run off into the sunset at 4 minute pace.