Breakneck.

Posted: June 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

The quickest way to put myself into a coma for 14 hours and repair terminal jet lag is to try finishing one of these things.  Two months later.

breakneck

I found a rock taller than a man on which to leave the the hardened layers of my knee.  My flesh and blood .  Mountain art for the person behind me, breathing up my 2 inch splits.

26.2 miles of choking on the ambition, hope, despair, symbolic death.  I took three more miles to stand in awe and plaster myself against the landscape praying for a gallon jug of water to materialize out of thin air.  Three miles to watch helplessly as runners prance by, like the love children of Richard Simmons and Jim Walmsly.  Shadows of the competition, splintered by beams of sunlight as they pass over rocks that I wish to pass over but can’t because… I’m parched.  Famished.  Wekdeb’d.

Give me Saturday so I can beg to see Sunday.

I climbed a race last weekend.  And ran some.

In the context of my story that I’ll retell to myself before stabbing it to the cyber bulletin board that is my recklessly crafted social world with an imaginary and small pink thumbtack, it makes the most sense to start on Thursday.  Only because I want myself to read about sleep deprivation the night before the night before a race and still believe that I might survive a race the day after the night after sleeping like a mouse trapped in a litter box the next time I’m up at 3 am the night before the night before a race.

Here, a paragraph that looks like a fucking Formula 1 car.

I helped my girlfriend with her Supper Run Club at the Rochester Running Company the Thursday prior to the race.  An event that fuses the concepts of running as a group and eating as a group.  Healthfully.  I brought a dear friend of ours out from the North to attend as a surprise.  We stayed up and drank too late, courtesy of the finest brewery in Geneva.  I ate too much.  I was distended and sore.  Core work for the lazy.  These things are not abnormal.  I fell asleep around midnight.  Maybe at one.  I awoke at six to walk dogs and go to work.  I worked until 12:15. Raced home. washed 20000 dishes from the previous night.  Loaded the dog in the car.  Packed everything except for the things I needed.  Drove to Medved. Bought an Ultimate Direction handheld to use for the race the next day because life is all about trying new things…on race day.  Bought 5 Huma gels.  Went to pick up our travel partner for the weekend, elite Rochester human being Mitchell Ball.  Drove back home to break into my own house through the window because somebody absconded with my key at some point.  Grabbed a growler of beer from Bottomless Brewing that was sitting in the fridge.  Grabbed a Salomon hydration vest that I hadn’t used since January of 2013.  Got in the car.  Drove to Wegman’s to buy Emmy’s Macaroons for us to eat during the race the next day (or to just leave in the heat of the car during the race the next day), and eventually proceeded to pick up Natalie and drive to Beacon, NY for Red Newt Racing’s Breakneck Point Trail Marathon (and Half Marathon).

We arrived at Beacon after several hours of talking about driving to Bacon, NY and turned left into the nearest burrito place.  We ordered a bunch of burritos.  We ate the majority of them and set the men’s and women’s FKT’s on the staircase that climbed the wall of the burrito place.  We went back to the campground to stretch and roll and go to sleep.

In the morning it was 5am.  In the morning it was too early.  In the morning I took the biggest shit of my life while eating oatmeal out of a pouch and getting peanut butter and maple syrup all over myself.  I tried to put my bib on in the darkness of the porta john and stabbed myself twice with a safety pin.  Moments later I was doing the New York Times Daily Mini crossword on my phone and waiting for the rest of yesterday to vacate my being.  I got hung up on a word about the Sahara desert and gave up.  Race time.

I arrived at the line just in time to hear the end of Ian Golden’s pre-race talk and quickly became sidetracked by Jay Lemos’ hair.  The Ram’s horn was blown and everyone started running.  I started my watch (turned it off) and settled in a cluster with Natalie, Lemos and Nick Kirk.  After one mile and 500(?) or so feet of climbing I realized that the old Garmin was in power save mode.   This sent me into a panic.  I spent the next 8 to 10 minutes thinking about Strava and how fucked up my day just got.  Then I separated from the group and bombed a descent with Jay and forgot about all of my worries in the midst of a proper ankle roll.  These are becoming commonplace as life goes on and I’ve begun to look at the fact that I have two (2) ankles as a positive thing.  The wonderful man that drove me from Austin to wherever Bandera started in 2013 only had one leg.  He dnf’d because his prosthetic kept falling off in the mud.  Things could be far worse.

After the second mile I realized that the crippling knee bursitis (hopefully) that had been plaguing me all week, had registered for the race also and was going to be pacing me all day.  This is good.  I love having friends along for the ride.  Especially a swollen sack of fluids wrenching itself into the joint that was going to carry me over 29 or so miles and 10 or 11000 feet of rocks over the next five or so hours.  Or so.

I felt good.  By mile three, the wave of anxiety that had collapsed my chest all week and left me in a state of nervous disengagement from the idea of bothering to compete with anyone at my first race ever that involved more rocks than it did dirt or pavement, had been put to rest.  I was feeling as though I could do this all day.  Or for at least a big chunk of the day.  I ran relatively effortlessly over the next miles and consumed the better part of my gels just in time to realize that there were not going to be any gels at the aid stations on this day.  I’m sure this detail showed up in race literature somewhere and I’m sure I overlooked it because quite frankly, I’ve usually just rolled into aid stations and eaten the first thing that looks good before complaining about some ailment and leaving.  For whatever reason, at Breakneck I brought gels.  And go figure, I felt quite youthful and spry.  Even the stabbing pain in my knee was fine because I could deal with that sort of thing later in life.  I ate some of Justin’s Nut Butter at mile nine just so I could use that line in a sentence in this post and not feel like a liar.

The couple of hours after this went very well.  I hit mile 16 right around three hours and was feeling no fatigue whatsoever going into what I thought would be the much easier half of the course.  This blind, ambitious stupidity carried me through another two hours and 8 miles or so.  At some point I went through an aid station and pondered all that I’d heard regarding the gap between the last two aid stations while chatting with race veterans the night prior.  I stood and drank cup after cup of fluid and probably ate a bunch of shit too, but can’t remember.  I filled my 17 ounce and 10 ounce handhelds and began my confident walk back onto the course.  “6 miles to the next aid station,” they said, as I double checked my bottle caps and looked at my watch to see when six miles would be coming.  5 miles later I was starting to feel the heat and downed the last of my fluid.  A mile later I was compulsively doing the math of hydration+mileage+welden (rocks)/temperature=death.  Somewhere in the miles between then and when the next aid station arrived, I started looking more and more like David Carradine in the opening credits for the Kung Fu tv series.  My condition then rapidly declined to that of a wilted flower.  I took my ‘old man’s lean’ straight through the next couple miles and right into the last aid station, where my coach and main homie Dick Vincent was volunteering.  He told me I had goosebumps and that I was dehydrated.  I responded by eating a tray of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and snorting some coke.

Get your mind out of the gutter.  I was drinking cola like like my type 2 diabetes depended on it and it came out my nose because I prioritized it over breathing.

After that I began running.  There was work to do, after all, and I had to catch the army of runners that passed me over the past two miles.  I caught zero of them.  It was good.

I was ultimately satisfied with the way that this race went, mostly because I didn’t die and because Ian’s events are the single best reality check in regional running.  I had a satisfactory hair day and gambit got to play with several of his friends all day.  More satisfying, was that Natalie crushed the race on minimal training and without re-injuring the ankle injury that she sustained during her absurd performance at the race the year prior.  And the tent was comfortable.

Onward to Laurel.

Here’s a picture of me being easily outkicked by a man with superior musculature and glasses.  Joe Azze of Mountain Peak Fitness took this one, and many other great shots that can be found here.18118607_1748633691819227_8974787857907859601_n

 

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