Setting the Stage for the First Trail Run (of the season and as a couple)
Currently, I am dating a wonderful man who is also an ultra runner. John has run the Burning River 100 twice and is running it again this year. We live about an hour apart, but make a point to spend Wednesday evenings together. Typically, we run and have dinner. We also spend our weekends together. Since we are both running Burning River it makes sense for us to train together. We both prefer road running, but are goal-oriented and stubborn enough to grit through trail running. We have run roads together numerous times and have a nice time. Neither of us is overly chatty when we run. Typically, I listen a lot to talkative people during a run and will add little comments or ask questions. Well, I believe John is the same way. Basically, we run side-by-side without talking much. Honestly, I think it is pretty sweet and peaceful. I do not feel pressured to fill the “space” with chatter and he doesn’t either (I’m guessing). We are content just running and being together. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some very interesting conversations on the roads. John has a wicked sense of humor, which brings out my wicked sarcastic side. Therefore, the majority of our conversations shall remain sacred because I know people from my dad’s church are going to read this blog and I don’t want them thinking I’ve purchased a one-way ticket on the crazy train to hell. I haven’t people, simmer down!
I don’t want to disclose portions of a story that aren’t mine to tell. However, I do have to brag on John for a moment. About 7 months ago he had major back surgery and now has an impressive titanium rod in his back. After the major back surgery he had TWO (yes, two) vascular surgeries. The poor guy had a blood clot in his leg the size of Mississippi. Would most people be running after such major surgeries? No! Should John be running after such major surgeries? I’m sure most doctors would say, “Heck no!” Should John be running an ultra after such major surgeries? I think most humans on this planet would say, “Heck no!” However, you just need to meet John for ten minutes and you’d realize this is a determined, independent, and fearless man. You simply need to step aside and watch him do his thing. He may have been knocked down, but he has never been knocked out. As a result, the stubborn mule has his own battle with Burning River.
Yes, we have two fiercely independent and goal-oriented people running a race because they have things they need to prove to themselves. We are not running the race together. First, I like him too much and I think he’d kill me. Second, I like him too much and I think I’d kill him. We have agreed to train together (when possible) and recover together after the race. Thank you in advance, Dad for agreeing to take care of two smelly and exhausted humans!
Showtime: Act Two- Sunday, May 27th
Goal: 21 miles
Location: Burning River Section One
Location: Burning River Section One
Needless to say, we decided to abandon our plan to run with the Burning River training group. We decided to run together after some decent rest. We were starting at Boston Store and going out for 10 miles and back 10 miles. Well, we made it about 1.5 miles out and were D O N E….done! John turned around and started back towards Boston Store taking the roads. I don’t know the roads very well around there and I sure as heck wasn’t hitting those trails for another 1.5 miles back to the car. Since I don’t know my butt from a hole in the wall, I started following John out of the trail and down the road towards Boston Store. I believe John wanted some time alone. I was so happy to be “released” from the trail prison and shot down the road like a rocket. I really didn’t know where I was going, but John told me to keep going straight. I figured I couldn’t screw that up too badly. I didn’t! I arrived at the car without needing a police escort. We were both pretty silent after the run and I thought we were headed back home. I had emotionally accepted we weren’t logging 20+ trail miles and was content to head home for the day. John was not willing to “throw in the towel” and he drove us to the Towpath where we could run some more miles. I actually commend John for having us log some more miles that day. This gave us an opportunity to run side-by-side and ponder this crazy goal of running the Burning River 100. As I’ve mentioned earlier we are pretty content running without talking much. Today, I think we both used this time to reflect, ponder, and refocus. He knew I’d never give up running this race…I have too much to prove to myself. I knew he’d never give up running this race…he has too much to prove to himself. However, you had two people running side-by-side sweating like two whores in church really determining the “how” and “why” are we doing this to ourselves for the next two months. We did discover a few things:
- John really likes the 24 hour endurance runs on paved surfaces. Basically, you run as far as you can for 24 hours on a paved bike path. You have the thrill of endurance running, but you eliminate all the crappy trail terrain stuff he hates. The more he talked about this race the more I look forward to registering for the May 2013 event. I think I could rock at this race! John has done very well at these events and I know he’ll do very well when he runs in May 2013. He is the race director for the fall North Coast 24 Hour Endurance Run http://www.northcoast24.org/ Since he really enjoys this event the mystic of trail running has faded for him a bit.
- Bugs are insanely attracted to me and the Towpath has a lot of bugs!
- Bikers are not always friendly, but I feel it is my personal mission to make them say “hello” and be friendly. I often lose this battle, but I fight a good fight.
- I may never run another 100 mile trail race after Burning River 100 this year. Yes, I am registered for Oil Creek 100 in October. I will reevaluate that goal after this race.
- John may never run another 100 mile trail race after Burning River 100 this year.
- We both know “never” is a bad word to say. We both know we’ll probably run more of those races and complain about trails during the training. Time will tell.
- We both needed an attitude adjustment about trails. If we don’t adjust our attitude it is going to be a very long and miserable two months. Also, if we don’t adjust our attitudes we probably cannot run together. Therefore, we decided to throw caution to the wind. We are going to keep training, change our attitudes, modify our expectations, and enjoy (tolerate) this journey.
This is exactly what we did. John continued his weekly training. I did the majority of my mid-week runs on the trails. I decided I was going to enjoy the trails….I did!
Here’s to next week’s eventful update….