Archive for November 2016
As I was rolling into Bryan, Ohio, at 7:20 A.M. Thanksgiving morning, I was thinking this is Medal City… Population: Me! That was my first mistake of the day, because Bryan is actually known as The Fountain City, and its population was listed at 8,545 in the 2010 census. But really, why wouldn’t I be thinking I would drive away in another hour and a half with a medal? I ran the Williams County YMCA Turkey Trot in Bryan two years ago and finished ten seconds away from a medal in my age division. Somebody in my age division probably cheated that day and I meant to contact the race sponsors about it, but I got too busy. Anyhow, I figured the best revenge would be to show up and run the way I know I can and let all those people behind me sniff my vapor trails, and I’d wear my medal all day long. Besides, I’m in a new age division, and I am lighter and faster than two years ago. Plus, the weather was perfect for running: Cold, wet, and overcast. Everything was going Jeff Burd’s way!
As far as the actual race, the Turkey Trot is a pretty good one that I’ve found to be well run. They draw between 200-300 people and lay things out on a flat, double-loop course with but one turn that slows you down a bit. I envisioned myself as far back as two weeks ago doing well by starting fast off the line and positioning myself effectively early in the race. All that happened, too. As I was coming around the far side of the first loop, I was feeling a solid pace that was faster than usual by about 30 seconds. Plus, I was picking off some dudes who looked to be in my age division. Not that I would know since I really have trouble telling who is my age anymore, but it still felt good.
When I reached the same place on the second loop, I spotted some black squirrels romping around in the trees and wet grass on the side of the course. They caught my attention because we don’t see many black squirrels around The Seeker luxury headquarters, though we have grey squirrels like the Army has boots. Turns out there are pockets of black squirrels throughout the midwest and along the east coast, and a number of institutions have adopted the black squirrel as their mascot due to their bad-ass appearance and relative rarity (only 1 in 10,000 squirrels is black). I looked all this up (after the race, of course) and I’m glad I did since I initially figured we didn’t see black squirrels around Chicago too much because the cops would probably shoot them.
Anyhow, I came trucking down the chute with nobody within seven seconds of me and cleared the finish line in 25:08. It was my best Thanksgiving 5K ever, and my 2nd fastest time in four years. “I killed it,” I told my dad, who came along to see the race and offer his support. I told him we’d wait around a bit to get the official results and for me to pick up my medal. That was my second mistake of the day, and it wasn’t even 10 A.M.
I could have kept running past the finish line and right to my car, and we could have gotten home a lot earlier to truly begin enjoying the holiday because I was nowhere near getting a medal. I finished 40th overall, and 1:16 faster than two years ago, but it was still only good enough for 4th place in my age division. The dude who took third place was almost a minute and a half ahead of me. I took a look at the overall results, and they confirmed what I’ve been saying for years: Whatever age division I’m in is the toughest division in the race. I would have finished 3rd in the 18-24 division, and 2nd in the 65-100 division. I’m not worried about it, though. I’m pretty sure somebody cheated again. I’ll have to remember to contact the race sponsors. If I hound them enough, they’ll probably send me a medal.
When my chiropractor told me two weeks ago that my first ribs and both clavicles were “superior,” I thought she was complimenting me. In fact, I felt pretty good about my adjustment up to that point. But once she got into saying my sacrum was “base, posterior,” and a bunch of other stuff was inferior or rotated internally or externally, I got to thinking that maybe the chiropractic lexicon varied slightly from my own. Turns out I was right. Each click of her activator echoed in my ears and reverberated through my bones until the final realization sunk in: My back was pretty screwed up.
Thank the powers that be for the wonder that is Chiropractic. My usual adjustment and massage helped things, as did taking some time to rest. Before I knew it, I was rolling out of bed last Saturday morning and trekking to Kenosha for race #12. It was a reversal of habits or sorts; usually, I’m running away from Kenosha. Three years of living there left a sour taste in my mouth for most things Wisconsin (the Milwaukee Brewers excepted, of course). Still, it was a race for a good cause (veterans), and I still need to stack as many of these things up as I can before the end of the year.
I decided to start slow, which made a difference. It was a cold morning, so cold starting was definitely in order. But once I got going and felt good, I started to cruise. The waters of Lake Michigan again lapped the shores right next to the course, and there were still plenty of golds and reds left in the trees that dotted the neighborhood south of the harbor to distract me from the fact that I was running in freakin’ Kenosha. I ran through parts of two different courses I used to run when I lived in K-town (or, more aptly, “Kenowhere”), and I couldn’t help but think of my younger, more carefree days of running before chiropractic adjustments, yoga, custom orthotics, and protein shakes became as necessary as a pair of Asics and decent running shorts.
I surprised myself with a 26:41 finish, and was further surprised to see that I finished fourth in my age division. My only thought was that the best runners must have run the 10K that took place at the same time. Still, no medal. No big deal. And I have to hand it to Kenosha—the place is has come together nicely in the last twenty years.