Sunday, March 6, 2011
2011 USA 50 km Championships: Caumsett
Hold on, I need to brush my teeth.
So the past two weeks have been nuts with schoolwork. I was so mentally exhausted that I decided it would be better to disengage, to pick a pace and cruise control, and to fill my head with somebody else’s thoughts, namely Plato’s. So I sat under a tree the hour before the race and read Ashbaugh’s “A Study of the Cosmological Account in the Timaeus.” Mental exhaustion is a terrible way to run. Because you’re not strong enough to push through the rough moments. The whole morning, I was a bottom-dweller, a suckerfish, a detritivore, pond scum with personhood.
worm gear, you guys. I’m great on mountains and last a long time, but I love road running, too, because I don't want to be a one-trick pony who only runs trails. So off we went, their legs flipping at altitudes above my rib cage. I felt like the stocky mutt, trotting multi-step, having the best time ever, silently coaxing my legs to grow. Then the rains came. And it suited my mood.
There is an old western movie that my dad made me watch called The Searchers. It is TERRIBLE, (but I loved spending time with you, Dad). And in the movie one of the guys asks John Wayne if they should just quit. And John says, “That’ll be the day.” He casts a sanctimonious glare at the other guy and furrows his leathery brow.
Sometimes I think about that when I feel weak. Should I quit? "That’ll be the day." But, whatever. I’m unimpressed. That pansy rode a horse.
One of my goals for this race was to work on my hydration strategy. Because usually the week after a race, I am marked by lingering desiccation, indicative of a poor job of balancing my electrolytes with water. Today, I gulped some fluids every 2.5K. Because I like my water pure and unadulterated, I chewed my Nuun tablets. They fizzed and felt sharp and sugary. Totally awesome. I also drank some Gatorade and soda, kind of. I mean I actually just poured them down my shirt because I didn’t want to slow down, so my sports bra was about a 1.5 molar solution of sugar-water, which decreased as the great deluge soaked me through. Basically, had it been a warmer and drier day, I would have been a hummingbird’s saccharine dream girl.
No, hold up. When I was conceiving it in my mind, it sounded more fun. It was definitely a great day. General rule: If somebody ever explains an ultramarathon and it doesn’t sound like the best time ever, they’re probably explaining it wrong.
I finished the race with my homeboy, Mike Lynch. He looked at my feet. Blood and guts. Everybody has foot guts, Mike. Just usually they’re on the inside of the feet. At one point, I thought I felt a rock slip into my shoe, and I guess it did. It traced a line along the inside of my arch, leaving a blood trail across my new shoes.
The finish line attendant gave me a high-five and suggested I celebrate my day with a beer. “That’ll be the day,” I answered, just like John Wayne. I changed out of my spandex, into some other spandex, and out of my Inov-8s into some other Inov-8s.