REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: November 18, 2020 by coachwestbrook in Blog, Daily Runs & Reflections, Uncategorized

NOVEMBER 17, 2020 (TUESDAY)

HIGHWAYS, HILLS, HOGS AND HIPPOS

I started the morning run into a headwind coming out of the north-northwest. It’s a common weather characteristic in the northwest corner of Georgia in the fall of the year. I ran north on U.S. 27 highway before turning west. The U.S. 27 highway was like a big wind tunnel with the wind barrelling down on me pushing me back. But, I soldiered on…slowly but surely.

Turning west on a side road, I ran into farm land and headed for a series of hills. The wind was then coming at me from my right and bashing my right side off and on. I approached the hills with different attitudes and different speeds. Some of the hills were short and steep. Others were longer and gradual. I don’t know which was worse. I do know that I felt pretty tired as I crested each type of hill. Which was worse? I still dunno.

A common occurance came up. I had to “pee.” I was now along side farms nestled in the hills. And, I knew just where to take my bladder break. There was ramshackle shed ahead in the upcoming curve. I would dip in there for relief as I had done before.

Whoa! My relief plans were to be delayed. The aforementioned shed that I had used before was now fenced up and had hogs all over the place. Grunting, groaning, mashing in the mud, and munching corn. So, my relief came after about an eighth of a mile behind some bushes.

I could still smell the hogs.

On I ran headed around toward the golf course. It was a pleasant stretch with only three houses along the road. While approaching the last house, I spied a child’s coloring book on the road…which was a little unusual in this area.

The coloring book was named “MY FRIEND HIPPO,” and was full of hippo pictures. I had tussled the book with my foot opening it to the various pages. I saw that all the hippos were colored…each one a different color…blue, pink, red, yellow, purple, black, green, orange, and some colors I couldn’t name. And, some were a rainbow of colors. You had never seen hippos like these! But, the child that colored them had seen them in his or her imagination. Such is the wonder of a child!

And, I thought about that as I ran back into the town of Trion. Truly, imagination is a wonderful and miraculous characteristic of humans. I can picture a little girl with her mind adrift seriously coloring the hippos.

It was a great day under bright blue skies and brisk air. The run was good…but, I am still sooo slow.

(Richard Westbrook)

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: November 14, 2020 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections

NOVEMBER 13, 2020 (FRIDAY)

In reference to yesterday’s REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER and with the timeline leading to today (Friday 13, November), it’s “Bash on, regardless.” The injury may be a thing in the past. Today’s 13.41 miles were good. Questions were answered in those 13 miles.

Bash on!

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: November 13, 2020 by coachwestbrook in Blog, Daily Runs & Reflections

NOVEMBER 12, 2020 (THURSDAY)

On a cool and slightly wind-swept November day in northwest Georgia, I ventured into my morning run headed for the eastern edge of the town of Trion. As usual, I stopped briefly while crossing the Chattooga River to check on the turtle population. Three turtles were visible, two on the rocks, one treading the water near the middle of the river. After that, I ran through “frog town” and onto the U.S. 27 by-pass and turned north into the wind.

This run was the best I’ve had since October 14, 2020. Then, I injured the intercostal muscles between the ribs in the right side of my back. This was done while moving some large, heavy rubber mats in the back yard. I felt a twinge while doing it but continued anyway. The next morning told me that the continuing was stupid. As Forrest says, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Since the rubber mat fiasco, I’ve been forcing myself to jog at least one mile, sometimes a little more…for the running streak if nothing else.

Today, I was no longer a jogger. I was a runner…or, at least, I felt like it. My stride was longer and faster (but not much faster) and I had no back pain when my left foot struck the ground as it had been in the last 29 days. That was a sure sign of progress from the jogging phase, the result of the injury. So, I ran a little longer. The eight miles plus that ran north of town and re-entered on the old road excited me to look forward to longer runs just as the weather was turning cooler.

Mid-November was now looking good, and December is looking even better. But, I am behind in reaching this year’s mileage goal. I hope I can make it up in order to reach the goal. That will require runs that are quite a bit longer than the present daily average. Maybe I’m now ready to do that. Maybe not.

Tomorrow’s run will let me know a lot more about that.

*********************************

Bash on, regardless.”

Dr. David Livingstone (1813-1873)

AUTHOR: Adharanand Finn
PUBISHER / DATE: Pegasus Books / 2015

REPORT:

Since the glory days in the 1980s of the Japanese runner, Toshihiko Seko, and his extreme training for the marathon, I’ve been a fan of his and was eager to find out more about Japanese distance running. Seko held numerous world records and had a marathon best of 2:08:27 at the Chicago Marathon in 1986. He won the Boston Marathon in 1987 with 2:11:50. From 1978 to 1988, he won 10 major marathons and was second at Boston in 1979. It was evident that distance running in Japan was big, and Japanese distance runners have been running big ever since.

This book gives a good picture of Japanese distance running. It tells us of a way of life in which distance running is a major part of the culture. This is reflected in the country’s biggest sporting event which is the Ekiden, a 135-mile relay which is run annually. It is filled with thousands of professional runners representing corporate teams. It is a major spectator event each year.

The marathon monks do their thing apart from the Ekiden. All they do is run a thousand marthons in a thousand days. This is not a race. It is to find spiritual enlightenment, and they usually run in complete solitude.

The author, Adharanand Finn, is a runner and author who spent six months in the Japanese running culture finding out about the sport and the country. This work tells us of the teamwork, competition, preparation, diet, form, attitude, dedication, racing, youth running, training, and a culture and a way of life.

Finn informs the reader about the intricacies and the mind-meld of running in Japan. He has lived and obviously completely researched the project. His writing reflects humor, wisdom, the art of story telling, and the delving into the psyche of Japanese distance running and its bonding of its runners.

This is a book of which a serious (or not so serious) runner can learn more about his or her own running.

It is an interesting and a well written and enjoyable book.

(Richard Westbrook) (Nov. 5, 2020)

COURAGE OF THEIR CONVICTIONS

Posted: October 30, 2020 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized

It was an overcast day in northwest Georgia. The event was a high school region cross-country meet for the smallest school division in the state. Nine schools were represented although not all nine schools fielded a full team of at least five runners.

The runners were in grades nine through twelve, freshmen through seniors. The meet held a varsity girls race and a varsity boys race. After those races, a combined girls and boys junior varsity race was held. But, the meat of the meet was the varsity race in which the top four teams and top six individuals, irregardless of their team’s finishing place, qualified for the state meet in early November.

The course was a 5000 meter distance at Georgia Highlands College and good for the spectators to see most of the race. But, the general level of excitement in the runners seemed to be mired down a bit. Perhaps, it was because it was a weekday meet compared to the usual Saturday competitions. There was little evidence of runners “warming up” for the races. They walked to the starting line as if they were going to be punished.

Where were the warm-up accelerations from the starting line to get the blood into the working muscles? Where were the verbal encouragements and support to teammates immediately before the start? Where was the nervous fidgeting, jumping, stretching, drill movements by the runners that usually happens before the starter calls the runners to the starting line????

Nowhere.

The runners were there, albeit in a quiet and repressed mood, and this complacent cloud seemed to hover over the parents and spectators also. But, the meet was about to start with the starter announcing the starting procedures to the runners on the line. He spoke, they listened while standing still and quiet…not jumping, bouncing, running in place.

I scanned the starting line to see which runners seemed ready to race. The different body shapes gave a realistic clue. The appearance of smooth running musculature told a story that the upcoming race would not go well. But, there were runners interspersed on the line with defined leg muscles that were carved by miles upon miles and interval training. Thin bodies were spread throughout the teams, but all body types were represented at the line. How they would do in the race would soon be determined. It would be strongly influenced by their off-season and seasonal training. The real runners would soon become evident.

The others…they would run to survive the ordeal. Some would start too fast because they did not have the proper preparation specifically for that purpose. Some would finish with an exceptional and long “kick” to the finish line perhaps picking up a place or two only because their pace in the previous miles was too slow. They had too much left at the end and, usually, they were too far back in the order of finish.

Overweight runners would find themselves at a slow jog or, perhaps, walking certain parts of the course as would those runners with very little training up to this date. They were scattered throughout most of the teams. Their fitness level would betray them.

Those who had laid down the off-season miles, had disciplined themselves to morning runs, had not experienced “off” days in the season, had enough mileage to support the pace of the race from start to finish…those runners had a better race day that may have included a course PR or a better tactical race. They were THE cross-country runners.

Tall, short, thick, thin, muscularly defined, smooth. That was the appearance of all the runners combined. But, as young runners tend to do, they gave their all in trying to do their best.

They had the courage of their convictions, even if their training didn’t quite measure up to those convictions. They had courage under fatigue…when everything in their immediate world was telling them to slow down, let that runner go, just make it to the finish line, just get this over with for the day.

But, they kept pushing even when they were out-of-sight on the other side of the lake and behind the trees…out-of-sight of the coaches and mom and dad. They kept trying to make themselves a better version of themselves and, thus, a better person. Most succeeded. Some did not. Those successful runners extended their season into November at the State Meet, the “should be” goal of the runners.

Will they be ready for the State Meet? What was learned from this season? What has to be done to make themselves a better runner? What does the individual have to do to make his or her team stronger?

On a cross-country course in northwest Georgia, the answers were found somewhere in those miles. Those smart runners who were serious enough about their running found those answers and will lock them in their minds and hearts in order to be a better runner and person in the future. They will run and run and run. That would be dedication to a goal…the essence of a runner.

How much better? Only the heart and mind can determine that.

(Richard Westbrook)

(Oct. 30, 2020)

THE FINISH

Posted: July 19, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports
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RICHARD WESTBROOK AT CASTLE ROCK AFTER JUST FINISHING LAVS 2020. (PHOTO CREDIT TO CARL LANIAK)

Westbrook’s final finish time for the 500K (314 mile) (although for RW it was 314 plus approximately 10 miles since he went off course at some point and had to back track) Last Annual Vol State Road Race 9:17:17:42 = 9 days, 17 hours, 17 minutes, and 42 seconds. That puts him finishing at 1:47 in the morning. And for his finishing quote: 10 minutes after finishing he says, “I’m just standing up to see if I can stand up.” Two more runners remain on the road and should be finishing soon. Westbrook finished just in front of the Tortoise and a little ways in front of Oprah and her “clicking heels.”

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RICHARD WESTBROOK’S FINISH TO LAVS 2020 LEAVING OPRAH IN HIS DUST

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LAST ANNUAL VOL STATE ROAD RACE (LAVS) 2020 FULL RACE COURSE OF 314 MILES, OR 500K

228 HOUR UPDATE

Posted: July 18, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports
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Twelve more hours until the finish cut off time, 0730, Sunday, July 19, 2020. For his last check-in, Westbrook is on Route 156 with 304 miles. YES, 10 miles to go!!! He’s got this! He still has 3 runners behind up, bringing up the rear.

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RICHARD WESTBROOK AS THE BOTTOM RUNNER WITH OTHER RUNNERS AND OPRAH BEHIND HIM IN LAVS 2020

This morning at 0730, Westbrook was at Mountain Mart at mile 291. He reported getting so tired he laid his poncho in some tall grass, laid down and fell asleep. He woke to someone yelling to ask if he was ok. (He told me you never lay in tall grass because you never what is in it and how some runners woke with mystery bites all over them. So…he must have been really tired). He is still on track to finish in time but definitely getting down to the line!

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RICHARD WESTBROOK AT STEVE SMALLEY’S HOUSE, MILE 295, DURING LAVS 2020. (PHOTO CREDIT TO JAN WALKER)

204 HOUR UPDATE

Posted: July 18, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports
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Westbrook called home again and said he is fine. He was past Monteagle and moving toward Tracy City. He also stated, “I know I am not last.” Right now it is all about the finish. After all this he just has to make it!

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THE 100 DEGREE TEMP IN KIMBALL, TN DURING LAVS 2020. (PHOTO CREDIT TO JAN WALKER)

RW made it past Tracy City with 282 miles. He has two people in front of him to finish, and 5 behind him. Let’s all give good vibes to bring them all into Castle Rock, kiss the rock and be done!

 

192 HOUR UPDATE

Posted: July 17, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports
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Another call to his wife again last night. All he could find for dinner was ice cream and a coke float. He told her that Coke and Turtle Track ice cream are NOT good together. He had taken a break and said he is back on the road and trudging along. He is approaching Pelham at mile 266. He has dropped to 37th in the screwed (unsupported) runners division. It is getting closer and closer, 2 more days and 4 more check-ins until the finish deadline. The fourth check-in time, you have to be finished, or you didn’t make it. Wish him luck!

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LAVS 2020 RACE COURSE WITH RICHARD WESTBROOK PAST PELHAM AT MILE 266.