THINGS GOT BAD AND THINGS GOT WORSE, I GUESS YOU KNOW THE TUNE

Posted: April 24, 2018 by coachwestbrook in Blog, Race Reports, Uncategorized

Race report: CTC Locomotion 12-Hour Run, April 14, 2018

    This was my third year of running the Chattanooga Track Club’s Locomotion 12-Hour Run.  It was my second year of running less miles than the previous year.  My first year and the first year of the race, 2016, I ran 56 miles in 12 hours.  The second year, 2017, I ran 48 miles.  This year, 2018, I ran 47.25 miles.

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“Things got bad and things got worse…”

                                                                             Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lodi

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    Because of an injury incurred in last summer’s Last Annual Vol-State Road Race, I have muddled through diagnosis, rehab, and recovery over a period of time in which I could only run a mile each day until I was back to being close to normal.  That caused me to miss A Race For The Ages (ARFTA), one of my favorite events along with Vol-State.  I was “that old man jogging in the neighborhood” from late July through early January.

    I was using this race to help me prepare for this summer’s Last Annual Vol-State Road Race in July.  My goal in this race was to run as steadily as I could with no great concern to my pace.  Effort was my prime objective.  I wanted to start at a comfortable effort and feel confident of taking that “whatever” pace late into the race.  A weak strategy nestled in my mind was that most of the runners would start too fast for the distance and slow down a lot in the second six hours.  Then, I would come plodding along and overtake some of those “too eager” runners with a “too fast” pace.  Because of fatigue, they would be slowing down to my pace which would be dictated by my effort.  I would feel better in the last six hours and be able to leave some of those runners in my dust…which, as it turned out, would be mud.

    Well, the first problem was that the race moved from Camp Jordan in East Ridge, Tennessee to Greenway Farms in Hixson, Tennessee.  This was not a good move.  It changed from a multi-use path to a trail through the woods with some pavement and gravel thrown in the mix.  And, mud.

    The second problem was that the trail turned to mud (have I mention mud?) and miniature ponds when the rains came.  My running, as slow as it was, became an effort to keep from slipping into a partial or full blown fall into the mud.  The good thing was that I didn’t fall until my last loop, and that was in the last half-mile.

    The third problem was that my effort became harder because of that muddy, slippery surface.  It took a harder effort just to maintain running form and stay vertical.  All that led to more fatigue in the last six hours than I had planned.  That destroyed my strategy of catching anyone who started a lot faster, and that was just about everyone.  That’s not the first time (and probably won’t be the last) that my strategy was bogged into oblivion.  

    The fourth problem was that I am just slow.  I’ve heard that “slow is the new fast.”  Well, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    I was the oldest runner in the 12-hour or the 6-hour individual races.  It has been said that with age comes wisdom.  If that is so, then why was I the oldest one running and my age-group peers chose not to run?

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“I do not choose to run.”

                                                                              Herbert Hoover, 30th President of the U.S.A

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The answer is obvious.  They are wise.  I am ________________ (fill in the blank).

    In such an event as this in which the runners run the same, rather short loop repeatedly, a runner can set up camp right beside the course and handle aid all on his or her own.  But, a crew helps immensely and clears the runner’s mind of details and confusion that invariably creep in the mind as the miles increase.  Aid can be dispensed without the runner stopping and preparing it.  Splits can be recorded.  Garments according to the weather can be more easily added or dispensed with during the run.

    I was helped by my crackerjack crew of two.  My daughter, Season, and granddaughter, Braylee (aka “Rainbow”), were right on top of the duties.  Actually, Rainbow was on top of playing in the area and in the rain and water…as a four-year old should be.  With Season’s help, all I had to concern myself with was deciding on what fluids or food to take from her.  She would then take my order and run ahead to prepare it and then run it to me if it wasn’t ready when I passed our camp.  She also recorded my splits…all the while, taking care of her four-year old wild child.  She recruited her friend, Wendell, to help, and he brought in a much appreciated milkshake late in the race.  A crew like this helps erase the negatives that a race, a venue, the weather can conjure up and in so doing, make things a lot better.  It is a lot easier on my mind when she is crewing.

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Rainbow…having more fun than I was having…

    To close this up…I finished in 10th place overall out of 30 finishers.  That was good enough to place as the first Male Grandmaster and snag the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Cross Country Championship for Tennessee for my age-group.  And, I feel lucky to accomplish that.  It made up somewhat for the rain and mud.

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“Seldom do serious ultrarunners alter their plans because of the weather.”

                                                   Tom Foreman, Journalist, My Year of Living Dangerously

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 Richard Westbrook

Comments
  1. David Warady says:

    My hero. Great report.

  2. Lynda Webber says:

    You did a great job out there, Richard! …And you certainly looked strong at the finish! Hope to see you at the Loco Run again NEXT year!! (P.S. – Anyone who runs it more than once is called a “loco!”) 😉

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