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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

MAY 4, 2016 (WEDNESDAY)

I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee

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Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb

MAY 4, 2016 (WEDNESDAY)

I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee

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Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK:  WHEN RUNNING WAS YOUNG AND SO WERE WE
AUTHOR: Jack D. Welch
PUBLISHER/DATE:  D & B Publishing / 2014
REPORT:

      This book will best appeal to those runners who have a lot of miles over a long period of time under their belt…or, to those who appreciate the history of our sport, be it a recent history.  It is not a dry, monotonous  historical tome.  It is a collection of articles written by the author.  Welch wrote for Running magazine and for Track & Field News.  In those articles, he chronicled the development of running  in the U.S.A.  This book is a selection of those articles.

      The meat of the book starts with a  1978 article and zooms through to the last pieces, Remembering Pre and Go Pre!  In between are the articles that give us a picture of the roots of modern American distance running, the springboard of where we are today. Welch gives the reader the representative story through a personable account of the successes and failures of some of the giants of the sport.

Some of the runners will not be familiar to the reader, but their story will be interesting.  Welch is a runner himself and a good writer, so he can relate the things the reader, as a runner, will appreciate.  This helps make the book enjoyable.

Other runners will jump off the pages through their familiarity.  Some of the stuff you will know; some you will not know.  Just some of the runners are Dick Beardsley, Alberto Salazar, Jon Sinclair, Greg Meyer, Mark Nenow, Ed Eyestone, Chris Fox, Bob Kennedy, Patti Catalano, Lynn Jennings, Ingrid Kristiansen, Gerry Lindgren, Joan Benoit, Jeff Johnson, Mary Decker, and Steve Prefontaine.  Benoit and Prefontaine are highlighted with more in depth information.  One of the better articles is the next-to-last, Remembering Pre.

At times, the book can get repetitive, but the overall work is a very good read on the sport of distance running.  You don’t have to be an “old” runner to enjoy it, but that may enhance your enjoyment.  It puts the modern history of our running on a personable, individual level.  

It needs to be on the bookshelf of every serious runner.

 

Richard Westbrook

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

JANUARY 14, 2016 (THURSDAY)

It was 11.91 miles on a great looking day in the county in Clayton of the state of Georgia.  My running is getting better after the slight injury in last few miles of the Nashville Ultra 50 Mile Race on November 7.  I thought I would never get over the sore right ankle that I managed to place into a hole in last three miles of the race.  But, I did recover…only to have a sore, tight left Achilles tendon.  It took a month to the day to recover with the right ankle and left me doing the mile-per-day recovery runs.  Then, it took me about three weeks to get over the left side being messed up.

After a gradual build-up of mileage (which is still progressing), I am feeling a lot better getting some higher mileage under my belt.  Today’s run in my Altra Paradigm 1.5’s was a good one.  My fatigue level in the runs is less.  I’m able to change the pace within the runs without crashing.  I can walk into the house when finished instead of crawling.  Progress!

Now, I’m ready to watch the GOP front runners in their debate tonight.