Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

CROSS-COUNTRY

Posted: March 25, 2021 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized

My high school alma mater, Trion High School, had it’s CROSS-COUNTRY AWARDS NIGHT on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The above were the recipients of program’s first “THE RUNNER” AWARDS. The awards are explained by the following inscription:

IN RECOGNITION OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNERS WHO HAVE DISPLAYED A LOVE OF THE RUN, DEDICATION TO THE SPORT, CAMARADERIE WITH TEAMMATES, AND HAVE GONE THE EXTRA MILE AND MORE TO MAKE THEMSELVES A BETTER RUNNER, AND IN SO DOING, WILL BECOME PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY…A BETTER VERSION OF THEMSELVES.

The award winners were (left to right): Eli Hutchins, freshman; Briana Lathem, sophomore.

Congratulations to Briana and Eli on being awarded the program’s first “THE RUNNER” AWARD!

***A note on the awards: I was able to attend just a few of the school’s cross-country meets. When at the meets, I usually position myself out on the course somewhere in the middle of the race distance. The runners are usually out-of-sight of coaches and parents in that “middle.” As I did in my 44 years of cross-country coaching, I can see what runners are giving their best while away from the crowd. I can observe which runners have that drive to keep pushing themselves to move up in the order or to defend their present position. A lot of runners will just “maintain” or “survive” that middle mile until they get back into view of the coaches and crowd and closer to the finish. “The Runner” will be better than that.

I had two names in mind for these awards from observing those few meets. But, I left the choice to the coaches since they knew their runners better than I. I didn’t want to sponsor an award and then choose two non-deserving runners as recipients because of my lack of observing most of the racing season.

But, the coaches picked the runners that I had in mind from my minimal meet attendance. The two runners obviously kept their determined running throughout the season. That makes for two runners with a good future with only themselves limiting their improvement.

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

“For when I run, I am the hunter, and the prey is my self, my own truth.”

Dr. George Sheehan: Running and Being

CHATTANOOGA TRACK CLUB 2021 RESOLUTION CHALLENGE

Posted: March 10, 2021 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized

Granddaughter, Braylee Westbrook, age 7, met her first challenge at 25-miles. Today, on her 7th birthday, she met her second challenge at 50-miles running to 50.47 miles. Happy Birthday, Braylee!!

Knees scarred but finished her 50-Mile Challenge!

Made the turn on the out & back course and picking up the pace!

Running home!

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: February 15, 2021 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized
May be an image of child, standing and road

Granddaughter, Braylee Westbrook, age 6, runs to 25-mile goal in the 2021 CTC Resolution Challenge with her 25.37 miles reached yesterday, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, Valentine’s Day. It was the 23rd day of the 50-day challenge.

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

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

FEBRUARY 10, 2021 (WEDNESDAY)

METEORS IN MY HEAD

I run…every day. At times, I get asked, “What do you think about when you do all that running?”

Good question. I wish I knew the answer. Actually, my answer is usually well thought out and meticulous and backed by science including physiology and psychology. So, my usual response in a very intellectual manner is, “Oh, just all kind of stuff.”

That is actually very close to the hard truth. Upon starting a run, I will go through mental checks as to how I feel compared to the planned mileage and effort. Such “stuff” like footplant, running form, pace, and weather conditions come to mind. Adjustments are made depending on the feedback to those elements of thought. All this usually happens in the first mile to a mile-and- a-half distance.

After that, it’s every thought for itself. It is survival of the fittest…thought-wise. And, it is a hard fought battle for those thoughts to survive.

A great thing about running distance is that it opens the mind. Whatever I was thinking about before the run started seems to become insignificant during the run. It fades and fades, and fades…

Then, as I run into more mileage, BOOM!!! All these fragments of thought invade my head. First, it’s one thing, and an eighth-of-a-mile later, it’s something entirely different. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Just as I think I’ve come upon an idea or a thought to mentally explore…it changes. And, so it goes as the run continues and the miles pass. It may not happen to everyone who runs, but it often happens to me. But, that’s just me.

I continue running with an easy effort in a relaxed stride, and, I’ve got to say it…very slowly. In fact, I seem to be getting slower as I get older. Oh, well.

I run mile after mile with a seemingly open mind with thoughts beginning to invade. They generate quickly and then burn out like a meteor burning out in our atmosphere. These “meteors” shoot through my head bouncing off the inside of my skull. The thoughts are sometimes remembered and expanded. Mostly not. So, the ’47 roadster reflects and usually has only bits and pieces of thoughts such as today’s in my 15+ mile run of which I will sprinkle here.

The thoughts today (or, meteors inside my head) sparked on…

HEADWIND…ONCOMING TRAFFIC…COOL AIR…CASEY…SHOES…FOUND MONEY…RACES… DOGS…CLOUDS…VOL STATE…COKE…GPS WATCH…BACKPACK…GEORGIA COUNTIES RAN…ROAD SHOULDER…RAINBOW… MASK…WEEKLY MILEAGE…BICYCLE…TRUCK BRAKE PADS…TRION CROSS-COUNTRY…NCAA CROSS-COUNTRY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS…NAIA CROSS-COUNTRY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS…COVID-19…MOTOR SCOOTER…TELESCOPE…RECORDER…CONVENIENCE STORES…SOUTH GEORGIA…U.S. HIGWAY 411…SOUTH CAROLINA…KAREN JACKSON…WHAT-A- BURGER…LYERLY, GA…ROADSIDE TRASH…NORTHWEST GEORGIA… JONESBORO…DEAN THOMPSON…BOOKS…PACE…SHOULDER PAIN…JANICE… SEASON…RAINBOW AGAIN…SHANE…WENDY AND FAMILY…“TRAIN WRECK”… TURTLES…CHATTANOOGA TRACK CLUB…RESOLUTION CHALLENGE… TRANS AM…REVOLUTION RUNNING…’64 FORD FALCON…COVID-19 VACCINATION…COACHING…GEORGIA COASTAL RUN…CANCER…SPRING… SUMMER…ARFTA…DIRT TOWN…POLITICS…PRESIDENT…SOCIALISM… CONSERVATISM…KENDRA STALLINGS…18-WHEELERS…FRIENDLY DRIVERS… SKUNKS…TRACK & FIELD…EVOLUTION…DEATH…WARADY…NURSES…FLIP BELT…UFO’S…TENNESSEE NIGHT SKY IN VOL STATE…LAZ…STROLLING JIM…GERMAN SHEPHERDS…BJ TIMONER…CROSS-COUNTRY COURSE…JOHN PRICE…JERRY’S…WINTER…WEEKI-WACHEE…CHIROPRACTOR…TRUMAN SMITH…FLEXIBILITY…WEBSITE…JOURNAL…LYNDA WEBBER…HOTS…TOWNS…ANNIE RANDOLPH…PUSH-UPS…IOWA…THAT DAMN DOG…NEW BROOKS GHOST 13s…OLD BROOKS GHOST 12s…OLDER BROOKS GHOST 12s…CTC RACE SCHEDULE…YOUTH RUNNING…TARA TURTLES…RAINBOW’S RESOLUTION CHALLENGE…JOHNNY…DOUG…OLD CARS…TECHNOLOGY…WHY WE DRIVE…GOLF COURSE…CROSS-COUNTRY AWARDS…SLOW RUNNING…JOGGING…CAMERA…WILDLIFE…MOUNT VERNON…WAR MONUMENT…THE OLD ROAD…RIEGEL…BONES IN A TUB…MOONLIGHT DRIVE-IN MOVIES…COACH CHANCE…SMALL TOWNS…DOC HOLLIDAY…MONUMENT VALLEY…CUMBERLAND ISLAND…SPEED PLAY…LONG SLOW DISTANCE…SLOW RUNNERS COMMUNITY… NIETZSCHE…GEORGE SHEEHAN…RUNNER’S WORLD…C&O CANAL TOWPATH…STEVE SMALLING…MONTEAGLE…

AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON LIKE METEORS THROUGH MY HEAD, SOME LODGED IN MEMORY, MOST BURNED OUT, BUT THE RUN CONTINUES.

(Richard Westbrook)

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)

84 HOUR UPDATE

Posted: July 12, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Uncategorized

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RICHARD WESTBROOK, SOMEWHERE AROUND GLEASON. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM MONTGOMERY).

A total of 14 runner’s have quit the race, leaving a remainder of 52 on the road. Currently, Westbrook is over halfway at 160 miles. After 84 hours into the race, he has moved into 14th place in the screwed category.

One night he was having trouble finding anything open for food, all he had was a Snickers bar and a drink. The following day around noon he got a chance to eat at Burger King. RW and a group came upon a familiar campground where, in the past years, the owner welcomed them to relax and get fed. This year, a new owner is running the campground and would not let the runner’s on the property even to buy a drink out of the machine. What an arse!!!

Tonight, he is on the search for sustenance once again. Hopefully, he finds something open or a well timed Road Angel along the way. He definitely needs the fuel to keep on through the next half of the race.

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RICHARD WESTBROOK AND KAREN JACKSON, TURNING IN TO TAKE A BREAK. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAM PRATT).

48 HOUR UPDATE

Posted: July 11, 2020 by smrtnsasy in Uncategorized

Just past Darden, 26th place overall, at 103 miles, RW is 21st in the screwed division. He is the second to oldest competitor in the race. There is an 82 year old man from Arizona, a 71 year old man from Florida, and a 68 year old man from Tennessee. The rest of the folks are 65 and younger, predominantly 40’s with some 50’s sprinkled in there.

RICHARD WESTBROOK AT 103 MILES, PAST DARDEN, 48 HOUR UPDATE

THE ROAD

Posted: July 2, 2019 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized

THE ROAD

A Vol State Pre-Race Report 2019

    The road is waiting. It is out there after cooling through the night. Now, it is warming in the morning sun. Later, it will be baking in the hot sun and giving off heat waves that will curl images on the horizon. It will be yearning for the cool of the evening and the sweetness of the night.             

And, on that road is the runner trekking through the 2019 version of the Last Annual Vol State Road Race. That runner is full of hope, expectations, self-promises, determination, sense of adventure, and no matter how many other runners are with him or her…a sense of solitude. And, all that is wrapped up in a bundle of self-doubt. Doubt about the training, about equipment, about pace, about nourishment, about rest. To tie it all up, that bundle is bound up with some amount of fear. But, the runner still smiles, jokes around with race mates, tells stories, listens to stories because it is all normal for Vol State. The runner? Maybe, not so normal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Off the ferry, Hickman, Kentucky greets the runner with some pretty steep hills. Most runners will walk these and start running seriously on the other side of town. Then, the landscape levels off and surrounds the runner with pretty farm land that leads into Union City.                                              

In the mind of most of the runners, the race doesn’t really start until Union City is left behind. The town is a huge aid station that gets the runner on down the road. It is a scenic trek from there to Martin where a splash pad can refresh the runner with some cold water springing from the park surface.  Now, the race (or trek) has really started.                                                                                                                                                               

As each foot strike sends shock waves through the body, the runner’s head is bouncing details about the immediate future hours off the walls of the skull. Details concerning food, energy expenditure, fluids, places to rest, motels, convenience stores, darkness, to be invisible or visible in that darkness, chafing, bugs, sunburn, traffic, the day’s goal, to run with others or run alone, heat, humidity, rain, not forgetting to check in, phone charged, sleep, miles ran and miles to run are bouncing around inside of the skull. Yep, that’s the pinging you feel in your head and can’t figure out from where it is coming.                                                                                                                                   

The landscape gently rolls as the runners runs deeper into northwest Tennessee. Farm land still dominates the roadside. The picturesque town of Dresden greets the runner with an aid station and rest area. But, the runner has to decide to rest or move along down the road. A compromise is made, and after some refreshment, the runner is on the road again.                                                                                                                                                                                          And so it goes. The road offers darkness where the runner hears frogs bellowing and sounding eerily like a human voice in the wooded darkness. The black sky may delight the roadster with bright pin points of light and an occasional shooting star. Possibly, the moon will bathe the road in a soft glow. It can be strangely peaceful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The runner will pass through the cooler air of night and the promise of morning as the miles pass. The day will bring heat, odors, traffic, and some “road angels” here and there. Those angels will give the runner a restful respite and some refreshment to energize the physical and bolster the belief in human goodness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After Dresden the runner will trek into the small town of Gleason with its welcomed aid station at the firehouse. Leaving Gleason, the runner will head south along the old version of state road 22 that parallels the newer version somewhere off to the left. Both will merge on the other side of McKenzie, a larger small town. Then Huntington, Clarksburg, and I-40 at Parkers Crossroads. Some will seek refuge in a motel at this point. Other will relentlessly move on toward Lexington and the big left turn onto US 412. Then things get interesting.                                                                                                                                                                                       After this many miles, approximately ninety-four, a pattern will have been set by the runner as to running, walking and taking breaks and sleeping. The pattern may last for a good distance or may be abandoned for an adaptation. Patterns come and go depending on the various elements of the race…such as fatigue, weather, and fuel. And, the mental state of the runner will determine his or her immediate future for the still long road ahead.                                                                                                                                                                                              Passing through the wide spots of Chesterfield and Darden, it’s straight into Parsons with its Sonic awaiting. Then, in my opinion (which is usually of no importance to anyone) is the worst stretch of the race. That is from Parsons to the Tennessee River. Rolling hills; hardly any shoulder to run on make this stretch a dismal one. Plus the on coming traffic and heat (when I usually get there) add to the challenge. Ah…Vol State! You gotta love it!                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aid awaits on the other side of the river at Fat Man’s. After that, there are still some rolling hills leading into Linden, but this stretch isn’t as bad as Parson to the river so it offers some respite. Linden will be a welcomed temporary destination.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And, the road keeps calling through heat, sunburn, hills, fatigue and other maladies. Through Hohenwald with motels and stores, Hampshire with its deli, and the big town of Columbia with everything. Culleoka, I-65, and another big town of Lewisburg, also with everything. After that, Wheel with a pavilion shade and water and then Bedford with its market and onto the next major oasis of Shelbyville.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The runner is really into the race after 225 miles. The runner can smell the finish line from here. The terrain is more forgiving, but the miles still stretch out there…waiting…and waiting. An open stretch of road leads the runner into Wartrace, home of the classic Strolling Jim ultra. It is very picturesque leaving Wartrace heading into Manchester. Manchester will give the runner a lot of aid opportunities. Also, the odor of the finish line will get stronger.                                                                                                                                                                                          Once past I-24 on the other side of Manchester, the runner will be in the most and scenic and enjoyable part of the route (in my opinion, about which I’ve told you) as he or she treks through tiny Hillsboro, Pelham and up the mountain into Monteagle. In Monteagle and somewhat after that, aid is available. The course is enjoyable traipsing along the spine of the mountain into Tracy City and beyond, and “beyond” has a store serving burgers and such. It will be America at its best, and it is out there on the back roads and small towns.                                                                                                                                                                                      The runner knows he or she is going to make it to the Rock at this point barring unforeseen calamity. It’s down the long, challenging grade to Steve Smalling of the Chattanooga Track Club and his aid station. That aid station alone can get the runner to the Rock. This is the outskirts of Jasper with the mountain behind. Ah, so close. But, not there yet.                                                                                                                                                                                              Kimball, South Pittsburg, and the blue bridge crossing the Tennessee River the last time tells the runner that there are about eleven miles left. A piece of cake…as the runner passes through New Hope headed for the right turn that leads into Alabama…and a helluva hill going up and up and up looking for that state line. It’s about three miles in the upward plane. The runner will run, walk, stop, run again knowing the finish is near. Then, a left turn and straight into Georgia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               It doesn’t matter what place the runner is in at this point. What really matters is the questions that kept popping up in the runner’s mind as he accepted the ongoing challenge of the distance. Footstep after footstep brings the reality of accomplishing the deed into focus. The mental focus on the simplicity of the run is gaining importance. Daily details fade in the last strides up the mountain and into the corn fields and give way to the human animal doing what he or she was meant to do. Run.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That will be Vol State…if one doesn’t die (or worse…just give up and quit) somewhere between the Mississippi River in Missouri and Castle Rock in Georgia.

Richard Westbrook                                                                                                  westbrookrunning.com

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: January 3, 2019 by coachwestbrook in Uncategorized
JANUARY 2, 2019 (WEDNESDAY)

This is probably hard to believe for some (or most) of the people who know me, but the fact is…for most of my runs in which 99.9 percent are run alone (which I prefer), I talk to God.  I assume he hears me, but I don’t know for sure.  I would like to say that I have a conversation with God, but I don’t think he talks back to me.  I’m not real sure about that either.  I have thoughts darting into my head, and that may be God talking to me.  I just don’t know.  If it is God, it can get pretty interesting. 

My runs lately are slightly different.  Now, not only do I talk to God, but I talk to my son, Casey.  I share his humor, we share memories.  I tell him how much I love him.  I tell him how proud I am of his good heart, his intelligence, his curiosity. his creativity, his passion for his art, his love for his family…especially for his mother and especially for his daughter, Sera.

Today was Casey’s birthday.  Casey is walking with God.  I’ll see you later, son.