Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Non-Competitive Learning Curve

I realize that I'm not always the best judge of what passes for "normal" nowadays, but when people try to tell me that they don't like to compete (in a race, game, etc.) but just have fun, it takes everything I have to hide my look of befuddled incredulity (honestly, most times, I don't hide it all). Can you NOT compete and have fun? I find the idea shocking. What more fun is there than to see your enemies and rivals laid out at your feet awash in defeat? Is it not everyone's dream to stand over your fellow competitors in haughty derision at their loss? Is not victory most sweet stolen from those who are not awesome enough to take it away from you? Playing for fun...and not to win? Sounds like a commie plot to me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adrenaline Leakage

Tomorrow is the Warrior Dash in Manchester, TN.  For those of you not in the know, it's a 5K obstacle course that includes mud pits, slides, pipe crawls and fire jumping.  Oh...and horned warrior hats.  You read that right.  Horned.  Warrior.  Hats.  You had me at "horned."  To prepare myself for this race, I've considered wrestling alligators, swinging with gorillas and chasing my dog through the doggy park.  This all seemed too 'soft' to me, so instead I decided to cut back on my mileage and weightlifting to run a couple miles with grade schoolers.  I kid.  Coaching the SBA cross country team has been surprisingly invigorating despite the logistics of managing a 100 + strong member team.  Couple the nervous energy of herding small children about, my own over-flowing Joel-ness, and various hardcore rap tunes, and you get one super-pumped warrior-to-be.  The trick of course will be to not do something incredibly stupid tomorrow to try to win.  I promise you this is no easy feat for me.  I can be INSANELY stupid when it comes to competition.  Did I mention that winners get a horned warrior hat upgrade?  Oh, yeah.  IT. IS. SO. ON.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Franklin Classic 5K Race Recap

Yesterday, I celebrated Labor Day by running in the Franklin Classic 5K Run/Walk. If you look closely at the image to the left, you will notice that there was also a 10K. Anyone who knows me would then be asking yourself, "I wonder why this Dingus didn't run the 10K also? Or even both races?" (In my self-absorbed head, everyone is always wondering why I do the things that I do.) This is becoming a very tired song, but again my training has dropped off lately. Not entirely my fault this time (I'm not just watching TV and shoveling pie into my face) as I have been trying to run/organize/coach/herd my son's school's cross country team through this season. So for the last several weeks, I haven't done much over 20 miles with my longest run being no more than 8 miles. Ug-ly.

So in a move uncharacteristic of myself, I used some good sense and logic to realize that I couldn't race the 10K effectively, much less both races, and signed up for the 5K. Even if I totally sucked, I could at least make a good show of a 5K, right? Seemed right to me.

So race day is a dreary kind of cool and rainy day. Most of the rain had let up by the time the 5K rolled around, but it was still "spitting" a bit. I lined up in the 6-8 min/mile corral. RANT: I realize that everyone likes to be up front and everyone believes that they can be run a 4 minute mile. If you're one of these people and you can even come close to a 4 minute mile, I salute you. I can't do that, but I know that I can do 6:50/mi. However if you're one of those people that insist on lining up front and so that you can mark out your walking trail first, I just want to shake you. You people always seem to be right in front of me, slowing me down and breathing my oxygen. It just ain't right. I don't have anything against walkers. I love 'em. I love 'em lined up in the back, out of my way. So do us all a favor and line up where you actually think you will finish. Rant done.

The race went pretty well. I managed negative splits turning in a 6:54, 6:49 and 6:29 (and a 6:16/mi pace for the last .1 mile). I finished 53rd overall (out of 1t 006) with a time of 21:08, 6:49/mi. This earned me 3rd place in my age group and a new PR! Compared to the Goodlettsville 4 Miler that I had run over a month ago, this race was much better. I had really pushed myself and left almost nothing on the course. The field was pretty big, so placing meant a lot to me. Beyond that, the course was challenging but not overly difficult, and as usual the Striders put on a well-organized event. The race benefitted a great cause, and there was plenty of community support. I would definitely consider doing this race again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Cross Country Dilemma

Before we get started, I could have sworn that "dilemma" was actually spelled "dilemNa" but if Google says I'm wrong, I must be wrong (and the longer I look at it, I know that I was wrong).  On to my self-indulgent ranting!  At some point after my kids' school started, I stopped being a runner and became an administrative coordinator.  Thanks to the political shenanigans of my lovely wife, I am now the cross country coach at my kids' school.  I'm in charge of around 113 kids (the number changes depending on the whimsical nature of kids who want to play with their friends after school and the other kids who want to quit because the coach is a psycho meanie-face) from grades K-8.  Thankfully I have a cadre of awesome volunteer assistant coaches to help me herd cats keep up with the kiddos. 

And while I love running with the kids, I have to admit I don't get to do enough of that.  Most of my time before and after practice is spent making sure that I have plenty of volunteers, that I know which kids have joined or quit, that I have emailed every parent with practice updates, and that I'm sufficiently stocked in forms, first aid kits, water, and cups.  The list of things that needs to get done between practices seems pretty endless and seriously cuts into my running/workout time.

Don't get me wrong...I actually am having a good time.  Since XC (that's how all the cool kids abbreviate it (my lovely wife thinks these are the same kids that spell dilemma with 2 m's)), my mileage has dropped significantly.  Between work, school and having a semi-normal life, I have not had a chance to get in all my training runs.  Worse for me is that I'm having such a good time running with the kids that I want to run all the time.  They're really inspiring when they push themselves hard and suck it up so it doesn't look like they want to quit, even though they're pretty wiped.  Even better is that some of them seem to actually enjoy it!  I miss that feeling sometimes when I'm trying to slog through the hard miles, but when I run with my kids, sometimes I touch that feeling of joy and fun again for the briefest of moments.  And you know what...that is pretty cool.

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