October 15, 2015

In the time since my last posting, I've run two marathons. Here are a few words.

I ran the Hawk Marathon, a semi-organic race (of three at the event: 26.2, 50, and 100 miles) on my home town trails, sort of out and back, with some extra business on either end to make up for what would otherwise be something closer to 23 miles. These are trails, really trails, that wind and twist and undulate. There are rocks and roots and snakes that look too much like the latter. It is, as such, an arrhythmic course. You're always pushing, never cruising.

I won the race in 3:28:08, breaking the previous course record by 5:18.

This is, of course, no big thing. Zach Bitter and Matt Flaherty have run - and predictably, won - races in Kansas City, but not Lawrence.

I'm the local guy with the local record at the local race. I live maybe eight miles from the trail head. I have rock jumps memorized - or perhaps, better known even than that. Intuited. I don't remember how to take them because I don't think them. I dart right of that tree, then kick off the adjacent rock with my right foot, landing on the peak of another with my left. Two quick turnovers later, I'm down, spinning, and then hurdling the creak. 

I can roll with those trails. True, a lot of people, totally ignorant of the course, could do it faster. But, no one has.

It's no big thing. But it's my small thing, and I'm glad to have it. 

In 2011, I volunteered at the event on something of a lark. I was, at the time, a 20 some odd miles a week hobbyist, looking for something to do over the weekend. I was struck by the euphoric absurdity of the whole goddamn thing (100 fucking miles?), and promptly entered - and finished, somehow - my first 50 mile race the next month.

In 2012, I ran the marathon, then paced 25 miles with the final 100 mile runner.

In 2013, I won the marathon.

In 2014, I paced 40 miles of the 100 mile course record.

And now, 2015. It adds to an odd collection that has nonetheless proven influential. Without this event, I don't know that I'd be any kind of runner at all. It's marked me, so I'm glad to have marked it back.


Five days ago, I ran the Prairie Fire Marathon, in Wichita.

It was, appropriately, hot. I flamed out, then jogged it in.

3:29:28 on an almost sarcastically flat (really, not a single hill?) road course. Slower than the same distance covered on technical mountain bike trails the month before. (And yes, the trail race is measured accurately.)

Given that I'd expected to run at least thirty minutes faster, this is, without question, a really poor time. But I also had, without question, a pretty good time running it.

If this sounds like some hobbyjogger inspo bullshit... well, maybe. But shit races can still be good training runs, so long as you emerge uninjured. And I'm comfortably running again, so, life goes on. As it would whether I was pissed about my time or not.

It's no big thing. But it's my small thing, and... well, I don't actually have to take it with me.


Tonight was a steady six under a rippling sky, the sun setting and bleeding across the expanse like grapefruit juice spilled on gently wrinkled white tablecloth.