Chasing the Gypsy Kid


Monday, the week began with me assuming on-call responsibilities.  Ugh.  Those in the know realize what a massive pain in the ass this has been of late.  During my last tour of duty I was paged 25 times.  I was not looking forward to another round of Chinese pager torture (every time you drift off to sleep, a page comes in and snatches you out of your peaceful slumber).   I also have to lug the cellphone around during workouts.  Not cool.

To further rub salt into this proverbial wound, I was getting robbed of the pleasure of indulging in my 44th birthday (Tuesday) and what I really wanted to do on this day, which was to run in the Myers Park All-Comers track meet, and more specifically, the 5K.  I missed all the fun and am therefore forced to relinquish blogging duties to Charlotte’s fastest and best blogging duo, Jordan and Meagan.  (Which is just as well – Meagan’s post is a classic and vastly superior to anything I would have written.)

By the time Saturday rolled around, I was jonesing for a race.  I decided to play a little pager roulette and see if I could squeeze in a 5K.  It had been 3 weeks weeks since my last road race .  I was getting antsy to try and whittle a few more seconds off my master’s PR and I knew the Huntersville Firecracker 5K  had a fast course.  When several of my running pals, including Théoden and friend/archrival Kevin, told me they were running, that cinched it – I was in.

Kevin, Théoden, Christie Carter, and I warmed up by jogging a mile or so of the course.  The day offered perfect conditions for a race in July – cloudless skies and temperatures in the low sixties.  It was custom made for PR’s.

Kevin was hoping to break 19:00 for the first time and I was hoping to try and keep up with him.  There was no chip time at this race so we all made sure to line up towards the front.  Tim Rhodes fired the gun and we blasted towards the nearly-all-downhill first mile.  I was right on Kevin’s heels as we crossed the first mile in 5:45.

About 1.5 miles into the race, I was still within 3 feet of Kevin, (Aaron calls him  ‘Gypsy’, and I call him ‘The Kid’, so I think I’ll take this opportunity to officially dub him ‘The Gypsy Kid’) and I contemplated making a move and passing him.  But then he glanced down at his new Garmin and must not have liked what he saw because he picked up the pace considerably, enough that even while I made the conscious decision to go with him, I couldn’t.  He pulled away and I cursed myself for not being able to keep up.

Kevin finished in a blistering 18:38.  And while I beat my master’s PR by some 15 seconds when I finished in 19:22, I couldn’t help having mixed feelings – disappointment at not being able to keep up, but also pride for my buddy who’s making rapid improvements.   At this rate, the Gypsy Kid will be running sub-18’s soon.  I’m afraid it may be time to find a new archrival, one that I can actually keep up with.

All things considered, I had great fun.  I somehow managed an age group award.  I chatted with many of my running pals afterwards –Charlotte Running Club chairman Aaron Linz (second overall),  Adam Mayes (third overall), Todd Hartung (who was only one week removed from running the brutal Running With the Devil marathon in the Mojave Desert), Ken Simpson, Ted Allen, Théoden, and more.

Luckily, I give up the pager tomorrow and it’s back to the marathon training and focusing on the big goal, qualifying for Boston.  I think that might be easier than beating the Gypsy Kid in a 5k.


One Response to “Chasing the Gypsy Kid”

  1. joe positive Says:

    I completely sympathize about the whole on-call thing. I am intimately familiar with Chinese pager torture. You’re very brave to attempt a race when you’re on-call. I bet your time will improve when you’re not under that on-call stress. Good job.

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