A Ray of Hope

Finally, I had a decent week of running, Carolina beat Duke, and order has been restored to the universe.

With Carolina beating Duke, and with me having a decent week of running, it feels like sunlight is finally breaking through the clouds (photo courtesy of psd.tutsplus.com )

Nothing extraordinary went down this week.  Workouts simply went more like I would expect them to. And I am grateful for that.  Here are some highlights.


Todd, Dean, Ted and I headed down to the University trails to run some mile repeats.  While my splits were nothing to write home about, they were about what I expected to be able to run.  I didn’t quit.  I didn’t pass out.  I didn’t struggle to breathe.  I felt almost like a runner again.  The highlight of the workout came when I passed a guy on a bike and he called out, “You are going entirely too fast!”  Well okay, if ~7-minute pace is entirely too fast then I guess I was.  But I felt good and it was mildly amusing to pass someone on a bike, albeit an elderly gent going uphill.


Thursday included a rare cameo by none other than Nathan Stanford.  Running into Nathan these days is about as common as spotting Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster (oddly enough, neither of which has been seen since the advent of smartphones).

Todd and I met Nathan on the trails for a few easy miles.  Nathan held back and indicated to Todd that he always lets me set the pace, knowing full well that as soon as we’re alone, he’ll immediately take the lead and drop a lobster boiler on me (if you’re not sure what a lobster boiler is, go here for an explanation).

It was a pleasant run, nice to see Nathan again, and I covered a solid 9 miles.


When I stepped outside to run Friday afternoon, the good ol’ Garmin, which had been working perfectly of late, decided it didn’t want to cooperate again.  I took this as an omen.

After waiting 10 minutes or so – what seemed like an eternity on a chilly, windy day – I gave up on it and just started running.  Every step hurt.  The 18 miles of the past 2 days had taken their toll on the old man’s legs – they were sore and tight.

The plan only called for an easy 4-miler.  I would never forgive myself if I got hurt and couldn’t run Boston because I overdid it on a silly easy 4-mile run.  Be cool, be like Fonzie – take the day off.  I walked away without the slightest bit of guilt.

But the biggest news of the week came on Friday when I emailed Jordan to ask if he knew this guy (the DQ’d winner of the Cowtown marathon).  He did (and posted on his blog about it).  So, for those of you who don’t the story, Scott Downard decided at the last minute to run the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth.  One of his friends couldn’t make it, so he gave Scott his bib.  I’m sure this happens thousands of times and nobody ever hears about it.  But what makes this story noteworthy is that Scott won the race.

He immediately notified the race director and was subsequently disqualified.  He didn’t get upset.  The race director didn’t get upset.  The official winner didn’t get upset.  But people on the internet got upset.  I’m friends on Facebook with one Chuck “Marathonjunkie” Engle, who called Scott a “bib stealer”, a “bandit”, and a “cheater”.  So I pasted a link to Jordan’s blog post , and one to Scott’s blog where he explained his actions.  To me, he was guilty of little more than not working this out with the race director in advance.  He can’t help it that he was faster than everybody else.

Here are some excerpts of the Facebook exchange.  Enjoy:

  • MarathonJunkie EngleThey call him a rebel. I can think of no other term than “cheater.” Seems like this ‘kid’ prides himself on stealing a bib and then trying to justify his actions later. I mean I know he is a hell of a runner and won a marathon before, but does that give all of us who have run relatively fast and won a marathon the right to just jump in to any race without at least letting the race know we are running?

  • John Carbonino, we all throw into the pot because it costs for the event. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets comped to run a few based on his speed but at least he will be registered

  • Gary BrimmerI don’t always use the term douchebag when describing guys like the two authors of the blogs (and their douchbag friends sending notes of support) but I will make an exception this time.

  • Kris James After reading these blogs I can now say that I will do everything in my power to make sure neither of these guys ever run a marathon in Michigan. Gary– I completely agree with you on this one. What a complete douche.

  • Allen StricklandIt seems to me that the only thing Scotty is guilty of is not working things out with the race director in advance. It’s not like he’s Kip Litton or something. Everything else worked out exactly the way it should – he was understandably DQ’d – he didn’t get upset, the race director didn’t get upset, the official winner didn’t get upset. I’m just not understanding all the vitriol. Nobody actually involved with the race seems the least bit upset – why is everybody else?

  • Allen Strickland Good discussion at letsrun. In my opinion, more races should institute transfer policies to prevent this kind of thing. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=4468113

    Friday at 8:53am · Like ·
  • Gary BrimmerI don’t disagree with the transfer discussion, however was Cowtown sold out? This guy knowingly put on a number that wasn’t his. Ran the race crossed the finish line and. Rake the tape. Knowing he was wrong. Call me a stickler for rules and a tad old fashioned but right isn’t always the easy way to go but wrong is always wrong.

  • Gary BrimmerDamn auto correct. Should read and broke the tape.

  • Allen Strickland Gary – I agree. Just feel like cheater/douchebag label was a bit harsh. And lumping Jordan  in, who is a friend of mine and an all-around good guy (selflessly helps others, coaches kids, etc.) for doing nothing more than trying to explain his friend’s actions, seemed a bit excessive.

  • Gary BrimmerI feel the blogs were snarky and smart ass. Maybe smart ass would be a better term? Step away from the fact that you know any of the people in question and look at it from an outsiders point of view. I’m a good guy too I coach runners around the country I’m a volunteer coach for high schoolers as well. I still wouldn’t do anything to make my sponsors look bad. Nor would I defend someone who was wrong just because they were friends. Wrong is wrong.

So I quit at that point.  Fun stuff that I had to share!


Prescribed day off.  Instead of running, I watched my Heels beat Duke.

Hinson jumps over Plumlee as the Heels go on to beat Duke 88 to 70. Photo courtesy of uncbball.tumblr.com .


Kevin couldn’t make it out and Sarah came down with stomach issues at the last minute, leaving me on my own for the long run.

But it went fine.  I didn’t feel great and I didn’t run fast, but I didn’t feel like I was about to die any second, and I covered 17 miles.  And while the thought of covering 9.2 more miles is pretty daunting, it’s not completely overwhelming.  Meaning, 26.2 doesn’t seem impossible at the moment, just really, really hard – that’s an improvement over how I felt a couple of weeks ago.


With Boston only 6 weeks away, I finally regained a little confidence this week when the clouds of doubt parted a little and let in a ray or two of hope.  The odds of a PR are pretty slim, but, barring disaster, I should at least be able to finish.

As Mike Kahn put it, “Boston is your victory lap.”  All I can do is keep working and hope that I can run that victory lap fast enough to make it mildly respectable.

See you in Boston.

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