On Brews and Bruises

Hey everybody,

How long has it been since we last ‘spoke’?  Nearly 2 weeks?  My early onset Alzheimer’s only allows me about 2 weeks of memory so I’d better post now before I forget everything that’s occurred.  Here we go.

Triple C Beer Run I

Last Thursday, Laura and I led the first ever beer run from the Triple C Brewing Company.  Some 30 people showed up and ran with us along the light rail.  Only 2 people got lost on the out and back course, and only 1 person failed to locate Triple C at all.  Success!

But seriously, we had a blast.  Join us every Thursday at 6:30!

Yeah, the pic is a little blurry and we all have demonic eyes, but a pretty good showing for the first ever Triple C Beer run!

Yeah, the pic is a little blurry and we all have demonic eyes, but a pretty good showing for the first ever Triple C Beer run!

This is me pointing out the mile 3 maker last week.  Allow me to translate our cryptic symbol.  "Turn around here if you don't want to run more than 3 miles."

This is me pointing out the mile 3 maker last week. Allow me to translate our cryptic symbol. “Turn around here if you don’t want to run more than 3 miles.”

Friday Night Lights

Friday, I was scheduled to run a little workout called ‘minuters’ which consists of sprinting for a minute with a minute of recovery jog after each sprint.  12 times.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Wrong.

I had a busy day which meant I didn’t get a chance to run until after dark, so I was forced to put on the headlamp and rush over to the Kenton Place trail.  I needed to run on a soft surface and the dirt trail at Kenton is the closest one to me.  But it’s  not exactly level and running there in the dark, even a slow jog, can be pretty tricky.  A sprint is downright treacherous.

I struggled to see with my cheap headlamp as I kind of gingerly tip-toed through the sprints.  The combination of struggling to see and struggling to hit goal pace was exhausting. (I’ve since talked to Santa about bringing me a new, better headlamp – crossing fingers!)

I got angry at my ‘slow’ 6-something paces.  Garmin 610, you’re telling me that I can’t run a minute at Nathan’s marathon pace?  In one minute, I can’t accelerate to the pace that Nathan maintains for some 2 hours and 40 minutes (about 6:10/mile pace)?  Seriously?  For the last one, I threw caution to the wind and went well under 6-minute pace.  But I was still upset.  And physically destroyed, like staggering-around-destroyed, weaving as I stumbled back to my car.  But hey, I completed the workout!  And since I was so loopy from the effort of the workout, I lost count which means I ran 13 minuters instead of 12 – bonus!

Saturday ‘Recovery’ Run

Saturday morning, I was still destroyed.  I wanted to run, but only for 5 miles or so to loosen up my sore, tight legs.  Laura and I drove over to Davidson to hit the college cross-country trails for a nice, easy little jog.  But when we got there, after driving around for a while in search of a parking spot (aside: why does Davidson close off the parking lot at noon for a basketball game that doesn’t start until 7:00 PM?), we found one and made our way to the trails.  Which were closed.  This, in my world, is a tragedy of catastrophic proportions.  This is disruptive to my life the way the temperature at Boston was disruptive to my marathon.  I was borderline despondent.

But there wasn’t much I could do about it.  So we left.  I tried to think of a nearby alternate course, one with soft surfaces.  Kenton Place, while okay for track-like intervals, is only about a quarter of a mile loop and therefore wholly inadequate for a run of any significant distance.  I remembered hearing people say they had run trails at North Mecklenburg Park, so I drove there.

We arrived and quickly found the trail head.  I looked carefully at the sign which at one point had read “Mountain Bikes Only, No Pedestrians”, but the “Only” and “No Pedestrians” had been covered.  I was beginning to feel a little trepidatious as I had flashbacks to this.  But Laura led the way and we started a leisurely jog along the trail.

Yep, sure enough, my fears were realized.  The North Meck trail was not unlike the ones at the Harbison State Forest (although granted, there were no mountainous hills on the North Meck version).  It was mostly single track, narrow, rooty, covered in leaves, and switchbacky.  These kind of trails are great for mountain bikers and X-gamers, but kind of shitty if you’re looking for an easy recovery run – they take way too much effort at even the slowest of paces.

I could never get a feel for pace as I was too busy jumping over rocks and roots, dodging tree trunks, and ducking under limbs.  The combination of a workout the night before and the exertion of single track running, or like I’ve called it before, “fast hiking”, quickly fatigued me.  I had to intently concentrate on every footfall which was exhausting.  And although the weather was perfect for a casual stroll, it was a bit warm for a run.  The beautifully serene fall-but-feels-more-like-spring landscape started to seem malevolent – it was kind of like getting your ass kicked by a super model.

Speaking of super models, Laura (see how I did that?)  cruised along casually, comfortably, a few meters ahead and I was beginning to struggle to keep up with her.  She seemed to be enjoying this until…

Her foot clipped some roots or rocks or whatever little booby trap Mother Nature planted on the trail long ago.  I saw it all go down in slow motion, like in a movie where the protagonist screams “Noooo!” and reaches out but is powerless to stop whatever tragedy is about to occur.  She started to go down, straining to regain her balance and right herself, but to no avail.  She hit the trail hard and slid down a hill which seemed to go on forever.

I was too far back to catch her but I was by her side within seconds and helping her up as I asked the question everybody asks the second after you fall, “Are you okay?”  She seemed to be fine, and we kept running, despite these nasty after effects:

Nancy Kerrigan looked at Laura's bruise and said, "Damn!"

Nancy Kerrigan looked at Laura’s bruise and said, “Damn!”

A nasty little cut to go with her nasty little bruise.

A nasty little cut to go along with her nasty little bruise.

This is why I’m not a fan of technical, single track, trail running.  One should not come away from easy recovery day with cuts and bruises like this.  I know starting NFL running backs who don’t get this hurt on game day.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally came out of the trail where we had entered.  My Garmin read less than 4 miles, but I felt like I had just run 14.  I was done.  D.  O.  N.  E.  but Laura wanted to get in a few more miles.  She is a beast.

Triple C Take II

This past Thursday, we again met at the Triple C Brewing company for another run followed by some tasty beers. Pre-run, Laura and I hung out in the tap room where John Halter made a cameo.  He had a quick beer, but couldn’t stay to run with us as he had to go to his first Charlotte Running Club board meeting.  Ah, the irony of missing a run to be at a running club meeting – I remember it well.  We chatted with John and Laura’s friend Bill for a few more minutes as we waited for the running crowd to show up.  Which they did so we moved things outside.

As I gathered the gang near the loading docks, I asked if we had everybody when Kati responded, “Matt’s supposed to be here, but he’s running late.”  I stalled the gang for a minute or two, but when Matt still hadn’t arrived, I decided we couldn’t wait any longer and I led us toward the light rail (well I led for approximately 2 seconds before Wesley bolted to the front, not to be seen again until beer time).

As we rounded the corner, directly in front of Triple C, a police car sat there with lights flashing away, having just pulled over a car.  “Poor schmuck”, I thought to myself.  But as our little running group neared, I noticed the driver was none other than Matt Jaskot himself.  While the police officer spoke to him, Matt, grinning like the Cheshire cat, leaned out of the driver’s window, waved to us, and yelled “Hi guys!”  Everybody waved back and laughed and I said to those around me, “Guess who just made the blog.”  Classic Jaskot.

Don’t worry – he didn’t go to jail or anything.  It turns out that the cop had someone else pulled over so Matt had taken a calculated risk by turning left directly in front of a “No Left Turn” sign.  The officer was less distracted than Matt had hoped and consequently pulled him over.  But that lucky bastard got out of it with nothing more than a casual conversation with a policeman.  If it had been me, I would’ve gotten a Rodney King style beat down, I’m sure.

Shortly after this photo appeared on Facebook, Matt asked  me why I was pointing at him.  I responded "So when people ask why I'm pointing at you, I'll remember to tell the cop story."

Shortly after this photo appeared on Facebook, Matt asked me why I was pointing at him. I responded “So when people ask why I’m pointing at you, I’ll remember to tell the cop story.”

And that’s the last couple of weeks on Allen’s road to Boston.  Now we sit and wait for Santa to deliver us some cool running gear.

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