Welcome Back, Slacker

Oh, the humanity.

I officially ended my off-season and returned to training last weekend by running the half marathon at Trail Marathon Weekend in Pinckney. This is one of the few events that I do every year, if I can. Usually at TMW I run the half on Saturday or the marathon on Sunday. Sometimes I do both (the “No Wimps” option), but this year I didn’t really feel like knocking myself out the minute I stepped back into the ring.

2015: Saturday half + Sunday 50K = No Wimps, baby! Yeah, I felt like I looked.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t make this competitive, but just go out and have fun on a great morning for trail running. So, knowing if I went out in the first wave I’d get sucked in anyway, I started with the second. All went well for the first half of the event, and I was feeling good, so I kicked it up a notch. And my competitive juices kicked in. (You all knew that was coming, right.)

The field had spread out by then, so there weren’t a lot of people to chase down and pass, but a managed a few. And a few managed to catch and pass me, but dem’s de breaks. And so I pushed on through the woods, and crossed the final boardwalk and onto the grass by the Silver Lake beach. Just a couple hundred yards to the finish. And up ahead of me was one more person I could catch. A young woman. Not even my gender, let alone in my age group, but you work with what you’ve got.

And so I took off into a sprint. Slowly I gained, and at the top of a small ridge with about sixty yards to go, I caught up and passed her. Clear sailing to the finish and going hard. I was back, baby!

And then I saw a blur on my right as she went flying past me. WTF? How’d she do that? I gave it all I had left, but no use. She cruised over the line several seconds ahead of me. And two of my friends were there, naturally, to witness the whole thing. This photo was taken by one of them.

Yeah, I actually did think it was pretty funny, even at the time.

Turns out I placed third in my age group, so it wasn’t a horrible effort. In fact, I finished just two seconds behind the guy in second. I’m actually more annoyed about not picking up three seconds somewhere than I am about the finish. My attitude is back, anyway!

Following the race, I took up my usual position at the Zero Waste station for the rest of the weekend. TMW has a special place in my heart because back in 2016, it was the first event where I managed the zero waste effort. We did well, with just 44 pounds of landfill out of nearly 500 pounds of collected waste, and every year things have gotten better. Thanks to the event going cupless in 2019, and with waste reduction in other areas, both total waste and landfill waste have dropped a lot, and this year’s landfill total was just over two pounds, with a diversion rate of over 98 percent.

For that kind of result I can swallow my pride about getting chicked.

This time.

And my buddy and Veterans Memorial pacer Charlie did the hilly and tough 5 miler. Another guy who puts his heart and soul into running!

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P.S. As part of my off-season plan, I deliberately didn’t schedule, or even look for, my next goal race. So that’s something I’ll be working on soon, along with a training strategy to get me back in shape and ready for whatever my next goals are. I’m ready. As I told my coach, the time off has been pretty glorious, but I’m not ready to make the “slacker” lifestyle permanent yet. If ever. Hopefully never.

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