Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weeks 7, 8, 9: Urban training and valuable rest

Tue 7/10 3 miles

Thu 7/12 L and I flew to New York to start the college visiting. We had a wonderful trip, visiting NYU, Mannes Conservatory in New York City, and BU, Boston Conservatory and New England Conservatory in Boston, and UMass in Amherst. We walked, and walked and walked. Remember, walking is great training for ultras

New York City, just like I pictured it.

The view from the NYU library.

L on the train, with local fauna--hipster in cool black,
Orthodox Jew with tallits hanging from his shirt.

Can you say Yankee Stadium?

Pho in Boston--awesome. L was a little nervous
about not having any forks on the table.

Street for people in Boston near our hotel.

The kind of place we look for: L and I met some
cool folks in this guitar shop in Amherst, MA.

Sun 7/15 10 miles at Rockefeller State Park with Kevin and Felipe. Like most things in the New York metropolitan area, there were a bunch of folks out. This is a neat area, with wide smooth carriage roads. Kevin promised that lots of local elites (Khalid Khannouchi, especially) train there. We saw some fast looking folks, but recognized none of them. 
Total  13 miles in two runs
I ran a big fat zero miles in the week of July 23. These days have been great, allowing me to recharge, spend time with my family, and generally bank some rest for the hard training that will take me to Ice Age.

Q performing at dance camp. 
Mon 7/24  3 miles
Sat 7/28  12 miles at Croft. I ran half of the Camp Croft Challenge. I knew when I got up that I wasn’t going to finish. I had a nice, relaxed run, chatting with interesting people. On a hot day, lots of folks performed admirably. I felt good about not hurting myself, and about getting back to running.

Helping out at the aid station after my run finished.
The watermelon I brought went over really well,
too, at this low-key event held in my home training grounds.
Sun 7/29 4 miles, including 2 miles barefoot. It’s been a while since I’ve done this run, and it felt good.
Total: 19 miles in 3 runs
Again, this rest has been great. I’m starting to feel like running again, and I’ll take it easy getting back in. Bristol hasn’t run at all in June and July, so he too will need to ease back into it. It’s time to get started. I’m super-excited for this run on August 18 with the wnctrailrunner folks.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week six, ending July 8

Tue 7/3 5 miles at Cottonwood
Sat 7/7  13.5 miles at Croft. A fun and relaxed run with some new folks and a few I don't get to run with much--Scott, Merle, Tiana, Bo, Joe, Jason (fresh from Western States), Jan, and a couple of others whose names I didn’t get. Super hot and humid, of course. We ran the Camp Croft Half-Marathon course, which is also the first half or so of the Camp Croft Challenge, a race Joe is directing. I signed up for the CCC, so I’ll get in 26 miles July 28.
Sun 7/8 3 miles at Cottonwood
I didn’t think I’d run so little, but the heat has been oppressive. Running in this kind of weather is an extra workout beyond anything I might try to do. It is exactly this kind of wearing out I am trying to avoid. It feels strange to run so little, but I remain convinced this is the way to be ready to roll in May 2013.

Total  21 1/2 miles in 3 runs

"He shook it like a chorus girl,
He shook it like a Harlem queen,
He shook it like a midnight rambler, baby, like you never seen."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An appropriate burial

November 14 is one of those dates that sticks out to me every time I come across it. It’s not like my birthday, but it never fails to remind me of the Marshall University football team plane crash in 1970.
My dad had been athletic director at Marshall until January 1, 1970. He left under the taint of a scandal he was entirely innocent of, though he was involved. The way I heard the story, EO came down to Marshall from its big brother rival West Virginia University in 1967 at the age of 36, then the youngest major college athletic director ever. Not long after arriving, he became aware of an illegal recruiting fund, and tried to put the kibosh on it, much to the chagrin of the funders and coaches involved, no doubt.
But the recruiting continued. Eventually the football and basketball coaches were fired, Marshall was kicked out of the Mid-American conference, and sanctioned by the NCAA. EO left in the furor that followed, and never worked in college sports again.
So I can’t imagine what he felt when he heard that the plane carrying 75 Marshall players, coaches, fans and crew went down about a  mile from Tri-State Airport in the rain the evening of November 14, 1970. These were his recent colleagues, kids he knew on the team, coaches and supporters he’d known, and his two best friends Mike Prestera and Gene Morehouse. I remember EO saying he identified some of the bodies; my mother told me recently they went to 16 funerals.
For me that night was a defining one of my childhood. I was eight years old, and I was terrified: my friends’ parents were on that plane, I had played on the fields during team practices while my dad was at work there. I remember sitting under the phone table talking to my friend Steve, just repeating the news we had heard. Apparently I told my Sunday school teacher the next day that I was the luckiest boy in the world because my dad wasn’t on that plane.
EO was buried at the memorial for Marshall crash, as we tend to call it, at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia. He’s next to Nate Ruffin, who was not on that plane because he was injured, and who died of cancer in 2001. He’s in the front row, something he would have loved. When the leaves are down in the fall, you can see the football stadium from the site.
The memorial at Spring Hill Cemetery in
Huntington, WV lists all the passengers and crew
on the plane that night. EO is buried just to
 the right of the memorial from this view.
I had no idea he wanted to be buried there. I’d never talked to him about it. He and Betty had made lots of plans for their funerals, but had not purchased a plot, but sure enough, there were several available there near the memorial itself. Players from opposing teams visit the memorial, and the week before EO died, the Marshall football team had run up the hill to visit it. When we were there looking at the plot, a woman drove up whose brother had been one of the six unidentified players. Folks will visit, and they’ll see EO’s name among the headstones.
I had never been to the memorial before that day, I don’t think. I was all around that area. The cemeteries in Huntington are owned by the park board, and we treated Spring Hill a little like a park. I remember jumping off a hillside into huge piles of leaves gathered from the cemetery’s 110 acres. And even though I remain friends with at least one person who lost his parents, I rarely think of that when I see or talk to him. When I talk about him, or when I write November 14, or when lots of other things remind me of the Marshall crash, the memories of that night return.
Two men my age who lost their parents came to EO’s visitation. Both of them live near the memorial, both walk their dogs in the cemetery. Both talked about EO keeping up with them, encouraging them, spreading the news of their successes. There are others who would say the same thing. Now they have their PR guy out there at the cemetery.
Now that EO is buried there, and Betty’s ashes will be buried there when she dies, I will of course visit much more often. It will become a marker of a time that was so much a part of my childhood that I didn’t think about it very often, and I think about it all the time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week Five, ending July 1

Week Five, ending July 1
Tue 6/26  4 miles, including two miles barefoot. I ran to the practice fields, which were closed--I’m always a little afraid to cross yellow tape, mostly for fear of pesticides they no doubt use. I ran on the game field, a really nice fake turf that was a little more slippery, at least in my socks, than I thought it would be. 
Fri 6/29  6 miles at Croft with Mackay and Carroll.  I felt like crap at 6 am, but was glad to run with two of my favorite people.
Running and talking with Mackay, November 2011
from Southside: Southside Loop clockwise to Centerline 
With high temperatures around 104 degrees, and about 75 in the morning (not so bad, really), I opted not to run at all over the weekend. Saturday, I did some yard work (I have a yard?), and hunkered down in the later afternoon. Sunday we went to visit Q at camp in Greenville, and had lunch with a boy growing to be a man. 
This is exactly what the rest in the summer is meant for, when it’s hot and humid and draining. I’m banking on the rest now allowing for the hard training of the winter and spring. 
June totals  65 1/2 miles in 14 runs (14/16)
Year-to-date:  919 miles in 145 runs
Given the circumstances, none of this matters at all. And it can’t stay this hot all summer, can it?