Wisdom From the Race Course

It seems like I learn something from every race, and sometimes, I’m surprised at just how many things I bump into that are either new, or forgotten revelations.  Here’s few from this past weekend’s race.

Instrumental Music

Instrumental pieces, no matter how peppy, just don’t cut it.  I have a curated running playlist I’ve been working on for months, and made a lot of assumptions about what I’d like to hear on the run.  There were times I was so, so, so wrong.  It didn’t seem to matter how wonderful the track, they were skipped when they cropped up randomly during the race.  The only one that stuck was “Drum Dreams” by ELO.  It has a crazy drum beat, and it’s hard not to be driven by that.

Sing-A-Long Music

So why don’t peppy instrumentals cut it?  Because I wanna sing when I’m running!  Now, “sing” is relative.  Caterwauling is likely a better description, but only for those parts of the race where my inner voice can get past the huffing and puffing of my breathing.  When I topped the bridge, “I Melt With You” hit the top of playlist, and I’m absolutely convinced that I sounded like some maimed animal as I tried to sing and dance along, while trying to maintain forward momentum, keep appropriate hand-to-beat coordination, and avoid breaking an ankle in the expansion joints!

My Running Plans

Don’t ask about ’em until at least three days after the race.  During the race, I know I can recite what my next races are.  But secretly, I’m cutting deals with myself like a sinner on judgement day about which future races I’m not gonna run, because the current race is so tough!

Beef Jerky Rules!

I’m a jerky junky, but this race was the first time I carried something savory with me.  I’m all about the Sport Beans, but I decided to carry a little something different, and had a sack of Jack Link’s Tender Bites in my pocket.  I liked those because they were easy to deal with — they’re already in a resealable bag, they’re easy to chew, and I loved the flavor.  I think there’s some experimenting to come on this!


Normally, I’m a water-only guy.  MRM had water stops every mile, and since I was carrying water with me, I had small cups of Gatorade at every stop.  That worked out extraordinarily well!  When I did the Route 66 Half in Nov ’15, I noticed that Gatorade went down pretty well, so I think I’m gonna have to incorporate that into my race day regimen.  Outside the race, I tried Gatorade’s Frost Glacier Cherry, and liked it pretty well.  I suspect that’ll make an appearance on my long race days.

Old Guys Rest!

When I did my triathlon in May last year, one of the things I did during the swimming leg (my weakest component) was to flip over on my back, and just float, resting for a few minutes.  Apparently, that was also the exact method to get the race support folks as excitable as they could be, thinking that I had some sort of problem.  Running MRM on Saturday, I encountered the same phenomenon.  And no, I wasn’t lying on my back on the race course!  🙂  I was, however, sitting on culverts and leaning against walls, while trying to summon my inner “me” to get through the last couple of miles of the race.  Much like my tri, this is apparently the “cry for help” in a half marathon.  I fended off a BUNCHA folks, telling ’em I was fine, and just resting, which is exactly what I was doing.  It was sure nice to have strangers watching out for me though!

The “C” Word

When folks talk with me about running, the conversation invariably comes around to “what started your running journey?”  And the answer to that question always starts with my journey with colon cancer.  I never mind talking about what happened to me five years ago, and I’ll answer any question about it, no matter how much TMI your might ordinarily think was involved.  It’s hard to know if what I tell folks helps them be more comfortable with talking about cancer — especially colon cancer! — or changes their attitude about early detection, but I hope it does.  If you ask me about running, you’re liable to hear about my cancer journey … You’ve been warned!!!!  🙂