Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 PHUNT 50K (Elkton, MD)

PHUNT 50K – January 4, 2014 – Elkton, MD
Let me start by saying the first two runs of 2014 are both Kino’s fault #kinosfault. You will hear this phrase from me a lot and from others too. It’s kind of a phenomenon.
PHUNT 50K and BANDERA 100k were complete polar opposites in terms of conditions and how I felt.

PHUNT 50K - January 4, 2014 – Elkton, MD
Speaking of polar, PHUNT took place in the polar vortex that had consumed half our nation in frigid, negative wind chill temperatures. Yeah we braved 6 inches of snow and cold, but the volunteers were the real hard core people at this race. At least when you are running, it didn’t feel too bad, but these volunteers put on a ton of layers and a smile, and did their best to supply us with non frozen water and semi frozen PB&Js. The RD Carl Perkins had a smile on his face, was friendly, and genuinely enthused as we saw him at multiple aid stations and at the finish.
I started out running with Anthony and Johanna of the Fishtown Beer Runners and of course Kino. After a bit, Kino and I ended up ahead of Anthony and Johanna and ended up linking up with Kino’s friend Alvin Lee and later on Josh Dennis and The Animal Camp. We got lost; we got found and ultimately deleted a 2 mile loop part of the course. Apparently so did everyone else that ran, except for 2 people. The Trail Dawgs are apparently notorious for poorly marked courses. On purpose? Perhaps.
All in all, this should have been a fun experience aside from the fact that my knee was bothering me but from the word “GO”. I just wanted this race to end. At one point, Kino exclaimed “I’m having fun!” “Why wasn’t I?,” I thought. Yeah my knee hurt, but sometimes things hurt. That wasn’t it. I started to think back to the race before PHUNT: Kiawah Island Marathon in South Carolina, December 14th. That, too, was a painful marathon that I just wanted to end. This should be about the journey and not the destination. Running has always been like that to me, all about the journey. I love training for something and running a race. It’s not about the medal at the end or crossing the finish line. To me it has always been how I got there, what I experienced on the way, and what I learned. Why was racing not fun? Why did I want to drag my feet out the door on training runs? Was the winter already getting to me? I thought training for the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler on Super Bowl weekend would keep my training fresh and give me something to work for. With each step I took at PHUNT, I felt like I was getting nowhere. The snow was like running in quick sand, a 7 minute pace effort yielded an 11 minute mile! But like all races though, it ended. Afterwards, I chatted with Rebecca Schaefer, Mel Lancet, Keith Straw, and some brand new friends and hung out in the heated tea barn eating lentil soup and drinking coffee. “This is the life,” I’m thinking. But what about the journey???? What about the journey??

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