Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Competitve Tourist

The Boston Marathon was held yesterday, Monday April 21, 2014 otherwise known as Patriot's Day.  Thoughts, good wishes and a safe trip abound all over the country, the world and the Internet.  The coverage was not exclusive to the marathon but included so much more, the victims and stories from last year, the people of Boston (Bostonians), and the resiliency of the city itself.  I like to think it served as a subtle reminder to all runners that whenever you sign up to compete in a "destination race" please try to absorb and enjoy the "destination!"
In my own athletic career (even in casual travels) I have lost focus on where I was, what I was seeing or what I was experiencing.  I would lock myself in a hotel room, eat and rest until race time....race....return back to the room to recover then travel home.  My life in the ultra community has changed that, certainly people in my inner circle have been major influences as well (Heather, Jeff K, Dr. T and Tracy). 
In Raleigh, North Carolina at Umstead (my first 100 miler) racers and crews had an aura of one big family running 100 miles.  Everyone flashed a smile, shouted words of encouragement and made you feel like you were running around at home.  How did we experience Raleigh?  We walked around Duke University (crashed a luncheon on Coach K's court), UNC (Michael Jordan memorabilia) and feasted once before and twice after the race at The Pit.  Hands down, Big Ed Mitchell BEST BBQ EVER!!!!!!
In Phoenix, after the Javelina Jundred we had dinner out at Roy's Hawaiian restaurant with drinks under the desert sky.  The following day, we walked around Scottsdale to shake out my legs, just make sure you get away from race headquarters in the middle of the desert after a torrential storm and bitter nighttime cold.  On the way to the airport, wait for it....wait... In-n-Out Burger!  We don't have any in the Midwest but I love that place and after 100 miles nothing is better, I mean NOTHING than a 4x4 with fries.  

During the Keys 100, rain was a constant companion.  Don't let the state motto fool you, it is NOT the Sunshine state.  But after that finish, my choice of dinner was a grilled grouper sandwich with a Key Lime pie dessert-mmm mmmm!  It's always a good thing to surprise your support crew with a day of swimming....with dolphins.  They sit around for hours waiting to support you for a few minutes and repeat and repeat and repeat.
  There will be other races.  There will be plenty of chances to record a PR.  You don't have to stop during a race but be in the moment, know how lucky you are to be running in an event in another city, state or country.  In the end remember to take a look around, enjoy where you are, who is with you and savor the memories.
This week is a trial week.  I am fighting a tweaky left knee, so I will back down the mileage and have made an appointment to see a doctor.  That only means more time in the pool and on the bicycle.

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