The Train! The Train!
Iâ€™ve begun working toward my autumn BQ attempt. Time to beat myself to a pulp for the privilege of doing it again in Boston next April 21st: Only 293 days away.
A mere 96 days separate me from my qualifying race, the Steamtown Marathon. A small race held on October 7th, Steamtown is hosted by the lovely blue collar town of Scranton, Pennsylvania. You may know it as the home of Dunder-Mifflin and the inimitable Dwight Schrute. Itâ€™s located in Lackawanna County, possibly an ill omen for an endurance race.
Marathon training has a natural ebb and flow. Sometimes youâ€™ve got enough glycogen stores to sink a battleship. Other days, getting out of bed represents a major victory. When things go well, you feel as if youâ€™ll ride the wave all the way to Boston.
That’s how I felt today.
This morning, I ran a challenging 7.5 mile hilly route (locally nicknamed â€œThe Alpsâ€). Typically, one merely survives this run. But today I had energy to spare.
When in attack mode, the last thing you want is an unplanned interruption. But thatâ€™s just what I got, and it seriously rubbed my rhubarb.
On the second-to-last hill, I encountered an inconveniently stalled train. Iâ€™ve got nothing against trains as a rule, but this one blocked my path completely. I could only turn back or cut my run short. What was an endorphin-hyped Pfitzinger disciple to do?
With only the briefest hesitation, I climbed onto the train and made my way through a gap in the cars, bounding off to the other side of the tracks. I felt like a juvenile delinquent and found the sensationâ€¦ strangely agreeable. I used this unseemly psychological boost to propel myself up the hill.
Remember children; do as I say, not as I do.
I canâ€™t recommend train hopping, but the resulting speed boost proved intoxicating, on par with the vehicular near-miss. Any boring recovery run can be transformed into a solid tempo session when the occasional car strays too close. The effect is better than that achieved when discussing religion or politics during a workout.
I once ran with a guy who got hit by a car, but continued running. It was his best 20 miler ever. I ate his adrenaline-powered dust.
This has got me thinking. Perhaps someone can arrange an “incident” on October 7th at roughly 9:30am in the area of West Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton. Iâ€™ll be wearing black shorts and a red shirt.
With such assistance, I might make it to Boston this time. I can just see Ricardo MontalbÃ¡n in full Mr. Roarke regalia welcoming me to Hopkintonâ€¦
Smiles everyone! Smiles!