The Runners Low


OK, Sunday’s long run sucked.  I’ll briefly touch on why today was FUBAR in a few minutes.

But first, this musical intrude…..

(feel free to hum Gary Glitter’s Rock n Roll Part II to yourself for about 20 seconds before continuing….)

There was an old saying used by Air Force pilots back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, which I recall hearing from my awesome Uncle Henry.  (My Uncle Henry was a Colonel in the Air Force, one hell of a pilot, a badass race car driver, and an absolute all-around great guy – that dude lived one hell of a life.)  I remember him telling me once when I was eight or nine years old that, when a pilot bails out of a perfectly good airplane because of an instance of poor judgement, he is said to have “screwed the pooch”.  Once, while he was in town visiting the family from Delaware, he attended one of my little league games with my grandfather.  I played shortstop and third base (but not at the same time) – so when I grabbed my glove and got up from the bench to take the field, I recall Uncle Henry saying to me “good luck Joey – watch the ball into your glove and step toward first when you throw.” I responded “Thanks, Uncle Henry.” …and then he waited until I took a few steps toward the grass before adding in that deep alpha voice he carried along with him “…and don’t screw the damn pooch out there!”  I laughed for the next ten minutes…and the pooch was left unscrewed for six full innings as we won, 7 to 2.

Damn I thought he was cool.  So cool.  He was one of those dudes that I would strive to be like.  Like a number of other members of my family, he served his country in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He was a role model for me.  You know that old saying: “if you wanna be a bear, then be a grizzly”?  Well that dude was the papa bear.  In my mind, he was one of the single greatest influences on my early desire to serve my country when I came of age.  I wanted to be a grizzly too.

My two greatest regrets in life: I never followed my heart and joined the Navy out of high school the way I wanted to, and I did not get to spend enough time with my Uncle Henry.  Fortunately, though, I have some memories – and when I recall them, they are so thick that I feel like I need to swat them away from my eyes in order to see.

So why did I tell you all that?   Because when I finished my long run on Sunday, I could hear that deep voice say that phrase several times in my ear: “well, you sure screwed the damned pooch on that one”.  So how do you screw up a long run early on a Sunday morning?  Well just in case you want to give it a shot, here are steps you can take:

  • Don’t allow yourself to recover properly after your BRICK workout Saturday morning.  Make sure you stay on your feet and walk around all day.
  • Eat a lousy dinner Saturday night.  That means either skip dinner all together, or eat empty calories (like chips and salsa).
  • Don’t drink enough water Saturday evening / night.
  • Then, instead of hitting the rack early and getting the rest you’ll need, make sure you stay up and watch the extended director’s cut of Lord of the Rings –  The Return of the King (damn you Peter Jackson for creating such a masterpiece).
  • When you get up in the morning, don’t eat anything before heading out to run for 3 hours – because if you’re going to screw up, go all-out.
  • Once you head out the door, make sure that you do your best imitation of Bill Rodgers and take off at a pace that you KNOW you can’t hold for more than 10 minutes.

See those six bullet points?  Hit at least 3 of them, and you have upped the odds of your long run turning into a complete pooch screw.  Hit all six?  FUBAR, big time.

Let’s say I nailed four of those items on the list.  I single-handedly invented The Runner’s Low.  You’re welcome.

So: public service announcement: have a plan for your weekly long run.  And make sure it begins the night before.

 

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