Sunday, March 24, 2013

Release the Kraken!

I've been in a bit of a running funk lately. I think I've just run so much this Winter that I'm out of mental energy. My body feels fine, and I'm running well, but I'm just not feeling it lately. I think that's probably normal for almost anyone at the end of a long running season full of several tough races. I've been training for big races since last August - Medoc Trail Marathon, Uwharrie 40 Mile Ultra, Umstead Trail Marathon. And now, I have my last big race coming up fast - Mountain to Sea Trail 50K.

I needed 20 miles of time on my feet this weekend, preferably on single track trail to simulate the Mountain to Sea Trail 50K, so I headed out to Umstead for some quality time on the trails. My friend Jay, training for his second Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run, wanted to get about 20 miles in as well, so we met on the trails early in the morning and spent the next 10 miles trying to out-smartass each other. Our normal sort of run.

We took a quick break back at the parking area, where I decided that it would probably be better for me to finish the miles on the bridle trails instead of the single track. I just wasn't feeling it, and loss of mental focus on single track means the possible loss of skin and teeth.

Making our way along Reedy Creek bridle trail, I thought about just quitting and walking back to my car. Instead I just complained about everything to Jay. Never ones to miss being bad influences on each other, Jay immediately latched onto my complaints and slyly suggested that we could short circuit the run and head to his house for beers. I called his bluff immediately.

Thirty minutes later found Jay and I slowly but surely clearing out his random inventory of left over beers. We had agreed that Jay would give me a lift back to my car on the other side of Umstead a bit later. Then, somehow, the bourbon came out, along with the idea of running back to my car. But my body was finished. The 16 miles of that morning had drained me. It would take bourbon, beer, and a small miracle to get my carcass the 5 miles across Umstead to my car.

Never try to out-crazy Jay. You will lose. Still resistant to even the idea of running, Jay released the Kraken! Kraken Rum that is. After an oversize rum and coke, I somehow found myself running down the street outside Jay's house screaming "Release the Kraken!"

Everything gets pretty fuzzy after that. I remember passing random strangers on the trails screaming that we had released the Kraken. Jay took every renegade trail he could remember on our way back to the other side of the park. I had trouble running in a straight line. Jay didn't even try. He crisscrossed the bridle trail in front of me, darting into the woods screaming "Release the Kraken!" as often as his breathing allowed. Within a mile of my car Jay decided we needed more inspiration, so we stumbled down the Inspiration Trail loop, promptly losing the trail and getting lost by a creek at the bottom of a steep, rocky hill. We've renamed that trail Uninspirational Demotivational Kraken Invitational Trail. I plan to never run UDKIT again. Especially with Jay.