Sunday, November 9, 2014

Miserable Failures

As a runner, I'm a miserable failure. I'm slow, I'm injury prone, and I never know when to back off. And no, this isn't some sort of pity party. Those are just the facts of my running life, and I'm perfectly fine with that reality. Well, as fine as I can be given my self loathing nature (You suck, Der Scott! You're right, Der Scott, I do. Wanna go for a run on our bum knee? Hell yeah! Let's do it!).
I'm pretty sure this wouldn't keep me from running.

On the other hand, I LOVE to run trails. I can be slow on trails and never consider it a shortcoming. Moving slowly through the forest on even the roughest trail is as close as I can come to a religious experience. I know that sounds a bit kooky, but it's honest. However, what I love most about trail running is the trail running community. I've stopped counting the number of interesting, intelligent, impressive people I've met through trail running. If the trail running community is a slice of humanity, it's the best slice I've experienced. (For what it's worth, jury duty served up the worse slice).

So I'm terrible at running, but I love it.  If you've read any of my posts here, you already knew that. What's new then? Well, after 9 months and one knee surgery I "raced" again, at the perfect comeback event - The Misery Run.

Wonderful Misery
This was my third year racing the Misery Run (race report from 2011). It's the granddaddy of "mudder" and "obstacle" events in this area, with 2014 being its 19th year. It's also the purest of these sorts of events. Where most events have devolved into bad-ass-warrior-spartan-crotchfit extravaganzas sporting smoke machines, blaring rock music and machine gun crossfire, the Misery Run maintains the simple purity of a cross country race "with flavor".  It's the perfect mix of trails, fields, logs, hay bales, and "mud" puddles. It's family friendly, and seriously competitive at the same time. And chock full of cool, interesting people!

If you are local, do yourself a favor and check it out. In fact for pure cross country fun, check out the entire Carolina Godiva Winter Series. You won't find better race value for your $5. And no, I did NOT omit a zero in that price.

And the best part: kids under 12 run for FREE!

Miserable Comebacks
Alex, the apple from my tree.
How did it go? Miserably, but in a good way. I'm still a bit frightened to run on trails after the recent surgery. My plantar fasciitis (partial rupture) from October of last year is also still hanging around in my left foot like a drunk brother-in-law after a wild New Year's party. Not much of a bother, unless it wakes up screaming and threatening to kill me with a busted beer bottle.

This year, I ran most of a lap with my youngest son, Alex, while my oldest son Ryan and his school buddy, Jonathan, scampered through the woods ahead of us. I tried to let go of the worry and just relax and laugh with the kids. For the most part, everything went very well. The surgery knee didn't bark very much, but did clear its throat a time or two during mysterious foot landings. The PF stayed mostly in a beer coma. The freezing, anthrax-laced cow pasture puddle crossings may have helped with that as well.

Want to experience something magical? Run with kids. It doesn't even matter if they are YOUR kids, just try it. Kids will level you, but in a good way. They run for fun the way I truly desire to run for fun. Unfortunately, most of the kid has been beaten out of me by life, so I find it difficult to experience the pure joy that they get for free. But that doesn't keep me from trying.

Spray me with a hose, will you?!

Take that!