Ran a trial 10k at close to race pace yesterday, following Eastern Parkway to the U of L campus and back to Bardstown Road. Gave me a workout, but the true cardiac moment of the week has to be tonight's double-overtime victory by the University of Louisville men's basketball team over West Virginia.
As I sat on a barstool in Flanagan's Ale House on Baxter Avenue, fingers clenched in front of the widescreen television, I was struck once again by how different long-distance running is from most other competitive sports. Don't get me wrong, the ability of Edgar Sosa to drive through three muscular defenders the size of small trees is something that most of us don't have. It's just that there's an element of chance involved in games like basketball that doesn't really exist with running. Sure, you might have a good day or a bad day on the 10k circuit, or maybe someone else does and it opens a window for you (I'm still waiting for the 177 people in front of me during most races to simultaneously collapse). But basically, you're either prepared or you aren't prepared to pound the pavement.
Running requires time, dedication and a wicked good training schedule. And with the Triple Crown, the investment you've made in those areas -- or lack of it -- becomes all the more obvious as the month of March progresses and the distances increase. An injury to my heal prevented me from really getting in gear until early February. My tendency to over-eat, combined with a larger-than-necessary amount of dark beer over the winter, has put me further behind. So far, I'm down about seven pounds to 183. My younger sister, who is a physical therapist, says it's "not healthy" to lose more than 10 pounds in a month. My goal is to cinch in the belt, eat a truckload of salad for the next nine days, and be down to 178-180 by March 17 for the Rodes City Run. Which is why I was drinking ice water at Flanagan's tonight, even though my buddies were tossing back microbrews. That's fine with me. I may not be the Edgar Sosa of the Triple Crown this year, but at least I'm preparing to go down fighting.