the Rage Archives
is found through devotion,
and intensity is the only true measure of devotion.
Runs 50 on 50th
this year, Coop was acting weird.
a bit for what was up. I was relieved to learn he wasn't hangin'
with any JMH's (e.g. Junk Mile Huggers) sparing me the chore
of another Truth Intervention.
Coop was so slow in fessing up to was a desire to attempt a
50 miler on his 50th birthday. The implication of this challenge
was that what I had to offer him in the way of training and
preparation was now way below him and it had become necessary
to "broaden" his training circle. "Nothing personal, Rage, but
this ain't Liverpool no more" as he spoke haltingly in barley
audible tones, looking rather smug and quite comfy I might add,
standing there in lane one (Copy that: Lane Uno). While I wasn't
ready to assign this particular rift the same Lennon/McCartney
intensity that he apparently had, I must admit it caught me
somewhat off guard. After all, it couldn't have been anything
like Bruce Hornsby having to play keyboards on "My Baby Takes
The Mornin' Train" for Sheena Easton before he made it big…could
it? Now just a damned minute here. It's not like I delivered
him completely out of shape for the 2001 California International
Marathon where the dude P.R.'s in a driving rainstorm. Rage
can go long too, baby. Just not 50 miles. That's not so bad
now, is it?
said. The reality was that my running just wasn't pushing him
enough and he'd decided to move on to the next level…on to Les,
Galen, Dan, Bill…some real runners.
I get it.
right then that we both knew the time had come to go our separate
ways. Deep down, I didn't want to ever be accused of being the
one that kept the stallions in Coop's barn, you understand what
I'm sayin'? You know what I'm talkin' about? There was no discussion.
Just an unspoken nod of mutual respect as we quietly picked
up our gear and strode off opposite ends of the track. I'd be
watching from the stands as he prepared for this one. As I walked
off the track, I could have sworn that the expression on the
face of the immortal Bowerman bronze statue had changed to a
distinct frown, undoubtedly from having witnessed yet another
coach and athlete going their separate directions on this hallowed
track at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
it clear to Coop that I while I wasn't going to encourage him,
I would support him. Fifty miles is a long ways. How in the
heck does anyone even get ready for something like that? So,
when I was finally up to it after coming back from back surgery,
I'd show up at the track…and there he'd be…doing an endless
series of 800's. Sometimes I'd join in for a few loops for old
times sake, but could never go the distance with these guys.
These dudes can run forever.
plan was to run three 16+ mile loops along the bike paths between
Springfield and North Eugene, with Alton Baker Park in between.
He'd logged thousands of miles on these paths. What's 50 more,
right? He planned on starting early as he suspected it would
require about 8 hours or so. Ouch.
game day, I thought I'd try to hook up with him somewhere on
the second loop, talk a little smack, tell him how awful he
looked, etc… I hopped on the bike and rode to where I thought
he'd be. I passed through the park and noticed his pickup was
there. I finally found him about midway through the second loop,
meaning he had already run about 27 miles. Right on schedule.
I simply shook my head and said "…Coop…Coop…Coop…" and offered
him an energy bar and some sports drink. At the time, he was
alone, but Jim Hill had joined him earlier for some much needed
company. I covertly thought he'd be needing some more, once
he entered The Death Zone, and asked if he'd mind some company.
Hearing no argument, I pealed and went to get on my running
gear and was joined by T-Bone. Looks like I'd be taking the
afternoon off as T-Bone needed to get back to work.
runner knows the last thing anyone needs is constantly being
reminded (or dwelling on the issue in your own mind) of how
far you have left to go. Keeping his mind off that subject was
my sole purpose for joining him…not to mention a periodic check
of skin color, breathing, staggering…etc…I managed to kill at
least 6-8 miles right off the bat launching into a political
tirade that only I could sustain for that length of time. Long
story…but that was the point. Coop's heard a bazillion of 'em
from me over the years. Darned near consumed an hour…just like
beat that subject to death, it was on to the next. At that point,
I remember wishing K.C. was there. I swear that guy, bar none,
is the most entertaining person in Eugene to run with. He ALWAYS
makes people laugh. I love it when he shows up. But, now, the
pressure was on me. We're heading into The Death Zone and I
am running out of non-running things to talk about…not to mention
I myself am now getting pretty tired, with about four miles
to go…and not having run over 12 miles or so in about a year.
Sixteen miles would be a stretch…and I didn't want to admit
that I was struggling. So, I saved the subject of Rick Neuheisel,
the embattled University of Washington football coach for the
last 3 miles…which, needless to say…went by pretty quickly…a
target rich subject, indeed. However, K.C. would have done a
much better job covering that topic from all angles (as I'm
not much of a football guy), but I don't think it really mattered
comes into the park and is greeted by his lovely wife and son…and
even is strong enough to suggest another half mile if anyone
wanted to take exception with his loop measurements.
was 50 miles. Trust me, Coop. The time, you might ask: How does
about eight and a half hours of running sound? To be honest
with you, I couldn't DRIVE that long.
that's The Truth. - 11/20/03