Runners arrive in Bend, prepare for big race

  • By Bruce Overstreet
  • Friday, December 13, 2013 1:41pm
  • Life

The 15 of us from Club Northwest finally arrived in Bend, Oregon almost 21 hours after leaving Seattle with the intention of having the chartered bus get us here last night.

Yes, we had problems. It’s called a transmission and it put us on the side of I-5 just outside of Federal Way for four hours.

This may be an omen as I set out on this trip to one of the biggest races against some of the best competition that I have ever run against. I decided to simply look at it as part of the adventure I am going on.

The first 20-plus hours have been everything I expected and more. And the real lesson doesn’t happen for another 22 hours, when I line up at the start line of the U.S. Masters’ National Cross Country Championships.

This trip down was supposed to be one of the more difficult things I have done in quite some time. And one of the best things for me.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh, it’s only a 6.2 mile race? You can easily do that.” Yes, I can easily jog 6.2 miles. It’s another thing when I line up with 370 other guys who still have the desire to get the finish line as quickly as possible.

It’s the combination of the intensity and the duration of running 6.2 miles as hard as I can that is certainly not going to be easy. This was made obvious to me, as I have had a chance to ride “shotgun” in one of the vans we ended up getting since the bus wasn’t going anywhere for a long time.

During the six-hour drive and the night spent in a seedy hotel in Portland, I talked with one of the guys older than 50 who will be leading our “A Team.” I’m on the “B Team,” more out of default than out of any skill.

The “A Team” runner, Chuck Purnell, is one of those guys who got back into running after a number of years away from the sport. The longer he has been able to stay injury-free, the better he has gotten. And, boy, has he gotten faster. His key to success has been consistent drills and exercises to keep his lower extremities strong; it has not been more miles.

Apparently, less is more. Perhaps I should heed his advice if I plan on a running career of any longevity.

Since we arrived in Bend this afternoon, the hotel designated as race headquarters has been bustling with fit runners jogging in packs all over the place. From Atlanta, New Jersey, Colorado, Boston and all places in between, they arrive at Bend for the big showdown tomorrow.

I’ve done some preparation for this race, but I know it is far from adequate. This was made obvious to me as I chatted with Chuck in my effort to keep him awake as we made our way down I-5 well after midnight last night.

Considering that, you won’t see me standing in the shallow end of the outdoor pool in freezing Bend after my run to get an improvised “ice bath” like two guys I see wearing NYAC (New York Athletics Club) gear.

I have done some of the perfunctory things that real racers do:

1. I’ve tapered my workouts this week in order to feel just a little fresher at the start line.

2. I went to Run26 and got a sports massage in order to get the little knots out of my muscles.

3. I even bought a pair of cross country racing spikes — complete with neon green nylon and a neon orange Nike swoosh — while I was in the store.

4. And to top my preparation off, I went into Everett Sports Performance to have my calves scraped with the painful, but very effective, rehab tool called Astym that scrapes away scar tissue in my calves and arch.

All of this done in a last-minute, desperate act to give myself “the edge.” But, it is definitely not enough.

Maybe I should go stand in that ice-cold pool for at least five minutes.

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Most Read