Monday, September 17, 2012

Keeping up with my Mom, almost

The genes are similar, but my facial drag makes this match-up unfair.
Surgery +23 weeks. My mother came to visit me for her birthday this weekend. She pretended that a visit to my house would be relaxing and a nice break from the daily hustle of work. She said she missed me and had not visited for awhile. I know better. She came to run me into the ground. She came for payback. I talked her into the Camp Croft trail 1/2 marathon for our annual race in 2011. She trained on sidewalks in South Carolina and I trained in Umstead on Company Mill trail. She had never run single track and I let her run it in street trainers. We scouted the course the day previous to the race and found a lovely park trail 3 feet wide and paved with bunny fur. I assured her it would be fine. I helped her calculate her pace. We were conservative and targeted for a time 10 minutes faster than her most recent street 1/2 marathon PR.

Just fun.
The Camp Croft 1/2 start ran right past the bunny fur lined trail and dumped us on a bridle trail last maintenanced before I made the switch to solid foods. As soon as I decided she would be ok on it, we switched to non-stop singletrack cut into a mountain, imported specially for the race. My mother's training had peaked at a 14 mile long run 3 weeks prior on a sidewalk tracing HWY 81. Near mile 1, and with large unblinking honest eyes, I told the sweet woman who gave birth to me that she would be fine. That race almost broke her. At the finish, she looked a little like Rocky after 15 rounds with Apollo in the first film. She finished on will power and had nothing left in the tank. She had IT Band issues for months after the race. And just like in a Rocky film, she rebuilt herself stronger and hungry for another bout. She was pretty much back to her normal millage and race schedule when I had my tendon repair.

Just yuck.

As I lay on my back following surgery, my mother montaged. I elevated my foot to combat swelling, she jumped rope. I dragged my booted foot to the kitchen, she moved to Siberia and ran through 2 foot thick snow. Short one arm for balance, I learned to shower with one hand, she did one handed push-ups. I heard she raced on a beach in sweat pants. I know she chased a chicken. I am pretty sure she was drinking raw eggs from a jelly jar. 

She waited until I got my long run back up to 6.5 miles and, then unable to hold back vengeance any longer, she pounced. Under the clever guise of a birthday, my dear mother who dried my tears as a child, arrived ready for her 11 miler in Umstead. We parked at the new equestrian lot and were able to run a piece of almost every bridle path. I wore an Umstead marathon shirt to intimidate her. I made it 8 miles before throwing in the towel. We finished back at the lot and she ran the 1 mile one-way loop 3 times to finish her long run. My mom, who helped me with homework for years, literally ran 3 victory laps as I walked a cool down in the opposite direction. I have 5 weeks until we run the Spinx half marathon in Greenville, SC together. I have decided to beat her. I am going to cheat. I am thinking about using feral Whippets for shoes? Perhaps an ACME jet-pack? If she is the Rocky character, I guess that makes me Apollo. How did he make out long term anyway?

They are trying to resuscitate me directly behind the fire engine.  

It was great finally getting up to 8 miles. It was fantastic to have great company. I love running with my mother. While training, we have talked about the most significant aspects of life and sometimes the most inane. Sometimes at the same time. We live pretty far apart. I realize how lucky we are for these few opportunities and try to enjoy them to the fullest. This run was 65 degrees and nearly perfect. As an insulin dependent diabetic at this distance, I have to pack a lot of gear. And bonus, my mother is a T1 diabetic too. As veterans of handi-capable running we can carry enough insulin, testing supplies, and fast acting carbohydrates to equip a small country hospital in a belt the size of a tube sock. It can get a bit noisy as you rattle down hills, but somehow we still saw 2 deer on maintenance road. We fjorded the water at Cedar Creek. And then read the warning on the other side advising us of the 90,000 gallons of spilled sewage upstream. We shared the coldest low carb beer I can remember after her victory laps. A pretty perfect day, at my favorite place to run, with my mom, the woman who ran me into the ground.

My mom stopped to pose as she lapped me.

We had so much fun, we came back the next day to hike Sycamore trail in the rain. Happy birthday Mom!



  1. Completely excellent post! And what the heck was the fire truck doing in Umstead?!

    1. I called ahead for medical aid. I thought they were for me. They dropped the road block post, but then stayed parked on the road. We ran by them, but never saw where they went. It was driving me crazy wondering what they were up to. I bet some city worker has found a really nice place to eat lunch.

  2. Ahhh the sheer hilarity of this blog post... Glad to have you on back on the trails. Clearly you got your sense of humor from your mom!!

  3. You should be glad she's playing Rocky and not Drago and we are only up to Rocky II. This way you only have to get tko'd in the 15th, instead of dying in the ring. On the bright side, you'll be retiring after this race for the next five years. or maybe that's a bad thing... Congrats on 8 miles of trails! That's worth at least 12 miles of flat.

  4. Andrew, you have watched a lot of Rocky. I will try to think of Cobra or Cliff Hanger references next time. R u doing Medoc?

    1. No Medoc for me. I've got the Spartan Beast on 10/13 and the Tough Mudder on 10/27. I'm horribly out of shape, so they should be extra fun this year!