I am just a cowboy, lonesome on the trail

Roll me over and let me go
riding in the rodeo.
— the prophet Philip Parris Lynott

It’s not my first rodeo.

Zappo’s facebook feed sends me a marathon plan. I figure if you can’t trust Zappo, who CAN you trust, although he was the least funny of the Marx Brothers. After singing “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” to myself and the cat, who is not impressed in the least, it occurs to me. This Is A Sign.

Whiskey Row is in early May, maybe 20 weeks or so. The plan is for 16, allowing for a decent ramp-up before it formally begins and I am required to run in a tux. I go to the trash file and pull up the old marathon training plan. I change the dates, count back, clean the mileage and type in the new plan. Time for a new rodeo at last!

It works out incredibly well. There’s a weekly speed day that falls on Saturday, so the quest for the perfect 5K can go on while still getting in marathon mileage. It alternates between four and five days, which I suspect I need as my body limps into the sunset.

I tweak the details for a while and let it sit till the morning. Pulling it up with my morning coffee in last night’s wine glass, I am impressed. This could work. Every other week’s long run is on a steady climb to mimic the race, either South Mountain or Mt. Ord, both of which are easily accessed on my day off. Specificity of training. Always, specificity of training.

The mileage isn’t too ambitious, but enough to get me by. I have enough races in the bank that it’s not mentally daunting. And it’s Whiskey Row, my favorite race in the world. This was Meant To Be.

I throw on the Zantes and head to the waterfall course, rejuvenated by this new goal. There’s an SRP party at the start/finish line. They have bagels. I assume I will be invited for the traditional post-run buffet. It’s all coming together.

I hit the start button for the First Day of My Training and take off down the dirt path paralleling the canal. As I settle into my pace, I remember the one thing missing from my plan:

I can’t run.

I fade into the trot/walk cadence, with much more walk than trot. I can’t breathe. A large monkey rides on my back. I have no accordion. The monkey heart simply won’t work; my legs don’t turn over. Primus fails to jump start the run. If Les Claypool can’t make you run, you can’t run.

I shuffle through my 5k. Although I’m pushing threshold pace the entire distance, it’s barely a walk. They offer me no bagel at the finish line.

I go home and move the training plan back to the trash file. I promise myself I won’t do this again.

Till the next time.

Roll me over, and set me free
the cowboy’s life is the life for me

It’s not my first rodeo. It’s not my rodeo at all.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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