Sunday, June 11, 2017

Green Jewel 50K: Danny Boy Strikes Again

If only spring could have lasted one more day. Even though the calendar indicates that we have another ten days, it sure felt like summer all at once, after the cool weather for the past week.

4:04. Danny Boy hits the split button on his watch to record the time that he achieved the marathon distance. That’s not too awful, he thinks. Now he only has five miles to go at the 2017 Green Jewel 50K. If Danny Boy can only manage ten, or even eleven-minute miles for this last little bit, two good things would happen: a) Danny Boy would finish in under five hours, and this is important for some reason that he cannot manage to articulate right now, and b) Danny Boy would be finished, off his feet and out of this blasted heat. The problem is that in his heart of hearts, Danny Boy knows that even this relatively pedestrian pace, and therefore the a sub-five finish, is not going to happen today.

Did we mention the heat? This year the Green Jewel reversed course to go from Brecksville to Rocky River, and also changed months, from March to June. Now, instead of rain or ice, we have brain-baking heat and humidity. And such warmth wouldn’t be so bad if Danny Boy had been used to it. But after a cool May and early June, he’s definitely not acclimated.

Did we also mention that Danny Boy absolutely loves the Cleveland Metroparks, through which this the Green Jewel traverses? So much so, that he has run several of them, including the very first one, and also last year’s edition.

Said Metroparks are as beautiful as ever today, but Danny Boy is having some amount of difficulty appreciating them as the race is progressing. It’s tough to look around and enjoy one’s surroundings as one is nearly facing the ground as part of one’s marathon shuffle. And these final five miles in Rocky River Reservation are arguably the most scenic of the bunch.

The morning had started well enough. Danny Boy had been well aware that the early hills would be tough, and they didn’t disappoint. Once they were done however, he had quickly recovered, and was rolling along, talking with friends, and enjoying himself. A 2:20 first half was not bad at all. But that was about the point when it began to get really hot.

An hour goes by. And then some. Danny Boy shuffles along, and manages to finish the race. The final five were a real struggle, however, and as he had suspected, extremely, even sufferingly slow. The clock says 5:15. It’s a relief to be out of the heat.

Danny Boy had a lot of time to think in those five plus hours. Therein, he resolved to no longer, at least for the near future, harbor any thoughts about running longer distances. Running, after all, is stupid.

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