Left, Right, Obliterate!

Obliterate: transitive verb, to remove utterly from recognition or memory, to remove from existence, destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of.

I’ve been teaching a Sunday School class on fitness and nutrition. I’m not a nutritionist or a certified fitness instructor, but I have just enough experience in these areas to be a danger to myself and others. So, someone perhaps with no more sense than I asked me to teach a class. I agreed to do it because one of my passions is to see others realize the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise and also because I have difficulty knowing when to say no. My hope, my prayer is that I can encourage even one person to live a healthier life, that even one person would be blessed, not for my benefit, but that God would be glorified. I’m also not a Bible scholar, but with God’s help even I can tie in Biblical principles on healthy living. Along with the Bible I have been using “High Performance Health” by James M. Rippe, MD as a reference to teach this class. I have found that whenever I try to be a blessing to others I somehow wind up being blessed as much or more than those I have tried to help. Teaching this class has been no different.

Dr. Rippe outlines 10 actions steps for turning your life around and moving toward what he calls high performance living. Step 2 is: “Connect with your body and mind.” The idea is to visualize success, engage in positive self talk, when you exercise use a simple meditation phrase “left, right”, “one, two”, etc. A few years ago at a seminar on how to mentally prepare for a marathon a sport psychologist used the term “no stinkin’ thinkin’.” Don’t dwell on negative thoughts, focus on the positive. Don’t let your mind get in the way of your body doing what it is capable of doing. Anyway, to make a long story short all week long I had been thinking about this stuff preparing for class, but I didn’t really think about it with regard to this race until I was in the car Saturday morning driving to the race. I was visualizing my mile split times. I was visualizing beating my old PR by a couple minutes. Out of nowhere the word obliterate popped into my mind. Yes, I would obliterate my old PR! Two minutes? Ok, perhaps obliterate is a little too strong, but I have to go with the word I was given, not some other word I wish I had.

I checked in, got my t-shirt, number and timing chip and headed back to my car which was parked about 50 feet from the start line. That my friends is reason enough to run the Costa instead of the Mini. About 40 minutes before the start I ate a chocolate hammer gel and headed out for a warm up run. I ran about 1-1/2 miles and was feeling pretty good. I returned to my car, stretched a little, and stripped off the warm up clothes. I was a little chilled in my singlet and shorts, but I was also wearing gloves and arm warmers and the sun was shining so I knew it would get warmer. I bumped into a few friends. One asked me what I hoped to do. Finish, not go out too fast and burn out in the first mile, maybe run a 1:34 or so.

One, two, three, go! At 7:08 the first mile was about 13 seconds faster than my PR pace, but it felt great! It didn’t feel too fast at all. In fact it would wind up being my slowest mile of the day. Mile 2 mostly flat, 6:51. Maybe I should pull the throttle back a smidgeon. Mile 3, pretty much up hill all the way, 7:07, throttle down? Not so much. Now I can see fellow trail runner Vernie up ahead. I rarely finish ahead of Vernie, if I can just keep him in sight. Mile 4, 6:56. I still feel great, but I have 9 miles to go. What if I burn out? Say it with me, NO STINKIN’ THINKIN’. Don’t even think about that. If it happens it happens.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

I can do this. I need a meditation phrase. Left, right. Left, right, obliterate. Yes, I will maintain this pace and obliterate my PR. Left, right obliterate. I pass Vernie who it turns out isn’t having such a great day. Mile 5, 6:56. Mile 6, 7:00, still feeling pretty good, left, right, obliterate. Mile 7, 7:04, am I losing it? No stinkin, thinkin, left, right, obliterate, left, right, obliterate. Mile 8, 1st half up hill, 2nd half down hill, 6:51. I still have it! Now back on course with the ¼ marathoners, who are at mile 3 so I’m dodging walkers and beginning to pass halfers who are fading, both of which help to recharge me. Left, right, obliterate! Mile 9, 6:45, holy cow, my fastest mile of the day. I get all choked up, how truly blessed I am, thank you God. I pass the point where my calf blew out last year. No stinkin thinkin, left, right, obliterate. Mile 10, 6:48, left, right, obliterate. Mile 11, 6:47, legs are feeling it, but only 2 miles to go. Completely forgot about the endurolytes in my pocket, oh well, too late now. Left, right, obliterate, passing more runners who are fading. Been there done that and I feel their pain. Left, right, obliterate. Mildly concerned that I’m having trouble getting the footing correct. My drill sergeant would not be happy, who cares. Left, right, obliterate. Mile 12, 6:50. Only one mile to go and it’s up hill all the way. I don’t care, I’m going to give it everything I have, left, right, obliterate. Mile 13, 6:50, just a little more up hill then push hard to the finish. Left, right, obliterate. Finish, 1:30:34. I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I ran the last tenth of a mile at a 6:01 pace. The last 5k was only 18 seconds slower than my last 5k race time. Performance wise, this year’s Sam Costa was one of my best races ever, probably the very best ever. I finished 32 out of 447 over all and 4 out of 36 in my age group.

I don’t know if obliterate is the right word to describe what I did to my PR, which was 1:36:14, set at last year’s Costa, but obliterate was definitely the right word for my meditation. Please feel free to use it in your next race. Run Happy!

Next race is April 11th, back on the trails for the Qdoba DINO Series 15k at Washington Township Park in Avon.

2 responses to “Left, Right, Obliterate!

  1. You said it: Holy Cow!!!!

    Ever had thoughts of qualifying for Boston?

    • My last road marathon was December 2008 in Sacramento. I ran a 3:31:26, missing my BQ time by 27 seconds. I’ve been thinking about BQ ever since. I think I now have the confidence to BQ at my next road marathon in Buffalo, May 30th. Of course I still have to get the training in between now and then.

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