I’ve always been drawn to the penultimate.
That moment or chapter or verse or whatever before the final thing.
Ski tips over the edge of a double black diamond as inertia gives way to gravity. That moment when you reach for the ring in your pocket, get down on one knee and hope it turns out OK. Those few seconds of countdown before Ken Chlouber pulls the shotgun trigger at 4 AM in Leadville signaling 30 hours of sweet hell to come.
That’s living. Every year of running has felt like that.
I’d been pretty much indestructible. Until I wasn’t.
Iliac stress fracture and torn hip labrum in the early months of the year knocked me out of a 10th Boston Marathon and resulted in my first DNF at Western States.
What’s the opposite of penultimate? Google was stumped.
Spellcheck frowns when you type postultimate.
I made a word.
When does the postultimate show up and how does it manifest? One year ago, none of us knew that the WE HEART LEADVILLE sign in the August 2017 photo at the top of this post would be rubble today.
Experts say you can improve your running PRs for up to 10 years from the onset and I believe that to be true. Hit my high water mark in the marathon after about 8 or 9 years. That was 8 or 9 years ago. Still, when I toe the line, delusions of grandeur take hold of my hand and pull me to Mile 16 where they pat me on the rear and turn me over to Satan’s burning hell.
It’s never easy, but there does come a time when the mind is strong but the flesh has peaked. The postultimate zone.
2017 was a tough year but I don’t know if I am quite postultimate yet. And if I am, THANK GOD FOR AGE GRADING.
Napa Marathon next weekend. It will take a 3:35 to qualify for Boston 2018 and I give myself about a 10% shot of that happening. But you never know.
I love the penultimate.
Since it’s almost March 2018, I guess it’s time to wrap up 2107 since we last talked:
June 2017 – Sixth Annual Grandma’s Marathon DOUBLE
For the first five years of the double, Ben McCaux was the only other person to toe the line at 3 AM. This year we reached the tipping point with EIGHT runners and ONE T-Rex joining in on the fun. Congrats to all! It was a blast. See you in June 2018.
July 2017 – Western States 100
Gawd, it was hot. 106 degrees in the
valleys hollows canyons. Rolled the dice. Snake eyes.
August 2017 – Leadville 100 Trail Run
This one was special. Amazing crew and pacers. Starting and finishing with your son. Priceless.
October 2017 – Chicago Marathon
3:42:34, missed a BQ by 2 mins 35 secs and it was ugly.
November 2017 – Wildwood Trail Marathon
Inaugural run of my hometown Wildwood Marathon. Loved this course. No doubt this one will become a tradition.
December 2017 – Merry Christmas
Well, let’s finish up with Tami, the one-take wonder tickling the ivories.
OK, that’s enough of that. Let’s go for a run.