Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chapter 12: Last Run of Camp

Beads of Sweat is a book about running.  It's fiction.  To check out previous chapters, click on the Fiction tab up top.  

          Instead of on the Green, he told them to meet at the XC starting line at 0800.  They complied and despite the lethargy in their legs managed a playful banter all around.  This was the last run of camp week and they all had survived. 

            Hartman mysteriously appeared from the woodline ten minutes after eight.  He had a good sweat on his body and kept his jog on.

            -Are you guys stretched out yet?
            -Well sorta.
            -It’s ten passed.  What have you been doing?  Let’s go.  Follow me.

            He circled round them and made his way toward the dirt road some two hundred meters in the distance.  The team quickly caught up but no one passed him.  He spoke on the move.

            -We’re running the course today.  Twice.  You’ll do it once with me and once on your own.
            -You’re only doing it once,  Galiozzi asked.
            -Three times, he said.  I’ve already done it twice this morning. 
            Torres elbowed Gales on one side and Deo did the same on the other. 
            -So we’re running a 10k today.  That’s double the distance of any race you’ll run this year.  That’s a good thing.

He ran a few meters in silence.  As did the team.

-Now the first 5k is a controlled progression.  That’s why I’m running with you.  I’ve been studying the course and the pace this morning so I’m in tune with it.  We’re going 7:30, 7:15, 7:00.  Then I’m letting you loose.  You’re going to run the last 5k hard but controlled.  Each mile should be faster than the next.  Last mile is your fastest.
-Did you mark the miles,  Jenkins asked.
-Didn’t mark them.  I’m going to tell you where they are.  So pay attention. 

As they listened, they watched him.  Watched his form.  Checked him out.  Sized him up to see if he was a do-as-I–say-not-as-I-do type of man.  They searched for imperfections of which they could privately criticize and heckle.  To Spidestrom, his left ankle seemed to rotate inwards a little funny, but when he mentioned it to Hamz, he got the impression that there was a story behind that rotation.  Spider didn’t mention it again.  Still, in private, they all searched him.  Maybe his sweat lines ran funny.   Maybe he wore his socks too high.  Maybe he gassed as he ran.

-Now study the course when you’re out there.  Make it your homework.  We run here in October.  Maybe November too.  Our first big meet of the year.  Our last big meet of the year.  Pay attention now and your legs will remember it.  It’ll help you in the race.

They ran in a tightly knit pack floating along over the hills that they would struggle with the second time around.  He told them about landmarks and move spots and where runners weakened.  Told them where they needed to be mentally tough and around what corners to surge.  Try it out this morning he told them.  Soon enough they were coming down the homestretch and the boys pushed him to a sub 7:00 pace. 

-Okay men, I’m about to set you loose.  I’m timing you over the last 5k and I’ll see you at the halfway mark.  Remember that each mile is a little faster than the last one.  Be smart.  Pay attention out there.
He eased up as he crossed the finish line and Jenkins et al turned on the gas.  They were itching to go.

-Don’t go crazy now, he yelled.  6:45, 6:30, 6:15.

He wondered if they heard him.  They didn’t look back.  They just marched out toward the dirt road. Already Jenkins gapped his teammates.  Torres and Hammond followed closely in a two-pack with Spidestrom, Smitty, Deo, and Coetaine in arrears.  Hartman knew he’d have to hustle to see Jenkins at the halfway mark then back again at the finish line.  He checked his watch then headed for the old wooden bridge.

He arrived with a minute to spare.  Jenkins was first to pass.

-Watch that head bob.  Lookin good.  Keep it smooth.

Spider must have made a big move because he ran alone behind Jenkins but in front of everyone else.

Next came Torres and Hamz.
-Help each other now.  Hamz: relax those shoulders.  Torres: you do some of the work now.
As Coetaine passed, he grumbled and spit.  He had fallen off the pace.
-Come on now Sam.  It’s like churnin butter.  Keep it movin.

He watched them all go by, even the last two freshmen, Buck and Lee.  Because he waited for the two stragglers, he had to bust his hump to catch Jenkins before he crossed the finish line.  As he did, Hartman yelled out the time and Jenkins clicked off his watch.

-The middle sucked but the end was okay. 
-You got to watch that head bob.  It’s a dead give away.

Jenkins just walked away.  He had to cool out.  Hartman let him go.  Spiderstrom sprinted in full blast and Hartman chided him for it.  Next up: Torres, Smitty, and Hammond, each with a few meters between the other.    Galiozzi was running well and Paws was clicking at his heels.  Kimihara ran the splits just as Hartman had called for, 6:45, 30, 15.  Wallan passed Coetaine in the last mile and the latter struggled into the finish and collapsed on the grass when he crossed the line, but not before ripping off his t-shirt.  Sellberg tried to catch Coetaine but to no avail.  Hartman yelled at him too for this unprescribed sprint.  Some of the guys had already started stretching when Buck and Lee crossed the line.  Their progression run was more like a regression.  They ran slower each mile.  Still, Hartman encouraged them. Paws told them they did a good job.  Kimihara and Torres did too.

-Alright you guys.  Good job.  Everyone survived the week.  I have t-shirts for you in the van.

This got a whoop and a cheer from the team.  Although he never mentioned it and they didn’t dare to either, the coach had a tradition of giving out survivial t-shirts at the end of camp week.  He made the team wear them during hard workouts as a token of their solidarity.  Wearing the t-shirt, he also told them, required a refined deportment, and anyone acting like an asshole, his word, would relinquish his shirt. 

Hartman gave the crew one hour to shower and pack up their belongings.  I’m leaving with the van in sixty-one minutes he told them.  They scurried.

Training Camp 5k: Starkfield State XC Course



Glenn said...

Yee haw!!!!

Glenn said...

P.S. That means I'm excited for the real season to begin!

Muddy said...

True dat...I like that Torres kid's chances for a solid season.

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