Monday, September 17, 2012

Made to be broken

Liberty Bell Invitational
Records are made to be broken, so I have been told. I was never one to keep track of records or times. The only racing times of mine that I remember are my fastest 10K road race and my Pikes Peak Ascent time, 35:04 and 2:39 respectively. I probably already mentioned that my fastest 5K time was in a 10K race, but I don't know what it was. The other day, I was tagged in someone's Facebook photo of Jordyn Colter winning the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. She ran an incredible 17:01, breaking the previous record of 17:33.8 set two years ago by Elanor Fulton. Elanor broke my 25-year-old record on that course in 2010 by running less than a second faster than I did in 1985. I learned all this today. Originally, the poster of the photo thought it was my record of 17:34 that fell this year. I'm embarrassed that I didn't even know I had a course record still standing in 2009, and wasn't aware that it had been broken in 2010 either. I sort of figured Melody Fairchild had broken all my course records, but I guess one was left untouched all those years. Oddly, I had a sense of sadness knowing that my time was no longer the fastest on that course, even though it's really cool to see young girls running so well these days and even though I didn't know the record was still standing several years ago. I believe I still have a few school records in place at Fairview High, but I could be wrong. That's terrible that I'm so clueless when it comes to my times and records, but when I ran in high school, I was less about the time and more about battling my own limitations and demons. My coach kept track of times, distances and events, so I could focus on running.

If I'm not mistaken, and I'm sure I could be with a mess of so many past cross country races jumbled in my brain, the Liberty Bell Invitational was my comeback race in 1985. I was just off a HUGE injury, a stress fracture in my pubic bone. This was no hair-line crack either. I was running on a sore foot, and the limp practically pulled my pelvis apart. I was down with the doctor telling me I may never run again. When I started back, I eased into a few races, winning the smaller ones, but the Liberty Bell race was a major race. Elaine Strickland was on the scene that year, and she had no problem tearing up race courses in the area. She looked tough, and I was a little unnerved before the start of the race. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering a little too wildly, so I wasn't feeling very well when the gun went off and Elaine bolted to the lead position. My legs felt like lead as I struggled in no-man's land in between two packs of runners early in the race. Slowly, I began to gain on the lead pack, passing a few people, then a few more, until I could see Elaine up front. I don't know if any of you have had a moment in a race when things click, but I had such a moment in that race. I felt something switch, and my feelings of being overwhelmed and in over my head were replaced by a sense of power and control. Somewhere inside me, a fire was reignited, and I surged with everything I had, passing Elaine with about 800 to go and winning the race.


My foot seems to be doing better. The injection site is sore, but I can feel that I'm limping less when I run, which is awesome. I can't believe how much pain I was in before the cortisone. Now the discomfort is more manageable, much more manageable. My pelvis is thanking me for running with a more even stride.

I had fun tonight when I volunteered to help out at a little race for kids. The program is called Land Sharks, and I ended up being one of the race officials. Kids are funny when it comes to racing. I was directing the young runners on the course and said many encouraging words. Knowing that adults rarely respond to the cheering crowd, I was a little surprised when many of the kids had some interesting comebacks. There were about 10 youngsters who said, "thank you," in response to "good job!" A few little ones said, "I know" when I mentioned that they were almost done. There were also some tears, laughter and complaints of being tired. I was happy to see Bobby McGee there with his little boy. A former training buddy was there with his kid too. Fun times, for sure.

Oh! And my little prize from the race arrived in the mail! It was a bit late, but very much appreciated. I didn't even have to beg for it.

I'm too tired to edit this, so excuse any mistrakes. :P


  1. I was thinking about you and records recently - but certainly not in the context of Liberty Bell. Congrats for holding a solid record for so long!

    I was wondering about your take on the Dobson PPA CR.

    1. Thank you, GZ!

      Well, I don't know Kim and haven't followed her racing career at all, so I'm probably not one to ask. It was a bit of a shock to see her go from a 2:41 to a 2:35 in one year. In one article, I think she said something about her pace scaring her, and I would imagine being on that kind of a pace would scare me too. In short, her time is insane.

      I always have mixed emotions when that record gets broken, mostly because I feel so out of the loop. I don't think the new record will be touched for a long time, but running is a different sport these days. I could be wrong, because training, racing, equipment and recovery methods are all very different now than they were in the 80's. People are healthier and seem to be smarter about running. Women are making huge improvements in the sport and are given more opportunities, so it's possible that times will continue to drop at a radical rate.

  2. Yours was a good record. You were quick! Don't know anything about Pikes Peak, but that sounds good too. You mentioned Melody Fairchild - did you see she placed highly in the World Mountain Running Champs recently? I think top-10 and she must be over 40. She was well ahead of the best Aussie (a top runner around here).

    1. Thank you, Ewen! I caught up with Melody before she left and again when she returned. She had a great summer of racing, indeed. It's really cool to see her still doing so well.


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