Saturday, September 02, 2006

From Benevolence to Malevolence. A sad jacket's journey from virtue to villainy.

Foul fiend! Lowest earthworm, you slithering snake of rotten humanity! May your flesh be seared painfully with the words Boston Marathon 2003 as you burn in hell. May the wages of your thievery be pagan curses of living torment from your oxycodone abuse and alcohol poisoning. You worthless delinquent. My compliments to your mother. Maybe she'd like the water bottle. You forgot to take it.

Today was the end of long happy life of my 2003 Boston Marathon jacket. It was one of those nylon wind jackets I like to wear when the temperatures are a little chilly but you end up removing after a few minutes. It was a good jacket, not valuable, and I have three of them (two now).

I've used the jacket quite a bit and even sacrificed it one day at a half marathon in New Brunswick. I had started the race in the jacket because it was chilly, but after a couple of miles I was too hot and had to discard it on a guardrail. An out & back course, I intended on picking it up on the way back. But as it would happen, I was racing too hard on a rather steep downgrade to pause and collect the coat. Also, it had blown off of the guardrail and down a steep embankment. When I finished, I realized I was not going to be able to retrieve the jacket as the park the race was in was closed for the season and it was too far to walk in to get. I was disappointed, but chalked it up to poor planning and the cost of the race, if you will. Sometimes we lose some clothing at races. I know I have donated running gloves at Holyoke in 2005 and a pair of my daughter's pink mittens at mile 23 in Cape Cod the same year. (Mark, pick these up will you when you go by?) Many a time, I see runners wearing 'discardable' overwear at race starts when the weather is particularly unpleasant. Sweatshirts line the beginning miles of many a marathon.

After the half marathon where I had left the jacket, Mike received an email asking if anyone had lost a Boston Marathon jacket. Knowing that I did, he let them know I was the owner and they kindly said they would hold it at The Running Room store in Saint John, NB. Not only was that very kind of them, it was over a month before I had reason to be back in Saint John and when I went into the store, they still had it! Not only this. When I went in, I recognized the clerk as Bruce, the #3 finisher in the race. Of course, I couldn't recall his name. But he looked up and said, "Andy, right?". What a memory. So I ask about the jacket and another shopper in the store looks up and says, "Yeah Bruce, it's in the back. I found it and brought it in." So the jacket was restored and the runners of Saint John, New Brunswick are high on my list of good people.

But this morning, my run was disrupted by the lowlife that pinched my jacket as it lay underneath my water bottle at the 1 mile marker of the Sipayik Trail at the Pleasant Point Indian Reservation. I would have thought that the criminals were sound asleep at 7:00am but this one must have been just making his way home on his bicycle - since he looked rather dazed at the sunrise as I ran by him. (The trail connects one side of the reservation with another, thus making it a convenient thru-way).

The mission this morning was 10 miles with speed - meaning a 10 mile distance run but structured so I get a little speed in there. I enjoyed the 1200 meter repeats last week and came up with the bright idea of doing mile repeats on this trail. It is fairly flat, paved with soft tar, and usually quite empty of people early in the morning. Eric had let me know the other day that the trail was now marked every 1/10 of a mile. Plus it is a beautiful spot on earth, right along the sea with salt air and easy breezes.

I parked at one end of the trail (remind me to lock the car next time) and jogged easily out the trail. Sure enough, new markings were on the pavement and the 1 mile marker was just about where I always thought 1 mile should be. The entire length of the trail is 1.8 miles. So I traversed the length and came back to the mile marker. I removed my jacket and left a water bottle there. The plan was to do three repeats and fill the rest of the 10 with recovery running. As it turned out, I did two, (the second passing the perp), and as I made my way back to the mile marker I was debating with myself about doing the third.

Then I came upon the scene. Deflation is the only term I can think of. The jerk took my jacket. I stood there amazed. Why take it? I wouldn't take yours. The mere fact of its lack of value told me the act was pure malevolence. Evil. My water bottle was still there. I was disgusted with this place. Here I am, in a community of 2000 people at the most, and I can't leave a simple nylon coat underneath a water bottle safely for 10 minutes? You have to be joking. This episode took the wind out of my sails and I didn't feel like churning out another mile so I jogged on to the end of the trail thinking I'd just finish out 10 and be done.

My eyes started to wander looking, perhaps, for the practical joke of finding my jacket in a tree, or thrown onto the shore. I started to notice symptons of decay I hadn't noticed before. Like the several carcasses of bicycles in the bushes and grass. Stripped bare of parts with the shiny aluminum skeleton glinting in the morning sunlight. "No Motor Vehicles" signs shot up and vandalized. Swatiskas drawn in kid's chalk with other highlights of youthful imagination. My favorite was the "Home of the PP-Thugs" drawing. (Pleasant Point thugs - how cute).

As I approached back at the scene of baseness, I suddenly had the urge to do the final 3rd repeat and just leave the water bottle as a kiss off. So I pressed through the mile to the car followed by a .8 cooldown to log an even 10 miles and I drove home. So ends my story of the abducted Boston marathon jacket. Maybe I'll see a ransom note in the next Quoddy Tides.

The good news: the mile repeats went better than expected.

1st in 5:24
2nd in 5:25
3rd in 5:35

These high miles are starting to help with the speed. I'm not getting tired midway through the repeat anymore.


Blogger Hunter said...

These are fast miles! Andrew, what time are you aiming for the coming marathon?

9/03/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Andrew - Nice opening paragraph! I always new you had it in you.

Too bad about the jacket, don't let the scum get you down.

Nice miles.

9/03/2006 10:28 AM  

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