Monday, May 25, 2009

No Bull

This is no BS.  Yesterday six of us got up really early and ran a beautiful 16-mile segment of The Finger Lakes Fifties Ultras course in The Finger Lakes National Forest in Hector, NY.  I happened to be leading the way at about  the 10-mile mark and when I looked up I was staring at a gi-normous black bull that was blocking the trail staring right at us and not looking too terribly afraid of our lively pack of ultra runners (we all are pretty damn skinny anyway!).  I must admit that I stopped and relinquished the position of lead runner and was scoping out some possible trees to climb if he decided to make a charge.  I doubted that would happen though and Michael ran toward him flailing his arms and yelling and he reluctantly moved on crashing through the woods.  As we continued by I congratulated the bull for escaping somehow and told him to run for his life..."You're freeeeee.....runnnnn!!!!!! Enjoy!!!!"  

In all seriousness I don't know how he got out because we made sure 
to securely fasten all the gates as we traversed some of the course's cow pastures (even the motto for the race is "Don't let the cows out!"). This course is very unique and it borders and runs through beautiful rolling green pastures that overlook Seneca Lake.  It is a nice mixture of single-track trails, pastures, gravel road, and snowmobile trails.  In 2007 this was site of my first ultra and I really enjoy being out in these woods as it is only 30 minutes from home. This year the race falls on the 4th of July and I hope for it to be my next ultra (50k at least...hopefully the 50-miler) as I rehab my injury.  I felt very good this week and this long run really boosted my confidence as I am building back up.

You can learn more about the event on Race Director Christine Reynolds' blog HERE
or at The Finger Lakes Runners Club website under race calendar HERE

So I looked up the symbolic meaning of a bull since I am an omen kind of guy and came up with this:  "The bull is a much-revered among Celtic animals, with several different translations. Mostly, the Celtic bull symbolizes of strong will, uncompromising, and even belligerent the bull stands for unbending, stubborn personality traits – leading up to the term "bull-headed."
I like to think that this bull symbolized the strong will, stubborn, "never say die" attitude needed for ultra running.  In fact one of the people that was with us yesterday was Nancy Kleinrock who decided NOT to give up at mile 20 of a 30-mile race on a hot humid day just the day before.  I know you don't believe in omen's Nancy but...hey...pretty cool huh!?  Way to be bull-headed and finish Highland Forest!

On a different and more sad note I would like to pay tribute to a friend that we lost on Saturday night.  Diane Sherrer who was a sports writer for the Ithaca Journal and Star Gazette and Finger Lakes Runners Club member passed away Saturday evening as she finally submitted to lung cancer.  I got a chance to meet Diane over the last couple of years as she interviewed me for articles and hung around races.  She was such a warm and endearing woman and a brave soul. We had a bond because we were both SUNY Cortland Red Dragons and I can still hear her telling me..." are a champion".  She will be sorely missed in this area but her enthusiasm and passion will live on.

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