The Break Commences

Ryan and I wrapped up our final run today prior to his surgery tomorrow morning. We ran our original 5k route one last time, which included the entire path in the subdivision. Like our run Friday and Sunday morning prior to church, we took it easy.

Thursday’s Turkey Burn 5k was the last time we were concerned with time and the pace. These last three runs (Friday, Sunday and this morning) were just about enjoying running. It didn’t matter if we ran or walked.

Since we were informed the condition of his toe had gotten bad enough to require the operation, I had decided to take out all the major inclines we normally would run.

During last Friday’s run, when we ran to the Center Grove cross country team’s hill course and another subdivision adjacent to it, was the first time we had run any hills since the middle of October.

We ran to several of our favorite places along routes we have run from time-to-time. We stopped periodically to take pictures and just to make sure we weren’t overdoing it in regard to Ryan’s foot.



The sign on the “St. Francis Hill of Pain” on Olive Branch Road.


I let him decide parts of the route on Friday. As we got to certain intersections or parts of our route, I asked him which direction we should go. When we got to an intersection to either go left to go around the lake or right to get home quicker, I knew he’d had enough as he said “right.”

Even though we had gotten out a little later than normal – thankful Wendy decided not to do school and I had one last Friday off at “The World on Time” before my busy season picks up – traffic on the two main roads we had to run on was non-existent. This was probably because people were east at the mall or had already ventured downtown to tailgate before Center Grove’s state championship game against Carmel (Trojans fell 16-13 in overtime).

The best part of the run was being side-by-side talking with Ryan. We talked about the race the previous day. We talked about him going to Kaleo that night. Although neither one of us wanted to talk about it, we did discuss his surgery and what we’ll do during his time off from running for approximately the next six weeks.

When the topic came up, we both voiced our concerns. He was having that “moment of clarity” I talk about. It was good having that Ryan with me for most of the 7.25 miles Friday.

I’m not a big fan of running on Sundays, but because the Turkey Burn was on Thursday, I adjusted our schedule to reflect as if Thursday was a Saturday. This meant running Sunday and Monday, Tuesday an off day, a light run Wednesday and the race Thursday.

I also had to adjust my Sunday morning pre-church routine. It normally begins pouring a cup of coffee at 5 a.m. watching Charles Stanley, then a local news station from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. followed by the first hour of my favorite NFL pre-game show. At 8 a.m., I’m heading upstairs to wake the rest of the family up unless I already have with laughter from either the news program or NFL show.

The last two Sundays it was up at 5 a.m. watch Stanley, the first 45 minutes of the news program, wake Ryan up, change into our running gear, then run a little more than three miles. After we stretched both of us went upstairs, I woke the rest of the family up and we got ready for church.

Much like our regular Saturday morning runs and the one on Friday, it was nice having nothing more than the dueling roosters being the only sounds we heard throughout the three miles.



It was nice having the roads pretty much to ourselves for a mid-morning run on Friday.


Monday’s final run was a lot different than the previous two runs from the weekend. You could tell people were heading back to work or school. There were several cars driving by us and others were backing out of their driveways.



Ryan ready to head out for his run.


It was perfect for Ryan because we were running in his favorite kind of conditions – rain. He enjoys it more than any other conditions we run in. He never has a serious look on his face. From beginning to end when he runs in the rain, Ryan smiles and laughs. “It’s just too much fun,” he says.

When we got to the part of the path that intersects with the entrance to the subdivision, Ryan began to turn left as we had for the better part of the last month. I looked at him and said, “Not today. Today, we go the original way.”

While we completed the second mile I told him our time and “This is it. Final mile.” We got back on Paddock Road and then made the turn on Wakefield Drive. With about a quarter mile left, I told for the last time this year, “it’s kick time. You got the six weeks off. Time to blow it out. We ran along the path on Wakefield Road. When we turned on Haywood Road I told him, “Kick it up a gear. Let’s get under 7:00 pace.”



Ryan finishing up his last run befoe his surgery.


We ended the 3.15 miles running a 6:30 pace.



The splits for Ryan’s last run before his surgery.


I handed him his water bottle off the hydration belt. We high fived. I told him the splits – negative again which since Oct. 1 had become the norm for any of the runs.Not counting Friday’s long run of 7.25 miles, we’ve had negative splits on all but two runs in November. As usual, he gave a pump of a fist and smiled.


Thursday morning we made it to Craig Park in Greenwood to run the sixth annual Turkey Burn. The proceeds of this race benefit a trust fund for the sons of Jamie Sue Gill Ramey, who passed away from stomach cancer in 2012.

There are three distances for the race – 5k, 10k and a 1.5-mile run/walk for all to enjoy. The course is basically a loop running around the Greenwood trail system. Once you leave the park the trail parallels with Smith Valley Road, Emerson Avenue and Main Street. It was one lap for the 5k and two for 10k.



The Turkey Burn 5k Course.


My running friend Colleen Wolford mentioned we should run the Turkey Burn last year, but we had already promised our football-watching friends the Hassee’s, we would run the Festive Four Mile Foot Fest at Perry Meridian High School.

Always looking to try new things, we decided this year to run with Wolford and her friends. We also got the Hassee’s to run with us when they were having trouble finding anything about registering for the Perry Meridian run.

As we arrived to pick up our bibs for the race several of the organizers approached us. “I see you two running every morning.” “Hey, it’s the runners from the paper and TV.” “So, Ryan, how often you beat your Dad?” One even asked me, “How in the world do you even keep up with him?”

We picked up our bibs and headed back to the car. The night before I plugged in the parameters of the weather into the Runner’s World “What to Wear” tool. It suggested short-sleeve shirts and shorts since we were “racing.” It was overcast, a tad windy and an air temperature of 43°.



One of the few to run in short sleeves and shorts at the Turkey Burn.


It was interesting that we were the only two in short sleeves. I felt like Mark Scott, who ran all three of the Indy Miler series races in a tank top and shorts during the three winter and spring. Most people were dressed like Ryan and I normally do when we have easy runs and the temperature dips below freezing.

Unlike Monumental when we wore shirts we shed and left in a pile on Capitol Avenue, we wore our long-sleeve shirts from the 500 Mini. We went back to the car to pin the bibs on the short-sleeve shirts we planned to wear for the race and leave the “warm-up” shirts in the car.

We met up with Wolford, her family and her other friends who were running the race. We also saw Elizabeth Hassee and her recent trainee Wyatt. She had been training him to run his first 5k. We said hello to several of our other running friends. We even talked with Center Grove cross country coach Howard Harrell, who would be running the 10K with his one daughter Gabrielle. The other daughter, Marielle, would be running the 5k.


Posing with Elizabeth Hassee and Wyatt prior to the Turkey Burn 5k.

Around 8:50 a.m., we trudged from the amphitheater area of Craig Park to the starting line on the east side of the Greenwood Police Station. We were talking with the Hassee’s when suddenly everyone in front of us began running.

It startled us. We didn’t hear anyone on the bullhorn. We didn’t hear a gun. We heard no announcement that the race had started.

We stayed with the Hassee’s until we ran through the inflatable-starting chute. As we picked up speed we caught up with Wolford and her husband David. We stayed with them as we ran by the Greenwood Little League baseball fields. I commented to them we were at a 7:15 pace.

My goal for this race was to set a PR of a different sort. Yes, Ryan had crushed his official 5k PR at Monumental, but we must have hit a tangent just right along the course. My watch said we only ran 3.07 miles when I hit the stop button. The goal for this race was to beat the PR in my watch, which meant finishing faster than 22:20.

Running through the parking lot of the baseball and softball fields we reach the path of the trail and pass the two softball fields. Continuing on the path, it quickly bottle-necked up a slight incline that leads to the trail being parallel with Smith Valley Road.

Once to the top of the incline, the path continues to be narrow. Cement barriers provide the only protection between the path and the road. We ran single file or tried to make room to pass for about two-tenths of a mile.

We crossed the first-mile marker and my watched alerted me we had run the first mile in 7:15. We were 15 seconds ahead of the pace I had set on my virtual pacer of 7:30. I asked Ryan if he felt comfortable. He replied with a thumbs up.

Wolford’s friend, Ted McClintic, countered saying his watch had the first mile at 7:24.

What? How? We were right next to each other. Why was McClintic’s watch nine seconds slower than my watch at one mile?

To use a word my favorite snooker player, Mark Selby, uses as a crutch when he’s interviewed – obviously, I missed the memo the race uses only the “gun time” and not “net time.”

More on the timing of the race at the finish.

Be sure to catch the question about snooker and a series that appeared on NetFlix last weekend at the end of this post.

There was the difference. McClintic started his watch when everyone else started running. I had started mine once we had crossed the starting line.

At about a mile and quarter, we began to make the turn where Smith Valley Road becomes Emerson Avenue. We also passed the 12th hole and the 13th tee box of the Valle Vista Golf Course.

We continued by the business complexes including that of our friend Scott Pennington’s. Drivers honked their horns at us as they passed. Ryan commented to me, “Hey, Dad, this is like running the back straight of the 500.”

Right before we finished the second mile, we veered off Emerson Avenue and into a parking lot. Between two of the buildings in the strip center was the one water stop along the course. I pointed at one gentleman and took a cup. Ryan got his, took one drink and poured the rest over the top of his head.

The second mile completed just a few tenths after we rejoined the trail on Main Street. About halfway, through the third mile, we passed the entrance to the Valle Vista Golf Club. We were around a 7:00 pace.

From East Street to Middle Street the race got interesting as you tried to navigate around some muddy patches as there is no actual pavement of the trail on this part. I looked back at Ryan and told him, “Be careful. It’s going to be slick.” After the race, he commented to me in the car, “Yeah, I got a little loose there in the mud.” Then he giggled.

My watch read 2.6. I instantly said to Ryan, “Kick time. It’s time to go and blow this out.”

We had passed McClintic at the golf course entrance. He had made his move a little sooner than we did to overtake us for the finish. We turned on Washington Street and there were some people instructing us to either continue for the second lap if running the 10K or to angle right for the finish line.

McClintic went straight and then commented he was running the 5k. He reversed his direction and it was pretty much a photo finish with Ryan taking sixth, McClintic seventh and I was eighth.


I stopped the watch. We had accomplished our goal of setting a new Watch-PR record with a time of 22:13.1. Our official gun time was Ryan 22:19.87 and 22:20.21. Ryan had also won his age group.



A new watch record!



We truly enjoyed our first Turkey Burn 5k and look forward to running it again next year as a pre-cursor to later that day of eating “All the Foods.”

Ryan winning his age group and placing in the top 10 overall also was a nice confidence boost and a great way to go into his break from running.



The two-speed demons. Ryan won his age group and Colleen was the third overall female.


It was also another close to as perfect of a race as one can get with negative splits. As I drove us to the gas station to get his reward of a “Huge Dr. Pepper,” and I told him our splits, Ryan smiled, looked at me and said, “Ka-Boom!”



Center Grove Cross Country Coach Howard Harrell and Ryan. Harrell finished second overall in the 10K at the Turkey Burn.


Finally, where do we go from here? Ryan’s surgery is tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. We have to be at the surgery center at 5:30 a.m. It’s also the first full day of my busy season at “The World on Time.” Fortunately, my manager told me Saturday, “Take care of your family. Get them settled and then come in when you’re ready.”

We will definitely follow Dr. Tentler’s instructions for the post-operation procedures. Once he gives us the go ahead to run again we plan to take a conservative approach to eventually bringing him back to where he was prior to the operation.

Hopefully, Ryan’s only in the boot for two weeks. We can get him walking in a regular shoe by his birthday. The goal to get him into a running routine probably will begin around the middle of January.

While he recovers from the surgery, I’ll continue to run. Mainly, to clear my mind and be ready for any stressors I encounter while playing Santa’s Helper during the month of December. I am sure there will come a couple of opportunities when I’ll want to run a second time after getting off work. I plan to hold off the urge by keeping you up to date with Ryan and his progress through this blog.

Oh, and for those Gilmore Girls fans out there. Speaking of snooker – who made the snooker reference in one of the episodes of Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life?


One thought on “The Break Commences

  1. Those six weeks are going to fly by and he will be back out there before he knows it! Best wishes on a successful procedure.


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