I've blogged extensively about the Tri Rivalry between my nefarious arch-rival, Jim G.
However, there is a sub-contest to the Rivalry: the track sprints. I think I've lamented this last year when we couldn't compete together (and I was crazy fast).
2003 was our first combat: the preferred battlefield is the 400 metre run. This is one lap around a high-school track: approx. 1/4 mile.
And to be far, the nefarious Jim G has owned me on it. He was a middle-distance sprinter in high school and it shows. In 2003, I pulled out an intense 70 second result (try it). He ran 66 seconds. We all thought he would expire: he still claims it was his hardest run in his life. Absolute kudos.
I'm not sure if we ran head-to-head until this year but I have tried to break 70 seconds. In 2004, I ran 72. I think I have run once since then but the time is lost to history.
Fast-forward to this year. The track at the ritzy Clayton high school. Neither our hero nor the nefarious Jim G feel particularly stout.
In fact, we start the Lowball Sweepstakes. When warming up, Jim G claimed he ran a glacial 88 seconds a week before. I maintain that is absurd, but tell him that I'm shooting for a stumblin' 80 seconds.
The bluffs have begun. And both of us are secretly hoping the other is telling the truth. And secretly optimistic that we can do better, because, as I have discovered, it is much easier to think about running than to actually run. In my mind, somehow, some way, I might even breach the mythical 70.
And so, the nefarious Jim G joined his age group, in heat 3, way before my heat #8. He started hot out of the blocks, huffin' and puffin', and lumbered down the back stretch. I watched intently, urging the clock to speed up. I felt good as he turned for home, but as always, there is an illusion: these runners are charging down the home stretch. His time: 72 seconds.
Yes. He matched my 'quick' time from 2004. His bluff has been exposed as a fraud. A psychological tactic geared to mess me up.
In all honesty, it did mess me up. I was stunned, shocked, and saddened, and I had 4 heats to dwell on it before I could do anything.
As my heat prepared, I steeled my nerve. "Let's do this thing," said our hero.
As the horn went off, I started out strong and in the first turn I hit 4th gear. In truth, I would never hit 5th. Too much food and debauchery since February. A hero trades his passion for glory. As I came around the home stretch, wheezing, I could see the clock mock me: 68, 69, 70.
I finished at 77 seconds. Maybe, just maybe, 76. No bluff here.
It was a total rout. Kudos to my arch-rival. As always on the track, he dominates.
ps. We both finished last in our heats.
pps. Note this entire theme is distinct from the tri action. Separate events, separate streaks.