Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hunger Flat, or The Kelzie Taxi

As the leader of a middle paced group, last year I noticed a phenomenon: the middle of the second day of each week is when the day-in-day-out grind of training, sun, and wind, plus the extra fun in the sun (and bar) that some campers search out, finally wears away the adrenaline, energy, and "newness" and exposes the truth athlete beneath.  At this point, nearly each week, I am called upon to provide what I call The Kelzie Taxi, essentially pulling someone home who is out of their depths, most often calorically.

A real (short) conversation I had last year with a guy 28 km in and 20km from home:

Me: "Have you eaten anything?"

Him: "No."

Me:  "Do you have anything to eat?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "EAT IT! NOW!"

The deeper causes, psychologically and physically, are not hard to grasp, and the reason I am the one providing the taxi is explained by German culture.  But the truth is 50kms here on Fuerte is not a lark, and the 80km we did today - in 35 km/h winds - is a serious expenditure of energy, as well as mental focus when you have a death grip on the bars and every passing car is a chance to visit the ditch.

We have all needed a similar taxi at some point; there is little shame in it.  There is shame, however, in needing it again or often.  I have yet to have to provide it twice to the same person again. 

Mario hitching a ride with the taxi

The real measure of the toll paid for today's 80kms: myself and another coach were the only two people who showed up for the afternoon run.

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