A Simple Running Log

January 22, 2015

Training for 1/22/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:43 pm

You know how certain milestones make you feel old? Like realizing one of your favorite albums was released 20 years ago (actually, Live’s Throwing Copper is 21 years old now), or you have nephews in high school with learner’s permits, or your sister who was in second grade when you graduated from high school is about to graduate from college.

None of that made me feel as old as did today’s announcement that this year will be Jeff Gordon’s final full season!

I turned 10 during his rookie season in 1993. I actually liked him at first, because he was so young, only 12 years older than me, at a time when most team owners preferred to hire older, more experienced veterans. Then he started winning in 1994. Soon he was dominating. Then he got cocky or whiny, depending on whether he won or not, or at least I thought he did. By the end of the 1995 season, I was a full-blown Gordon hater. The night before he won his first championship that year, I pounded out a very angry rant about him on my older sister’s typewriter, and taped to the other side of the page a newspaper picture of him I’d drawn on to make it look like he was crying about a blown engine.

I hated him with a passion for a very long time. Really though, it’s not as much fun to watch NASCAR, or any sport, if you don’t have a personal nemesis. It’d be like Batman without the Joker. Boring. So as much as I stomped and screamed when he won, especially if he beat Bobby to do it, deep down I guess I was a teensy bit glad he was there.

In 2004, Gordon was in a bit of slump. It’d been three years since he won his fourth championship, but I still despised him. That was when I started dating Clark… a Gordon fan. We had a lot of fun picking on each other’s drivers. Unfortunately for me though, while Gordon just wasn’t dominating anymore, Bobby was in a real skid, so I didn’t get too many chances to rub anything in Clark’s face.

I just found some MS Paint files on my old laptop. Clark made this one after the 2005 Daytona 500, which Gordon won, while Bobby blew an engine 15 laps into the race and finished dead last:

clark screen shot

What an ass. So I made a rebuttal:

my screen shot

Well, neither of them have won a championship since then, so we were both wrong!

I also found this MS Paint file, which I’m pretty sure I made just to use as my desktop image:

gordon sucks


Anyway, it was probably the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 that my hatred started to shift from Gordon to Jimmie stupid Johnson. That was the race Johnson clipped Bobby right at the line to take the win. Bobby left Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of that season and was never really in a competitive ride again, while Johnson won his first of six championships in eight years the following year.

Since then, I’ve developed a bit of nostalgic respect for Gordon. He’s old now. So am I, just not quite as much. At last year’s Brickyard 400, he and Bobby were the only two drivers in the field who’d been in the inaugural Brickyard in 1994, and Bobby was just in a one-race ride. Gordon is the last full time driver remaining from when I started watching NASCAR. Everyone else from that era, when I really cared about it the most, has died or retired.

And now he’s on his way out. He said he might run a part-time schedule after this year, but this will be the last year he runs the whole season. The 14-year-old me, from 1997, when Gordon was at his peak, would be thrilled to hear he’s leaving. She used to wish he’d dry up and blow away all the time. But the nearly 32-year-old me is a bit sad about it.

Gordon’s not completely off the hook though — he’s still largely responsible for the fact that Johnson is even a thing in NASCAR now. He’s a partial owner of Johnson’s team, and he encouraged Rick Hendrick to hire him. Thanks a lot, Gordon.

Anyway, today I went out to the Sharptown bridge for some hill repeats. Six of them, to be exact. I did a mile to warm up, ran up and over the bridge six times and did another mile to cool down. Total of 5.2 miles in 43:something, about an 8:22/mile average, including the easy warm up and cool down miles. I was a little sore from that strength training yesterday, so I was pleased to pull off a halfway decent average pace.


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