Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mangum Track Club

The Mangum Track Club is a running club starting from a group of 5 marathon runners that has been based out of Mangum, NC since the 1980's (you will not find Mangum on a map or on my garmin vehicle gps). In the late 80's the one of the members gave the other members a blue t-shirt with block letters reading "Mangum Track Club". One of the wives wanted a t-shirt and since boys will be boys they told her she had to run for it. This began the history of becoming a member of the Mangum Track Club, to earn her t-shirt she had to run 15 miles from Mangum, NC to Ellerbe, NC. (source).

As of  yesterday they had 448 members, in 7 countries, 16 states, an in DC. Once you complete the shirt run you are given a shirt and lifetime membership. There are no dues and the club is comprised of an informal group of runner, mostly ultra-marathoners.

When I began researching endurance sports and ultra-marathons I stumbled across the club's website. I read their history and really liked that they also roster all dogs that cross the finish line as member. I decided this is a pretty neat group and I would give it a shot.

Yesterday, I made the 2 hour drive to Mangum to participate in one of the Club's shirt runs.

I was very happy with the run overall. My strategy was not to race, just to run to the finish. Use it as a training run. I finished in 2:30 and my last 15 miler was 2:50. I was very please with the 20 minute improvement, especially considering I wasn't watching the clock at all.

This run will go down as a favorite course for me. For the most part it was flat, as compared to running near home. It had a few decent hills and one killer. I had to walk up this hill, but I didn't see anyone else who didn't have to walk this one.  Luckily at the second aid station another runner was warning me that the course turns and gave me directions including this hill. The way she described it left me mentally prepared for it. This hill was around mile 11 and after this even the small hills sucked. When I started walking Holly and turned around and looked at me like I was lazy. My dog thinks I'm lazy, nice!

Can you find the big hill?
 The course was beautiful. It was a mix of woods and plowed fields. The last time I ran this distance I got lonely after the second hour, but this time I did not feel like that despite still being by myself. I don't know if it was from running with Holly, passing others on the course, or just having ran the distance before. It was a weird feeling at one point trying to figure out the noise I kept hearing in the woods was. I realized it was so quiet I could hear the leaves falling. One of the other highlights was reaching the top of the biggest hill and seeing over the tops of the trees.

I expected this run to be small and unsupported. There were was bottled water left at three points on the course and when I got to the end a big surprise- 2 dozen pizzas, cookies, chips, crackers, coke, and a few beers.

Holly and I nearing the finish. I swear I am not walking.

I enjoyed completing and earning my place in the club, but the post race socializing was very odd for me. The other runner were very outgoing people. I am very shy and don't do too well in groups setting without some kind of catalyst, like a friend who already knows the people. To make it worse, Holly (who has anxiety issues as is) started getting nervous and snapped at three people as we sat there. After resting a bit, I jumped in the second car going back to the start. As much as both training and losing weight has increased my confidence, being anit-anti-social is still something I have yet to work past. As much as I don't like people, it's ironic I have a dog who doesn't either. Per Myers-Briggs being an INTJ means that running and similar sports are more my style than team sports, but it is interesting how I meet more type A's than I do introverts like me while I do this.


misszippy said...

Nice work! And I love your little running partner--so cute.

Mrs. Tucker said...

Great pictures!

Caratunk Girl said...

LUKE - awesome pictures - so cool you can run with Holly!! She looks so happy!

Congrats on the 20 min improvement - that is HUGE!!

I think our dogs mirror ourselves & our personalities in a lot of ways to be honest. Really, I am an extrovert (you probably guessed that!) and am not all that comfortable post race/run socializing with people I don't know or have a real connection to (the conversation generally goes, "did you have a good run? Yeah you? yeah"...crickets). It can be pretty awkward and uncomfortable sometimes, depending on the group.

SO don't be so hard on yourself is all I am saying, you did great to get out there and run 15 miles.

Laura said...

Awesome! I love that you took your dog too! I've just started to take mine on short distances but she hasn't quite got the hang of it yet!

Mark said...

I just found your blog and thank you for joining the MTC. I would like to mail you an MTC dog tag for Holly.

Just provide me a mailing address and I will send it to you.

Mark Long