July 25, 2014 by scratchtype1
He died too young 5 years ago now. He was a participant on the Coolrunning boards which I found in late 2006 when I began running for the first time. His name there was Voodoo Junkie, but often as typical on internet boards, his name got shortened and we called him Voo. Voo had been a weightlifter and bodybuilder before he began running. He continued to lift even as a runner, but probably not nearly so much. What Voo had in abundance was a raw enthusiasm for being fit and being a runner. It was an enthusiasm that had turned him into a sort of marathon junkie and if you read his posts and listened to him, you sometimes came away with the feeling that you ought to just go out and run straight through a plate of steel surrounding by burning flames.
That spirit got a sort of saying among a group of us, called Voo the Fuck Up. That meant going out and doing a run even when you didn’t quite feel like it or maybe it seemed impossible. Voo the Fuck Up.
I’m less likely than most to Voo the Fuck Up. I’ve got a somewhat cautious nature and that along with being a type 1 diabetic, means I have to measure some things much more carefully and make sure I don’t put myself in a situation where there is no Voo the Fuck Upping through it. But every now and then, I get to walk in the shadows of such resolve. I get to be pulled along some by the idea of resolve.
I can’t say that this morning had any great difficulties of weather. For July, it was cool and the humidity rather low. I’ve also been running very easy lately, with only a bit of fartlek back on Tuesday these last 2 weeks. Still, based upon the time of day and starting blood sugar, 150 mg/dL, I went out and figured it’d probably be good to do at least 6.5 and maybe a little more if things felt good.
It was sometime during the early miles that I got thinking big. I knew that the longest run I’ve done so far this year was 14.something and that the most barefoot miles I’ve done in a single run was 10.44. The run felt comfortable, the skies were clear. Maybe do around 12.5 with about 11.5 of those barefoot? Yeah, that could be possible. It also flicked through my head the idea of doing more than 15. And when I thought that, even if I didn’t really think it decidedly and consciously to myself, it was there and there was a sort of steel taking shape down in the dark crevices of my thoughts.
During the sixth mile, I got to see a fox slip out of a cornfield and cross the road.
There was a stretch of road where a lawn mower along its edge had kicked sharp gravel out into the road. You take note of those sorts of things when running barefoot.
It was during the 13th mile I wavered some while on the uphill to cross a concrete bridge that I’ve run over many times and sometimes have ominous thoughts of that bridge collapsing underneath and dropping me to the highway below, that maybe I would come to a stop at 12.5 and that would be good enough. But as I crossed the bridge, the thoughts settled out and the doubts tumbled to the depths below me. I thought of what I had experienced beneath my feet, what they had been reading for nearly 2 hours — the asphalt, the cement, the mud in spots, the grass of lawns next to the road that I had to dart to twice because of the narrow road and two opposing cars converging near where I was running, the pebbles at the mouths of driveways.
So I went on to what the Garmin reported as a run of 15.21 miles. 14.18 of those were barefoot. I retrieved the Xeros from by the tree where I leave them, slipped them on and walked the mile or so home.
Did I Voo the Fuck Up today? I’m not entirely sure, but I feel good about having pushed the boundaries out some. Legs feel pretty good and the soles of the feet did just fine. There’s a little bit of twinge in the left hip area, so I’ve got to keep working with the foam roller tonight.
Life and death is too often senseless. It still boggles the mind that Voo died 5 years ago from a heart attack while he slept. It seems like he ought to still be running, or if I feel angry about, why didn’t the Voo the Fuck Up it through that and just gotten up that morning. The answer is that we don’t always get the answers we wish for or want. So take joy in when things shake out nicely, like for me today. I ran miles today that one time I never would have imagined possible. I went beyond the self I once knew and come back from it slightly changed. It’s a shame, Voo, that you no longer get to do that.