The Super-Duper Instant Waker-Upper

Before: Something's not right with the world.

Yep, today was Monday, all right.

I was feeling sluggish all day. Yawning. Walking around the office in a daze. A bit down in the dumps. I snapped at my editor. I growled at the nice lady at the front desk.

By noon, my head was throbbing.  I felt like I just lost $8,000 at Mr. Potter’s bank.

The big question: How could I snap out of it? I considered a few options:

A) Buy a tall cup of Kenyan coffee with three shots of espresso.

B) Slap myself in the face once every five minutes.

C) Count to 10,000 by sevens.

D) Write a letter to my congressman, complaining about the lack of trails in Indiana, and demanding that he establish a national park within one mile of my house.

E) Pray that Clarence, my guardian angel, would get me right with the world.

Those were all good options. But I felt they went only so far. I needed to go big.

I needed a long run.

How long? Well, how about 12 miles home after work?

Whoa — now that’s just might hit the spot. Hee haw!

Good thing I brought my running stuff to work today. I had been planning to get in a few licks at lunchtime. Unfortunately, lunchtime came and went, and I was feeling bored by the thought of the standard five-mile lunchtime run on the towpath.

But a 12-miler, chasing the sunset from downtown to the burbs? My heart fluttered at the thought of it. I started drooling at the thought of endorphins.

Yep, this idea was gold.

This was the Super-Duper Instant Waker Upper.

At quitting time, I ran down to the basement locker room, changed into my running clothes, and hit the — well, not the trails today. I hit the pavement. This was all city streets, bike paths and sidewalks. Sometimes, you have to throw out the rule book.

After: It's a super-duper, wonderful life.


But what this course lacked in trails and natural beauty it made up for in purpose. This was a destination run. I had to get home — and before the sun set.

I made it in an hour and 48 minutes, about faster than the last time I did this, in March.

The weather was perfect — 50-something and just a hint of wind.

I arrived home at about 7:20, just in tie for a pork stir-fry dinner, courtesy of Mrs. Trail Boy. I hugged my kids.

All was right with the world again.

Yep, this run did the trick. And I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll get a full night’s sleep.

I love you, Bedford Falls.


My buddy, Kevin, is having the best year of his life — when it comes to running, anyway.

In May, he qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2010, with a great run at the Cleveland Marathon.

In July, he ran his first trail ultra, the Buckeye Trail 50K, as my “zen master.”

And yesterday, he set a new PR, running the Chicago Marathon in 3:29 — which qualified him again for the Boston Marathon in 2011.

Hey, Kevin, what’s next, the Olympics?

Enjoy your recovery. You earned it.

2 Responses to “The Super-Duper Instant Waker-Upper”

  1. Kevin Cartier Says:

    Thanks John. The Chicago Marathon is now officially my favorite, bar none. I was completely blown away by the sheer size of it, the crowd, the course, the organization and the energy. Just an amazing event. Can’t wait to run it again.

    Always remember what the master says: “Be the shoe”.

    — Kevin C.

  2. I’ve heard that Chicago is THE place to run a marathon. Back when I was 49 (back in the day) I toyed with the idea of starting to train to run a marathon for my 50th birthday. A friend of mine who runs suggested the Chicago marathon, because of the spectator enthusiasm. She said the crowds can get even the most weary runner going again. (I didn’t do it and in fact stopped running altogether, but in the next life . . .)

    Congratulations Kevin C.!

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