Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Chief Slug A-OK!!!
Friends!!!, a gracious thanx for all the kind mail wishing me and da' Slugs well. Life indeed does go on, and i know one day soon i'll be back out on that long, long road....errrrr, canal, as in jfk! I recently received a note from the Chief Slug himself. Mr. Bruce "The Running Man" Chituck; remaining on sabbatical somewhere in the hills of North Georgia. He is the primary force behind TSI, and got it started way back in 1990. Now i have a million great running stories about Chief Slug, but most of them are way too hard to believe. I only believe them because i was there and saw some of his running exploits first hand. He was not only a tough runner, but a gentle-man; and a good man. One of my favorite remembrances starts one cool, wet, spring weekend in 1993. Bruce and I were registered with this new club, The VHTRC --and its fanatical leader, Master Christopher Scott and decided to go up to Manasses and run his brand new 50-miler, The First Battle of Bull Run Run. I'd already completed jfk a couple of times, but was gearing up for my first 100 miler at Vermont in July. And, unfortunately(sic) I was on the Chief Slug's Ultra-training program. He was/and is an Old-Schooler. If you want to run better or faster, you go out and train harder and more often. Now, most fortunately, I was much younger and had a body that seemed to never get hurt. Anyway, his training plan included doing long-runs prior to the 50-miler. So the night before we were out running in the swamps of Southeast Virginia for five hours in the murky blackness before finally leaving around midnight for the road trip to Northern VA. We arrived around 3 A.M and crawled under Chief Slug's SUV wrapped in blankets to sleep until the race folks began to drift in. The run started and I still was wearing the same soggy wet shoes, and dirty clothes I'd been in the night before at Seashore State Park. I don't remember much else about the run, except Chris Scott treated us well, and we met a lot of good folks. Bruce finished in 9:45 and I was just over 10 hours. Did we go straight home? No, not hardly. Bruce decided we'd detour to an old favorite watering hole of his. At 2 A.M the next morning we stumbled back to the parking lot and passed out in his truck. I awoke to use the "facilities" around 5 AM and Bruce awoke. I could barely move, was sore, beat up, and throwing up chunks of something I didn't remember eating. Right then and there the Chief Slug announced we had time to get to Richmond for a 5K at 8AM. Back on the road we headed South down I-95. Bruce fell out of his truck, regained his footing and limped to the registration table. I couldn't even move. At 0800 the gun went off and the Chief Slug was runnin'. Somehow he ran a 17:03 and won his age group, less than 15 hours after finishing Bull Run Run. It was quite a feat; and one i'll never forget. Right then and there, I believed anything was possible if you set your mind to it. So Bruce checks in, and i'll copy/paste it word for word, "Had some heart problems, seems that a couple of years back that I had the left side of my chest crushed, the broken and shatter ribs, never healed right I have ribs that sitck into my chest cavity and from time to time have to have my chest drain from blood if I take a poke or fall the ribs poke in through cavity and near lund, seems that now I have had one that is laying near a artery which cut off the blood and oxygen supply to my heart and brain, which in turn cause me to have what was thought to be a stroke with heart complications, which in turn did some damage to artery near my heart and in left side of neck. 2 surgerys have fixed that, about 2 weeks ago I had operation in Atlanta which put a stent near my heart and in my neck. on Thursday I had that Main artery enlarged by a ballon implant device. Doctor said all other arteries are clear and working fine, said that my cholesterol was fine and no blockages. And I should be back to normal active self within a few weeks, gives me motivation to run again. Just wanted to clear this up with everyone after a number of e-mails. Thanks for the concern." Bruce. Friends, it has been a great ride; and i'm thankful for each and every one of you. My philosophical contention about (ultra)marathoning has always been that every runner/jogger/slogger is on the path to Slugdom, some just reach it sooner than others. For myself, and The Chief Slug; happy days, john