- Tupelo runner Robert Scribner has helpfully offered to give some advice to those planning to compete in Saturday’s Gum Tree 10K. Given that he’d like to be the first Tupelo-born winner of the event, it might be best to take this advice with a grain of salt. Or, to pick up on his theme. 6.2 grains of salt. Remember, your mileage may vary.
By Robert Scribner
What's up, Tupelo? My name is Robert Scribner. I grew up in Tupelo, reading this very paper. I mean, not this very edition, but many of its predecessors. I wish I had grown up reading this very edition, since I am in it, and that would have really boosted my ego during that critical phase of development known as "growing up."
As it stands, I only really ever learned one way to boost my ego. My entire sense of self is derived from my ability to compete at a high level in footraces. Some people achieve happiness by attempting to hit baseballs over fences with metal or wooden cylinders. Some people enjoy listening to and/or producing indie pop music with synthesizers.
Not me. I only have races. And not just any races. They have to be equal to or greater than one mile in distance. Any shorter than that, and I am really just reminded of nearly getting thrown out by the right fielder in little league.
The 10K has been a pretty favorable distance for me in the past. Runners like to talk about their "PRs," or personal records. Well, I like to talk about my "PBR," or personal best record. Out of all your PRs, you have one that is the best. That's your PBR.
Anyway, my PBR is in the 10k. Thus far in my career, I have found the most success at that distance. Given that, I am naturally looking forward to racing in the Gumtree 10K on Saturday. It means a lot to me, and not just because doing well would serve to feed my irrationally large ego. It's also important to me to represent my hometown in what I think is Mississippi's premier road race.
So with all of that in mind, and in the spirit of friendly competition, I offer a few hints and tips to the other guys that will be competing for a top 10 finish. And you really should trust me here. I am a professional runner, after all.
Here we go:
- Tip One: Ten kilometers is a very long way to run. You are going to want to fuel up pre-race with a hearty breakfast. I recommend delicious McGriddles breakfast sandwiches from McDonald's. Aim for 6.2 McGriddles sandwiches - one for each mile.
- Tip Two: Running fast is all about staying relaxed. If you are straining early in the race, you don't stand a chance when it comes down to the final kick down Front Street. And what better way to relax than to kick back with several gin amp& tonics the night before the race? Actually, any cocktail will do, but I recommend gin amp& tonic because the term "tonic" sounds healthy to me. Also, aim for 6.2 of them. Not because that's how many miles the race is, but because that should produce the optimal buzz, scientifically.
- Tip Three: Peaking for a race is difficult. You have to be in good shape, but you can't be burned out, physically or mentally. So if you feel out of shape right now, I recommend running 20-30 miles each of the next three days leading up to the race. If you're feeling a little tired right now, I recommend checking yourself into a mental hospital so that you can be strapped down to a bed until the morning of the race. Instruct them that no matter how loudly you scream, you are not to be let out until Saturday morning.
- Tip Four: 10k is not a very long way to run. Start out really fast on Saturday. Like, a full sprint. That always works.
n Tip Five: Running is all about knowing the course. It has nothing to do with training. Everybody knows that. So instead, make sure to do your research. Drive the course in your car several times, including the morning of the race. It's only 6.2 miles. You can do that in ten minutes, easy. The race starts at 8:30, so you will probably want to take off on your last course tour at around 8:15. You need the route to be burned into your memory, literally, if you hope to race well.
- Tip Six: If I'm near you during the last mile, don't worry. Take it easy. I don't sprint well at all. It's okay to give me a ten- or fifteen-second advantage leading into the last quarter mile. You'll make it up, easy.
- Tip Six point two: Try to enjoy it during the homestretch, comrade. After all, it's only a race. Who really cares? Not me. Not me at all...
And that's it! Good luck out there, everyone!
Robert Scribner is a Tupelo native and former Mississippi State runner. He finished second in last year's Gum Tree 10K in 30 minutes, 55 seconds.