By Monte Wehrkamp in response to a shared post by Christopher Cudworth
Today’s article begins with an hilarious post from a blogger at the site: It’sAlwaysSunnyRunning.com. I read her posts regularly and this one was particularly funny and true, about how tired you can get from training. So tired you don’t want to do anything else in life.
So I shared the post with my blog-o-matic buddy Monte Wehrkamp, with whom I vet so many ideas, and his response was so entertaining it deserves (again, he’s done this repeatedly over the last year) to be shared so you can enjoy it to.
The tarsnake of sports training is that you’re working hard for basically no reason other than to make yourself feel good. Go figure.
Those of us who were never wealthy enough to avoid hard labor and crappy jobs over the summer months, or even during actual college, got to enjoy such adventures as working in paint factories, driving and loading trucks and serving as janitors in the sweaty backrooms of office buildings.
By contrast, the tarsnake
of sports training is that you’re working hard for basically no reason other than to make yourself feel good. Go figure.
But remember, it all builds character and makes you a better person in the long run. Yeah, right.
SPORTS VERSUS WORK
I can honestly say that I’ve never trained that hard for sports. Ever.
I have felt all those things from the first week on the job working construction 12 hours a day. You go to school all year, come home, call to see when you can start, they say, “Tomorrow! 5:30 sharp.” So you find your workboots, old jeans, torn up t-shirt and hardhat, pack a lunch, fill your Gott thermos, and try to sleep. That first day, you sledge hammer out a 20 foot section of sidewalk, load it by hand into the flatbed, dump the load, load a ground whacker into the truck, drive back, level the base, compact it, relevel, then drive to the quarry, load up a ton of gravel, drive back, dump it, shovel it into the sidewalk base and relevel and compact it. Whew. Lunch. Now time to go to the yard and pick up concrete forms and stakes. Shit. Forgot the leveling strings. And the level. Back. String off the sidewalk, drive the stakes, nail up the forms. Call in the foreman who checks your work. You get a drink of water and rest in the shade, crotch raw from sweat. He barks some changes, which you do as the cement truck is called in. Then you and the boss shovel five tons of mud into the sidewalk and level and dress as fast as you can. Whew. First day done.
Go home. Lie on the floor in the cool basement. Fall asleep in sweaty, grimy clothes, boots still on. Wake up, it’s almost light. Go upstairs, can’t hardly move, so sore and sunburned. Make lunch. Fill thermos. Drive to the yard. Repeat.
By week two, the soreness starts to go away, hands toughen, skin starts to brown (can’t use sunscreen, gets too covered in grime). By the end of each college summer, I was brown as an Indian, tough as nails, lean and ready for school to start so I could rest.
Running Riding and Building Shit. Swimming don’t count as it ain’t a sport but merely a means of preventing drowning.
TAKING A DUMP, TRUCK-wise
Be it tarsnakes, clay or quicksand, you never know what might trip you up on a run.
12 hours a day in a dump truck was bad, too. Had to drive through the highway scales every time. Hour up to the plant, hour back to town. Rapid City to Spearfish and back. At the mix plant, you pull under a giant chute – a funnel — filled with fresh asphalt, about 400 degrees. It’s summer, already 90+ so when you climb up the stairs to the chute, the air by your head is easily 200 F. You pull the chain. One one-thousand. Two-one thousand. Three one-thousand. Stop! Climb down, pull ahead and center your dump box. Climb up. One, two, three, stop! Climb down, pull ahead another four feet, climb up, repeat. Then you pull out of the line as there are other trucks behind you waiting to fill up. Climb up into your dump bed as the company you work for can’t afford automatic rolling and unfurling tarps. You have to do it manually. So you swing a leg over the side, set your foot in the hot, oily, shifting mess, get your balance, then walk to the front of the bed, quickly unrolling the tarp as you walk backwards. Whew. Do it in a minute or less or the heat will burn your feet through your boots, and never, ever wear steel toed boots. Steel heats red hot and will burn you badly. And don’t ever, ever fall. You will be covered in asphalt hundreds of degrees hot, and it will stick to you. Burning, as you pick it off. You will be in the ER, should that ever happen.
Jump down, run around the perimeter of the truck, pulling down bungies to secure the tarp. Hop in the cab. The guys are waiting.
The key is be smooth. Don’t rush. Do everything perfect, and do it once. Get into a flow. Don’t over fill, or this…
You get halfway back to town, tooling down I 90 with no AC, no power steering (even though the truck plus load is about 28 tons), no radio. Time to pull into the state weigh station and get in line with all the semis. It’s important now that you didn’t overload your truck. And didn’t overload one section of the truck. For instance, have too much weight over your front wheels, versus your drivers (rear eight wheels). A couple times, I had too much weight forward. The red light goes off. The speaker near your head says: Two tons too heavy in front. Pull around.
Hot streets. Dump trucks. Summer jobs. It’s all harsh.
You pull around. You un-bungie the dump bed. Climb in, roll up the tarp. While you’re still standing in the devil’s shit, you grab your shovel and you shovel, as fast as you can, as your feet and legs are starting to burn. Gotta move two tons of asphalt from the front of the truck to the back. There’s a technique of shoveling where you flick and drop the shovel head in one move. The entire 10 lb shovelful will leave as one unit, like a ball, and land right where you want it. You don’t want it spread all over. So hundred, two hundred, three hundred scoops. Get down and cool your feet. Back up, keep counting shovels, calculating two tons. Roll and bungie the tarp. Get back in line with the trucks, pull on the scales, and hope you spread your load right, or you’ll shovel again. Tick tock. Tick tock. The boss is waiting. The crew is waiting. Time is money.
Then there was the time, full throttle (it was always gas pedal mashed on the highway) when the front left tire blew. No power steering, remember. 70 mph x 28 tons of force mashing down on a wheel rim, trying to tear the wheel from my hands and flip the truck into the median. I held on, it lifted me out of the seat. Slowly eased it over to the side of the road. Got out, sat down shaking in the shadow of the truck as cars whipped by on the interstate. Starting shaking. Ice cold. Threw up.
Trucker stopped, picked me up, gave me a ride back to a truck stop (no cell phones back then). Pretty impressive piece of driving, he said. I nodded. Good thing for power steering, huh, he said.
Doesn’t have it, I managed to say.
He looked at me sideways. Shook his head. Fuck me.