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Reprisal by The Guy That Passed You on Town Lake Trail (Scotty Mac)

August 31, 2012


A few blogs ago, I bragged about my ability to outrun anyone on Town Lake Trail…This seemed to cause quite the stir. First of all I apologize if anyone was offended, I had no intention of upsetting anyone, the blog was meant to be a satirical essay on common running and fitness trends.

Also, many people misinterpreted my passion for passing runners in Vibrams with a disliking of that shoe. I do not dislike Vibrams, and never claimed to.

I fear I came off very pretentious and cocky, and I regret the fact that many readers see me like that now.


Next I wrote a blog about “jogging” on an easy run and being passed by a guy on Town Lake. He was not wearing Vibrams, but he did float past my shuffling feet with some ease. Now, had this not been my “Easy,” “Recovery” run I would have risen to the challenge, and run stride for stride with this unknown runner. Alas, I stayed true to my slow trudge and let him run his own pace as I continued mine.


After I wrote about the guy passing me, many Rogues wanted to know if I ever caught him… They seemed somewhat disappointed in me for running easy on that particular day, and not chasing him down. Well dear friends, vengeance is sweet, even sweeter when accompanied by a friend and training partner!


Chris Gowell and I were out on a run… nothing special about this one, just a run. We ran from near Rogue through the East Side, past the Riverside Golf Course and back towards the lake. We found ourselves on the south side of the Town Lake hike and bike trail. Our pace was moderate. 6:30-6:40 minute miles were being ticked off as we covered mile after mile on this aesthetically pleasing Austin morning. As we passed Lamar heading west I noticed a muscular guy wearing a bandana and dare I say… Vibrams!!! He was working at a decent pace while we efficiently overtook him. We overtook just as we had passed the other few dozen runners that morning.


However, there was something different about this guy…

Chris and I noticed it concurrently.


He was trying to keep up…


Not only keep up, but It felt like he wanted to catch up and pass us!


You could hear the rhythm of his cadence hasten. His breathing got heavy.


Chris and I looked at each other.


“Is he….?” Chris inquired with shocked swerve on his brow.


“Yup, yup, he is coming with us.” I said.

Chris began to smirk, “Can we…? Surely we can…” he offered. I know Chris all to well… he is miler, and wanted to shift into his kick and burn this parasite off our tails immediately.


“Gradually” I said… “Gradually”


I too wanted to shake this flea, however the marathoner in me, knew it would be more disheartening to him, and rewarding to us, if we wound up the pace slowly.


Without another word, we patiently began to ratchet up the pace.


What most people may not realize is that I am more efficient and more comfortable running 4:45-5:20 per mile, than I am running 6:30 a mile. Chris being the natural runner he is, feels similar.


The guy in pursuit is working now… I think to myself, I wonder if he read my first blog and is pissed about the crossfit, Vibram references?


Regardless of why he is trying to compete with us, we are now fully involved.


The pace is now sub 6 min per mile. The mere fact he has kept up this long is impressive… but in the words of the Carpenters,  “We’ve only just begun!”


As we accelerate, our torsos begin to lift. Our running gates turn over with tremendous efficiency. The gravel beneath our feet is barely disturbed as we seemingly float over the dirt. Every hundred meters our speed is increased just enough. Within 1200 meters, we are running at just under 5 min mile pace.


Then I feel it…


“That’s it… he’s done.” I say. We broke him… I could feel him break.


It is an unmistakable feeling when you break a runner. I have felt it dozens of times in races. High school, college and on the professional circuit, it is always the same. The spirit of a runner breaking is distinctive. It is a feeling as a competitor that I thrive off of.


Just to put a little emphasis on our effort we decide to keep the pace long enough to be out of eyesight.


I was impressed; he kept up for almost ¾ of a mile at paces nearing 5 min mile pace. But at 12 miles into our run, we broke him with a sub 4:50 mile.


Truth be told, I am inspired every day by runners of all abilities, shapes, sizes and speeds. The mere fact that a runner would be out in this Texas heat impresses the wits out me. I look at all runners equally and I feel a special bond with each of them.

That bond is the reason I love road races… no matter how fast you are running, we all go through the same experiences. We have the same nerves, jitters and doubts. When we line up on that starting line we are all equals, and we are all about to face the same endeavor. It doesn’t change… whether it is the Cap 10k, NOCC 5k fun run/walk, or the Olympic Trials… it is the same energy, and it burns inside each and every runner.








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