Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Respect Your Elders

Ben Ingram, left, circa 1874, in Michigan
Since late 2008 we have had many members of our group compete in marathons, producing many fine performances; it wasn't always this way.  Pre-2008, most of us weren't as keen on marathoning.  Just a few of the heartier souls did them in 2006 and 2007, including Kyle Smits and Dave Berdan's attempts at OTQ times, and Spider's unrelenting assault on the distance.

The 2007 New York City Marathon produced what is still one of the best performances from our group, and announced Ben Ingram onto the local running scene.  Ben had moved to Baltimore earlier that year from Chicago, and was one of the first of us to have a banner day in a big race.  On that day, Ben marched to the line in 2:37:09, finishing 72nd overall.  As he came off a 1:11:43 at PDR a few weeks prior, we were all tremendously impressed.

Even more impressive was when, that winter, Ben allowed himself to slip so far out of shape that I put an insane amount of time into him at Club Challenge.  I will keep that moment as one of boastful pride for as long as I live.

But what Ben really did on that day in New York was set the tone for years to come.  No longer would our group accept mediocrity.  Ben was one of the driving forces behind augmented training programs, and continues to stand as a source of leadership and guidance for many of us.  Along with Jake Marren and Brennan Feldhausen, Ben got on board with the Jack Daniels' training formula and used it to great success, from distances of 10k up to the marathon. 

As Ben continued to challenge himself, he took on large goals at Boston 2009, and Army Ten Miler later that year.  He upped his own ante by competing in, and crushing, the JFK 50 Miler, and then re-visited the 10 mile distance with a terrific race at Cherry Blossom 2010.  A disappointing lead-up to Chicago 2011 is probably the only blemish on his transcript, besides the aforementioned beatdown (by me) at Club Challenge.  Even now, Ben continues to pursue more challenging events, as he has tackled the sport of triathlon this year, and pulled the trigger on signing up for Ironman Wisconsin 2012.  Knowing Ben, I expect nothing less than meticulous discipline and focus as he prepares for that event.  Of course, if he gets to Hawaii before I do, I may have to check myself into Arkham Asylum.

This little fluff piece isn't to boost Ben's ego, but rather to let him know how much he has meant to our group.  Some of you may already know, but others may not, that Ben and his wife, Kendra, are moving to Omaha, Nebraska, in just two and a half weeks.  Kendra accepted a great position with the Symphony there, and while we don't get to regularly see them now in Winchester, it is still nice to know he's not that far.  I know a few of us have stopped by their place, and Brennan has gotten together to run with him a few times, meeting in the middle.

The good news is that the two of them will be coming to Baltimore to race the Celtic Solstice race on December 17th, so following that race it will be the Day of Ingram.  As we get closer, we'll organize a social event for after the race.  Whether you ran with Ben for a day or for years, or never ran with him at all, Ben has left an indelible mark in our Baltimore running history.  For instance, the move of leaving the house quietly in the middle of the night during a fierce snowstorm, running 2 miles to Fells Point, getting caught, and then having to run back home - yeah, Ben invented that.  The other move, when you drink a 40 and pass out wherever, probably because you're very old and very sleepy, that's just known as "The Ben" now.

Anyway, I apologize to Ben for blowing up his spot in the event that he wanted to let people know, but I feel like he might have left without saying anything.  Show your love for Ben by sending me your favorite Ben story, or commenting below.


brennan said...

There are a lot of people within this group (and my life) that I can contribute my running success and growth to, but a large portion goes to Ben Ingram. For years I have chased that ass of his. (Unfortunately I never got to race him when he had his "cat weight" on)

Over time I have learned many valuable lessons from Ben ranging from always having a plan to knowing that it is okay to still down a quite a bit of beer while you are in the heart of your training (so long as you get up the next morning and put in the work). Ultimately the biggest thing that Ben has taught me though is that we are in this group to help each other. Ben has always been there to assist me with my running and I hope that I am able to give as back half as much to the group as Ben has given to me.

I'm looking forward to seeing you out on the course on Sunday, Ben! Thanks for everything.

Big Pappa said...

Sad day in Baltimore running. I am one of the select few in the group that is actually older then Ben, so it is certainly tough losing another elder statesman. I like Brennan have spent way to much time looking at "The Assman's" back side. My favorite memory with Ben is the 1st Miami trip. I still have the picture of "Ben be Sleep" at Johnny Rockets. Unfortunately, my injuries and Ben's move have cuase us to see little of each other over the past few years. However, I am excited to have him come back for the Celtic run, which should also be my 1st race in 2 years. Will make the event even that more special.

brennan said...

Oh snap. That master's race is going to be hot!!!

Dart said...

Following Boston 2007, I remember meeting Ben after the Memorial Day McVET 5k/10k in 2007. I was actually in shape, and got my ass kicked by the ass man. For about 1 month I was able to push hard workouts at TNT with Ben and company - followed with a death injury to my hamstring shortly after. Essentially, due to that (and some other factors), I could never run well with Ben.

Having said that, this year training for NYC I was able to get second hand Ben training through Brennan. I remember Brennan saying to me one long 20+ miler that this type of workout (whatever we were doing that day), was something Ben pulled him through over the past few years. Brennan couldn't keep up with Ben, and I can't keep up with Brennan, but doing the workouts together make us stronger and allow us to pass the torch as we get faster. So, for that, thank you both!

Ryan, when you beat Ben, didn't we start calling him the fat man? I could be wrong.

THE KRIS said...

i once beat ben in a 5k. by :41. just saying.

Big Pappa said...

was that on some age adjusted scale?

Dart said...

The Moses division

Meg said...

Old people are awesome.

RM said...

Kris Simms FTW

Charles Village 5k

2. Kris Simms, 17:41
5. Ben Ingram, 18:22

And Joel, we NEVER referred to Ben as anything to do with fat. What kind of inhumane humans do you take us to be??

Andy said...

In my short time knowing Ben, it has to be his trek up the mountain in Luray carrying a watermelon among other heavy items.

We never even ate that watermelon.

alyssa said...

I think that watermelon is STILL sitting on Ryan's kitchen counter.

RM said...

Ed threw the watermelon out, we didn't even get to throw it off the roof!

cheese said...

i drew the expiration date line at 3 months.

my best memories of ben surprisingly won't have anything to do with his running, but rather his inability to turn down a beer, even a 40. even if he just finished one.

Ben said...

Wow - I somehow didn't see this until today. Thanks for the fluff! Seriously, I appreciate all the kind comments. This group has given me much more than I have ever given back.

I think Alyssa said it best in a recent blog post - "consistency" is one of the most important things that you get with this group. I would also say that creating expectations are important too. Whether it was filling out the goals card at awards night - or just someone asking on a Monday night run "So, what's your next race?"

Our "blog network" has been great too. I don't think it's a coincidence that I started blogging in late 2008 and that I ended up having my best year racing since college (10 years prior) in 2009. That process helped me to organize my training, get a fresh perspective on running, and to make sure I followed through.

One correction - Kendra is going to be working for Omaha Performing Arts - not the symphony. Also, sadly Celtic Soltice is up in the air right now - things are a little crazy with the move and we have a bunch of other travel lined up in the next few months. But it's not completely off the table. Luckily many of you will be in NYC this weekend - I'll be up there cheering everybody on - it will be fun to spend some time with you guys at a great event like NYC.

Thanks Ryan for being the driving force behind TTWSS - you certainly have brought together a great group of people who have made my life more fun.

I know that we'll stay in touch - maybe I can even convince you guys to do a race out in our direction (Boulder Boulder or Bix 7)?

Finally, who cut my hair as a kid? It looks like they used hedge trimmers and cut at a diagonal.

Kendra said...

Ry Ry - we will try to make it back for Celtic Solstice! You and the "that's what she said" gang are awesome! We love you guys!

THE KRIS said...

bendra- you guys are welcome to stay at our place if you come for solstice.

RM said...

Apparently they are going by KENJAMIN now