Book II Chapter 6 Tales of Dead Armadillo We have ignition Novel about crosscountry running by Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved



Serg ventured to the table that Tara, Amanda and Kimber were occupying. They talk was about Christianity in action he winced. Amanda was seeing the force dominate more and more of her team. Stephen had a certain intensity to the way he was living. Serg seemed surprised that even how they ran was an outpouring of their faith.

Having done the work done Stephen was given permission to run with the team. Things had returned to a standard pace....they would run a standard golf course that day. In the locker room with just two meets before district and Dennis being back things were cranking up in intensity.  Tom was not his usual laid back self and Bo seemed more intense. They would run at Starke Park that Saturday. Serg commented no more partying through regional’s. Coach Bob said "You sound like you are planning on it." Michael replied "Yeah we got a shot at it go for it." Bo said "It would be nice finishing first this year at district and taking some of the weight off of Amanda and Linda." Aero asked "You mean Amanda does not like being a star." Coach Bob replied "Just because she is and she takes the it with grace does not mean she particularly relishes the role she likes running but stardom is not all what its cracked up to be lots of pressure." Ace almost dressed out said "When I was you I thought fame was end it took a crisis and two years elsewhere to realize it is only a means." Coach Noel Scott had arrived and started getting ready to mix the Exceed. Coach Noel Scott replied "That's acting like a senior" Ace then said "Lets show the girls some appreciation today and bust our butts." Thomas replied "That's a plan."

Amanda could feel the bravado as the guys approached. It was reassuring. Serg, Tom, Bo, and Ace walked in step to the field house and Unicorn stadium. She looked over at Tara and Linda smiled. Linda quipped "senior thing.” Amanda nodded and looked at Tara. Amanda had seen strange things but this was both strange but it was also making perfect sense. It was reassuring. The stretch was forceful as they went through all the basic stretched to loosen up the guys were in the lead. Kathrine Whe was surprised but liked it. Tara could feel the implied leadership of Ace.

Tom took off fast. He could see Raul, French Fries and Bo. Ace was with him as they went down Ohio to California. The two looked at each other Thomas and Mike were also in the group. I hope Bo keeps Raul scared Tom said. Stephen let out a chuckle.   Even though they were breathing a bit hard they were slightly beyond the lactic acid threshold and were going to hold it down the whole length of the run. The turn onto California occurred fast and bloated. There was no traffic going down the street so they went to the correct side of the street and with a notch on the stride they kept the pace up. For the two it was as if a vow had been made. Tom was feeling it in his heart his senior year a chance at district glory. The fact that Stephen had been roaring around under control a different control Tom may not have liked what happened to Special but it was clear that come hell or high water they wanted #1 in district. The result was California even in the warmth was assaulted with a vengeance and lakeview Blvd came up next. The left turn was made. Stephen had actually jacked up the pace where they could pull away from Thomas and Mike the two Juniors. Serg was just ahead caught in the oncoming hurricane. He was not complaining. The idea of district being within reach potentially easy reach was exciting to him. So he kicked it up. Coach Bob was running he had seen the takeoff. Raul was pissing him off due the fact he had state potential but did not realize it as he watched Thomas and Mike get swept up in the hurricane of Serg, Ace and Tom he had hopes of the guys winning district. Tom was realizing how time was ticking away on his crosscountry career and he was realizing how precious this question was. In the distance he could see Bo cracking the whip on Raul and French Fries. For Tom and Ace the two were now closing on Eden Home at a decent pace. They were just beyond the lactic acid threshold. They both cannon balled the hill and made the right turn where they could see the golf course beckoning. The tree lined section of road was nice. Stephen had surged just a hair as they went through the cooler section with tall trees dominating both sides of the road through a nice section of town. The pace was not quite as blistering as Raul, French Fries and Bo but Thomas, Mike, Tom and Stephen were still sizzling as they made the turn around the base of golf course. The sharp dip to and from the original channel of the Comal was draining. Yet on the backside and the gentle turn to the Wursthalle there was determination.

(Dip  coming out of the original channel of the Comal pictured from a truck we would run on the sidewalk photos Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved)

The fatique had dulled things but senior emotionalism was still quite intense the result was instead of the stringing and despite the slight burn of lactic acid in the legs the group was stubbornly together and the familar landmarks were not allowing senioritis die. They realized how quickly time was ticking away. They kept running hard by the parking lots that used to be the old Tennis courts of Landa Park on one side and the grounds of Wurstfest. Stephen had a crazy look on his face. Stephen surged away a bit. Tom wondered if he would fade Tom's own legs were feeling some lactic acid. It was brazen but on par with Stephen. Stephen started closing on Thomas and Mike wanting to run varsity that weekend and securing varsity. They zipped by the Olympic pool and with a surge Stephen finally cleared Thomas and Mike fueling what amounted to a drag race the final mile through Landa Park and up Panther Canyon. The trail criss cossed the creek at multiple locations as it was up a winding canyon finally requiring some steps to be taken as the climb was near vertical. Thomas was not that far behind. Stephen saw the parking lot of the high school beckoning with a massive surge he crossed. As the practice field for the football team was approached Thomas and Mike caught him Tom was not right with them.

Coach Bob had looked at his watch and made the comment "I guess that was not just talk in the locker room." Tom smiled then dry heaved his legs were burning. He did feel comfortable with what happened. Tom looked at Stephen "Drink your exceed quickly before crunches and pushups you need to replace the carbs fast.” There had been doing studies about speed of carbohydrate replacement that Tom had been made aware of so he wanted it to be used.

The girls had seen the race from their own perspective.  They took off. The guys speed was solid they were soon pulling away from Amanda and Linda. They went down Ohio the slowest of the guys visibly pulling away. Linda looked at Amanda "They are serious" Coach Bob heard the comment "They have played second fiddle to you two for 4 years your brother and French Fries have unleashed real hope and Ace is pushing things." Coach Bob had accepted Ace's hands on the power quadrant of the team.  He had told Amanda that privately.  It was making his life better.  The group ran down California they were at a decent pace but they knew this was going to be long. Tara and Leisha were not far behind. The idea of being overshadowed did not hurt Amanda or Linda it was encouraging and Coach Bob could see them running faster. Hope plus leadership was lighting up the team. Amanda was feeling sentimental knowing each time down this run she was nearing her last it pushed her and pushed her harder. She made the turn down lakeview knowing that time was running out and that soon she would have nothing but boring stories about "Glory Days.” She pulled ahead of Linda and she ran the dip and form was now on her mind she was watching her line more closely. Linda was with her stride by stride Tara and Leisha were not too far behind them. The trees were doing a good job in keeping things cool. Amanda’s legs hat a slight fire she kept it that way she would start going harder at the base of the creek and then surge up Panther Canyon. She cross the railroad tracks and then bore down surging down hill then applying some extra juice beyond the original channel of the Comal River. The guys were busting their tail she was going to. She had been irritated at Raul not using his talent she will. She had at the most four more meets district was not for granted. She made the turn by the Wursthalle and swung by the Olympic pool. She aimed herself in a line crossing the mill race. She was just shy of couple other creeks that were spring fed that all fed the Comal. She crossed Fredericksburg road with ease and went full out up the dark trail of Panther Canyon. She secretly hated it. Linda was keeping pace with her through each feature she had become familar with time was fading her status was now destined to be memory as she exploded up the section that long ago had been an amphitheatre she was going to make this count. Commitment to the team the guys had it she did to. She climbed the final section and then though her legs were burning she roared across the back parking lot of the school nipping the Football field and into the open gate by the field house.

The cup of Exceed handed her by Stephen was nice. Tom had one for Linda Serg had a couple for Tara and Leisha. The guys had just gotten done with pushups and crunches they were looking tired. Tara and she drank it up. Amanda finally looked at Linda and then said "It would be nice if your brother could join us at state." Linda was feeling frustrated at her brother as well. She could feel the point but she also realized he was happy with being the best runners of the guy's side. Aero had gone to the party without announcing it to anybody. She came out with Aero was at the party as well and he drank. Tara had heard the info and he would relay it to Stephen King. Linda then said "The guys will now at least get district.” Amanda nodded. Tara then said Ace is now realizing he can not do much about Raul but he will bug Aero." Amanda said "Its scary knowing that one busted party and the guys team is down the tubes." Leisha nodded.

On the girls side Kimber looked at Anna and Lezlee as they took off on an Eden Home. The way the girls had taken off Julie could feel that Kimber, Lezlee and Anna had managed to come up on the same wave length. It was quickly seen as a senior thing. Even the two transfers could feel the expectation and change in season. This had been building in the locker room. At the track the senior guys were acting unified and without saying too much the spurs were being kicked in and even Amanda and Linda could feel that they were about to take the role of second fiddle. Julie could feel the beat being picked up. So once on the run the pace was fast. Kimber was setting a pace and was showing even her aggressive side. It was not hostility but there was a force on the turnback from Eden Home with an implication of expectation as Kimber passed Julie on the turn around. Anna and Lezlee had a look on their face of appreciation as Julie's own face indicated fatigue. Her faith was demanding that she not give up on the run. She could feel the energy and as she got back on California she decided to surge and as Ohio was approached just a bit faster. Finally the homestretch to the field house she went that much harder.

In the locker room Steven Ray made the comment "What has gotten into you Serg, Bo, Tom and Ace?" Tom replied "When you are a senior you will understand." Bo replied "If you had Ace's balls perhaps you might get a medal" Mike said "Lets get gold this year at district so Amanda does not have to carry it on her own." Coach Bob walked in from running with the girls looked at Stephen King "What's the talk about district".  Bo leaving said "Wanna go with the gold"   He smiled. Bo asked Stephen knowing he had walked "Want a ride?" Stephen replied sure and in Bo's jeep the ride was quick. There was half a pound of beef that Stephen wanted waiting for him in the kitchen. The Advil was waiting.

Tara made it home she was hungry. Her mom was making home made chicken fried steak. Over dinner the family of three discussed things. Tara commented how the team just seemed to have changed personalty over the weekend. She had heard the stories of the team being so radically different but always coming together but had a hard time believing them. Now she saw how Thomas, Mike, Serg, Tom, Bo and Ace walked out in step and the reaction to the event by Linda and Amanda. Her father had remarked how Coach Bob had tweaked some to allow team chemistry to do much of the coaching for him. Her father was surprised at the brazenness of the alcohol abuse on the football team. The talk of the party only faded somewhat when he was around the players. The cream greasy was made with real pork fat and the flour was from Denton. Along with the steak was fresh green beans. It was a hearty calorie rich meal for her runner but it was not full of empty calories. Within a mile the conditions for Amanda Cook were not too different. The conversation is how the guys suddenly seem to be locked on district glory. Amanda seemed at ease. Her father was happy.

For Stephen King he cooked up his meat his father had and AFTP and his mom was working late. The half-pound of beef with four strips of bacon and two slabs of cheese was cooked up. The big tall orange juice and fresh tomatoes finished it. The mass of food primarily fat kept he dose of Advil its near max level. The knee had some swelling. Stephen liked the fact his parents were not there.

Bo did some of his homework on the small dock by the Guadalupe River. Ace might be going back to JV but he sure did not run like was. The idea of district glory was appealing to him. He realized that while French Fries and Raul may have been young punks they had what the guy’s team sorely lacked....talent. Raul was getting on Bo's nerves though he did have state potential but was not using it. Bo while thinking life was about a good time in his blond curly hair realized that drugs and booze were not a part of it. He rarely indulged in even soda waters. He ate liver and onions the meal was hardly the most delicious thing yet behind the happy go lucky attitude was seriousness about running. The fresh squeezed orange juice that he drank also was more design then whim. He finished this English assignment before dark and he realized how precious time was running out. Bo decided to turn in early and get a good nights rest tomorrows workout was coming faster.


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