Monday, April 29, 2013

Trail Half-Marathon Recap

Saturday just started out being one of those day where your brain is a total piece of crap.  I had everything put out the night before for my trail half.  Experience has taught me that trying to get everything together in the morning is a sure way to forget things or end up screaming, "Where the *expletive deleted* is my *expletive deleted* noun.  *expletive deleted*!!!!!!!  So you learn to put things out for you like your mother did in elementary school.  Admittedly, my brain in the morning is lucky if it's as good as it was back then, when, like every child, I was actually a morning person.  So after the show Friday night, I went through the usual checklist.  I put it all out there in nice little piles and/or bags.

The alarm goes off, my wife nudges me awake.  It's 5am, and I'm 100% prepared.  The run isn't until 8am and it's only a 50 minute drive, so plenty o' time.  I take my time getting ready, and I'm about to head out.  I fill up the water bottle, pop an English muffin in the toaster, and then start considering which horrible pair of shoes I want to use.  Right now, I literally despise every pair of shoes I'm wearing to run.  To put it in perspective, the Nikes I hated from the March Madness of Shoes over a year ago that I never wore before are currently the best ones.  So that's inevitably what I ended up choosing. 

I gave the wife a kiss, headed out the door, stopped by the Speedway to fill up and realized I forgot my water bottle.  Oh well, as Kumar would say....
...No, we've gone too far
I could just buy a water with the gas, and all would be fine.  So I did, along with a gatorade, and headed off onto the E-way, only to discover I left my phone.  To say that it was too late and I'd gone too far then would have truly been the Kumar moment, but, nope, I went back for that.  You never know.  The one time I forget it, my car craps out on me.  That would be typical.  So I went back, grabbed the phone, grabbed the extra water bottle, but still managed to leave that English muffin, that I had completely forgot about, in the toaster (saves pastries, but not the British pastries).

About 5 or 6 miles before I get to the state park, I realize that I drank a lot of freaking gatorade.  I also realize that I'm heading to a run where there are usually swarms of people waiting for the bathrooms.  I also realize that I'm on the border of making it to the park, and either way, this is going off outside.  So, despite valiant efforts to contain, my 8 year streak of no roadside urination has met its end.  Why am I sharing this?  I honestly don't know.

Anyway, I made it to the park about 15 minutes before race start.  After getting parked and picking up my packet, it was already 8am, and the waves were going off.  I didn't bother rushing myself, and made another trip back to the car to pin on the bib and throw the shirt in the car.  I figured as out of sync as I was today, I wasn't in any hurry to get things moving.  So by the time I got back down to the start, the last wave was heading off, and I just kind of blended in to the back of them.  I didn't really care about my pace, and figured the trail would have me completely subdued to nothingness by mile 10 (like usual) so I didn't try passing too many people and just kind of settled in with them.  Sure it was slower than I wanted to go, but I was fine with it.

After about mile 4 or 5, I woke up a little bit.  Just now realizing I forgot my english muffin (damnit!), I popped a Gu to get some energy and at least give the tummy something.  I'm not sure about everyone else, but the second I have one of those, I feel like I want to die.  My energy and muscles have a mini-collapse right after taking one.  Now, it only lasts for a moment, and if I fight that off, I'll feel generally better with the stuff over the long term, but right away, it's like I lose half of my body's system power.  Maybe there's an actual scientific explanation (initial sugar crash?), or maybe it's just psychosomatic.  I don't know. 

After that I started passing a few people here and there.  There were also about 5 or 6 folks that I kept playing leapfrog with for a good chunk of the race.   They seemed to be stronger than me when things flattened out, and I seemed to take the ups and downs a lot better.  This included one girl with her headphones in the whole time that obviously had no idea when people were right dead behind her, and she'd slow down unexpectedly and caused a lot of near misses (one with me where I brushed her arm just a bit and she looked at me like I'm the jerk).

Listen, it's just proper etiquette not to have your stupid headphones on for trail runs.  This goes especially for trail runs that specifically request on the race's site that you ditch them.  Besides, with them in, you can't hear how many people are calling you a blooming idiot (not on the Outback Steakhouse menu), and are hoping aloud for you to wipe out.   To be honest, I'm not sure I would have helped her up if she did.  I probably just would have kick-rolled her down into a gully, finishing the job that nature started, to the sound of applause from fellow trail runners (I'm kidding...I think).  So the back and forths with these people went on pretty much the entire race until about mile 10, when I just decided I'd had enough and it was time to kick it in gear and get this stupid thing over with. 

Then I felt my right calf nearly pull (invoking thoughts of Rod Marinelli's "he had a calf" press conference), so I backed off.  After favoring that for a mile, I could feel the other one starting to go.  I slowed down, and ran a little more stiff, babying both calves (get it, baby...calves?...wakka wakka).  I was just hoping to get this thing over without yanking either of them and having to Tin Man my way two more miles to a finish.  Besides, I have a heart, it was really the brain part that was in question on Saturday.

After some careful striding through the last couple miles, I could see this finish, and started heading in.  I was pretty much focused on the finish, and not really paying attention to anything else, when I heard my name being yelled by a small group of people to my right as I was passing them.  I turned to look over my shoulder, wondering who the hell I knew there.  I didn't really have a clue, thinking it might have been the one guy that went to high school with us that runs a lot of these races and maybe his wife and some other people.  I really wasn't sure.

I finished, grabbed a water, and started heading back to see who was back there just before the end line, and it turned out to be Spike and Red.  So after many of times not crossing paths at races, I finally ran into them.  They were spectating for some friends, since they're both OOC right now.  One doesn't generally think of running as a spectator sport, but don't tell these two.  If there is anyone out there that can turn it into one, it's probably them.  So if suddenly there is talk on the news of EPL-style hooliganism being brought to the running community, take it from me, it will be spawned from them (and you'll agree if you see their Lansing Marathon Spectating Recap).  Both signs were explained to me, I'm not quite sure I got either of them completely, but I was amused by Spike's conversation with an older woman regarding the existence of 200 lb prehistoric beavers and Red's talk of photoshopping Jesus's feet out of photoboming their precious wedding photo moments.  I'm sure he'll understand.  Pretty much, they're the same personable living sillyness you'd expect from reading their blogs, which is a.... 

After a couple long series of stretching out my calves, I realized my feet also hurt in the two usual places.  They weren't as bad as usual, which makes me think I'd much rather do trail than road right now.  Sure it's harder, but it's better on my feet, and right now I'll take that.  To numb the pain down a bit, I went down to the water and soaked them in for a bit.  The water was pretty cold, so it did the trick.  I took a short barefoot walk up the hill, put on the shoes again, and decided to head home.

It was time for some homebrew, a spinach omelette, and, yes, a twice toasted English muffin.

As far as aftermath, I don't think I've ever been this sore.  Part of it's a product of just not having mileage and the rest of it is going after a trail run this early in the year.  I'm supposed to run with J today, but I don't expect much.  Be on the look-out for a 1.5 mile run at 14 minute pace, and talk of more sampling of my pale ale on dailymile.  That's probably what's going to happen.

All pain aside, though, this is a really enjoyable run.   There's a lot of good shade to be had. There are some parts with wood bridges going over waters and gullies that, if you time it right with other runners, you can get some nice positive interference to bounce you along on your way. Starting and finishing by Silver Lake is pretty nice too. Honestly, it wouldn't be a bad place to just hang out if you weren't running. I guess I just never bothered to take this one up before for the simple fact that it's just called the "Trail Marathon." The name just didn't do it for me. Yeah, I know, that's a stupid reason.

The trail is also cut back a lot better than in Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg, where The Legend is, and you don't have to worry about stray branches coming back at you.  So, I didn't have to go with the sunglasses, which protect the eyes, but may make you miss something sticking out of the ground that will wipe you out.  I didn't have as many near misses out there as I usually do.  I only really had two trip ups, and they were easy to recover from.  They also did a really good job of making up for some of the extra rain we've been getting by putting sand down in some of the low spots.  I was really impressed by how little muck running I had to do out there.  It was a really enjoyable experience.  I definitely want to come back for this one.


Medal Front

Medal Back
My Beer :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Legs ain't workin', nothing's workin'

...and you say go ahead, run another half-marathon.  Yeah I'll run another half-marathon.  I'll get my face kicked in.

Anyway, this is just getting old.  I've upped the mileage this month, but, if anything, things are getting worse.  My legs just seem to be gone.  I can't seem to push anything out of them.  Even when I'm straining for some speed, the Garmin beeps back my mile pace and then it's just over.  The smile from my face takes a 180 and I start swearing under my breath, and the run is pretty much over.  Okay, so maybe the swearing wasn't under my breath.  Maybe I let out a loud primal scream of "DAMMIT!!!" that echoed throughout the neighborhood and made everyone think I was casing the neighborhood with house-penetrating vulgarity sonar (next up, I find your hidden safe with the f-word!).

If that wasn't enough, both of my feet hurt all the time.  I really don't know what I expected.  You put them through running with all this weight, on top of walking on concrete at work all day, and walking around a house that's almost entirely wood flooring, you're going to beat them to death.  The right heel and the outer middle edge of lefty are just not doing so hot.  They are pansies, especially the one that has no second toenail.
Missing toenail toe photo omitted for readers' sake
Anyway, let's talk about the (alleged) weight loss regimen.  I've been doing a damn fine job.  I've been eating healthy.  I've added some strength training exercises (lifting weights, doing some leg strengthening, etc.).  I've been controlling my portions by pretty much saying, "I want to eat this much," dividing it by 2, and only eating that.

The net result of all this hard work?  One lousy pound, and I think I might actually be even slower now.  So last night, when my wife had her family over for her Dad's birthday dinner, I decided to go buckwild on some mashed potatoes and have more than one piece of cake.  Instead of dividing by 2, I multiplied by π (not pie, there was no pie).  Maybe it will undoing everything or maybe it will be the system shock I need. 

Honestly, with all the bloggers I'm following giving up the running temporarily, the thought had crossed my mind.  Maybe the legs just need a break from the abuse and I can build them up with some other things.  Right now that would be the move that makes the most sense.  That, and actually having someone tell me why my heel's been hurting for almost a year.  Yeah, yeah...I know, I know.

The problem is, I can't really dump the running now.  I just signed up for a second run at the Detroit Marathon in October.  You really can't stop running and jump right into that.  Besides, if I quit now, Oprah wins.  I can't let myself stop running until I beat Oprah's marathon time (is that an actual goal I'm putting out there?).  Can't live with it.  Sure I beat the times of Al Gore and that Jared Fogle guy (Subway, I'm still available for sponsorship), but, really, what good is that?  Also, I can't not do a marathon this year after Boston, it just wouldn't feel right.

Actually maybe I won't catch Oprah.
She was in pretty decent shape then.

So, concurrent to the contemplation of putting the shoes away (which should happen anyway, as I hate every pair I have right now), I signed up for a trail series without a second thought that consists of a 13.1, a 10K, and another 13.1.  The first of which is the Trail Half-Marathon in Laingsburg this weekend, and the last being The Legend, which is notoriously an Achilles heel for me.  Repeat after me "Owa tana siam."  Obviously I want to quit, that's why I did this. 

Anyway, a full report of my crash and burn tomorrow should be coming your way soon.  It sounds like I'll be going solo on this one as well, unless I run into someone I know or one of you fellow bloggers.  Even then, you'll be in your cars and heading home when I cross, knowing most of you and your speedy ways.  Besides, I'm going to another concert thing with the wife tonight, so my hydrate and get to bed early plan is screwed anyway.  Oh well, have to support homegrown music, especially when your wife's done a good chunk of their album/press photos.  Besides, they're pretty dang good and I've been wanting to see them again for a while.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Three (Martian Races) is a Crowd/Holy Crap, What Just Happened in Boston?

After surviving the Flushing Half unscathed, and even managing to put up a semi-average time, I was in the clear for this race.  The course was closed to traffic.  It was a cool day.  There were several hundred people for me to latch onto for pace.  Everything looked good for me to go in and put up another respectable Martian time.

With every pair of shoes I own having long entered the zone of "total crap" months ago, it was time to get something new.  Feeling guilty for leaving out the Reebok's in the March Madness of Shoes last year, I was pretty partial to them in the store, and came up with these.  I nicknamed them "The Rinzlers" (only Running Spike will get this) based on the look.

Friday night J and I went out to see some music downtown.  Our friends Arlow Xan were playing along with a couple other goodies like Brites, Champions of Breakfast, etc.  I've been on a huge local music kick lately.  National acts are just getting too expensive to see, and it's just hardly ever worth it anymore, so I've kind of backed out of the bigger shows.  It was okay to pay shell out more when you still had a chance of getting good seats, but the days of camping out and waiting at Ticketmaster and of getting the first few rows (now basically reserved for fans that shell out a ton of money to be in a bands fan club) are over.  So I've kind of given up.

So we stayed out for that until about midnight, and I got home to my wife....yadda yadda yadda....I didn't get to sleep until about 1:30 and I was really tired when I had to get up at 4:30.  Oh well, right?  Three hours is the perfect amount of pre-half marathon sleep. 

We drove down, and with the early start, we actually found parking easily and were actually pretty close to Ford Field for once.  We picked up our packets without a lot of trouble and headed back to the car to drop off the non-essentials, and ran into another runner we went to high school with.  I debated dropping my jacket off, but ended up keeping it, and we headed back down near the starting line. 

I ran into fellow blogger Ty.  Well, more like she came by me and asked if I was me, and said hello.  I was in some sort of tired self-loathing stupor wishing I was still in bed, and not getting up for another 3 hours to make breakfast and watch the West Ham game.  That was a first, though, getting recognized from here.  No pictures to prove we met, though.  My point and shoot is dead, and has not been replaced, so you'll have to take our word for it.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting around, the race was about to head off, and then we got word of another 10 minute delay.  I took the extra time to slip my "We Come In Peace" shirt over my jacket so it would be visible and I could stay in the race's festive Martian spirit.  Shortly after that, we headed off.

Half a mile in I started swearing at myself.  I didn't want that stupid jacket now.  I was too hot, and it was bothering me.  I was already kind of cranky, and this didn't help.  It's never very good when, right off the bat in a race, you're in a completely negative place, and I was definitely there.  My pace slowed pretty significantly, and mentally I just didn't want to be there.

It took forever for me to shake that feeling.  We headed off on a detour from the usual route, and you had some of the faster runners coming back at you.  I think I saw Ty like 3 or 4 times in those neighborhood turnaround jots.  Also saw my other two people, and I was in the middle of each of them.  I think it took until about mile 7 where I finally just told myself, "Yeah, you're too hot, but overdressing is a good way to drop some pounds, run it out, and consider it a training run."  That bounced me back a bit, and I finished fairly strong. 

I'm sure I lost a ton of time in the first half though, and by then it was just too late.  I caught quite a few runners from mile 8 on, despite the fact the new shoes weren't agreeing with me.  I cruised in down the final stretch pretty fast thinking that I had way too much energy left, and the clock time up ahead did not look very good to me 2:22 and some change.

I grabbed my medal, which was handed to me in a bag and not placed around my neck.  No matter, it was kind of symbolic for me.  Instead of a congratulatory, "Here's your medal, you are a champion" type of vibe that comes with getting a medal around your neck, I got a "Here's your medal, you're not special, you kind of suck today" hand off.  I probably deserved less.

I waited for J, figuring our other guy was already in his truck and long gone from Dearborn (I didn't see him).  Suddenly I was freezing, and, for the first time that day, was glad I had my jacket on.  When he came in, we went straight to the car, got on some dry clothes and went over to Buddy's for some pizza.  I've never been there.  It was decent.  I was much more interested in my Founder's Porter and the Bell's Oberon I had than my four-square.  After that, we popped into some place that was advertising cheesecake.  I'm not a fan of it, but I figured I could get one for the wife and continue to bank bonus points that will come in handy in the later years as I continue to become more and more of a wrinkled curmudgeon.  Unfortunately, the place had only one slice of cheesecake, so that plan was scratched.

We headed back to the car, waited for the hordes of cars in line to get out of the lot to clear while listening to the FA cup game between Milwall (boo) and Wigan, and headed back home.  I knew I was pretty close to having a PU (personal underacheivement), but J kept massaging my ego saying he was sure it took us multiple minutes to get to the starting line (which I didn't believe).  I checked the times later, and saw it officially, a 2:21:28.  Worst half ever.  I stink.  What I avoided in Flushing, came back in Dearborn.

Meanwhile, I'm still feeling some pretty harsh after effects.  My legs are extremely sore, and the bottoms of my feet feel like they've been pounded with a hammer, even two days later.  I partially blame the shoes.  It felt like I would have almost been better off wearing horse shoes out there.  I felt every step after about halfway through.  My left knee also has a nice click to it right now when I bend it.  I'm not sure what's going on there.  I guess this is what I get for naming shoes after a villian and not testing them on a long haul before giving them an official race nod.

Adding insult to injury, my homebrewed beer is not behaving itself.  I'm two weeks into bottling and the carbonation is weak as hell.  This is especially surprising, given the fact I was on the high end for the priming sugar.  Wondering if there's a possibility the basement location is just too cold right now (last batch brewed was down there in June), I've moved the kids upstairs hoping to wake up some yeast and get them attacking that remainder priming sugar.  If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to go through a semi-arduous process to save it.  The flavor's too good to give up on if it doesn't carbonate.  For now, though, I am just going to have faith that the move to a warmer climate will get the job done.
I'm hoping this all gets better soon, although my legs have been uncharacteristically sore for a while now.  Again, nobody to blame for that but me, because look what I put them through, and what they're force to lug around out there.  Anybody's legs would be getting burned out from that.  We'll see what happens.  All I can do is keep running, and be thankful I haven't joined the ranks of the injured.

...and as I'm just finishing this up (most of it was written yesterday) and getting home and I'm just seeing what just happened at Boston.  Two people dead and multiples of people seriously injured.  Who attacks runners?  This is bullshit!  Those poor people.  I'm sure we'll all be talking about this in the coming days.  Scary stuff.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Flushing Half-Murderthon

"If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium and you are already dead"-Maximus

That pretty much sums up the Flushing Half-Marathon. For more detail, feel free too keep reading.

Not only did I sucker myself into a Half-Marathon, but I also suckered in J the night before. For the record, I've probably gone out to run a bit more, but neither of us have really pushed anywhere near this distance so far this year. My longest was just over 7 miles (I believe) and his was just over 6.

We arrived about a half hour before start time. Registration was quick and easy, as there were 173 participants in the 13.1, and just a little over 330 in the 5K, and most seemed to be pre-registered. After getting registered, we milled around in the high school until about 10 minutes before the race, and I ditched my windbreaker pants for running shorts. At the time, that may have seemed like a bad idea, because it was still just under 40 degrees, but the sun came out and pushed it close to 50 by the time the race was coming to a close.

The race itself was not chip timed at the start, but we went to the back anyway, given our expectations. We figured most people doing a half at this point, especially a small one, were going to be training and in real shape, and the back was where we belonged. We joked about our impending doom and kept bad-talking the idiot that conned us into this race (me) until they gave us the go.

After a few miles in on the partially bucolic roads of the race (minus one McHouses subdivision jot a mile in) there came just one nagging question, "Where the hell was the water station?" If the marks on the roads were correct, we were closing in on 4 miles in and still no aid in sight. Finally, just into the start of what was to be the big double loop...there it was...water! At that point we both just stopped and downed way too much. We had no idea when the next one would be, if there was one.

The big loop was pretty dicey for running. The roads were still open to traffic, and the majority of the cars had little interest in letting you stay on the road. I kept going from the road to the gravel shoulder and back. To do so, you had to make sure to clear the small rise going from the shoulder back on the pavement. Sure, it sounds easy, but when you're running, tired, and dehydrated, it's pretty easy to catch yourself on the lip of the road and do a nice face plant. So we have dehydration, traffic, and head trauma all out there just waiting to be causes of death. They even mentioned that last year someone was actually hit by a car.

When I found water station #2 on the loop, I had to wonder about the location. It was still close to another 4 miles from the initial, and, with the loop in effect, you only had roughly another mile and a half until you returned to the initial station. The placement was just all sorts of wrong, and could have ruined your day if you came into the thing without being semi-hydrated off the bat. Sure you had 4 opportunities for water, but you're over 4 miles in before the 1st, almost 8 before the second, and then the last two end up at 9 1/2, and 12 1/2 (so pretty much done) which is almost useless, except for the fact you're trying hard to make up lost hydration ground from earlier. I understand it's a small race, and it's a cheap one, but another bucket of water would do wonders. Even a little better placement couldn't hurt.
Flushing Half Map
Blue Diamonds = Water Station

I think that's a big part of what hurt J's race so much. He was hurting for water early, and I was too, but he was really vocal about it and he's just not the type to complain. Even after the water stop, he slowed pretty hard, and by mile 6 I just couldn't stay back and coax him along any more. On a normal day, the water thing would have broke me, but stripping off the extra layer was very fortunate for me and for some reason I was feeling way too good that day. So I started trying to catch a few people in front of me. There were only 2 or 3 until I hit a big open patch. The people I passed faded back a long way and the next person in front of me, based on a count out to a similar point, was almost 50 seconds ahead. This held for almost 6 miles (the reason for my opening "Gladiator" quote). It was just me, and the cars whizzing by me at 60 MPH, and a few random songs going in my head (Nirvana's "Turnaround" is all I can remember now, but they weren't really typical or running related).

I was really trying hard to catch that person in front of me, but every time I'd gain on her, I'd lose a bit and she'd get it back. I really didn't think it was ever going to happen. Mile 11 I caught 3 other people that she had also passed, but there she was still the same distance ahead. Coming into the 12th mile I made up half the ground, but there was still no way it was going to happen, and then the seas parted. She stopped at the water station at 12 1/2, while I grabbed a quick mouth wetter and whizzed by, going on to pass 3 more people that were fading and didn't push the last mile. I tried to catch one more, but he had more juice than me, and he wasn't going to allow me to get him with a few hundred feet to go. Good job, sir!

I pulled in at a clock timed 2:17:20 (not a PU, but nowhere near a PR). They handed me a BYOR (bring your own ribbon) medal in a plastic baggy at the finish. I was shocked there was a medal at all, so I'm good with that. I can put it on a strand of yarn. All I cared about was getting to the water fountains off to the left. Then after getting about a liter in me, I came back to the finish to cheer on the other people and wait for J. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Eventually it hit the 2:30 mark and I was getting a bit concerned. I walked out to the road a few times to make sure people were coming. They were, but he wasn't in sight. I probably would have headed backwards down the race at this point, but they were already sending out a guy to go pick up cones. I figured if anything happened to him they'd get there first, but it just seemed like it had been too long. Eventually my mind was set at ease when he came in and was still running. He finished about 2:47 and the first words out of his mouth were "I want a smoothie."

After letting him get some water and talk to the organizers a bit, we went straight to a Tropical Smoothie Cafe to fulfill his wish. It was the least I could do after talking him into this race and almost killing him. He wouldn't give any excuses, but I'm telling you that there's no way it turns out that bad for him based on conditioning. I haven't run that much more. This was all dehydration crash, I guarantee it.

As it is, I can't see myself ever doing this race again. The price is nice, but it's just not worth the risk. I realize it's usually cold during this race, but when it's pushing 50 degrees and the sun's out, you need more water stations. You probably should have them when it's cold anyway. Also, a race being open to traffic in a rural area of a suburb where everyone knows the people drive like idiots just isn't a good idea on roads that are not isolated. Along with that, the terrain is pretty good for twisting an ankle and ending your running year. Even with it only being $15 (no shirt option), I'm not going back, and I know J would never even consider it.

If anyone with anything to do with the race is open to suggestions. I have a few. If you wanted to keep the same route and location, you need to put up some signs warning the cars that there are runners at every intersection where they can pull onto the route's roads. A few cars were obviously surprised by me. I was running pretty much alone, and they turned off onto the road oblivious of a race going on. I could see it in their eyes.

If it's me, though, I move this thing out away from this area. If you don't want to shut down roads, move it out to a place that is even more rural. There are roads in Flushing that you can build a Half Marathon on where you won't see a car, and some of them are not dirt roads riddled with holes.

Suggestion #1. Flushing has a pretty decent trail there hanging out behind the Bueche's store. I believe there's about 6 miles back there, and it's wooded and follows a river. This is easily a better fit. Sure you may run into another walker or biker, but you're more likely to survive that than a car.
Almar's flagship hard cider
Suggestion #2. Move this thing out by Almar Orchard and set it up on the roads out there. Have people working the crossings at the major roads and let people know to watch for traffic, but other than that, you're not going to see a lot of cars. You may even get them to throw up some sponsorship, because there are going to be a lot of people buying apples, cider, hard cider (it's the best!), jams & jellies, etc. They even have milk, eggs, and other stuff that some husband or wife would just pick up because it's there. Plus they can make cider slushies when it's warm, hot cider when it's cold, and have some spice doughnuts. I swear, they could make a killing, especially if they got the hayrides going. Just a few racers with some extra cash could easily bare their shelves. I don't know, maybe it's a selfish idea, because I want an excuse to go there and buy more cider, but I think it could be a smash.

Either way, it would be better than running at a school and then leaving. I want people in communities to love runners, not bemoan our existence while almost running us over. There's a run organizer in me somewhere. I've already had a few ideas. Though, I have to admit that my "Case The Neighborhood" 5K is my favorite plan to date.
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