Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Volksläufe Again (2014 Edition)

I've written about this race so many times, I'm guessing you're all tired of it right?  So, we'll keep this sort of brief.

Yes, Jason and I ate the pancakes before the race again.  However, this time we also rolled the dice with a plate of eggs.
Rather than break out quick this year and try to maintain, I went with a different approach.  It was more like don't really try for the first half, and see what I have for the second half.

About the 5K mark I picked up two runners that didn't seem too happy about me being near them.  They were obviously a couple, and the girl and the guy were pretty much flawless physical specimens.  When the maker created them, I'm sure there was one last squeeze before sending them out in the world.  They were really, seriously, super attractive people.  They also seemed to be super pissed about a fat guy keeping up with them.

I would pull close, and I would hear them get all huffy about it, and they'd hurry up back ahead of me.  It was cute.  They didn't even know that, at this point in the race, I wasn't even trying.  Finally, at the 10K/halfway point, I kicked it up, and left them far behind.  "People should know when they are conquered." I'm also pretty sure the person at the half point told me my time was 68 minutes.  That was awful, if that was true.  I was on pace for a 2:16...my worst at this race.

Anyway, with buckets of energy to spare, I started passing people left and right down the dirt road and over the bridge.  I hit the hills that usually beat me down and leave me for dead, and I pretty much rushed right through them with no trouble at all.

By the time I hit the 15K mark, I figured that, with only a 5K to go, I might as well try to treat the end like a regular 5K.  So I just did my best to sprint the rest of the race.

Now I was really passing people.  I blew by people like they were standing still.  There were a lot of remarks about how much energy I had left.  One woman even asked if she could hop on and get a ride to the finish.  I said, "Sure, catch me and hop on."  She did not catch me, even with my slight detour on the hill to high-five the inflatable Sparty.

I came in with a 2:05:33, which was shocking if the front half was really 1:08.  Could it really be possible that I ran the last half in 57 minutes?  Couldn't be...right?  Maybe I'll find out if there were split times...

Anyway, I've learned that I can't go out super slow on this race if it's not 90+ degrees out.  I also learned that eggs are okay with the pancakes before the race.  The 2:05 is only a minute more than my best at this course.  That's a good sign, considering I sleepwalked through half this race.  I don't know, maybe I should actually start using my Garmin again.  I've just been in this mode of not being a slave to times and being ruled more by how I feel, how I want to run, and how I work.  I figure that shooting for specific times is just going to hinder the long term goal, and there's just too many emotional highs and lows playing that game.

Anyway, I've also learned that races only have good shirts for the first one or two years that I run them, and then they get boring and lame.
I mean...look at this crap.  Immediate goodwill pile!
You better do something good for the 40th next year.
I still need to bump up the training and I've gotten a little laxed with the lazy days of summer, but I'll turn it back around soon.  Everyone needs a small break sometimes.  I'm still in real, honest-to-goodness training mode this year, and I won't be falling off.  Maybe I'm not PRing like a madman, but I think I'm really setting up well for the marathon this year, and, as long as I stay on track, I'll be shocked if that's not a significant PR.

Also, there still may be a 5K and 13.1 PR in there.  I'm not ruling it out.

Friday, July 4, 2014

In Your Face Steeplechase

It's pretty much impossible to pass on an organized race in its inaugural year when it's less than a mile's walk from your home.  That's pretty much how I ended up doing the Crim's "In Your Face Steeplechase."

The race was on the old Pierce Park golf course, which is usually overgrown, but they cut paths in the long weeds for us to run in.

This is usually how the course looks

The run itself was three one mile loops with hay bails to jump, people heckling you, spectators spraying water and giving out donuts, volunteers handing out pizza, and many other shenanigans.

With the grass still being semi-thick and the ground being so squishy, with the heat, it was actually a pretty tough run for the short distance.  However, it's always easier to run with a friend, especially if they're kinda hot (no, not Jason...)
I was talking about my hot friend the Jalapeño!
Yep, somebody handed these out.
Post race food and drink
Instead of shirts, we got this sweet trucker hat.
In the end, the race wasn't that spectacular, but I can see it growing into a really cool tradition.  If they can get more spectators, and a few more racers, it can be a pretty good party.  In the end I was just happy to have done it, because I was on a former golf course, running to benefit Mott athletics on the birthday of my cousin Zach (June 26th), who was a Mott golfer.  So it was a nice unintended tribute to him.  I'm sure he'd probably think running is stupid, though, and would have wondered why I wasted such a nice golfing day.  Even so, it made me think of him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I Just (Don't) Wanna Fly

 Considering my extreme fear of flying, doing a run at an airport (Wings of Mercy Runway 5K) kind of seems like a match made in hell.  Add in the fact I was already down a full day Friday with a sore throat and sinus infection, and you really can't expect much.  I'm not even sure why I showed up for this run.  Honestly it was the only part of the entire weekend (June 21st) I was up and moving, and it took a good bit of knock-off cold medicine to make that happen.

As I drove toward Linden's Price Airport (which is pretty much made for smaller planes), I also got the bright idea to get a check in toward my "Layover" badge on Untappd.  Hell, when will I ever be at an airport?  I need 5 check-ins to get that one, and I have to take the opportunities that are presented to me.  Speaking of, there aren't many beer opportunities available for under $1.50 (needed the rest of my $$$ for registration), so I ended up getting a tall boy of Busch Copper Lager.  As much as I hate AB-Inbev, and as bad as I think their products usually are, I actually kind of liked it.  Then again, my taste was probably inhibited at the time, because, like Dewey Cox, I was without a sense of smell.

So, I'm stealthily drinking my beer in my car, and I run into one of my friend's parents, who park right in front of me.  I see them out at races a lot.  However, I'm not usually failing the "my breath doesn't smell of alcohol" test, so, yeah, semi-embarrassing.  Maybe they didn't notice.

I toss the empty can, still in its paper bag, in the trunk, and I start walking around looking at planes in the hangars.

At this point, I'm kind of burning up, and sweating bullets already.  Maybe my wife was right, I didn't need to be here.  I still hadn't registered.  I could go home.  I didn't.  I registered and went out on the runway, taking more pictures of planes.

I also tried to take a photo of the Air Balloons far in the background, which is the only thing I can imagine more frightening to ride in than a plane.


This Place is SCARY

Once it got a little darker and more twilight-looking, we lined up to run.  There were only about 100 people there, so if there was ever a chance that everyone that showed up was a first-timer amateur that was slower than me and I was going to win the thing outright, now was the time!

Not to play spoiler, but that didn't happen.  The leaders left me in their dust as usual, and it was just up to me to run a good race, despite the sickness.  Most of the race was very straight down the large runway, with a few double-backs and a small loop off to the side.  So, most of the race, you had a lot of real estate and racers in front of you, in your line of sight.

That must have helped me a lot, or maybe I just got the right mix of hops and cold medicine.  Nobody will ever know.  I hope none of it was on the banned PED list.  I cruised in with a 24:49, flat 8 minute mile pace, and logged my second best time ever.  Yep, again, no PR.  Could it still fall this year, though?  Sure, it's a 24:32.  We're talking seconds...

I was very happy with this race.  I wish I knew I was closer to breaking my time.  I probably would have forced it more.  I just wanted to survive it.  Since I ran a 26:39 in the Flushing Evening 5K just 3 days before (when I was still well), I just wasn't expecting to get near the PR.

Still, I can't complain, and I got a yellow shirt with print that glows in the dark.

Glow-in-the-Dark is cool

I should also mention that this is also considered practice for the Air Force Marathon, where there will also be planes (I'm assuming).  So yeah, that will be my marathon #3 (unless I fit another in before then).
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