Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Owls Roost Rumble Trail Half

Owl's Roost awards: pretty cool blankets

This was the second year Shannon and I have run Owl's Roost and it is one of my favorite races, second only to the Umstead Marathon.

The course follows some very nice single track trails around Lake Brandt in Greensboro. Not too hilly, or rocky, but lots of roots which I like. It is well marked with bright yellow and black arrows mounted up at eye level pointing the way. Unfortunately your eyes are usually glued to the trail so it is easy miss a turn, which a lot of people did.

There were over 300 people this year, which is a lot for a single track race. Fortunately the race is broken into 3 “waves”. The “elite” go first, followed by the men, with the women starting last. Both Shannon and I opted to start with the “elites”. I was hoping to follow someone who wouldn’t get lost. Shannon just wanted to be called “elite”.

For the first 5 miles I was right behind one of the elite women and I realized that I hate following people. It is hard to see the trail ahead. It was probably irritating her too to have someone behind her. But every time I thought of passing her she pulled away, and then I would catch back up on the downhill.

It was really hot, so I stopped at an aid station to gulp a Gatorade and dump water on my head. After a short stretch of greenway we turned back on the trail.
“Hey you’re going the wrong way!” I shouted. The woman I had been following had missed the arrows and was a good 200 yards down the wrong trail. Fortunately she heard me and turned around, but that was the last I saw of her and I think it cost her first place.

Rebekah Potts and David Nash

I ran the rest of the way mostly alone, occasionally passing people. Several times I was convinced I was on the wrong trail until I would see a mile marker. I was really happy when I hit mile 12 at 1:25. But the last mile I slowed to a crawl finishing in 12th place at 1:35:33, just ahead of Rebekah Potts who was first female. She was having an off year after setting the female course record last year of 1:29:55.

"See, my name is way up at the top", Marc Jeuland
fails to impress his wife Shuwen

Marc Jeuland won the race, but in a rather pedestrian time of 1:22:43. Apparently he lost 9 minutes because of a wrong turn, and another 12 minutes due to the wind drag on his new unruly facial hair.

Unique to Owls Roost is the pushup contest after the race. Last year, I was encouraged to participate by some smart-ass who shall remain nameless (Paul Potorti), and I was the first one to drop out. Let me say, in my defense, that I was doing them the right way. Some of these guys were just bobbing up and down quickly like they were having a seizure, or arching their back like some kind of break dancing move.

This year I declined to participate, because I no longer have functioning arms. I have done a lot of running and biking this past year but no upper body work. So I have come to resemble a T-Rex, with huge legs and head, and these withered vestigial limbs dangling from my shoulders.
Push-up contest, with men who still have arms

Rebekah Potts proved you can be a fast runner and still have arms. After winning the race, she won the push-up contest too. I hate over achievers.

So I plan to work on my push-ups and for Owls Roost 2010; my goal is to not be the first guy to drop beat that nameless smart-ass in the push up contest.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 Umstead Coalition 4 miler

The Umstead Coalition 4 miler is a fun run/walk to benefit Umstead park. A lot of people bring their dogs, there is live music, and tents and booths with cool stuff like this seriously evil looking owl from the American Wildlife Refuge.
I had looked at the results from last year and saw a lot of familiar names of Godiva members much faster than I will ever hope to be, and was hoping I could maybe come in 6th place.
I discovered that nobody takes the run very seriously... except for me of course. People had their baby strollers or dogs and didnt want to move up to the start line, but I got right up there like it was an Olympic event. When it started I took off sprinting down the Ready Creek greenway heading into Umstead, and after a few seconds realized I was by myself. I was kind of embarrassed and turned around to see everyone jogging easily down the greenway.
There was a $100 gift card to Great Outdoor Provision Co. for the winner, and I thought "hey, if no one else wants it...", so I kept going as hard as I could.

The race is roughly a mile downhill to the bridge, then about a mile up corkscrew and then turn around at Cedar Ridge. At the turn-around I saw that people were not far behind so I expected someone to pass me at any moment. Towards the end I was really slowing down, and a kid on a bike following behind started yelling "Come on! Sprint it out! I said SPRINT!". I sprinted.
I am glad I did because Brian Foreman was only a few seconds behind me. So I won my third race this year!

Above is Danielle Rowland, who jogged easily to finish first female a minute behind me.

Above is a picture of running dog Ru admiring a stuffed fox. Ru ran the race with Bubbles. Next year I plan to run the race with Dudley Dooright who is a Kenyan in fur coat.

Shannon took a bunch of pictures which are here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to run a 10K PR in 5 easy steps!

2009 Cary road Race 10K
April 4, 2009

STEP #1: Stay out late the night before, drink too much, and act foolish.

STEP #2: Visit the Demonic Goat in Father & Sons Antiques in Raleigh. Make a wish to run a 10K under 40 minutes (or whatever would be a PR for you)

Step #3: Wake up hung over. Ingest large amounts of caffeine and Gatorade. Make 7 trips to the bathroom

Shannon took this really cool picture of the 5K start. Click for larger image. It is a split second after the gun went off, as you can see the feet just an inch off the ground.

STEP #4: Run until the pace is painful. Then hold that for almost 40 minutes.

STEP #5: Finish in 39:30. Suffer miserably

Mandy and Winston both did the 5K, and Mandy told us a funny story about Winston. He is pretty competitive in his 1-13 year old age group. As he was running the 5K next to another young kid, wondering if he should speed up to pass him, he asked "How old are you?".

Mandy and Winston are identical twins. Hard to tell apart, but see the the picture below.

The way I tell them apart is by the shoes. Mandy has red blood stain on hers, so she is on the left.

If you think we are crazy with all of our races, my neighbor Guy did the 10K, then 20 minutes later ran the 5K, and placed 2nd grand master in both.

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