Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Umstead Endurance Run (50 miler)

I Lost
It’s over.
My perfect 76-0 unbeaten streak has been broken. Before Saturday, I had run 76 races with Shannon, and I have beaten her in every one.
Though I have the advantage of being a guy, keeping the streak alive was not easy. In the Frosty 50k, it took every fiber in my being but I managed to squeak out a 1 second victory. Even in New York, when we crossed the finish line together, I was 3 places ahead of her in the results due to the spelling of my last name.
But now it is all over. Last weekend Shannon and I ran the ‘50 mile option’ of the 2010 Umstead 100 mile endurance run, and Shannon finished 2 seconds ahead of me. Oh well, 76-1.

Race Madness
The Umstead 50 was the 3rd installment of our race madness series, which is 2 marathons and 2 ultras in 3 months:
Why are doing this to ourselves? Because there are so many good races we want to do, and we are so very bad at planning things.
Anyway, Uwharrie and the Umstead Marathon had left us pretty beat up and worn down, and now we faced 50 miles, the longest run of our lives. So our goals were modest.

Goals
Our goals for the race, in order:
  1. Don't get hurt, or lose any body parts
  2. Stay together
  3. Have fun
  4. Finish in around 10 hours
There would be no racing this one, just finishing would be hard enough. So we decided to run it together.

Four time winner Serge Arbona,
during the briefing
Pre-race briefing
Though 50 miles would be a great challenge to us, it was nothing compared to epic undertaking that the 100 mile runners faced. We were merely spectators to this incredible world of the 100 mile race, and what a strange place it is.
For example, these questions rarely come up in a 5K or even a marathon:
  • Can my crew set up a tent in the finish area?
  • How much illumination will the moon provide at night?
  • What food is available at the aid stations... for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
  • And what's for breakfast the next day?
These questions and others were answered at the pre-race briefing and pasta dinner on Friday night. Only 250 people were running the race, but with "crew members" and volunteers, the place was packed with many more.

Always bring a head lamp
In the morning we were right on our usual schedule, which means late. At 5:30 it was pitch black, and it was hard to find a parking spot among the trees and cabins.
We didn't bring headlamps because we were told we wouldn't really need them at the start of the race.
However, we did need them to get to the start of the race.
We stumbled down a path in the dark, until we found some other smarter people with headlamps and followed them to the start area.

We entered the lodge which was packed with runners being prepared by their crew. They had clipboards and checklists, and were cross checking the various equipment and supplies. It was quite a production.
We put our duffel bag on a table and got ready. I still had to make my second pre-race morning 'deposit' so I left to go searching through the dark to find a porta potty.
I could not find one so I decided to just hold it.
So I went back into the lodge, to clean out the rocks and sand that had somehow gotten into my shoes.

Start
I was in the lodge changing my socks, when I heard a huge cheer go up from the crowd.
The race had started! In a marathon this would be a nightmare, but with an entire day of running ahead of me, I felt pretty relaxed. A few minutes late start was no big deal.
However, when I went outside, I could not find Shannon. She had adorned herself with several glow-sticks, around her ankles and in her hair, so she should have been easy to spot in the dark.
So I assumed she had already left. I then spent a few minutes waiting in vain for my Garmin Forerunner to find a satellite signal.
I finally gave up, feeling pretty stupid for being a slave to my watch. I ran down the gravel road searching for Shannon, passing many of the 100 mile runners who started out walking.
I found her after about a mile. She was trying to take pictures in the dark.
I refused to wait for her, because if I did, she would just take pictures and we wouldn't get anywhere. So she would stop for a minute to take pictures, and then sprint to catch up to me.

Loop 1: Practice
The race was comprised of 12.5 mile loops around Umstead park, with each loop starting/stopping at the lodge. The 100 milers would complete 8 loops, but we only were doing 4. To help mentally break up the huge distance, I gave each loop a purpose:
Loop 1: Practice
Loop 2: Warm-up
Loop 3: The race
Loop 4: Victory lap

At mile 4, there were porta potties where I finally made my morning deposit. Shannon walked slowly so I could catch up to her, and at that point we were almost an hour into the race and we had only gone 4 miles. Not a great start to the day.

Around 7 am, the sun came up, but it was still pretty cold, about 35 deg and Shannon was shivering uncontrollably. The plan was to walk up all the hills and run down them, averaging a 12 min/mile and a 10 hour finish. But Shannon was going to freeze to death walking. So we ran a lot of the first lap to warm her up, and finished the first loop slightly ahead of schedule.

Unfortunately, even at this relatively slow pace early in the race, my hamstrings started to hurt, and my left calf started grumbling.


Loop 2: Warm-up
On this loop things went much better, and we ran into many of our Godiva friends out for their morning run. Our good friend Heiko Rath paced us a good way through the hilly North Turkey Creek, took a bunch of pictures which are here.
He also went back later that night to pace one of the 100 milers through 2 laps.
We also ran into our neighbor and friend Guy, who had come out on his bike to cheer us on, and also take pictures of the race. His pictures are here.

At the end of this loop it was 11 am, and the sun was getting very warm. Shannon changed her whole outfit to shorts and a t-shirt and changed my socks which were filling with the fine grit from the path.

Jill Perry on her way to breaking her own course
record, makes time to goof around with Shannon
Loop 3: The race
On this loop, we got lapped by elite ultra runner Jill Perry who slowed down to talk and pose for pictures with Shannon.

The aid stations started offering their lunch menu, which include turkey sandwiches. Speaking of food, here is my food list for the entire race:
6 ounces of my homemade gel (yuck)
2 hardboiled eggs + salt
2 potato wedges + salt
5 quarters of pb&j sandwiches
½ turkey sandwich (no mayo)
2 bottles of Ensure (generic)

This was probably too much, but my stomach felt fine. I also drank way too much water, because I must have stopped to pee about 12 times.

It felt almost hot out, in the low 60's and intense sunshine. It was a gorgeous spring day I was really enjoying this long run in the park.

Loop 4: Victory lap
Here things started getting difficult. We had been out there 6 hours, and 37.5 miles and we had one more lap to go.
There is a short out & back section at the start of the loop that flat and easy to run on.
But Shannon could not run. I told her that it would be OK to drop out if she was hurting, because she really wanted to run Boston in 3 weeks. But it turned out she was just mentally exhausted. Once we got out to the main loop, she started running again. She even picked up the pace, and started running up the hills.

My left calf was none too happy about this. It had abandoned me in this same park just 3 weeks prior during the Umstead Marathon, and that was just after 23 miles. Now I was 40 miles into this race and it was twitching again. Luckily, I was wearing my calf sleeves to prevent it from escaping.
As we went, Shannon kept pushing the pace faster, hoping to get under 10 hours. We walked up the Cemetery hill then ran the last mile to the finish in a blazing 8 min, there we ran into Bubbles who had come out to cheer us on. I got caught up in a crowd of people, and Shannon raced by me to the finish line in 9:50:58. 2 seconds ahead of my 9:51:00, dropping my record to 76-1.

It's the Umstead 100
“Hi. We are done. We did the fifty,” I told a volunteer sitting in the timing tent at the finish line.
“You are dropping out?” he asked, grabbing a pencil and searching for my number on his clipboard.
“No! No! We did the 50 miler. We finished. We are done.”
He looked up from the paper at me.
“Right,” he said nodding, “You’re dropping out.”
The euphoria of finishing escaped me like air from a deflating balloon, leaving behind my aching and utterly spent body.
“Yeah,” I said dejected, “We are dropping out.”
Running 50 miles was the hardest thing I had ever done, but here it was simply considered as failure to run 100.

When we got home, I got the mail, and in it were 2 envelopes with medals from a recent 5K we had done. For a 5K we get a medal.
For 50 miles, there is no medal, no certificate, but you do get an awesome "run in the park", which is all that I wanted.

When I woke up the next day, completely battered and worn out, I realized that some of the 100 milers were still out there, doing their last loop. They are truly amazing athletes. Although I got to see the first half of the race up close, I am still in awe of them.

Shannon, Heiko and I running lap 2 with blazing speed.
Picture by Guy De Burg

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm doing 50 and I'm sorry

Shannon and I will attempt to run (and walk) 50 miles tomorrow.
If you think that's nuts, well, so do I. 50 miles is a lot to run in a week, let alone in a day. Why are we running 50 miles? Because 100 miles is too far for us.

The race is actually the "Umstead 100 mile endurance run". Most people in the race will be running 100 miles. 50 is just the warm-up for them. And there are lots of others who wanted to run the 100 miles but couldn't get in because it is capped at 250, and it filled up in 5 minutes.

So I kind of feel guilty for only doing the 50, because I probably took a spot of someone who wanted to run the 100. Let's face it, 100 miles is a glorious achievement of a lifetime. 50 is just a long run.

So I am sorry. I'm serious. I'm sorry I stole someone's chance at 100 miles.
But here is my defense: I love Umstead. A few years ago, when I moved, I deliberately picked a house that was only 2 miles away. I run or bike there almost every day.
Every year since, I have seen this epic race happen right here in my park. In 2008 Shannon and I volunteered at Tom's Tavern aid station and witnessed it up close. I just had to do it at least once. Forgive me.

Anyway, this page purports to provide real time time tracking data. So if you're curious, you can track us all day Saturday as we do 4 loops around my favorite park. And then watch as the rest of the runners continue on and do 4 more laps. Race report and lots of pictures on Sunday...


Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010 Tobacco Road Marathon pictures

Shannon and I went out to spectate the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary this morning. We were around the 25.6 mile mark (12.5 for the half marathoners).

Shannon took a bunch of pictures with her fancy professional camera, and the pictures are here.
She got most of the first 180 marathoners and many of the back of the pack half-marathoners.
Feel free to use them (though attribution would be nice). If you want any high res pictures, just email:

info@shannonjohnstone.com

Congrats to some people we know:

  • Joey Anderson for qualifying for Boston again!
  • Chris Boyce (Godiva VP), is that a PR?
  • Matt "Moose" Marum, for getting wood in Umstead, then running another fast marathon 2 weeks later.
  • Jenny Miles on good half!
  • Julie Garett
  • Gregg Dean (Godiva, going sub-3!)
  • Tim Pierce, 2:50, that's just nuts
  • Susie Hansley (Godiva)
  • John Haws (Godiva)
  • "Ultra" Brad Smythe
  • Frank Lilley! Sorry we missed you Frank!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hard Climb Hill

Paul Potorti and I compete for the "most ridiculously dressed" honor.
But just like in races, Paul always wins.
"I love Skittles!"
Last Sunday, Shannon and I ran last race of the Godiva winter series, "Hard Climb Hill". Shannon took lots of pictures which are here.

The race is held on the paths in Duke Forest, and is named for one of the hills there. It would be more aptly named "Hard Climb Hills", because there are a lot of them.

You can choose between distances of 3, 7, or 10 miles, composed of 3 out-and-back sections. All Godiva races have a unique twist, and this one is that you can decided how far you want to run while your racing.

I really should not have been running at all, since my calf had just come home the day before, but I needed to run the race to get a point in the winter series and thereby earn my t-shirt, and I was sick of resting all week.

My evil arch nemesis, Paul Potorti, was there, but I was in no condition to even try to keep up with him.
When the race started, Paul, Ronnie, and Ken all took off in the lead. I felt surprisingly good and actually managed to keep up with them for about a mile, but the rolling hills forced me to back off some. Still, I was quite happy with my recovery from the marathon, that is until about mile 5.
Harold Hill completes a triple lutz
while wearing a kilt, earning
a perfect 10 from the Scottish judges
That's when my recently returned calf muscle started rumbling inside my calf sleeve, threatening to pop off again. So I decided to stop at 7 miles, but by that time the damage was already done.
Ken won the 10 mile race, followed by Paul who promptly dropped and did 100 push-ups at the finish line. Unfortunately, these were not real push-ups, but the kind usually practiced by Girl Scouts.

I had to show Paul the proper way to do a push-up, which is to keep your back straight, and go all the way down and touch your nose to the ground. Quality over quantity.
And for the record, here is how my push-ups score:

Quality= Perfect
Quantity=3

OK, so I am a weakling, and won't ever win any push-up contests.
Showing P.P. how to do a push-up
Yes the hills are that steep.
Climbing ropes were required.
(just kidding. this is a good example of an
over-exaggerated profile)
Hard climbin' hill

Monday, March 15, 2010

Limericks!

I cannot let Barefoot Josh show me up on my own blog with his damn witty limericks.
So here are some of mine. (Some of these have already appeared in the Godiva newsletter)
You must drink a pint after you read each one.



There once was a runner from Cary,
Wanted to win, but his legs were too hairy,
Yet when he shaved them all smooth,
His speed did not improve,
So he entered the race as Sherry

Uwharrie, a race so perverse,
Hills, rocks, and streams to traverse,
When at the end of the trail,
Feeling sickly and pale,
You must repeat it all in reverse

There once was a runner called Juju,
On his shoes he would practice voodoo,
With a cut and a slice,
Sawed them up nice,
Make him faster? No he was kookoo

There once was a runner called Bubbles,
Departing for some Uwharrie troubles,
When out of the garage,
Burst a one dog barrage,
Breaking her kneecap to rubbles

There once was a runner named Mary,
Taking pictures with camera she would carry,
Apt to fall with a bash,
She collected trail rash,
Slowed her down? No, quite contrary!

GODIVAS' summers at track.
Revealing the speed that I lack,
When doing the mile,
It takes me a while,
And the 100 is just a heart attack.


Two for Ru
There once was a dog named Ru,
With lost runners, he knew what to do,
Leading the way first,
Then quenching their thirst,
Saved my ass and saved Shannon's too

There once was a dog named Ru,
Ten years old, but seemed brand new,
Equally good in a hash,
Or a hundred yard dash,
Secret to youth was diet of poo!

Calf has come home!

On Saturday morning I heard a scratching at the front door, and when I opened it, there was my lost calf muscle!
It had finally come home after a week out in Umstead park, where it had abandoned me at mile 23 of the marathon. I guess it had finally forgiven me for the abuse I subjected it to these last few months, or maybe it was just hungry.

In any case, I put it back on my leg and it seemed to work, as I could walk again without limping.
I went and bought some of those "zensah calf sleeves" that I had always thought were pretty goofy. Now I understand what they are for. To keep your calves from escaping!

I went for a nice easy trail run with Shannon wearing the sleeves and the calf felt OK.
Just in time for the Hard Climb hill 10 miler on Sunday...

Friday, March 12, 2010

First barefoot run

Yesterday I went for my first barefoot run.
(*Well, first deliberate barefoot training run, ignoring a few incidental runs on the beach or whatever)

It was a beautiful day, and I desperately wanted to run. But because of injuries, I needed to keep it agonizingly short and slow. So why not? I finally gave in to the constant badgering of Barefoot Josh, that snake oil salesman hawking Charles Soap and barefoot running, and tried it barefoot.

I recall that there were instructions somewhere about how to start, but who reads instructions? I was at lunch and in a hurry, so I just walked out my front door with no shoes on and started running down the sidewalk.
Well, actually... first I stood in the driveway for 12 minutes waiting for my GPS watch to get a signal, then I started running.

It was AMAZING. I felt no pain in my legs at all! Nothing from my battered hip, frayed hamstrings, or missing calf muscle. All pain free! Of course, it could be that those aches and pains were being drowned out by the sensation of 30 thumbtacks being jammed into the bottom of my feet.

The sidewalk was covered with tiny slivers of rock, I guess left over from when they salted the street this winter. To someone watching it probably didn't look like I was running, but maybe hopping across hot coals. I had to stop every 20 feet or so to brush off the rocks, which sunk into my soft virgin soles like nails into cookie dough.

I remember reading that you should start running barefoot on a hard, rocky, and unforgiving surface instead of a track or grass, and I think this qualified. It certainly forced me to take very short, tentative steps, and restricted me to a relative crawl.

I went down the street and back until the watch said I had done a half a mile, at which point I sought the sanctuary of my rock free drive way.

Stats:
Miles: 0.50
Time: 7:39
Pace: 15:18/mi

The best part was when I put this into my running log, there is a column for the shoes I wore. I entered "NONE". My feet are fine today, so I may attempt it again.

I will ease into it very slowly, since I have seen what happens when you don't. A few weeks ago during our snowed-in weekend, Mandy, Bubbles and Shannon all did a barefoot mile on my treadmill, at their normal fast running pace. The result was they all got pretty bad blood blisters. I think I will stick with the thumbtacks.

Hmmmm. How long before I can rename myself? How about AC-barefoot? sounds better than Barefoot AC.

Note to Josh: While I did try barefoot running, I ended up giving away my Charles Soap door prize. Fittingly, I gave it to Bubbles.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Runner Down

Well, this blog has finally lived up to it's name.
I have finally run myself down past the breaking point, and now I am broken.
The injury? My left calf muscle is still missing (it abandoned me at mile 23 of the marathon on Saturday).

I have been limping for 4 days, which is really nothing unusual for me, especially after a marathon. So I tried to run this morning, but I... couldn't. My leg simply was not working.

I can't remember this ever happening before. Oh sure, my body has often screamed out in agony telling me I shouldn't run, and I would stop and rest. But I could still shuffle along if I absolutely had to. Like to escape a burning building, avoid an oncoming bus, or round my weekly mileage up to 60.

But now I simply can't run, and it's a major bummer.
So I tried riding my bike instead. Strangely, I could pedal just fine, so I road into Umstead park looking for my lost calf. I didn't find it. And now I am limping even worse, so maybe the bike isn't a good idea.

I hope my lost calf muscle comes home. Oh, lost calf muscle, if you are out there reading this, I am sorry! I promise I won't abuse you anymore! please come home, I need you!

I have to run the Godiva "Hard Climb Hill" 10 miler on Sunday.
Then Umstead Endurance 50 miler run in just 17 days.
And don't forget the Boston Marathon in 6 weeks!

Oh, please come home!

Have you seen me?

Lost: Calf muscle, left.
Last seen: March 6th, bouncing down
Cedar Ridge in Umstead park

Description: Severely dehydrated,
overworked, and
spontaneously convulsing

Contact: running-down.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010 Umstead Marathon race report

Year of the Bunny
OK, so I was wrong again about the mascot. This year, it turned out to be a bunny (rabbit or hare, can't tell the difference). Oh, sure a bunny is a safe choice. But wouldn't a pile of horse poo be more indicative of the Umstead experience?

The Race
I am not going to tell you how great a race the Umstead Marathon is. I am selfish and want to keep it a secret. If people found out that this is the best race in NC, it would fill up in 1 minute and I might not get in next year. So for everyone who has never done it, you are not missing much. If you do decide to sign up for 2011, don't rush into anything, think about it a while. At least wait until January before signing up.

Thanks!
I cannot thank the Godiva Track Club enough, the warmest, friendliest group of people I have ever met. I wish I had enough time to get around and talk to everybody and thank all the volunteers.

Congrats!
Congratulations goes out to:
  • Frank Lilley for a faster finish than last year, despite entering a new age group, and taking tons of pictures along the way. Frank knows how to have fun and enjoy a race and I think we could all learn a lot from him. His great race report is here.
  • Bill and Sally Squier, both 64, who finished their 7th out of 7 Umstead Marathons
  • Karrie Anne Loyd for finishing her first marathon in Umstead. Her longest run previously was only 14 miles. Amazing!
  • Matt "Moose" Marum who took almost an hour off his time from last year, and got "wood"
  • Bubbles who set an Umstead PR despite consuming a record 20 E-Caps
  • Shannon who met her goal of breaking 4 hours, while still taking lots of photos along the way
  • Laura MacLean for coming in 3rd female. Laura did the Gasparilla challenge the weekend before, which is a 5K, a 15K, and a Marathon. That's just nuts.
  • And to all the finishers, because this is one hard marathon
  • Shame on Erik Johnson and Wayne Crews for breaking 3 hours and making it look easy.
My race
This was my 5th Umstead Marathon, and it is always my goal race for the entire year, and the goal is to "get wood". That is, to get a wooden plaque awarded to the top 15 male and female finishers.
This year was in doubt because Shannon and I had run the Uwharrie 40 37 miler 4 weeks before, and I had been stupid and not rested enough.
Start
Though it a was chilly 38, the sun made it feel like 50, which was perfect. Shannon of course was taking pictures, so we hugged and mugged and wished every one good luck, and then we were off.
Mile 1
Talked with Mike Dalton for a while trying to relax, but when I saw there was about 30 guys in front of me at the airport out-and-back I got nervous and started pushing harder than I should have.

Mile 6
"The Bunny says go that way!", said our friend Shuwen who was course monitor on Sycamore, "It's not an opossum!"
My hamstrings and calves were already tightening up and hurting, but this has happens often so I ignored it.


Striking a pose, and
hurting myself
at about Mile 20.
[photo by Guy De Burgh]
Mile 9
Volunteers and spectators shouted out encouragement, "you're in 6th place!", but there was much discrepancy in what place I was in, "you're in 20th place!"
I knew that at this point it didn't really matter, and I kept swapping places with a few guys all through Turkey Creek.

Mile 15
On my second visit to the Graylyn aid station, someone was playing a bongo, which helped me relax and tried some goofy dance moves while running. Hopefully no one got a picture of that.

Mile 17

This is where I first felt Uwharrie getting it's revenge.
As in Uwharrie, I was taking the uphills easy, and then going down fast with my "small steps". This was gentle on my quads but my hips were getting pummeled to hamburger.

Mile 20
My neighbor Guy had come out to take pictures, which can be found here. I stopped to strike a pose, and I think pulled a muscle in my back doing it.
Have you seen me?

Lost: Calf muscle, left.
Last seen: Bouncing down Cedar Ridge
in Umstead park.

Description: Severely dehydrated,
overworked, and
spontaneously convulsing

Contact: running-down.com
Mile 22
Whoever the psychopath was that designed the course put the steepest section here on the Cedar Ridge out-and-back. First came the punishing downhill, where my right hip flexor finally gave up completely.
I was going pretty fast, but not by choice, as I stumbled down the hill out of control. My right leg just flopped around like it had popped out of the socket.
Mile 23
Finally I reached the bottom, and managed stop and turn around. "Thank God that's over!", I said out loud, and started to trudge right back up the hill I had just come down.
This is where my left calf, which had been getting progressively tighter the whole race, finally began to convulse, and I heard a tiny scream. My Gastrocnemius muscle simply couldn't take it any more and it popped off my leg and went bouncing down the hill.

Mile 24
"Looks like you're getting wood!", Karen Murphy shouted out.
For a second I thought my shorts were too tight, "Oh no! Can you tell?"
I stopped to stretch my remaining calf, but my quads started to cramp up too. So I just continue to hobble forward, limping up the hills because of my missing left calf, and stumbling down them because of my pummeled right hip. I should have just stopped and walked in, but I just couldn't resist a chance set an Umstead PR.

Finish
I limped across the finish line, 6 minutes faster than last year. I forgot about the pain as I received my wooden bunny. But then I almost collapsed when I received my door prize, a one pound bag of Charlie's Soap.

This is what happens when you take 20 E-Caps

I got a few pictures of Shannon and some other folks finishing, and ate a Moe's Burrito.
Dr. Kenneth Becker was volunteering as the on-call doctor for the race and recommended I get a massage for my battered legs. So I got a massage, but missed some of the folks finishing at the end.

Once again, it was a fantastic day. And if I can ever run again, I hope to do this race next year, and for years to come.

Here are all the pictures that Shannon took.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 Umstead Marathon Pictures

I am still working on my Umstead Marathon Race report.
I write very, very slowly. And it is so nice out, I have to go enjoy the day.

But here are the pictures we took.

Feel free to use them for whatever, and let us know if you want any higher resolution photos.

And here are some more taken by our neighbor Guy De Burgh.
Thanks Guy!

full post tomorrow...

Frank Lilley already has his race report up, with some great pictures too.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Umstead Marathon Mascot Theory

One of the fun and unique things about the Umstead Marathon is that every year they have a "mascot" for that years race. It is usually some animal that is found in Umstead park.
The mascot adorns the website, the shirts, and the finishers pint glasses for that year's race. Also the top 15 male and female finishers receive a hand made wooden plaque in the shape of that animal.

so far we have had:

  • 2004 - Horse fly
  • 2005- Flying squirrel
  • 2006- Turtle
  • 2007- Fish
  • 2008- Turkey vulture
  • 2009- Frog
  • 2010- ????
The cool part is that the mascot is kept a secret until the day before the marathon in package pickup.

So every year we try to guess what the animal will be. Every year I guess a deer, and every year I am wrong. Of course it should be a deer, because when you';re running out in Umstead what animal do you usually notice the most? That's right, deer!

I got an inside scoop from Dr. Ken that once again it is not a deer.

So my new theory is this:

We have had 1 invertebrate, and 1 each of the well known classes of vertebrate :
  • Fish
  • Bird
  • Mammal
  • Reptile
  • Amphibian
I am assuming that there are no sharks or rays in Umstead. So what about the infraclass (weird cousin) of mammals that no one talks about: Marsupials!

That's right. My guess is an opossum! (pictured below: opossum at the Wake County Animal Shelter, taken by Shannon). In a few hours we will head to packet pickup, and see if my theory is correct. Though, I think a more appropriate mascot would be a pile of horse manure.

Milkbones - TONIGHT!


Not really running related, but Shannon has a photography exhibit opening tonight at ArtSpace.
If you have nothing better to do on a Friday night, head on downtown to First Friday in Raleigh and hang out with us as we try to mingle with the erudite urban sophisticates.

I usually drink a lot in order to appreciate the art, which may also help with the Umstead Marathon in the morning.

The opening is 6pm - 10pm tonight. And the work will be up March 5 - 27.
Shannon's website is here.

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