Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 IOS Half - Photos from Aid Station #2

The Inside Out Sports Classic Half Marathon was this morning.
It is a great course that is mostly on the bridle trails of Umstead Park, but unfortunately we were not running it because we have the Bayshore Marathon on Saturday.

But the course runs a block away from our house, so we felt compelled to at least get out and volunteer. So we woke up early and rode our bikes to aid station #2.

We had a good time with a fun crew handing out water, gatorade, and few other unintentional things.

Shannon got 200 pictures which are on facebook here. If you ran the half you may be in there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Godiva Banquet

Last Saturday was the annual Carolina Godiva Track Club (CGTC) awards banquet. Shannon and I would not want to miss it because it is a great party and a lot of our friends would be there.

But we had no idea what was in store for us this year.

Pictures here are from Bart Bechard and Shannon. More pictures here and here.

Dinner was a wonderful buffet of Greek food from Spartacus

When we got there, I helped set up a slide show of pictures that Shannon had taken during the year.

Blue Ridge Relay team, Continental Divide Trail Race team, Umstead Marathon, Umstead Coalition run, and 5 Winter series races from the past year. That's a whole lot of Godiva.

The best part is the hobnobbing, meeting new people and catching up with friends.
A few people said they liked my blog but found me very dull in person.

This year, Godiva hired a male model to help attract more female membership

The ever witty Kevin once again served as emcee

Summer Track Awards
For those not familiar with Godiva, they organize a weekly track "meet" at the UNC track in the summer. It goes for 13 weeks, and each meet has 5 events. The events are open to all, and they are timed. It is pretty laid back and informal as everyone records their own time on the honor system. There is no need to be a member and you are only asked to donate a $1 to the Gatorade fund.

Click here for details if you are interested in attending. First meet is tomorrow!

At the banquet, runners in each age group are recognized for winning the most events.
The "Iron Man" awards are awarded to runners who participate in 75% of all track events throughout the summer. Running all of the events is called a "full Kirby" and is considered more than a little nuts.

Charles hands out the always creative summer track "Iron Man" awards

Tom and Barbara take home one of the snake headed bottle opener awards
for performing the incredible "Full Kirby

Winter Series Shirts
Godiva puts on 7 races in during the winter, called the "winter series". These are full fledged races with bibs and timing, but only cost $5 each. Each race has its own creative spin like age & gender based handicapped head starts, team scoring, and running through cow manure.

In order to complete the series you must run in or volunteer for 5 of the 7 races. If you do this, then you earn the custom designed winter series t-shirt. This year they were once again designed by member Susan Slade.

Jim performs the annual "tossing of the t-shirts"

Runners of the Year Award
Each year Godiva names a male and female "Runner of the Year", which are announced at the banquet.

The previous two years when the winners were introduced, they first read off the impressive and extensive list of their accomplishments: 1st place in this marathon, 1st place in that ultra. Set course records. Won too many 5Ks to count. Ran a 2:40 in Boston, etc.

This year, Bubbles was brought up to do the announcement: "The 2010 male and female runners of the year are a couple. They run the unofficial Cary shelter for unwanted animals, have a blog..."

Shannon and I looked at each other, stunned. Oh, no. It's us.
I was so nervous that I don't remember a single thing I said.
Hopefully it wasn't just a stream of incoherent cursing
Shannon and I are far from the caliber of previous recipients. I am not a threat to win any races (though Shannon is), let alone set course records. I guess if the committee was going by sheer quantity of races, we may excel in that category.

While we are humbled and honored for this recognition, we are also embarrassed by the amount of things that Godiva has done for us. All we did was show up to races and run. If anything, we should be the ones giving an award to Godiva.

Just in the past year:
  • We got to be part of a Godiva sponsored Blue Ridge Relay team, where we had a fun and unforgettable experience.
  • We were honored to be part of the Godiva teams that placed at the National Trail 10K championships.
  • Ran in Umstead Marathon, Umstead Coalition run, and 5 winter series races. All organized and run by Godiva volunteers. 
For those readers who are not CGTC members, let me tell you that this club really is something special.

The current "running boom" taking place seems to be a commercially driven one. The running "community" is mostly people trying to sell you something: for-profit mega-marathons, companies pushing their running shoes, arm warmers, and energy gels, personal trainers, massage therapists, etc. Even some running clubs exist only as shoe store advertising.

In contrast, Godiva is just a group of people who love running. Not just for themselves, but they genuinely want to see others enjoy it and succeed at it. No profit motives. No ego trips.

Godiva is a collection of the most generous and friendly people I have ever met, and Shannon and I are just lucky to know them.

Volunteer of the Year Award
More important than Runners of the Year, is the Volunteer of the Year Award, because the club really only exists because of volunteers. For 2010, it was awarded to Bubbles (aka Mickey) for her really outstanding work as the newsletter editor, Lady Godiva columnist, Yvonne impersonator and haiku generating machine.

Bubbles accepts the 2010 Volunteer of the year award

Thanks to VP Halle Amick for organizing the event,
and of course, big thanks to Jim and Carolyn for hosting

Thank You, Godiva!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

5K on the Runway at PTI

The Runway at PTI was hillier than expected.
Landings there must be a little rough

This morning Shannon and I headed to the Greensboro to run the 5K on the Runway at PTI airport to achieve the following goals:

  • Continue my experiment to determine if doing nothing but running a hard race once a week is an effective treatment for degenerative, arthritic knees. 
  • Hopefully run a fast time on an easy course to boost our self esteem
  • Meet up with our blogging friends Iris and Josh

I contemplate whether being sucked into a jet turbine would be
more or less painful than the last mile of a 5K. Toss up.
The race is literally on the runway at the PTI airport, which promised a PR course: flat, fast, and straight.
We parked and took the shuttle over, which was quick and convenient.
Bib pickup required showing your passport, enduring an invasive cavity search and some intense questioning by the TSA, but we did got a nice tote bag out of it.

Before the race, Josh cured me of leprosy
We met Iris and Josh, and I warmed up a little to get the handful of Tylenol I had gulped down to work it's way down to my knees. I promised my legs that I would rest and rehab this summer, if they just would get me through these next 2 races.

Lining up at the start Josh and I had the same plan: Go out at a flat 6:00 min/mile pace, and hold onto it as long as possible. He was hoping for his first sub 19:00 5K. I was hoping to be able to keep up with him.

With a blow from an air horn we were off. With the wide runway, people spread out and there was plenty of running room.

After a minute, I looked at my Garmin 305 for running instructions. I am lost without it, especially in a 5K where pacing by feel is difficult for me. On the open, straight course, I knew it would be accurate.
And it was saying 5:45 pace. Too fast! "Whoa!" I called to Josh as he sped ahead in his bare feet.

I slowed some as the pace dropped to 6:05, but it still felt way too hard for the first mile. My legs felt heavy and tired and a sub 19 didn't seem possible.

Looking ahead I saw Josh pulling away, and I thought what all shod runners think: "I can't let the barefoot guy beat me!"
So I pushed ahead to catch up to him, gasping for air. He dropped behind me and we hit the turn around.
Suddenly it felt easier. I think the runway was on a slight slope, and now we were going down it. The wind was in our faces now, so I tucked behind a big guy wearing headphones. I might have imagined it, but it seemed to make a difference.

The big guy was constantly spitting however, and I had to keep dodging left and right as the loogies whizzed by. I wondered if he knew I was drafting off him and he didn't like it.

Finally I took the hint and ran around him. I could see the finish line in the distance, but I seemed not to be getting any closer. My watch reported a 6:00 avg pace, which made me happy, but I was struggling to hold on. The last mile of a 5K is kind of mental and physical torture, but seeing the finish line the whole time makes it somehow worse.

The fruit smoothie I had made for breakfast 3 hours before suddenly announced it's plans for a reappearance, so I let up slightly to cross the finish in 18:38. Not a PR, but I'm very happy with it.

After the 5K, Josh entered the kids 100 yard dash
 and trampled several children. 

Josh crossed a few seconds behind me, setting a PR and breaking 19 with an 18:56. Yes, in his bare feet.
He also beat everyone wearing Vibrams.
He would be the first to tell you that just because it works for him does not mean everyone should run barefoot. However, just think about this the next time the guy at the shoe store tries to sell you some expensive high tech shoes.

Overall it was a pretty neat race, and a great one to do if you are looking for fast 5K.

Rest of Shannon's pictures are here.

Blog glitch

The Philosophers Way post was deleted by a Google glitch.
Will repost later... maybe with an actual race report

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2011 Owl's Roost Rumble

 Kris Kross might have had a problem here with their over-sized backwards pants. 

Crapper Barrel
Craptastic Year
It seems that all race reports need to include some mention of bowel movements. For example, Der Scott's race report here.
So... the day began with a stop at Crapper Barrel at 6:50 am. Shannon and I have been to this establishment at exit 141 at least three times. Have never eaten there.

Besides the caffeine induced stomach churning, I was also experiencing a nauseating sense of ambivalence about the race. Like every other race this year, I was not sure if my degenerating legs would carry me the whole way. My last attempt at a long run, just the week before, resulted in me walking home 5 miles in the rain. Woe is me.

And even if I could run the race, it didn't mean I should. I obviously need an extended break from running.

On the other hand, this was Owl's Roost, one of our favorite races. This would be our third time running it, and we had signed up back in November. And despite the feeble amount of running I have been doing these past few months, my races have gone surprisingly well.

From left, Marc Jeuland, David Roche,  and Wayne Crews

Clash of the Skinny Fast Guys
The last 3 trail races we have done (Little River, Groundhog Gallup, and MST 12 Miler), David Roche has shown up and won with ease, setting course records in the process.
This is unremarkable in that shirtless douchebags who set course records are a dime a dozen.
But I have never seen one that can write an entertaining race report like Roche can.

This race he had competition however, as local super hero Marc Jeuland was there at the start line. Marc runs a 2:25 marathon on a bad day. On the ride down, Shannon and I debated who would win.

Check out  David's race report to see how that turned out.

Concerned for my health, an ambulance follows me closely
Shannon and I started in the first wave of about 20 people at 8:00 am, which unfortunately is called the "elite wave". Now, I wouldn't consider myself "elite" in any respect, except for maybe making microwave popcorn. But having done 40 or so trail races, I figured I could pace myself well enough not to get in anyones way.

The horn blew, and instantly I was in last place. The "elite" pack, including Shannon, all took off down the road before I could take my first step. My legs were like wood, and it was difficult to get moving. I managed to catch up to them as Shannon was snapping pictures behind her back, getting the one above.

The first mile is the fastest and the easiest of the whole race, so I decided to make the most of it and went ahead.

To paraphrase Rick James, "Tylenol is a hell of a drug".
I ticked off a few miles, waiting for the inevitable stabbing knee pain, but nothing yet.
In addition to resting most of the week, I had taken a few Tylenol and it seemed to be working. As I warmed up the legs felt stiff but OK. Still I worried about the distance.
It was an absolutely perfect day for running, and the sun gleaming off the lake reminded me to just enjoy the moment.

"Tree Love"
There was one spot where the trail opens up to a huge area of roots. I was scanning around to see where the trail continued and ended up running straight into a tree. My arm went numb for a moment, but escaped with just a small scrape and a bruised ego.

Not knowing how much I had in me, I tried not push too hard, even walking up up 3 or 4 of the steepest inclines. Even with that, I managed to keep a steady 7:15 pace, and even passed a couple of guys.

It wasn't until mile 11 that I knew I would make it. Even if something gave out, 2 miles wasn't far to walk.
I looked at my watch, and figured that I might even set an Owl's Roost PR if I hurried.

Shirtless Douchebag
So I let it rip. First I took my shirt off to enter "shirtless douchebag" mode. Taking your shirt off is like wearing red shoes.  Look fast to be fast.

I had been following a guy in blue shirt for a while, so I tried to catch him. We hit the open field followed by the long stretch of greenway. I stretched my legs and pumped my arms, flinging shirtless sweat on the volunteers at the last aid station. Blue shirt must have picked up the pace too because I couldn't get any closer.

The last mile is all uphill, and the last 0.1 miles seems more like 0.5. But I managed to hold on to the pace, finishing with my fastest Owls Roost yet, 1:32:58. Happiness is a good trail race.

Shannon demonstrates how to do a comfortable "plank "

Afterwards we hung out to socialize. Great seeing everybody out there!

Alan proudly shows off his new "Vibram One Finger"

Greensboro's Joel Tull ran the half marathon, then went right to work providing massages.
He put on the awesome "Run for the Rub 10K" last year. Hopefully he does it again.

George scored a little trail love

 I skipped the push up contest, afraid that I wouldn't be able to get back up.

Small owls for age group awards. Morbidly obese ones for the winners.

After scoring an age group award, Harold makes a daring  leap in a kilt.
Little owls make ya "jump, jump!"

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