Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Ridge To Bridge Marathon Photos

Shannon had to DNF at the Ridge to Bridge Marathon on Saturday, due to a mysterious bout of food poisoning the night before.
If I was barfing my guts out at 2am, I doubt I would have left the hotel at 5am to go run a mountain marathon. But she is made of hardier stuff than me, which is why I was off traipsing my way through a nice flat 5k instead.

Anyway, her dropping out resulted in 500 photos of the race. She whittled them down to 200.

The public photo album is here.

If you really like one and want a higher rez photo, she would be happy to provide, so drop her a note.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I've Been Lanced!

So there I was this morning, lined up against my arch rival: the de facto North Carolina champion of speedy barefooting, Barefoot Josh.

We were at the Benson Healthy Harvest 5K which awards the top 3 barefoot runners, and would therefore  serve as our NC barefoot 5K championship. Out of the 116 people lined up, we appeared to be the only 2 missing shoes.

A lady told us the roads were rough, and they were going to tear up our feet.
"You might be right", I said anxiously.
Josh tried to placate her by rattling off his stats: 17:38 5K, 4:57 road mile, several marathons, all barefoot.
She was unimpressed, "I love my flip flops".


Mile 1 -  6:18
Out of the gate I hung a few steps behind him as a stiff headwind from Hurricane Sandy made the early pace feel hard. As usual in a 5K, there was a fairly large group running in front that thinned out quickly.
Three shod runners took off ahead, and it was quickly apparent we had no chance of placing overall.
No matter, I was only there to beat one guy.

We turned down a short side street that featured some very rough asphalt, like gravel tarred together.
I had been very worried about this, because I had zero chance against Josh on a rough course.
I reflexively revved up my turnover to a crazy rate in an attempt to avoid the pain. The result was that I sprinted out ahead.

Besides running races very fast, Barefoot Josh
sometimes puts on Burlesque show while doing it.

Mile 2 -  6:27
We completed a short loop and were back onto a main road which was smooth. I picked up the pace a little, and heard Josh breathing hard behind me. I was surprised that he seemed to be struggling already, but it was still too early feel confident. I took some deep easy breaths, "Relax".

We turned down another street that bristled with some of the worst blacktop I have ever encountered. It felt like thumbtacks. "Oh, no! No! No!", I pleaded out loud, "COME ON!"
Fortunately the street was lined with a smooth concrete gutter and I immediately sought refuge there, ducking low tree branches.
I'm not sure why, but Josh chose to follow behind me here instead of taking advantage of my obvious weakness. We did a u-turn around some cones and took the gutter back to the main road.

The rough roads left their mark.
The base of the toe is typically a weak spot that gets chewed up.

Mile 3 -  6:02
Getting back to the smoothness allowed me to open my stride, but Josh matched the acceleration and pulled ahead a little. My boss was running the 5K too, and I crossed the street to slap his hand as he came by.

I then settled into behind Josh waiting until the last .1 miles to make my move. I had been saving a little gas for the final kick.

I heard Josh's watch beep at the 3 mile mark, with the finish line directly ahead. I moved over to sprint past him, but he kicked too.
The pace was just too much for me. My stomach turned inside out and just cratered.
Hunched over I watched Josh run away from me, crossing 8 seconds ahead of me.
Crap. I lost to him for the first time.
He retains the title of "The Fastest Barefooter in NC".
And I guess as the only other entrant, I am the slowest.
My record drops to 8-1. He won fair and square... or did he?

Damning Evidence!
This incriminating photograph of Josh's foot has emerged.
Clearly he was duct-tape doping! He wasn't barefoot at all!
This was not a level playing field. The USADA will hear about this!!
I've Been Lanced!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This Saturday: Brawl in Benson

In the history of great showdowns between rivals, a few come to mind:
The Rumble in the Jungle. 
The Thrilla in Manila. 
The Ream at the Scream.

Soon, there will be another to add to the list.

Saturday, October 27
Healthy Harvest 5k
The Brawl in Benson
Who is the fastest barefooter in NC?

As they say in Johnston County: "It's on like a pot of neckbones"
Barefoot Josh and I will once again go toe to toe in an epic battle to decide who is slightly faster than mediocre. Only this time, I will be going barefoot against the master himself.

This race recognizes and awards the "first three barefoot finishers". So I think it is perfectly legitimate for the winner to claim the title of "Fastest Barefoot Runner in NC".
Now, obviously there are faster barefoot runners in NC than us. But until they have their own obnoxious self involved blogs to brag about it, they don't count.

Tale of the Tape

Last 5K20:1420:44
5K PR17:3818:15
Shoe size6?12
Facial Hair81
OatmealSteel CutQuaker Old Fashioned

Josh has the better PRs, but he has never beaten me. Can he do it this time?
Will some unknown barefooter show up and beat both of us?
Place your bets!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 Ales for Rail-Trails 5K

I've been to races where the finishers award is a pint glass.
And I thought that was the greatest thing ever.
Then I went to races where they served beer afterward. 
And I thought that was the greatest thing ever.

While I was happy with these races, my imagination bubbled. 
What if... what if there was a race that when you finished they handed you a pint glass... filled with beer!

A reason to finish fast was to get there before the line formed.

But people dismissed the idea as a pipe dream. "Never happen", they would say shaking their heads, "Regulations. Rules. Laws. Liability." The word "liability" is used to squash most fun ideas.
"Runners can only be trusted with a plastic water bottle and half a bagel. You give them a glass of beer and there would be drunk, dehydrated runners passed out in the street among piles of broken glass"

But despite these naysayers, my dream has come true. When I finished the Ales for Rail-Trails 5K, a full pint of beer was handed to me. Now this, this is the greatest thing ever.

Even better, there was nothing else at the finish. No crappy bagels or half green bananas. No toxic "vitamin  water" that a soda company is trying to promote. Not even plain water. Just beer. Awesome.

Shannon ran with Jeffery Jeffery and everybody loved him. "Oh! He's only got three legs!"

Bart shows of his pint belt.

My rival Bart got his revenge and kicked my ass by over 2 minutes with an 18:33. He scored another pint glass as 3rd in the gigantic 30-49 age group.

Oh, and no one passed out or dropped their glass. We just all hung out in the street, drank, talked, and ate at the food trucks. Durham is so cool. This would never happen in Cary. This race is has taken the top spot on my list.

The rest of Shannon's photos are here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Run for the Donuts

Run for the Donuts is the first race in the Carolina Godiva Track Club Winter Series of events. If you are not familiar with the Winter Series, it is 7 races around Durham area, each costing only $5. Membership is not required (though it is only $20). For $5, you get a timed race, post race food, and a family atmosphere.

In these days of profit driven mega races costing $100 or more, Godiva races are a wonderful anachronism. Come out and experience them while you can.

The other great thing about the Winter Series is that many of the races are not just about who is fastest. For example, Run for the Donuts levels the playing field according to age so everyone is involved and competitive.

Here is a description of the rules:
Each team runs five loops of a cross-country course comprising grassy fields and wooded trails. All three team members run the first two loops together at the pace of the slowest teammate, with one then dropping out and the two remaining runners continuing the third loop together at the pace of the slower runner of the two, to be followed by one of those two dropping out and just the remaining runner running the fourth loop, to be replaced in turn by the teammate who dropped out after the second loop, who then runs the fifth (and final) loop alone. So each teammate runs multiple loops of the course--singly at his/her own all-out pace or perhaps at a slower teammate's speed when running in tandem. When all teams have completed their fifth loops, the director and time-keepers apply their vaunted science to work out each team's Donut Index™--the team's finish time in seconds divided by the sum of the team members' ages in years--with the lowest index determining which team gets the most prized donuts.
If you can't decipher that, don't feel bad. Apparently the rules of winter series races are inspired by Mensa brain twisting math puzzles. Most people just show up and run and hope somebody else knows what the hell is going on.

Teams #4, #9, and #8. Sticking together.

The bottom line is that you are assigned to a 3 person team and you must all run together for 2 loops ( and 2 people for the 3rd loop).
Most of the people there that morning (including me) weren't that interested in winning or running fast, and instead were really hoping to be put on a slow team.

Team #5, SDBC
Some had really good excuses, like they had run a marathon or a 50K the day before.
My excuse was that I had the Ales for Rails Trails 5K later that afternoon.

Of course, some lunatics, like Heiko, ran Medoc marathon the day before, and was running the Donut run and the 5K in the afternoon.
Anyway, I was assigned team #5.
I turned to my teammates, and saw that I had lost the lottery in the worst way. There was Monk, easily the fastest guy there, and Jeff, who must hold world records for the 60+ age group.

It was a perfect morning when the race started, and Jeff paced us through the first two loops of the 1.1 mile trail/cross country course. It was a solid 8 min pace, all that I was prepared for that morning.

I suggested that I be the guy who rests for laps 3 and 4 and runs lap 5 alone, which I secretly planned to run at a leisurely pace. But Monk and Jeff were scheming to win this thing, and it was decided I would run lap 3 with Monk. Crap.

Jeff had an astounding kick to finish the loop and then dropped off, leaving me to presumably pick up the pace further still. Which I did, running past the few teams ahead of us. But I was completely spent after a half mile.

Some slackers just showed up for the donuts.
I tried to let Monk know that I needed to slow down, but he would have none of it. "Come on! Let's pick it up!". What I had hoped to be an easy morning run turned into one long, painfully nauseating finishing kick. I crossed the finish and fell down trying to get some air in while keeping my breakfast from coming out. Some kid there pointed at me, "Look Dad! It's an overachiever!"

Loop#4 & 5
Monk and Jeff finished off the run while I ate Donuts, and we came managed 2nd place according to the Donut Index.

The real overachiever was Shannon.
After running the New River 50K on Saturday, she did the Donut run on Sunday, carrying her huge Canon 5D for the first loop. She finished off by somehow getting lost on her last loop and running a little extra.

Her photos are here

Next, Ales for Rails Trails 5K

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