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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