Aug 14 2013

Psycho Running

Hmmm. This is a transitional time for me it seems. My disenchantment for road running and over the top costumes is matched only by my equal but opposite love of trail running that I am finding.

Oh I’m certain I will still seek out certain 5ks, certain road half-marathons (maybe?), and certain full marathons… but my current goal is now to attend each and every trail nerd event in their circuit. Not necessarily in one year for logistical reasons… sometimes I simply can’t make it.

In past years I’ve run the Psycho Psummer multiple times and their Intro 5k, but that’s been it.

This year I completed the Psycho Psummer again, but this time chose the 50k variant. Did the Psychodelic 5k Fire Version, and the 10k Psych Night. Should be doing the North Shore Trail on 9-7-13 run too for the first time.

Let me tell you the Psych Night is no joke. It’s crazy. I felt crazy running it. I was crazy. The only race report that can be said is that I madly ran like a madman into the dark and the night. I ran the last two miles by myself solidly in 10th place never seeing a person anywhere in front or behind me. I was sweating something crazy. Lots of mud thanks to a prior day rain. Lots of rocks and hills cause its Wyco. The twisty turns of the trail’s back section could throw you off the trail in a moment’s notice. I took the steep rocky descents with a reckless forward motion. I grunted up the ascents pressing on and on.Β I had a hammering psycho song playing in my head for some of the race which somehow seemed appropriate. I finished under an hour and was elated for my time. Never once looking back. Thankful for the great volunteers. Got to the end and drank a Coors Light in about 3 gulps it tasted so good. PSYCH NIGHT.

As for the 50k. It was quite an adventure. I trained hard for it. Consumed well. In doing so, I was entirely surprised to find that I was for the most part unfazed. I was actually astonished by how good I felt. I was super happy with my splits and my finish. It was hot and the trails were sooo rough. I hated the last 8 miles of it… I won’t lie about that. I was ready for it to be over at mile 22. I persevered though. That night even went to the Sporting KC game as planned.

I’ve been stunned with my progress. Since I’ve taken to the trails I’ve permanently dropped 5 pounds and feel good for it. Every single training run I’ve been on since that 50k has been my fastest yet. I’m humbled and amazed at my own body.

I’m just going to keep going.

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May 7 2013

Random Thoughts and Race Day Weather…

Less than a month to go! Yes… its the perfect time to panic! That is, unless you’re fully trained up right? πŸ™‚ Hey don’t worry… there’s still time for plenty of CT (Crunch Time) Runs!

I’ve neglected to write on here for a long time it seems… looking back… last post… March 23rd. OUCH! Yikes! And it’s now May 7th! WOWZA! Race day is almost upon us!!!

I’ve had so many posts I should have written since then… so much to say… but I’ve only been neglecting to write… I’ve not been neglecting life! I’ve been busy! There’s so much to say though that I’m just going to attempt to write a bunch of short quip bullets and hope that will suffice…

1. Ran 14.7 miles today. Calves hurt afterwords so bad that I wonder why I do this to myself. Later when they didn’t hurt I was so happy I accomplished my goal of a 15 mile (hey almost) training run today!

2. Drank a few too many beers one night and decided it would be a good idea to sign up last-minute for a race in Minneapolis where I would be for just a couple days! Occasionally regretting the added logistics (and price for being a last minute registrant) – it wasn’t bad! That was actually uncharacteristically my *first* race of the year… normally I’ve done a few by this time. It was perfect weather and a very flat course. I was happy enough with it.

3. Today was a great day (May 5th at time of writing). The Royals won, (nice walk-off win!), Sporting KC won, my 4 year old daughter was in her first ever dance recital, it was Cinco De Mayo and we had Mexican and margaritas! Along with the run that’s a resounding victory.

4. It’s ok to wear cotton sometimes. It will not kill you. When race day comes (and your race is long) some tech shirt might be better. But for an every day run? What do you think people ran in for the last 50 years! Cotton! It’s ok! It won’t kill you!

5. Did you read my previous post (my Garmin 405 gave up the ghost)? Garmin Dead? It’s back and its fixed! The new battery is kick-butt! If your Garmin is dead or dying, I highly recommend the service I used! (http://stores.ebay.com/fixyourgps)

6. I had a TREMENDOUS run one day after the night before I scarfed tons of pizza and beer. You don’t have to opt for pasta if you don’t want to. This pace over a half would have scored me my new goal which is to run a half in 1:39:59.

7. Unless Hospital Hill is your first and/or only Half-Marathon completed or to be completed… I wouldn’t expect a PR at it. Why? Just cause it’s kinda hilly and you could probably run faster on a flatter course. Is this a downer? Heck no! I’ve assigned for myself a special, Hospital Hill PR which stands apart from other half-marathons! It’s in its own category! Each year I shoot for a Hospital Hill specific PR.

8. But you *can* PR it… last year’s weather was so perfect… 58 at 7am, 68 by 10am… (and then a perfect 82 that afternoon). I ran a Hospital Hill PR what I perceived to be “easily” — could have gone for more (a true PR)? Will this year’s weather be so good that you and I can both get a real PR here? Could happen.

9. In fact … let’s take a look… How does that weather compare to years past?

Year 7AM Start 10AM (3HR) HIGH Finish Time
2012 58 68 82 1:47:23
2011 80 87 93 1:54:51
2010 78 82 91 1:48:42
2009 71 71 87 1:51:37
2008 80 84 87 1:54:57

Wow! Look at the difference from 2011 to 2012! 20 degree differences at start and finish!

Well weather isn’t everything of course… but I did run the fastest on the coolest year and the slowest on the hottest years! I do also have a particular specific memory of 2011 – being hot and hurting/winded (but good πŸ™‚ )out on the course and there being a bucket of ice available around mile 10 — I was so thankful for it! Next year, didn’t need it!

10. But… you can’t control the weather. Rain, snow, heat, cool… it is what it is and we’ll make the best of it. Just realize it could affect performance! What it doesn’t affect is the awesomeness of the event. It continues to be awesome despite the weather!

11. This year it could snow at Hospital Hill. Or it could be the hottest one ever. You never know with Kansas City weather!

***PREDICT THIS YEAR’S STARTING TEMPERATURE!***
Leave a comment on this post predicting the air temperature in Kansas City at 7:00am on race day and whomever guesses closest to the actual temp at 7:00am June 1st (before race day obviously)! I’ll send you a $15 gift card to RoadID! (if I can find it)

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Mar 23 2013

Garmin Dead

My beloved running companion, my precious Garmin 405 has finally had it’s last run. I’ve known this day has been coming for a while but I’ve been running with it as long as possible. It’s *possible* that it might be able to record the entirety of Hospital Hill… but 1:45 really seems to be the absolute limit. Back in October running the Kansas City Full Marathon, on a completely full charge it lasted 1:44 / 12 miles. That was a little disappointing since that was my marathon PR and I really like having a nice record of all of those on the Garmin connect.

Even though I’ve run 40 activities since then, I think its finally time. Yesterday I went out with the Garmin at 99% charge. I went on a route that I frequently run which is exactly 6.85 miles. It’s a great route that I love to try to beat my previous bests on. Since March of 2009 I’ve run it 17 times anywhere from 1:02 to 0:53. A couple of weeks ago I ran the route and had a pretty great run. I thought I’d PRed it for sure… nope. Missed it by 20 seconds. Still a great run. Yesterday I left the house feeling pretty good and was running strong from the start… I thought I’d go for a good time on the ol 6.85 miler. Well I did have a strong run. I really strode it out at times and was clocking the miles in great splits. Then — oh no!

With about a mile left I got a low battery warning… another half mile, another low battery warning. I was talking to the Garmin saying comon’ you can do it! Just half a mile more! It was giving me even more incentive to finish strongly. My old 53:50 PR (7:52/mi) would die today. But no, next time I looked down the Garmin was staring at me blankly. My Garmin had finally died.

Oh I finished just fine and I’m sure it was a training PR for me on that route. Continuing with my pace would have been a stellar 51:49 (7:34/mi).

So now I’ve got to decide to do… new watch? Repair? I looked at all the options:

Garmin Forerunner 10 – $129 great price… simple, fun, easy, new (latest model). Only maybe slightly simplistic with a couple of features.

Garmin 410 – $199 – A strong contender… I nearly bought this. Just like the 405 but with some cool features… you can actually power it off! (wow!) Quicker satellite acquisition / more accurate reception.

Garmin 610 $349 – The new multicolor one is cool. I was real tempted with this one. I’m sure its like the 410 but even better. Just a little pricey.

Garmin 910XT – $399 – An intriguing choice… Although I haven’t done any triathlons… I’d like to possibly. I’ve done some experimenting with Duathlons and have worn my Garmin out a few times biking. Other nice feature would be the super extended battery… remember I’m training for a 50k and that would really come in handy … My 405 in its best days only made it just over 4 hours which couldn’t quite finish a 20 mile trail run for me. It’s expensive though… and HUGE!

Garmin Repair 405 – $79 with them being just down the street in Olathe this was pretty tempting too… and the responsible / frugal thing to do. After all, my 405 does everything I want really and for the most part I’m 95% satisfied with it. Just hate to spend $80 when for just a little more could get a brand new watch.

In the end I chose none of the above. I’m sending my current watch to a guy in California I found on ebay who for $40 is supposedly going to re-fit my existing watch with a new battery which is capable of lasting 8-10 hours in training mode. Now THAT would be awesome! For that 50k I’ve got coming up in July it just may be able to do the job! (6-7 hours I think).

Of course this all depends if the repair works out ok, but hopefully it will … he seems to have LOTS of satisfied customers! I will report back when I receive my “new” watch back. Until then… maybe I’ll run a few times sans GPS! Old school!

Happy Running and Training!

(Posts about Beer are forthcoming I promise!)

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Feb 27 2013

Back from the Cruise and into…

For those of you keeping score at home: (redacted), (redacted), (redacted), and Jenny… and Tad? I did NOT perish on the cruise, nor was I on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph! I’m back, despite not having posted since Jan 30th, and have yes been enjoying all the snow same as you.

What a difference a few thousand miles makes eh?

From this: (here’s our ship, my daily view, and the beach)
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To this: (a view early Thursday night before the snow really piled up)

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But that’s ok with me. I don’t mind the snow… I actually like it.

The cruise was very nice… prior to leaving (this was my first cruise) I had wondered about running on the ship. There’s actually as much opportunity to run as you like, without being a nuisance to anyone too!

They have a “jogging” (their words, not mine!) track on top of the ship. This was pretty neat! I really wish I could have used it more. I ran on it one morning and it was amazing. I had this thought that my GPS would be showing little circles out on the ocean slowly going south… nope. The ship was booking it south. So much so that I have some amazingly fast stats to go along with the really boring GPS graph… see for yourself:

The track was fairly small… here’s the sign from it:
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Sorry about the bad picture there… but it says 11 laps is one mile. Well I believe I ran 22 or 23… I lost count. So roughly two miles. As you see from the (previous) above graphic though I quite incredibly ran over six miles in 17 minutes at a pace I can’t even reproduce on my bike going downhill. The best part of course though as you can probably imagine was having that sea view. It was very nice, if a bit warm and slightly crowded. There were plenty of other people up there running too.

Another experiment I wanted to try was running on the treadmill on the ship. I know I know you’re saying… why on earth would you run on the treadmill on the ship? Well it was just an experiment! And check this out… how often do you get to wear your GPS watch on a treadmill — and have it do anything? Landlocked – that’s going to be one boring Garmin Connect activity… you’ll be lucky to register any movement at all. Here though I clocked along at another furious pace:

The stats are a little less fluctuational here since I’m running in one direction… previously I was running against and with the ship as I did laps, subduing the speed and exaggerating it accordingly.

So… that’s the skinny on running on a cruise ship. After doing a little research it appears that nearly all ships have the running track and quite probably most of them are better than the one I was on, but I found no faults and enjoyed it all thoroughly. The gym where the treadmill was was also quite nice looking out over the ocean with extremely spacious and adequate changing rooms, showers, and a dry sauna and a steam sauna.

Well that was that. A fun experience … would definitely go again, although I do think I prefer the woodsy outdoors opposed to the “beachy” – but hey I won’t pass it up… especially from February in Kansas.

…BUT as I told you… I enjoy the snow! I went for a nice run Saturday (right after about we got 12″ snow here locally in Lansing) after I had noticed while driving around that most sidewalks looked plowed. Well it was cold… and only some of the sidewalks were plowed, almost none of the ones I was going to run on… and as much as I wanted to hit the local dirt trail, even I know where to draw the line. My shorts and non-snow-shoes probably wouldn’t do too well in 12″ (and more in drifts) on the trails.

So what to do? Well I was running by the deserted local Elementary school (it was Saturday!) and I’d oft wondered… just how far was it around that parking lot? Heck… why not take a few laps. So lap it I did. The second time around I discovered it was .57 miles around the perimeter. I tested this the next time around by predicting my mileage at the loop (these are the crazy things you just love to do while wearing a garmin) and wa-la. The science was solid. So anyway I did a few laps here and eeked out a measly 4 mile run:

Zoom and and look at the southern portion… yep that’s a parking lot! Was it a boring run? No it wasn’t! It was ok! So the point is: the miles are where you make them! Sidewalk snowed up? Dying to run outside? Try a big (plowed) parking lot! Preferably one you can run to… wouldn’t you feel dumb for driving to one? No you wouldn’t? Me neither… but I’d rather run there.

See ya soon. I start officially training (yes that’s right, I’m not even training yet!) March 10th. So see? If you’ve been slacking off you’re fine! You got time! March 10th will mark 12 weeks out. I think. πŸ™‚

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Jan 30 2013

Finding the time for a long run

Well forget trying to find the time and energy to complete a long run… how about the time and energy for a run of any sort… that I would be happy with, or perhaps even time to get a blog post done? There’s a good start. Well making the most of every second I’m writing this from volleyball practice. Yeah – that kind of volleyball… I’m sure plenty of you are familiar: the kind that runs year-round through every season and just never quits. That’s ok though, for the most part its fun… except we have two in it… and another in boyscouts… uh, dance, basketball, etc, etc, yadda yadda you know the rest. Our schedules are packed to the brim every week. Somehow I do squeeze in some runs though.

Last week I wasn’t writing from volleyball… I was running! You just never know where you’ll find a nice run. Last week it was about 35, dark and stormy, windy. I thought as I was leaving — I don’t care! I’ll just run around the parking lot. Well I started doing some laps in the parking lot yes, but I soon found a decent enough sidewalk and heading back the other direction for a while – ran into a nice park that I had forgotten was there!

You can see the parking lots in the upper left and the riverfront park in the lower right:

VB Run
And here’s all the run details for that matter:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/265408141

You can always see an RSS feed of all my runs here too: http://www.runsometimes.com/statistics/ – as well as some other junk. That way you can always keep tabs on me. If I say I took a 20 mile long run, well you can look and check. Only a few obscure scenarios would lead to one of my runs being missing from that list:

1) I forgot my Garmin… not likely… but it *has* happened… and at Hospital Hill (2011) no less! I think that’s the one major race I ever forgot to take it to. Boy did I beat myself up over that one. It’s really made me remember it since then. You know what though? Everything turned out ok. (not really).

2) Garmin dead. This happens all the time. One because its old and I’ve used the hell out of it… and also because sometimes I forget to charge it. Normally I will even postpone a run for just a little bit though to take it and it can survive the run. It really is starting to show its age though. 416 runs with it as of today since July 13, 2008. It’s getting to where it dies about 17 miles into a trail run, or more recently this past October at 12 miles into the 2012 KC Marathon. Hmmm… that doesn’t bode well for a half-marathon does it. Might need to get that replaced before then… stay tuned for that adventure — glad I reminded myself!

Uh… where was I. Hmm… scenario 3 not to have… oh yeah:

3) I ran it on the treadmill. 20 miler? Hah! Not likely… but believe it or not I’ve done it before. Well, ran about 3 hours on the treadmill anyway. That’s kinda fun… in a sadistic sort of way if you want to try it sometime.

Ok so point is… if I say I ran that long run, I probably did, unless I didn’t, in which case no one cares anyway.

So now REALLY let’s see where were we? Well I had just completed that really nice run last week by planning on running laps in a casino parking lot but ended up on the river and through a park! You just never know where that mediocre run is going to take you!

Now why am I blogging tonight instead of running here again?

It’s a tad colder for one.

For two I REALLY needed to get this blog post done and I had some time tonight of course…. why the crunch for time? Well I’m going on a cruise soon… and I don’t plan on blogging while cruising… at all. What I do plan on doing is running though. I’ve never been on a cruise before so I was wondering about the running… do people run on the deck? The people I’ve asked (none of whom were runners, but all were cruise veterans) said “yes! they saw those stupid runners on the decks constantly and were constantly almost being run into by them! why do you ask?” oh no reason… except I plan on running those decks too… hopefully. Anyone here experienced (runner *and* cruiser)? Oh I’ll be relaxing some too of course I’m sure and doing whatever else it is you do on a cruise… I know we’re gonna be on some beaches… and guess what I plan on doing there? That’s right!! More running!!! And check THIS out! When I’m done I’ll hop in the ocean! Kabam, yeah I got that one!

Third reason I’m not running tonight…. Well I did do that 13 mile long run earlier.

So you see, the moral of the story is no matter if you are stuck at volleyball practice for two hours, or stuck on some ridiculous ship in the Caribbean in February, you can always find time to run.*

*(I’ll know for sure about the latter when I get back… and I will be sure to tell you all about it (the running) in a very matter of fact manner.)

Happy Running!

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Jan 13 2013

Hospital Hill Blogging Kickoff

Hello – I’m thrilled that you’re here and for this opportunity to write once again about one of my favorite races ~ The Hospital Hill Run!

Let me quickly introduce myself and this blog:

I started the blog in 2008 when I had a goal of running the KC Marathon in under four hours. I thought it would be a nice way to track all of my stats / runs… it turned out well (I met my goal!) and I’ve just basically continued it since.

It’s mostly served me since then as an immensely useful tool to look on my past experiences to better prepare for those in the future. It’s also quite fun reliving those past experiences too! πŸ™‚

As for myself… I’m 34, male, average runner, 4 kids, super busy schedule with many interests that compete for my time.

I started running in my adult life a little more than 6 years ago, right after I quit smoking. Yeah that sucks huh? Smoking! Ew gross! I can’t believe I once enjoyed that…. tsk tsk. Running is SOOOO much better! πŸ™‚

I always knew I would return to running though. It’s in my blood. My dad was a runner, and when I was growing up I would go with him to 5ks and such. I was even a middle school track star (didn’t translate up into high school though).

Since I started running again in 2006 I’ve run 6 marathons in 4 states, 17 half-marathons in 3 states, and dozens of other races.

When I first began the quitting smoking and running a co-worker commented to me, one day 6 years ago, about Hospital Hill. “Hey so you’re a runner now huh? Maybe you can do Hospital Hill!” – this was a challenge of sorts as it was spoken with a tone that suggested not only was I not really going to keep this running thing up, I would never be able to do something like Hospital Hill… obviously a runner’s mecca of some sort? I had to know… I googled it and found it. I was fascinated. I just stared in awe at those runners. And it had such a ring to it… Hospital Hill! It sounded so foreboding and awesome at the same time. I wasn’t really sure if I’d ever be up for that challenge – but I knew I wanted it… badly.

That year I ran my first half-marathon ever, the Hospital Hill in 1:56:32. I nearly broke down in tears at the end. I relished every second of that day and absolutely glowed for a week. I’d found another kind of runner’s high.

And boy was I a NEWB. I ran that race in TWO cotton t-shirts, cotton underwear, basketball shorts, and with an ipod held in my hand. I even wore a watch with hands on it and a leather band! EGADS! I’m fairly certain I saw someone that morning before the race pointing at me (with my half-marathon bib attached) and remarking to their son that I was ill-equipped to run this race. But *I* also remember seeing someone else at the race wearing such rags they honestly looked like they were a dirty homeless person (and I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean a homeless person who is quite unwashed) lined up to run… and I think that person left me in the dust. So… gear isn’t everything.

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The Running Newb in 2007

These days of course I run in the latest fashions, shiny shoes, and a trusty Garmin which I’m nearly distraught without. I am quite looking forward to this year’s Hospital Hill. It will be my 7th consecutive running.

I could quite literally type for hours about running, but I suppose I will wrap this up for now to save something for next time….

I plan to explore many topics over the next many weeks leading up to the Hospital Hill Run:

1. Beer… How does it enhance running?
2. Beer… How does it taste so good?
3. Beer is a great carb source.
4. Finding time to run with the activities of 4 kids, 2 dogs, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, 2 kids, 4 dogs, 8 beers, trail running, 3 shoes
5. Hill Training
6. Speed Work
7. The quest to find the time and energy to complete a long run
8. Establishment of a 2013 Hospital Hill Run Goal Time
9. ?
10. Profit

That’s it ladies and gentlemen! I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Hospital Hill Run blog post. Tune in next week for the thrilling continuing ramblings where I will try as hard as I can to make you laugh out loud or at least smile and perhaps even offer a morsel of information that might em-better your running! HAPPY RUNNING!

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Jan 2 2013

2012 Running In Review…

Well 2013 is here, another year, another running circuit begins. It’s going to be immensely hard to top 2012 in 2013… but I think its doable.
Why will it be so hard to top? Looking back at 2012 it was a tremendous year for me… I set a PR in almost every distance I raced… and not by seconds, by minutes.

– Improved 10k time by about a minute (and did it on the toughest course possible…)
– Improved Half-Marathon time by 3 minutes (set Half-Marathon PR twice)
– Improved Hospital Hill PR by a minute and a half (yes that race gets its own PR) (weather was great!)
– Improved Psycho Wyco (20 miler) by 14 minutes (no mud!)
– Improved Marathon time by almost 9 minutes (I didn’t train enough, and earned this one on the course)

I had all of those as goals and met them all. I also just went back and read my 2011 Running Year in Review and realized I also did the 39.3 this year, as well as Hospital Hill, Psycho Wyco,Β and the KC Full which I’ve been meaning to do for the last three years… Wow… I did it all! I’m so proud of me. Hard to believe that 39.3 was even last spring… that seems like it was so long ago but really I suppose it was.

Hmm… the only thing I seem to be unable to improve upon is my 5k time. Maybe this year I can do that. I look back at my supposed PR though with question marks now… a 2007 run on Ft. Leavenworth before I carried a Garmin? Knowing some of those runs it could have been a full quarter mile short. Almost makes me want to pick another one as my PR… which I pretty much did… but I digress.

2013 could be looking ok I think. I’ve not slacked off this Winter as I have done in years past (although my 2012 was great and I did not slack off last winter either!). That must be the secret (and what a secret it is! not.) — to not slack off. Who woulda thought?

Now if only I quit drinking all those heavy beers too… that would probably make a difference? Nah, not worth it… and they are a great way to carb up is how I look at it! I think a few Boulevards fueled nearly almost all of those runs.

This year I may be blogging for the Hospital Hill, or I may not… I haven’t heard back from them yet. Regardless they will be employing (in the deployed since, not the check writing sense) an army of bloggers this year who should each have a different take on their train up and goals etc… that ought to be fun to observe.

Next race I am realistically looking at doing is the Parkville Trail 8k on February 3rd. I did that race last year and it was quite enjoyable. I’m also really enjoying trail running … both in official races and training. These days I’d say I do at least half, if not more of my outside runs at least partially on trails… and when I’m running “street” a lot of times I’m just running on it to get to the trail.

Here’s to 2013 and another great year for everyone!

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Nov 26 2012

Remember remember this warm November

Star date, November 22, 2012. I’ve located a new trail in Lansing, Kansas.

I suppose there were always trails of some sort here… deer trails and what not… but now it is official and WIDE! Lansing has a new trail. I’ve already run it twice now. It’s quite short… there’s a 1/8th mile concrete path that leads to the trail head, and then the trail itself is another 1/6th mile possibly… right now it looks like it leads just about nowhere, but during wetter (more normal?) times it leads to a nice waterfall. I’ve visited this waterfall a few times in the past and each time there was quite a falling of water… so hopefully its only a temporary situation with no waterfall… after all this was the year of the exceptional drought. Not bad, not worse, not extreme, not super bad, not ultra-&%$#*@$-bad, it was EXCEPTIONALLY bad…. and its still going.

This does make it nice to be able to run on the stream beds. That allowed me to accumulate a little more mileage here on the first occasion… and I made plans for wetter/more normal times.

Passing the 1/6th mile mark and arriving at the (would be) falls – this appears to be the end of the official trail. Leading off from here other than the two stream beds are several deer trails. I made the most of these and turned them into some nice running trails, even discovering a few things in this urban sanctuary.

So Lansing adds a third trail to run on… the first Kelly Grove Trail, the second, my beloved Ken Bernard Park Trail, and now Angel Falls Trail. There may be more to come on this one as I plan on blazing a few new paths there. For now here’s a rough graph of it:

I actually discovered this trail had been placed by finding a geocache here. It seems these two sports often go hand in hand… trail running and geocaching.

 

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Nov 14 2012

The Kansas City Marathon Part 2, or, The Great Barbeque Debacle

When we last found our hero, he had just finished his first marathon of the year, set a PR by nearly 10 minutes, shared some heart with 7,000 other runners and nearly killed himself in the process. He was on cloud nine. Nothing could possibly make this moment any better than a customary “free” after-race beer; the BBQ would just be icing on the cake.

Staring into Washington Park with the new-found freedom of not having to run another god-$#&^ step, he took in the scene. There was a band preforming off to the center left… they were just background noise though… perhaps they could casually be enjoyed later; first and foremost would be locating the two places to spend the bib tags. Easy enough, perhaps, but the immediately obvious BBQ tent to the far left had no patrons and prominent prices displayed with a crew of moderately restless workers behind the counter. Could that be the free BBQ? Probably not – it was likely a sadly misinformed vendor watching next to no sales accumulate thanks to the free BBQ at some other vendor. The runner feels kinda bad for them, but looks on…

A little further down the line there is what must be the beer facility, but even this is a slight question mark; its quite unbusy. Well that’s gotta be it… approaching it does indeed appear to be the place as there are 3 poured beers awaiting to be taken. There is a Boulevard truck parked behind this tent, but the three beverages before him are of a color and head unfamiliar; these are not Boulevard brews. This is not a huge disappointment (although it is) though because this was the largely expected result of further running commercialization and popularity. In 2007 the runner was offered THREE Boulevards of CHOICE. Simply unheard of now. In 2008 and 2009 there were, yes, Boulevards. But what was this drivel? Hogspit? uh… free beer? “What beer is this?” the runner asks. “Miller 64” comes the reply. Ah. Never had that one, but no matter. It’s an after marathon beer and it tastes good! (all things considered). So, yes, fine. Beer is beer here. Ok… so supposing… let’s find this BBQ.

Stupidly the runner returns to the BBQ tent and sheepishly asks, knowing a complete question likely isn’t required, they’ve probably been getting this all day… “where is the … yeah.” They’ve answered this question before. Across the way is a red wooden makeshift building with BBQ advertised and once again, prominently displayed (oUtRaGeouS!!!) prices?? Heading over there, there appears to be 4-5 runners milling about alternately studying the menu, staring at the ground, the sky, slowly walking away, and here’s one or two… getting a sample. Hmm…. ok – let’s have a sample the runner thinks? But it dawns on him quickly enough with the fragments of comments and actions here — these are the main courses.

The runners are being handed, tossing in the trash, tossing back (down the hatch), or studying thimbles full of containing some sort of meat which may be coated in a sauce. Almost laughing and with a chuckling straight face the runner hands over his bib ticket as an experiment… knowing, but not really believing until it happens what will be handed back…. but it is. A plastic shot glass of something purporting to be BBQ. It’s quite comical. It’s not even enough to get a taste. Well whatever. Not even caring really… it was just icing on the cake after all. But seriously? What the $#&* just happened here?

———-

Ok let’s get serious for a moment. What theΒ $#&* did just happen here?

That’s the motto – and they’re sticking to it. It was for 2012, and now this is the 2013 model. It works in many ways… you could even not have free BBQ at the finish line — just have some directions and information and possibly free samples from Arthur Bryants, Gates, Oklahoma Joes… wherever. But don’t make this the motto and THEN put a damn bib ticket on the bib which is good for a thimble! It was a joke! Now I’m going to take the high road and assume there was just a miscommunication. But it is possible I assure you. The Hospital Hill Run does it every year. Somehow that race, which costs half the price, provides a LOT of race goodies, AND manages a BBQ SANDWICH, + coleslaw! You think I’m kidding? Check this out!

This marvelous photo from June 2010 depicts the delicacies which can be enjoyed at Hospital Hill. I forgot the beans too! A sandwich! Beans! Coleslaw! TWO BOULEVARDS!!! WOW!!!!

Those were the days. Gone is the Boulevard from Hospital Hill too (they’ve gone to Michelob Ultra) but they still have the BBQ. That’s Three Little Pigs BBQ btw… so shout out to them.

Here’s a shot from the November Runner’s World. Page 28.

Standard Fare.

But here’s what it *COULD BE*

 

The TITLE event for the Paris of the Plains, The City of Fountains… of which no one from out of town has heard before. What they HAVE heard of though is Kansas City BBQ. Do us proud please!

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Nov 14 2012

The vastly belated KC Marathon recap…

What an incredible event.

I just about wasn’t going to write up a report for this one, but after thinking it over for a while there’s just too much to say. Perhaps I’ll be able to address it all in a recap…

I showed up at around 6:10am… precisely when I meant to! Here’s a token of advice for next year’s event: If you choose to park in the garage at McGee & Pershing (it’s a rather convenient place to park) fret not finding a spot on the level you enter… simply head down to orange or up to blue. Yep. There’s all the spots.

So… I mill around a little race morning… not long as I’ve only left myself just enough time for the necessities and not much more. A quick trip to the compulsory port-o-pot, a glance around, and finding my pace group. I chose to seek out the 3:45 pace group. I was able to make my way forward easily enough and got the smart pacing armband and checked out the splits. In the corral waiting for the race to start I conversed with a couple of people… coincidentally a runner that I knew well enough – just from seeing him in race after race after race locally… (all the REALLY local 5ks (the ones in my exact town))… and I knew who he was but he didn’t me and he was quite shocked when I knew him by name. Oh well… I met another man from Oklahoma, Randy who was quite nice and had a good conversation with.

The race starts.

For some dumb-ass reason, for the first time ever, I decided to bring a cotton hooded sweatshirt with me. Oh don’t worry – I had every intention in the world of jettisoning this thing the instant it got too warm… the only problem was it was too warm from the get-go. The forecast was for 40-44 degree temps and I supposed that would be chilly enough to warrant this for a mile or two. Not so… it was way too much and I was only wayyyy too happy to be rid of it at the first aid station – which couldn’t come soon enough – for the sole reason of getting rid of this thing! My hope was that it would be donated as they do in New York… but probably not so much here… πŸ™ …. I just hope it found some sort of home. Anyway — long story short: trust my own instincts and go with just a tech-t! So I guess that was my first mistake… from about 1/4 mile in it was too much, although to its credit I was absolutely comfortable (warm) leading up to that point.

No big deal! I sweated a little too much probably and I tossed that sucker at the 2 mile aid station feeling instantly better and not at all cold. Still running with Randy… saw a runner I’d met a couple of weeks prior in my hometown at a run. Had a nice quick conversation there… and Jenny – (whom it was!) if you’re seeing this I looked up yours and Jason’s results… both absolutely stellar! Two sub 2 hour finishes!!! Congrats!

The next minor incident occurs at the Liberty Memorial… an early highlight of the race to be sure but I had to stop and double knot both shoes as I’d not done so before and they were becoming undone… well there was a nice waste of time early in the race and I was thinking to myself… SECOND mistake! Seems trivial now of course. But its 30 seconds stopped and then extra exerted energy catching up with pace group… etc…

Anyway… leaving my mistakes behind I began to have a nice race. Occasionally conversing with Randy or straining to hear what the 3:45 pacer was saying… I noted quickly 5 miles. Huh… 5 miles? That first five miles FLEW by! In fact before I knew it was 7! 7 miles flew by like it was nothing… just still running… had some slow splits to start with the 3:45 pace group which were being made up for now as the splits went from slower than planned to faster than planned. I was keeping up so far but didn’t know for how long.

I alternately was running next to Randy, trying to catch up with him, or running next to other persons met on the course with light conversation through mile 16.

Through mile 16. Did you read that!!? I ran that!! About mile 15 the legs were feeling like 2 dead weights I was dragging along… this was interesting because my upper torso felt absolutely fine. Head, arms, lungs, good. Legs, bad. I ran for as long as I could which was until of course the moment of mention which is mile 16. I had to finally stop to use a port-o-pot. I told Randy “Gotta take a break, I’ll catch up” which I believe sounded like “Gotta take a break… mrphlepluff” I never saw him again.

As you could probably imagine… this was an immense relief. πŸ™‚

When I exited and resumed the race the 3:45 pace group was fading into the distance.

I gave them chase for a while but they were pretty much gone.

Mile 18. Ow.

Mile 20. Really? 6 more to go eh?

Mile 20.2 – πŸ™

Mile 21: A friend of mine, whom I’ve not even seen at all up to this point suddenly appears in front of me! A large German Shepard is attacking him! Am I delirious!? He shouts at the dog and the woman rushing up to apologize… this is all fairly surreal as I’m laboring with bemused interest. The dog shakes off and its back to the miles. Yes that was a small diversion. Now more miles.

I was really hurting here. Constantly almost stopping to walk… and once… yes… chugging it down, to … stop… and… wal… no… just keep running.

Was it about mile 21.5 I had heard rumblings, maybe even previous to this of the 3:50 pace group behind me. I didn’t see them for quite a while. I even had a brief scare as a formation of runners came up to pass me at one point, which could be nothing other than a pace group… but it was in fact a relay team.

Well by mile 22 – I think — I was nearly delirious all through here… the 3:50 pace group did in fact catch up with me. This turned out to be a wonderful thing. It was the two 3:50 pacers, and someone who had stuck with them. That was it, these 3. I can only imagine what fantastic trail of carcasses they left in their wake over the past 22 miles, and here they were with the sole survivor… were they going to pass me too? Was I just relegated now to “some sort of finish” which would not only not be 3:45, but also not in the realm of 3:50, and scarier still, not even a PR, or even under 4:00?

“Hey, what’s your name man?” They asked me… that simple greeting sparked such a friendly next few miles I couldn’t believe it. These pacers literally scraped me off of the pavement whether they knew it or not and gave me a third wind. I simply said “I’ll try to stay with you” and I did. We really hammered out a couple of those miles there too. I’m sure (even though they never asked) they knew I had 3:49ish in mind at least and they paced me! They dragged me out of the gutter yes, through pure inspiration, and through much encouragement and friendly chatter that I forgot about all my pain and knocked out a couple of miles with what I knew had to be some nice splits.

With about a mile to go, they bowed out and wished me well shouting enough encouragement to take me home. I was HURTING at this point, probably on the brink of death – but I was running it in regardless… keeping some semblance of a strong pace. They only bowed out to hit their time, and for being the 3:50 pace group… if they had a little bit of a lead on it, it wasn’t too much. I crossed the line nearly bursting into tears at 3:48:51. I’d left it all out there.

After pacing around a little I waited for the 3:50 pacers to finish (which wasn’t long… they finished right at 3:50) and met them there for a short and sweet reunion. I’d like to have possibly ran the whole race with them … but I think somehow I did it perfectly… going out just slightly too fast with the 3:45 and building a little bit of a cushion. If I’d headed out with 3:50 I don’t believe I would have had the finish I did.

We took some pictures and I headed off for Washington Park with all the goodies. The free beer… free BBQ… etc.

THIS CONCLUDES PART 1. STAY TUNED FOR THE THRILLING CONCLUSION.

 

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