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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