Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Tale of Three Halfs. Part Two.

     My second half was the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon.  Everyone has done this race once.  And everyone talks about how great it is.  The biggest difference is the size.  There were 1,200 runners.  I think that is my third biggest race I have ever been in.  I normally stay under 200 runners.
     When I got to the parking lot it was dark.  I saw people boarding buses, so I did.  They rode us to the starting area.  I got off the bus and looked around.  No registration tables.   Umm.... I looked at all the runners and they had bib numbers on.  Great I thought.  I boarded the next bus back to the parking lot several miles down the road.  It was now light out and I could see the registration set up. 
      Once I had my bib number it was back to the buses for me.  I do not know what it is about buses that make me get claustrophobic but I do.  Once back at the starting area I go in a huge line for the bathrooms.  It was cold.  It was windy.  And there was no warm car to get into.  There were so many people there that I could not find anyone I know.  Which is weird because I know a bunch of people running it.  My friend Tim came over and we talked for a bit before he did a warm up run.
      We were all starting to line up when they told us to move up closer.  Some lady looked at my tattoo and said "Us fast people need to move up".  I just looked at her like...whatever.  I'm not fast.    The first couple miles are on country roads.  As I was running a guy came up and started talking to me.  He was wearing the Boston Harvest Half Marathon shirt.  My race!  I have no idea who he is.  I meet a lot of people once...  So I do not always remember there name.

       After the country roads we were put on a rails to trails.  It was flat.  I was running okay until mile 10.  Then I just died.  I had nothing left.  I tried pushing though it.  At mile 11 an old guy came up and passed me.  Like old-old. I thought no way... I got right behind him and stuck like glue.  The faster he went.  The faster I went.  I followed him right up to the big hill and bridge at the finish.

       I was slow going up the hill.  On the bridge everyone was running slow.  There was traffic moving on one side.  I ran a little bit with the group then I saw the finish line.  I was like F-this.  I crossed the cones into traffic and flew past people.  Jumping back in after I got a good led.  I finished in 1:47:37.  Yes, just a hair faster then the half last weekend.
    
 

A Tale of Three Halfs. Part One.

     Last year my plan was to run 4 half marathons in October.  Life did not work out that way.  I was very lucky to do one half and finish.  This year I was determine to try again.  I could only find 3 halves that were with in driving distance.  So 3 it would be!
     Up first was the Mahoning Shadow Shuffle Half Marathon in Punxsutawney.  This was a rails to trails and mostly flat course.  On the drive up I got really sick.  I was not sure if I had a flu or just car sick.  Luckily it turned out to be car sick and I got better as I ran.  What?  You thought I wouldn't ran?  HA!
     I took it easy for the first 6.5 miles.  I did not want to burn out.  At the turn around I realized I might just be able to get in the top 10.  That made me run a little bit faster.  A few more miles down the road I came upon a runner who was walking then running really fast, then repeating.  I asked if he was okay.  He said that he was and that he had to run that way because of his knee.  I told him that he could take his time because he was going to finish under 2 hours.  That was my goal.  He said that at his pace he was going to get under 1:50.
     Well that means I can get under 1:50.  That was boost I needed.  I took off.  Each mile was a little bit faster.  I was hitting close to a 7 minute mile in mile 12.  I was so going to hurt tomorrow.  I finished in 1:47:52.  12th overall and 3rd in my age group.

Dirt Monster 3.0

     Today I did the Dirt Monster 5 mile race in North Park.  This is a very fun, very difficult trail run.  Last year I was on a coed team for the first time and I had a lot of fun.  My friend Mark, the race director of the FAAP 5k/10k, organized 4 teams this year for the North Park Trail Runners.  I was on Team Red.   There was also Blue, White, and Green.  I had custom shirts made for Team Red.

     I got to the race early as they were still setting up.  Quickly got my things and sat in the car to get warm.  Then I went to talk to Herb who was setting up the finish line.  While I was there my team captain Mark ran over.  He wanted to get his shirt.  He said that he was looking for a female to be on Team Green.  I saw my friend Allison and invited her to join in.


 
     The race started slow with a small hill then the pace picked up.  At the back end of mile 1 is a long tall hill.  It wears you down.  After that it is rolling hills and then a big down hill.  I picked up speed at this point.   Too much speed.  Once I was at the bottom of the hill I was running, instead of looking.  I don't know if I tripped or slipped.  But I fell hard and fast, face first.  I caught myself with my hands but the impact knocked the wind out of me.  This was at mile 2 of a 5 mile race.  Argh! 
     Both of my Red team mates were ahead of me and there wasn't much chance of me catching up.  I tried to hold ground but every hill was too much for me.   I got passed by person after person.  By mile 4 I was finally moving at a decent rate of speed.  But there was no one close to catch up to.  I finished in 44:52.  I was 4th in my age group, so no medal. 
     Team Red got 2nd in the overall race teams and 1st in the 4 North Park Trail Runner teams.  We got a medal for the 2nd place and a trophy for the 1st.


Trophy to be reused at other NPTR team events.
Best looking team.  Team RED!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For the Love of Lindsey 5k, take 4.

     Not my favorite race.  Always too hot.  Four years, four 90 degree days.  WTF.  The race is growing on me.  I don't like that they only do top 2 in 10 year age groups.  But at least now I know so I don't have to wait around. 
     No sooner had I parked and started making my way across the lot when someone yelled "hey Mr. Brunazzi".  Which is kind of weird... I mean, I'm not a teacher and I'm not old.. Well I guess I am getting old. 
     I signed up and then ran into Chris B. & Emery S.  The race started a little bit a late because of a new kids race this year.  While I stood waiting for the start a girl said "hey, you blogged about this race, right.  I read it.  It was funny.  I totally agree with you".  Which is great, except...I don't remember what I wrote...lol.
     My goal was to run the whole race.  No walking. No stopping.  As the race started some needed clouds rolled in taking the sun of our backs.  Didn't help with the humid though.  Somewhere along the course the top 4 runners missed a turn.   So part way through they rejoined from behind.  I thought they were doing a second lap of the course!
     I finished in 23:02.  Yes, I know if I would have ran just a little bit harder at the end...  Oh well, always next time.  I got 3rd in my age group.  No medal...grrr.

Brain Cancer Awareness 5k

     It is close to home.  That is what I kept telling myself at this weekend's race.  I guess it was my fault.  I expected a small race.  What I got was a circus.  This was the kind of race I would think should be in downtown Pittsburgh and labeled a "walk". 
     Parking was as far back as a mile from the race.  When I got to the end of the road there were a bunch of huge tents.  There were dogs (a lot of them), costumed characters, and little kid cheerleaders.  The huge tents were not registration, as most runners would think..."I say nay-nay".  Registration was in fact a little farther back in the woods at a shelter.  It was staffed by a ton of volunteers.  All of whom were happy to take my money but not sure what I should do with my now filled out registration form.  Five people later I was shown to the far back of the shelter where I was give a bib and chip. 
     I did not like this 5k.  The reason is because it was not a race.  It was a walk, that also had a running race.  The whole time it felt like the runners were a second thought to everything also going on.  And there was a lot going on.
     The course was the same hilly one from the 5k to Fight Decay.  The race director asked if I liked the tough course.  I answered with, "this is the third time I ran it".  The race director was the only one there that seemed to care about the runners.  I'm not sure if she had a hand in all the other stuff going on or it just got out of control. 
      There was too much humid and I crashed and burned.  25 minute + 5k.  BOO!!!   I did get 1st in my age group and a ribbon..... 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Races in Review

     I have not written a post in two & half months.  Not because I have not been running & racing, I have been.  I just cut out a few things to spend more time with my daughter.  Now I am sitting here trying to figure out a way to write about nine different races.  "oy vey".

Summer Races in Review

Run for Alex
Course- 5 (awesome hill)
Stuff- 5 (I won a door prize two years in a row!  This year I won a tattoo)
Fun- 4 (it was too damn hot)

Alpha Fitness 5k
Course- 4 (love the trail, but it is an easy run)
Stuff- 3 (some dude won like 4 of the door prizes, FIXED!)
Fun- 3

Peace, Love, Run Half Marathon
Course- 3 (North Park Lake Loop, I've ran it soo many times)
Stuff- 4 (Tech shirt, finishers medal)
Fun- 3 (race was over priced)



Groundhog 5k
Course- 4 (Seems easy, but it's NOT!)
Stuff- 4 (cool medals, but I didn't win one)
Fun- 5 (Fair, bands, food!!)



Ellwood City 10k
Course- 4 (hills)
Stuff- 3 (I'm wearing their shirt right now)
Fun- 4 (Craft show, music, fair food!!)

Race to the Moon 5 mile
Course- 5 (it is at NIGHT)
Stuff- 4
Fun- 5
 

5k to Fight Decay
Course- 4 (a lot of hills)
Stuff- 3 (white cotton shirt w/weird tooth)
Fun- 3

Herb's Hayride Lap Race
Course- 5 (there was some mud...)
Stuff- 4 (tractor trophy)
Fun- 4 (I had to leave before the corn roast & food)


 

P&LE Express 4 mile (this is one of MY races)
Course- 4 (trail is great, but flat)
Stuff- 5 (tech shirts, everyone got a medal)
Fun- 4

 
 


     

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Warrior 5k

     Today was a cross country 5k at my local high school.  It felt weird being there.  Nothing has changed in 15 years.  I signed up for a whole bunch of races to help motivate myself.  This was one of them.  Honestly if I would not have paid, I probably would have stayed home.  I did not feel like racing today.  I worked nine days in a row and all I wanted to do was sleep.  But it is a good thing that I went,  I need to get out of the house more.

      The race started as a lap and a quarter around the track and then went up a long hill.  From there it was around the old Nike site, back down part of the hill, and a hard left toward the baseball field.  After going around the baseball field and half of the high school parking lot, you went the full lap around the high school.  Then when you got back to the beginning hill, ran down to the track, did one and a quarter more laps and then...ran across the football field to the finish line.  Sound Confusing?  It was for some.
      I went out too fast on the track and got over heated.  I ran the race in my Warrior Dash helmet which did not help keep me cool.  I finished in 23:45.