Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Farmer's Inn Half Marathon

     I got up at 4:30am to do my first race in months.  Why haven't I been racing?  Simple.  The personal issue that I talked about in my last post set me back a little bit.  It made life more difficult and stressful.  BUT...I'm working on getting through it.   I have three more races planned and I hope to get things back to a new normal.  If you know me, then you know what happened.  If you don't...well...it is personal, ya know.

     I had to go to this race.  I had been planning on going since last Christmas.  It is a very difficult race, but I like challenges.  The best part is that they include a free buffet after the race.  Yum!
     I really hated going to the race alone, mostly because of the two hour drive up, but I could not find anyone brave enough.  I put the windows down and cranked up the music.  Of course, I was one of the first people there.  It seems like that always happens.  I am either the first or the last person to show up.  Weird...
     Bonnie from the timing company had some trouble finding my race bag.  Then I went and sat in the car with the heat on.  It was cold up in the mountains.  Last year's shirt was awesome and so was this year's!

     About a half hour before the race, I went and helped set up the finish line and then did a warm up.  While I was waiting I ran into Scott S, his friend from last year, and some lady dressed up like a ninja turtle.  Soon after we were all moved to the start line and informed that it would be a different course this year.  WHAT?!?

     This year it be an out and back using the second half of last years course.  Apparently they are working on a bridge and we can not cross the water.  I walked a lot of this part of the race last year, so I was happy to get a shot at it running.
     Here is the problem though...With my personal issue I have not been training.  Running yes,...training no.   Running was more of a way to deal with the stress and I did not push myself nor put in enough miles.   The most I have ran was five miles at one time in two whole months.  I knew that I would probably have to walk some or most of the race.

     When I started I was going too fast, I quickly slowed up and set in on a comfortable pace.  This was no PR run.  This was an "I can finish" run.
     I was running for a short time when I thought, geez this must be two miles by now.   I looked at my Garmin and saw 3.8 mile.  WHAT!  I was kicking butt.  This was a huge morale boost.  I kicked it up a little bit and got to the turn around at 6.5.  I stopped to fill up my water bottle.   My legs felt like jelly.  I was worried.  I told Jim from the timing company that I was not sure that I could finish.  He said sure you can, just go easy on the hill at mile seven.
     I jumped back into running and started cheering folks on as I passed them.  Really, I was not cheering for them, but trying to motive myself...to finish.  I pushed on moving quickly and even ran most of the hill at mile seven.  I just walked the top part, maybe 10-15 seconds and then kicked myself back into gear.

     Somewhere around 8 or 9 I finally caught up with some other runners.   It was nice to talk to someone and pass the time.  At 10.3 I realized that I could get a good finish time if I just pushed myself.  It was only a 5k left.
      I got to 12.2 before I ran out of steam.  I slowed down a bit and finished in 1:47:42.  A much better time then I thought.   It was my 10th half marathon, all under two hours.  I was 15th out of 41 and I got second in my age group.

Mile 1- 7:14
Mile 2- 8:15
Mile 3- 7:48
Mile 4- 8:25
Mile 5- 8:54
Mile 6- 8:12
Mile 7- 8:07
Mile 8- 9:00 (the big hill)
Mile 9- 8:06
Mile 10- 8:28
Mile 11- 8:42
Mile 12- 8:20
Mile 13- ??  Turned the Garmin off early.

     Will I be back next year?   If I am still running....then YEAH!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boston Harvest 5k/10k

     I'm not sure what to say here.  This was suppose to be the event I waited for all year.  Unfortunately a few days before the race... life had other plans for me.  Some how I manage to put my personal problems on the side, for a moment, and pull off what many people called the best race they had even been too.  I'll be honest with you.  I was on auto pilot that week.  If it wasn't for experience and putting in a lot of hours pre-working every detail...it very well could have been a disaster.
     Races themselves have their own share of problems.  The first problem I had was that the church we were suppose to use for the bag stuffing did not a person with a key available that day.  With the church out and several volunteers canceling, I made the difficult decision to delay the bag stuffing.  When I woke up the next morning I set up the garage with tables and started stuffing bags.  It was a lot of work for one person and what should have taken an hour, took days.  I know that I could have asked for help and people would have, but I dunno... I kinda needed my space.  No one wants to see race director that can't stay focused.
     After the race bags were stuffed with flyers then I had to add the shirts and label every bag with the person's name and shirt size.  The hardest part was going back and organizing 240 bags by alphabet.  Luckily my family helped me out with this part.
     The second big problem was the pizza.  Little Casear's in White Oak promised me 10 free pizza if I bought 10 and the manager would come in early so that we could have them for 10am.  They do not open until 11am.  Wednesday before the Saturday race, I stopped in to triple check the pizzas.  The manage had been moved that day to a new store in Irwin, about 10 minute down the highway.  It took until dinner time thursday for me to finally get in touch with the manager.  She told that she had been moved, and that she would not help us anymore.  In a panic I posted online about it and a lady told me to try Sabatelllos in Buena Vista.  She gave me the names of the owners and I jumped in the car.  When I told them how we got screwed over and what the charity was, they offered to help.  We got 20 large, better quality pizza, for a great price.
     Were there other problems?  Well...  the tent guy had a dead battery that morning, the band did not show because of the rain, someone trying to help took Rex's grandma's race bag, could not get the UTZ chips picked up, and a teenage stole one of the hand made mile markers.  In the end the tent guy showed up before the rain, no one cared about the band, her race bag was found, the chips got picked at 3pm the day before the race and someone caught the teenage and I got my sign back.  Someone upstairs watches out for this race...
     The day before a race is insane.  I worked for 16 hours without a pause.  Signs had to be posted, trucks loaded, and all the goodies had to be picked up.  Everything had to be ready and perfect.  It was a stressful, day but also a high.  Some how once again it all worked itself out.
      Race morning I was up at 5:30am.  In a few short and quick hours it would be over.  A few deep breaths and a quick pray that the rain would hold out and I was out the door.  I had to get three trucks jammed full of stuff to the race site.  When I arrive with the first one, none of the volunteers were there yet.  I walked home and got in the second truck.  By then two of the volunteers had shown up and soon more.  We got the trucks unloaded, boxes sorta, and started setting up the tables without a tent to cover them.  As we finished the table set up, the race timers showed.  Luckily I know them and they knew what I need from them.  More and more volunteers showed up and I got busy giving directions.  It was my 15 minutes of fame.  Runners were coming in and everyone knew me and every eye was on me.

     With the registration up and running and the parking lots filling up, I set about putting out small fires and trying to guess where the next one was before it started.  I grabbed some runners standing around to control people not getting their timing chips and driving into a filled parking lot.
      The kona ice truck and the tent guy.  While the kids rushed the snow cone truck, volunteers hurriedly put up the tents and then set up the food.  I went to check on the start line and then bring the 10k runners down.  I stood up on a truck and yelled of everyone to hush up.  Amazingly they listened.  The crowd of runners started moving toward the start line.  There was a line at the porta-johns and I asked who was in the 10k.  The gentleman in front of the line was in the 5k and offered to let the 10kers in front.  AWESOME!  Wish I would have notice his bib number as I have no idea who he was.

      At the start line I give a quick speech thanking everyone and reminding them to have a timing chip on.  The timer let me use his bull horn to start the race and it had a siren noise on it.  I turned on the siren and kept it on as all the runners pasted the start line.

     Then I hurried back to the registration to get the 5kers down to the start.  There were more 5k runners then 10k by 2-1, so I had to yell extra loud to move the crowd.  Once they started moving, I went to check the food tables for after the race.   There were still a couple runners registering, so I waited for them and then walked down.   I thanked everyone and told them to be cafeful with so many kids running.  I also told them that if they wanted to race competitively you should have signed up for the 10k with the big boys.  Everyone laughed.

     The siren sounded and we were off.  I ran with Sara and a little kid named Lukas for awhile then picked up my pace.   With no good sleep and all the stress from the race and my personal problems I did not have a lot of energy to run.  I tried instead to in courage all the other runners by cheering them on by name and high fiving as many as I could.  The race was over pretty quickly.  I finished in 23:41.  It was a flat easy course.  I used have gotten in the 21s.
     When I finished I felt sick.  I ran over to the bushs... but was able to get myself under control.  I drank water and tried to relax while more and more runners finished.  After being there for awhile, I went up the tents to check on the food and get a snow cone.  People kept asking me when the awards were going to be because they had to go.  I told them when the last person finished.  I walked back to the start line and watched the last few folks cross the finish while the results were printed.
      It finally started to rain.  I grabbed the results and asked to use the bull horn for the awards.  The timers said yes and it was a huge help.  I need to get one of those! 
      My niece Brooke and Sara started laying out the awards while I started shouting into the bull horn.  It went pretty fast and I screwed up some of the people's last names.  I did the best that I could.  After the 5k awards the pizzas showed up and then I started into the 10k awards.
      The rain was coming down pretty good now and we started loading up the trucks with the wet gear.  Stuff was getting packed up as quickly as we could, as the rain picked up.  We drove the trucks to the house, opened the garage, and backed them up one at a time so that we could be dry.  Once the trucks were loaded, we took the food upstairs and cleaned up the water coolers.  
      The race was over.  80 finishers in the 10k, 168 in the 5k, totaling 248.  Plus we had dozens of untimed walkers and spectators.  My goal was 300 and I'm sure we got close to that.
       It was a great race and we raised a lot for Rex.

Rex and his family.

How did you like the race?
Should I do it again?