Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Racing Season, Part 3: Rhodes Day's 5K, July 26, 2014, Rhodes, IA

About 2 weeks ago I realized I had this weekend free to race!  As I searched online, I stumbled upon a small town 5K that appeared to be on a crushed limestone trail.  This looked perfect.  I had just run the Grimes Farm Run 8K+ on July 12 and the Dizzy Goat 6 Hour on June 21.

This week however started off...a bit differently.  I headed to the Dr's office on Monday for a mole that had suddenly changed over the weekend.  It was checked and immediately removed right at the office.  While nobody really thought that there was anything wrong, I will admit to a moment of mild panic when I got a message that they had the results already the next day and wanted me to call them back.  I called and waited for a moment on hold, was fine! Praise God!  (Whew!)

Then yesterday I had a long run planned but awoke to a thunderstorm and had to wait almost 4 hours to start my long run, (meaning my recovery time for today would be less than 20 hours).  Fortunately I was able to still get out and accomplish 15 miles.  But afterward, I felt like my body was crashing and my knees were quite sore.  How was I going to race a 5K the next day?

This morning I awoke at 5am and got around for the 60+ mile drive down to Rhodes from Parkersburg.  I had shared a big meal the night before at friends, so I wasn't really too hungry, but I had a cup of Runners Tea and grabbed a Clif protein bar at the gas station.  Along with a few Good & Plenty, (yeah, I know, weird b'fast) and a sports drink, that was all I had except for a gel and salt pill before the race.  

Packet pick-up was from 7:00am - 7:15am, but when I arrived a little early, people were already gathering and picking up their numbers and shirts.  After going thru registration, I decided to warm up...and my legs felt like tree trunks with sore knees attached to them.  I kept going thru my race prep and jogged a couple more times and things started to loosen up a bit.  Just before we started I introduced myself to a couple of the other guys, one a local and one from Des Moines.  We found out that the race was actually closer to 3.5 miles, an out and back to a cool looking local bridge along the trail.  It appears that this trail must've been a rail line at one time.  They have done a nice job of making it into a half horse trail (grass) and half run/walk/bike trail (fine crushed limestone). The run trail was wide enough for probably 4-5 runners side by side.

Just after 7:30am we started.  I watched the two guys I had met beforehand go to the front and head off into first and second, which is also how they would finish.  I knew however, that I needed to start off a bit slower, especially with 90%+ humidity and my tired legs.  The first stretch was fairly flat and then we moved up a small hill, crossed a gravel road and went down the other side.  Again the trail flattened out for a bit, and eventually I was able to move into what I thought was about 10th.  (You could pretty much see everyone in front of you for most of the race on the flat sections.)  Eventually, as we crested another hill, first place came flying back down from the other direction.  That's when I started counting to see where I was in the overall order. (Didin't I just run 15 miles the day before, where'd this competitive thought come from today? :))

I hit the bridge, aka our turnaround point, in 9th.  As the pair in front of me broke apart, one of them powered forward while the other walked and I was able to catch and pass him at this point.  Then, I could see 5th, 6th, and 7th in front of me.  I knew, if I could hold my pace and there was any breaking by the others, I might be able to move up. As 7th started pulling 6th back in, I knew I might have the possibility next, but we were also running out of time.  The seventh placed person passed 6th going up the last hill with maybe around 1/2 mile to go.  I had to start moving a bit if I was going to move up from 8th to 7th.  Finally, with about 1/3 mile to go, I was able to catch up and pass, heading for home and giving it what I had left.  

Who said small town races can't be fun and competitive!!!  I had a great race, it was very simple, intimate, and fun.  A great course!  Praise God for a 7th place in my 7th race of 2014! 

Isaiah 40:31 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run and not be weary; and They shall walk and not faint."  :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Racing Season, Part 2: Grimes Farm Run, July 12, 2014, Marshalltown, IA.

This past weekend my family once again traveled down to the edge of Marshalltown, IA to race in the Grimes Farm Run.  This race occurs at the Grimes Farm Nature Center and includes several distances including a little kids race.

My oldest son and oldest daughter both ran the 1.6 mile race.  This was my daughters first "big girl" race. Originally we thought it was a 1.6K race and that she'd be running just a mile, which is the distance she had been training for when she ran with me.  However, after having signed up, I found out it was 1.6 miles, which I did not bother to tell her concerned it would cause riots in the streets...or at least in our house!  She did awesome, even beating her older brother and getting second in her age division!  (She also snuck into the little kids race with her 2 younger siblings.)  Even though her brother lost to her, he placed first in his age division!

My second oldest son ran the 5K just as he did last year.  Competition was a bit stiffer in his age division this year and conditions were a bit tougher, with very high humidity and several areas of slick mud due to the rain received overnight and that had just ended an hour or two before the race started.

Two of our other six kids, (w/their older sister sneaking in as well) ran the little kids run and it was a pleasure to watch them enjoy running, especially with our youngest son so excited to receive a medal!!!

I ran the 8K+ and despite being slower than last year, (probably due to a combination of the high humidity, slick mud sections, and being tired from the Dizzy Goat 6 Hour just 3 weeks prior), actually placed 2nd in my age division.

Our family also competed in the fastest family competition, and since there were no other teams signed up, we won that award too.  Overall, despite some registration snaffus at the beginning, we had another great Grimes Farm Run.  This conservation area is a special hidden treasure and features a pretty tough hill in the first mile.  The rest of the course is mostly flat and on grass with a some amount of paved trail and a little stretch of gravel. 

It's a great family feeling race with good schwag, (tech shirt with different colors for the guys and the gals as well as a reusable race bag with some goodies in it).

A few pics we snapped below!  Thanks for reading!  If you get a chance and want to enjoy God's good creation here in Iowa, make a point to sign up for next year's race.  Plenty of race options for the whole family!!!
Start of the 1.6M, 5K, & 8K+ at the Grimes Farm Run.

Running her first "big girl" race, 1.6 miles!

Finishing a humid, muddy 5K!

Two sisters running the little kid's run after the adult races.

Very excited to receive his medal!!!

Receiving his gold medal for first in his age division, 1.6 miles.
After the race, all the family competitors plus their littlest sister.  Maybe she'll race next year!!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Daring to Ask the Uncomfortable Question

Okay, so I've had this question bouncing around in my head for a while...I want to be sensitive in asking it, so please know, I am not trying to take away from anyone's accomplishments and/or dreams...but...

What's up with all the ##.# x # signs on people's cars and social media walls?  13.1 x 49, 26.2 x 35, etc. Recently I was pulling out of a parking lot after a major race and the huge, new looking SUV in front of me had a back window posted over with "Olympic Trials Qualifier x 4, 26.2 x 49" or something of some such sort.  And while I admire those accomplishments, all I could think of was that these types of things come across as potentially arrogant as much as they may come off as admirable.

Granted, our social media dominant age survives and thrives on the idea that we put our best face forward and constantly seek to improve our image.  Accomplishments that people look up to certainly help with achieving that goal.  But where does it end?  

Now, dare I ask the next question...why does this seem to be more of a road running thing than a trail running thing?  (Though I do also see it w/some trail and ultra runners too.)  Most trail and ultra runners are kind of chill about this type of thing, I can't picture Anton Krupicka driving around in a buffed up SUV with 100 x 25 or something like that, can you?  

Maybe this is partially because trail races do not easily fall into exact measurements like half and full marathons.  For example, of the 5 races I have done this year, 3 of them fall between a half and full marathon: 25K, 17M, 22.75M.  If I posted all the weird distances that I trail raced over the years, I'd run out of space on my social media wall! :)

I love accomplishing goals and love seeing others accomplish their goals too, but when does our display of them for everyone to see start to water it down for all of us?  When does our display for everyone to see go from being part of a "sports resume" to just trying to one up each other?

Or am I just out of touch with the way the world works today?  Thoughts?  Comments?

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