Wow! For the second time this year, I got one of my funny running memoirs printed front and center in “The Lighter Side” section of Colorado Runner. This one is from a collection of stories about “My Craziest Races”:
At age 47, I was feeling pretty good about myself by qualifying for the A wave of the Boulder Boulder 10K. Two miles into the race I was running comfortable 6:05 minute miles when I passed a college age guy who was JUGGLING TENNIS BALLS AS HE RAN! It totally burst my bubble and I suddenly realized how one person’s race pace is another person’s easy clip. I managed to stay ahead of him for the rest of the race, and the high point of the day for me was beating the legendary Bill Rodgers who finished a minute and a half behind me. I don’t know how Bill did against the tennis ball guy.
And I just discovered a really cool database for runners that allows you, with the click of a button, to compile a list of all your race results over that past few decades. Athlinks is perfect for the running geek who wants to instantly calculate the average time of his or her marathons, half marathons, 10Ks or whatever. Check it out!
Here’s a nice shot Lori took at last month’s Mt. Evans Ascent. It’s a 14.5 mile race that starts at 10,600 ft. elevation and finishes at 14,264 ft. The weather was perfect and I felt pretty strong considering the high elevation. I’m the runner in the yellow shirt:
Posted 2 years, 10 months ago. 1 comment
If you know me or you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I’m a long distance running geek. One of the things I really like about running is that it’s an honest sport in that you can’t pretend you are better at it than you are because the clock has the final word. The past few years have seen a major slowdown in my race times, and I really don’t like getting slower. Who does?
So this year I decided to change gears a bit and try some new things. The past six months, I ditched the speed workouts that were beating up my hamstrings and I did a lot of barefoot running to combat my persistent injuries. This seems to have helped a lot. I’ve been running a lot of long slow miles… 90 in just one week last month! I’m running relatively injury free now. My first goal of the year was to run the Greenland 50K, a hilly trail race near Colorado Springs. The course is an approximately eight mile loop that we did four times to cover the 31 mile distance. It was great running that way, because I could judge my pace really well by following my split times. There was a tough 1.5 mile hill on the backside of the loop that wasn’t too bad the first three laps, but on the last one my legs felt like cement on the final climb. I managed to have a really strong finish on the last two miles of downhill. I passed one runner and it felt good to kick it in hard.
The weather on Saturday was near-perfect. There was some snow and slush on the course, and the hills were a lot tougher than I’d expected, but I managed to come in within sixteen seconds of my predicted time. I was shooting for nine minutes per mile (4 hr. 40 min.) and as you can see by the picture above, I was pretty darn close. I took fifteenth place out of 115 runners, and I was third in the 50 – 54 age group. These ultras seem to even the scales a bit between the age groups, so I think I’ll try doing some more of them in the future. 50K is so close to a marathon, I think I’ll have to go up to 50 miles to call myself a REAL ultra-marathon runner. We’ll see! It was really nice to have Lori cheering me on each lap, and the spectacular spring weather made for an excellent day. That’s Pike’s Peak in the background of the picture below.
I have two distinctly different bits of news from the running world to share today. The first is on the lighter side and was in fact published this month in the section of Colorado Runner Magazine called “The Lighter Side”. Last summer they ran a contest where readers were asked to send in their funniest running stories. I had a good one so I wrote it up and sent it off. Lo and behold, it took first place and I won a free entry to The Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Tempe. I ended up selling my entry to the race, but it was fun to see the story in print. My memorial beat out stories about getting shoes stuck in mud, using a maxi-pad as a shoe insert and a bout of uncontrollable diaherria at a track meet. (EEEEEW!) So I think the best tale won. You be the judge:
“I was a junior at UC Santa Barbara it was the first week of organized workouts for the intercollegiate cross country team. We were taking a couple of the new members on a run that finishes up on the beach. As we descended a trail that leads to the beach, we practically ran into a couple making love in the sand on the beach. We all breezed passed them silently and the new guys were totally floored, to say the least. Later, we made a lot of jokes about ‘the natural flora and fauna at UCSB’.”
My other sports news is about the passing of Coach Sam Adams. He died last Monday at the age of 78. I was fortunate to have been coached by “The Rock” during my four years at UCSB, and he was a great guy to know. He was quiet, gentle and humorous. His forte was the decathlon. In the late 70s I was there to see him coach star pentathlete Jane Frederick, who was America’s best throughout the late 70s and early 80s. The film, “Personal Best” was based on her life, and it’s like a time machine for me to watch as a lot of the track scenes have Jane and other athletes I knew from that era. Sam, you will be missed!
Posted 3 years, 4 months ago. Add a comment
This piece was published in Colorado Runner in 2006
I was standing at the starting line of the Fort Collins Marathon last May when these two serious runners were talking about a race one of them had run. “Did you get chicked?” the first one said. “Yeah”, said the other, “at least three were in front of me, maybe more.” Even though I had never heard this strange colloquialism, I knew exactly what they meant: they were talking about getting beat by a girl.
As we all took off running down Poudre Canyon, I marveled at the Neanderthal poetry of this hilarious expression and I realized just how much it rang true with my inner caveman. A few years back, I was keeping a personal tally of my streak of over a dozen races without getting trounced by the opposite sex. There was something cool about going for almost two years without “getting chicked.”
Between the fifteen and twenty mile marks at Fort Collins, I got passed by a few runners and, you guessed it, one of them was Heather Hunt, the lead female runner on her way to a new course record. I stayed with her for a little while and offered her encouragement, but I couldn’t hang on to her pace. She totally chicked me.
The final six miles of the race turned out to be an epic effort for me. I moved from thirteenth place to seventh place overall. With less than a mile to go, I passed the lead runner in my age group and I won my division, but I couldn’t catch up with Heather. It was one of the strongest final six miles of a marathon I’d ever run, and I can’t help but wonder if the goal of getting unchicked was a factor.
I think back to my first marathon and I see a common theme. I was a freshman in high school at the end of a lackluster year as one of the mid-level runners on the freshman squad. At the end of track season, I ran an astonishing 3:14 marathon on the brutally hilly Palos Verdes Marathon course, and I beat all of our varsity runners. So what was the first thing my mom said when I finished the marathon? “You aren’t going to believe it!” she exclaimed, “This little eleven year old girl finished two minutes ahead of you!” I got chicked by a seventh grader named Mary Decker.
One of the biggest crowd pleasers of the Pearl Street Mile races in Boulder is the “Beauty and The Beast” wave. It’s the one for men over fifty and women over forty. Last year Benji Durden won it, but seven out of the top ten finishers were women. I look forward to the summer of 2007, when I’ll be eligible for this race. I’ll be on the team with the eggshell-thin egos.
Note: the above photo was taken at the 4K mark of the Evergreen Freedom Run 5K on July 4, 2005, just as Tom is about to pass the lead female runner.
Posted 7 years, 1 month ago. Add a comment