Race #33 – National Geek Day 5K

For frequent and returning readers, you’ll remember that I ran a virtual race, the Dark Helmut 5K, back on May 17th.  To say I struggled is an understatement.  It was a frustrating virtual race that I just slogged through.

I also made mention that course selection was key.  I believe I have proof of that today.

Today is Geek Pride Day, commemorating the release of Star Wars on this date in 1977.  The fine folks over at Moon Joggers had a virtual race to commemorate the day, and with my geeky tendencies, I couldn’t exactly pass it up.

The medal came in a week or so ago (typical for a virtual race — so you can “finish” with your medal), and I was filled with both excitement and dread.  I was thrilled to add another race to the “done” list (along with another medal!), but the results from my last virtual race were pretty crushing.

Last night, as I thought about the run this morning, I decided I would treat this like a regular race.  That’d take a couple of things.

1.  Prepare like a real race.

Last night, I laid out my clothes.  That sounds like a little thing, but it got my brain in the game, and forced me to look at the weather for this morning, find the right clothes and have ’em laid out for this morning.  This included my compression socks (which really do help!), running underwear, shoes, knee braces, Spi-Belt (for my iPhone), and proper shirt selection.  I’ve gotten kinda lazy on the virtual runs, probably because they’re just around the neighborhood, and without the tools that make/keep me comfortable on my travels, it’s no wonder I’ve struggled lately.

2.  Find a course that will lead to a successful outcome.

Also last night, I thought about my course.  I had no idea where I was gonna go, but I knew I didn’t wanna try to conquer that same hill that killed me a little over a week ago.  It was brutal, both physically and mentally, and I just didn’t want to have that kind of outcome again.  I thought about the area, and realized that I could simply take a “right” instead of a “left”, and avoid that hill altogether, keeping me on flatter roads.

As it ends up, that was a brilliant decision.  I ran more on this journey than I have in a while — although my time doesn’t really reflect that very well!  I was comfortable getting to my turnaround point, and it seemed like it was no time until I was at the four kilometer point, and entering the home stretch.

I got home, with Becky awaiting me on the front porch.  She was planning to cheer as I came in, photographing me, and giving me the full race experience.  However, she forgot the direction I was headed, and I ended up sneaking up on her.  :-)  She did end up snapping a few photos before I got back in the house to relax.

The thing I noticed was that I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I was after trying to conquer the hill last week.  In fact, I felt pretty good.  If I feel that good after the Friday night 5k in Kansas City in a couple of weeks, I’ll be good to go for the 10k the next morning!

So, put another race in the books, and a little bit of learning, too.  I think this was the best solo run I’ve had this season, and I hope I’m focused in on why that was!

And yes, that’s me in the image above.  My parents gave me my first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III, as a present for graduation from high school in 1981.  My inner geek runs deep!

(BTW, the course maps look a little different now, and will link back to slightly different looking data.  It’s still the same stuff, just formatted differently.)

Race Course
Geek Day 5K
Geek Day 5K

Race #32 – Ferguson Twilight 5K

Ferguson.  What comes to mind when you hear that word?

There’s no doubt that there are as many views about what’s taken place there over the last nine months as there are people.  And with all those varying views, it seems there’s a constant flow of rumors of planned unrest, both peaceful and not-so-peaceful.

It’s against that backdrop that this race hit my radar.  I’d been thinking about this race, but frankly, was very concerned about the atmosphere there.  That wasn’t helped much by rumors of a “Ferguson Spring” event that was targeting this weekend.  Even the race organizers addressed this rumor on their website.  They also talked about their commitment to a safe, fun race.

That didn’t stop me from checking social media and other spots on the web as Becky drove us to Ferguson.  I was willing to bail on the event if it looked like there would be danger afoot.  I just simply wouldn’t put us in a dangerous situation for a medal.

We parked, and caught the shuttles from the parking to the race event.  And already I was getting more comfortable with my decision to run this race.  There were people of all ages, capabilities, and races in the bus with us.  It was really a melting pot.

The Plaza at 501
The Plaza at 501

The race site was amazing.  There was plenty of food and people everywhere!  I picked up my shirt and bib, and we headed to the party.  The center of the event was a place called The Plaza at 501.  It was a neat little community area, with plenty of space and a nice pavilion.  Normally, I’d feel a little weird about leaving Darla behind as I raced, but entertainment was everywhere — jugglers, live band, and a drum circle that invited anyone to join in.

My time to race came, and I kissed Darla, heading to the starting corrals.  This race was capped at 2500 runners, and I’m not sure they had that many there, but there was a huge crowd nonetheless.  The horn sounded, and we began moving slowly toward the actual start line.  Of course, once we hit the line, folks took off.

I ran for the first two songs (as measured by the music on my iPhone!), and began to walk.  I discovered that this was a very, very hot and humid day, and that was sucking the life out of me.  I walked the rest of course.

And in retrospect, I was cool with that.  I made it a point to pet every big dog I encountered.  I danced like a kid in the spray from an open fire hydrant.  I enjoyed this race!

For the last three years, this race has been voted “Best Community Support”, and I see why.  Throughout the whole course, there were neighbors sitting on the sidewalk and on their stoops, cheering on the runners.  There were signs of encouragement everywhere along the course.  Along the course was a rock band, and a little while later part of a marching band from one of the schools.  The community was really into this race, and made it a joy to do, despite the heat.

Almost Finished
Almost Finished

Because I was walking, I got to see an awful lot of the area.  I’ve never been to Ferguson before, and at my slow pace I was able to take it all in.  There were some beautiful older homes hidden in the neighborhoods, and some that were obviously not as big.  As I wound up and the down the hills (and the hills were ugly in the heat!), the neighborhood got behind me, and I came into the business district.

That’s where it got very surreal for me.

I was suddenly aware that I was passing the Ferguson City Hall, and eventually the police headquarters.  I walked past shop windows, still boarded up from the unrest.  I saw murals painted on the wood panels, advocating peace.  It was tremendously moving to see this area first hand, and realize just how much things had calmed since August.  It was emotional to be there.

Finished!
Finished!

And with all that, I still felt very comfortable on the course.  There was a ton of very visible security on the course — folks at the street closures, volunteers on bicycles among the racers, and loads of uniformed first responders at the Plaza.  It was obvious that there was a tremendous desire by the folks in Ferguson to have a safe, fun event.  I think they succeeded.

While I’d vote for cooler weather, this was easily one of the most enjoyable races I’ve participated in over the last three years.  I do believe that I’ll add Ferguson to my list of races I’ll run yearly.  It was that good.

Race Course

Race #31 – Dark Helmut 5K

Last year, I did one virtual race, and frankly, I wasn’t a fan.

I’ve come to discover that I like having other folks around me while I’m running, and I do a little better with a structured race.  However, the virtual races are growing on me.  Let’s face it, aside from the finish line, both formal and virtual races end about the same for me… finishing by myself.  And that’s ok.

Last Tuesday, I tackled the Dark Helmut 5K.  Much like a regular race, I’m finding that course selection is key.  For this race, I chose a course that I’d run once.  It has a great downhill in the first half, but that same hill becomes an awful adversary on the return trip.  And it’s that hill that has kicked my butt both times I’ve done this course.

But I finished, and I knew I had to.

This race was a fundraiser for another runner, Calla Hess, and was managed by the folks at MoonJoggers.  I’ve never met Calla, but I was happy to run this race to benefit her.  You can read her story here.  With the Spaceballs-themed medal, I was even more excited to do this one.  However, it sold out quickly, and I’d missed my chance to run it.  A couple of weeks ago, the MoonJoggers folks said they were opening a second round for it, and I pounced on it.

I posted on their Facebook site, thanking them for bringing it back.  I expected to hear from the MoonJoggers folks, but I was floored to get a response from Calla herself!

Many of the races I run have some kind of charity or organization that benefits from the proceeds of the race.  This is the first time I’d ever heard directly from someone benefitting from my activity, and it was a wonderful feeling.

That’s really the fortune cookie in this run for me.  Sometimes, it’s really not about how hard my race was.  Sometimes it’s about how hard someone else’s race is, and being able to help.

May the Schwartz be with you!

Race Course

Race #30 – Live Long Memorial 5K (virtual)

Yep, I’m a Star Trek fan.  Have been as long as I can remember.

I used to audio record episodes when we’d visit my grandparents house in Florida so I could replay them over and over.  (There were a few episodes that I could almost recite from memory.)  And then, when WTVC began showing episodes late on Saturday nights, mom, dad, me and dad’s friend Larry, would sit around the den and watch.

Like many kids that fell into Star Trek fandom, I identified with and idolized Spock.  There was something about that conflicted and, at times, tortured character that hit my sweet spot.  And I know I wasn’t the only one.

And yeah, like a lot of Spock fans, I shed a tear at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Spock’s body was torpedoed with a giant ptui! into space near the Genesys planet.  (I also had a girlfriend around that time that bawled in the theatre when the Enterprise was destroyed in the atmosphere of the Genesys planet during Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.)

Fast forward far too many years to late February… I was  traveling to a race in Chattanooga, sitting in a Krystal in Clarksville TN having lunch, when my phone goes off.  My daughter sends me a message, asking if I was ok.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  And then she told me.

Leonard Nimoy died.

Frankly, that didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would.  I mean, yeah, it sucked, but there was no question it was coming.  Advanced age and COPD aren’t exactly a great combination for long life and prosperity.  (See what I did there?)

A bit later, I heard about a virtual race with a Nimoy-themed medal, in honor of his life and his work on Star Trek, and benefitting the COPD Foundation.  I had to sign up.  And yesterday, I put in my miles for this virtual race.

It was a rainy, soggy day, drizzling when I started, and pouring by the time I finished.  I’m sure folks were staring at this lumbering goofball, trudging through the rain.  I waved at the cyclists as they sped by — we have a ton of them out here — and some actually waved back.  I mean, we were obviously both nuts from the same tree, being out in this crazy spring rain.

About four kilometers in, this very nice gentleman with a score of years on me, stopped on the very busy road on which I was traveling, and asked if I needed a ride.  I told him I was just out exercising, and thanked him profusely for stopping.

And that’s really it.  (Aside from the inherent irony of Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” beginning to play on my iPod as the rain began to furiously come down about halfway through my journey.)  There’s still kindness and respect out there — cyclists waving, motorists stopping — and that, to me, is the wonderful discovery on this journey of running that I’ve undertaken.  I’ve had so much support and encountered so much decent humanity out there as I’ve logged my (generally) solitary miles… For the next race (also virtual), I’ll write more about that.

And I expect to continue racing and writing for some time to come.  I’m kinda addicted to the medals, the people, and this way of thinking.  I’m doing things that five years ago, I would never have believed I could do.  And I’m taking chances… I mean, I have my first 10K and a half marathon coming up this year.

What kind of nut am I?!?!?!  :-)

(BTW, the photo of me is from a “helmet dive” off the cost of Aruba a few weeks ago.  Seemed like a unique opportunity!)

Race Course
Live Long Memorial 5K

Race #29 – Go! St. Louis 5K (virtual)

I’d originally signed up for this year’s Go last year, shortly after the completion of the 2014 race.  That was my best race last year, and (I think) the only race that I completed under fifty minutes.

Although I haven’t gotten my trip report up here yet, Darla and I took off on a cruise shortly after the Boots and Badges race at the end of March.  Unfortunately, this cratered my being able to do the Go, as we were in New Orleans getting ready to board Serenade of the Seas for two weeks at sea.  The folks at Go were amazing, and mailed me the shirt and medal while we were gone.  This was the fifteenth anniversary of the race, and I really wanted that medal!  (Imagine that!)

My intent had been to run this race virtually aboard ship, and earn my medal.  However, the track on Serenade is so short that it’d take NINETEEN circuits to travel five kilometers.  I’m not a fan of looping, so that didn’t hit me very well.  Add to that apparent wind speeds on the top decks that approach 100km/h, and suddenly that run didn’t look so appealing.

I also injured my foot somehow on the first day of the cruise.  While my right foot has given me trouble over the last year, this time, it was my left.  Ugh.  I hobbled about for a day or so until it got under control, but I didn’t want to tempt fate too much.

So, three weeks after the Go was run, I did mine.  My time was pretty slow, but I only walked, as I didn’t want to stress anything out in either foot.  Frankly, it went pretty well.  The temperature was very nice and comfy, until the clouds broke up.  The temp didn’t go up much, but the sun beating down on me really heated me up.

One thing that this pointed out was that I need to come up with a 5K course from the house that is easy to navigate.  I turned left and right, cut through parking lots, and had to watch the traffic far too much to enjoy this as much as I’d like.  But, any miles are good miles, so I’m happy to have gotten this one in.

I wish I had a bib for this race.  I’m scouring the interwebs for an image of the bibs from this year so that I can print one up for my bib book, but ’til then, I’ll take my medal, and be happy knowing that #29 is in the books.

BTW, there’ll be more virtual races coming this year.  The difference between a virtual race, and just training?  Everyone say it together…

A medal!

Race course:

Go! St. Louis 5K (virtual)

Race #28 – Boots and Badges 5K

When I’d originally lined up my “six races in six weeks,” this race wasn’t even on my radar.  Somewhere, I heard about it, and thought long and hard about whether I wanted to do a back-to-back on this final weekend of racing for me.  Would I have enough fuel in the tank?  Would my legs hold out?

Today, I found the answer to those questions and others.

First things first… Why does the shirt and medal say “2014”?  Delorean with a flux capacitor?  Time capsule?  Nah, nothing quite that dramatic.

This race was originally slated to be run last fall.  But when the Grand Jury decision came down for the Ferguson events, the race committee didn’t feel that it made sense to pull resources from the crisis in North County just to provide safety for a race.  After looking for a date, they landed on today, and just used the shirts and medals they had in hand from last fall.

I’ve mentioned this before — I’m not a big fan of running downtown.  The roads that the courses travel are pretty rough with uneven pavements, patches and potholes, and typically it takes a lot of extra time to travel back and forth from the race site.

Typically, I’d just drive to the MetroLink station in Brentwood, and take the train downtown.  That means an early start, but I don’t have to worry about driving or parking downtown.  However, just a couple of days ago, there was a brutal beating of a MetroLink passenger on the train by a gang of thugs.  I know the odds are way, way against me having to deal with that, but I also knew that if I drove downtown, I’d avoid it altogether.

See, there were only about 500 folks registered for this race.  For the big downtown races, the train cars are full of runners, and with that “safety in numbers” going for me, riding the train isn’t that big a deal.  But with a really small race, I know the trains would be pretty empty.

Headquarters
Headquarters

As it ends up, I found “rock star” parking, just about three parking spaces from the race start/finish line.  Excellent!

The home base for the race was the downtown Hooters, and even at 6:30am, they had it open, serving coffee and water.  No chicken wings, however.  :-(  But, it was warm inside, had plenty of seating, and even featured real bathrooms instead of porta-potties.  That was nice!

Color Guard
Color Guard

And with this race benefitting Backstoppers, it only made sense that there would be a color guard from the police.  I love that most races begin with the National Anthem, and spinning up a few flags just adds to the experience!

And that warmth was well-needed.  It was cold… really cold.  I think the temp was around 30, but the buildings kept the sun off much of the course, and were great for channeling the wind down the streets.  It was probably the coldest race I’ve run this year.  Now, when we got to the long straightaway where the turnaround was, the sun was blazing down, and it was a nice warmup mid-race.

Speaking of that straightaway, once again, this race had a single water table that served water to both sides, just like the Undy.  In this race, that was about 2.5km into the race on the outbound side, and about 3.25 km into the race on the return side.  Before yesterday, I’d never seen that configuration, and I really, really like it.

I knew I was near the back, and on the straightaway, I saw how close I was to the back.  From the return side, I could see the tail end of the runners, with a support truck following along to keep them safe.  As the recent GoDaddy commercial says, every train needs a caboose, and that was me!

Things we going well… and then it happened.  The real world intruded into my race.  About 3.5km into the race, my phone went off, alerting me to a power outage at one of our facilities.  Ugh.  So I slowed, trying to manage dialing into a bridge call, keeping my team updated on what I was hearing, and trying not to fall in a pothole or walk into a light pole.  As it ends up, they didn’t need me on the call, so I dropped, but I was slowed across about ten-fifteen minutes of my race.

After a few more turns, I came to the finish line, and found that I finished three seconds faster than yesterday.  Woot!  The last time I did a back-to-back weekend (last year’s Rock and Roll Remix), I had a ten minute difference between the races.  Having consistent results this go around is a really pleasant surprise.

So, the last race of these six weekends of races is complete.  I have some reflections on these races, but I’ll save that for another day!

Race Course:
Boots and Badges 5K
Boots and Badges 5K

Race #27 – Undy Run/Walk 5K

Three years ago this weekend, I ran my first race — the 2012 Undy 5000.  I did this as a symbol of fighting back from only three months earlier having fought colon cancer… and won.

Three years downstream, and twenty-six races later, I returned to the Undy this morning, running my fourth race in this series.  The Undy is special to me, as it benefits the Colon Cancer Alliance, whose sole focus is to aid patients, survivors, caregivers and anyone affected by colon cancer.  Of all the races I run, this is the only “fundraising” race in which I participate.  That’s how important this is to me.

Me and Louie
Me and Louie

The weather was cold, and I knew it would be.  However, the sun peeked out from the clouds, and helped bring a little warmth to the park.  But, I was still glad to have all the cold-weather running gear I’d been investing in this winter.

In the opening remarks, the MC indicated that there were 2000 folks registered, with about $150,000 raised.  If you’re reading this, you may have helped either support me, or donated your money.  Either way, I thank you for that.  It was also announced that St. Louis is the biggest Undy event for CCA.  I’m a little surprised at that, as this is run in eighteen cities, some of which are much larger than Da Lou:  Denver, Atlanta, Philly…  We were the largest Komen race for a while, so maybe we just like to run and fundraise out here!

The course, while still at Forest Park, was different this year due to some parking lot construction at the site of the Muny.  Because of that change, the course was much flatter this year, and much easier to deal with.  With the new path through Forest Park, terrific traffic control, and a well placed water stop that you could pass twice, this was an ideal course.

On the Road Again
On the Road Again

I did have a surprise about a kilometer into the race.  There was some crazy redhead yelling at me from the sidelines, and I went over to her.  A hug, a kiss, and I was on my way.  I’ve never had that happen during a race!  She looked an awful lot like Darla, but that could’ve just been the sun in my eyes.  :-)

And as I approached the finish line, Darla was waiting for me, cheering me on.  There’s no better sight than that.

I got my post-race snacks, and waited for the closing ceremonies.  We all listened to a survivor and her story, and then the cool thing about this event took place.

All 71 colon cancer survivors and patients were invited to the front to receive a medal honoring their fight.  This is an amazing feeling, having almost two thousand people cheering their support for your fight.

And that’s what this race is about — supporting everyone who’s been impacted by this terrible disease.  I was supported during my battle; why wouldn’t I return the favor?

(Tomorrow is Race #28, and the last of this series of races for me until later in the Spring.)

Race Course:
Undy Run/Walk
Undy Run/Walk

Race #26 – MoDOT Work Zone 5K

The first full day of Spring found me hitting the pavement again, in my fifth race in as many weeks.

I’d heard about the MoDOT Work Zone 5K last year, but for some reason, I never signed up for it.  But I remembered the race, and added it to my “Conquer St. Louis By Foot” tour.

Selfie with Cone Man
Selfie with Cone Man

I picked up my race shirt and bib yesterday.  I really wish more races would do race-specific bibs for their races.  This one, like an awful lot of races I’ve run over the last few years, had a generic Fleet Feet bib. Nothing against Fleet Feet, but a race-specific bib would mean a lot more.

And then there was the shirt.

This race was to promote work zone safety.  I don’t know what I should’ve expected, but the shirt is bright enough that it can be seen from space.  I’m sure someone on the International Space Station gazed down upon St. Louis this morning, and wondered why all those extraordinarily bright yellow traffic cones were all moving around.

One of the problems with running 5K’s around St. Louis — when I can find ones that have medals — is that there’s a few venues that get used all the time.  Forest Park.  Downtown.  Old town St. Charles.  I’ve run ’em all.  A lot.

This race was held on roads I’d never run upon, which was awesome. It paralleled I-64 on the northside, crossed over the interstate, and then paralleled the interstate again on the south.  I liked that!  From anywhere on the course, you could see the whole course.  I really like seeing the water stops, the halfway point and the end of race as I’m moving along the road.  For this, MoDOT scores with this race course!

However, there were hills.

This Is Far Too Much Credit!
This Is Far Too Much Credit!

Have you driven through Missouri recently?  It ain’t exactly flat, and while rolling hills are cool in my Jeep, they’re a pain when I’m running up them.  The first kilometer was an awesome, fast downhill run.  But when you go downhill, and have to return to the start line, it’s a fact that you will go uphill at some point.

And so we did.

I started getting close to the finish, and I’d already relegated myself to a “goldilocks” race time — not too slow, not too fast, just right.  I turned the corner, saw the clock at the finish line, and couldn’t believe the time.  It was much lower than I was expecting.  Huh?  I looked at my watch (and yeah, there was that whole deal again with chip time and gun time, but you’ve read that before) and realized that the course was short by about a tenth of a mile.  That’s not a huge thing, but it definitely made me feel good coming across the finish.

Normally, I don’t hang out for the awards.  I already have the only awards I’m gonna get — a race shirt, a finisher’s medal, a bottle of water, and a snack of some kind — and I know I’m not getting an age group award.  However, the dude that won my age group did the course in less than half my time.  That is stunnnnning.  Somehow, I’ve gotta find some speed!

So today was another good race, with good weather, a good course, and another medal on the medal tree.  Next week, it’s back-to-back races to close out my winter-into-spring racing until sometime in May.

Race Course:

MoDOT Work Zone 5K

Did I Mention That I Have a Running Problem?

Collect 'Em All!
Collect ‘Em All!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Canapeel that I thought I might have a running problem.  I believe now that there is no doubt of that fact.

This week will be the fifth weekend in a row of 5K races, with the sixth (the Undy Run/Walk 5K) being the last race before April.  Until… I found another race the day after the Undy, and signed up for it.   Another race, another medal.

I told Becky today that race medals have become my Pokemon… gotta catch ’em all.

And with nineteen races planned so far for this year — without a lot of races in the second half of the year (yet!) — I think I’ll have run just about every medal-bearing 5K race in St. Louis this year.  And while some of those races are races I’ll probably always do (the Undy, the Cowbell), I’d like to find others to run after.  (Get it?)

So how do I solve that?  Well, I don’t have a “fifty runs in fifty states” mantra, but I do enjoy destination races where I get to run in new places and courses.  After all, I can run in downtown St. Louis and Forest Park just so many times!  :-)  And if you look at states that touch Missouri, I still haven’t conquered Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and Nebraska.  And if you instead draw a circle with a 450-mile radius, suddenly there’s a lot more places in my weekend warrior wheelhouse.  (I love alliteration!)

Hi.  My name is Colin.  (Hi Colin!)  And I’m a runaholic.

Race #25 – Pi Day 5K

For my twenty-fifth race, I picked a doozy — a once in a century event.  You see, Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th (3-14) — the first three significant digits of pi.  This year, the once-a-century alignment of month, day and year creates an über pi day (3-14-15).   So now, start a race at 9:26:53am that morning, and you’ve got a major pi event (3-14-15-9-26-53 … the first ten significant digits of pi).

I drove to Columbus OH for this race, with most of the drive in a rainstorm.  Nothing like almost eight hours of pouring rain to get ya off to a good start, eh?  Add to that a temperamental GPS — I mean, who sends you through the downtown maze of interstate connections in Columbus at rush hour? — awful traffic, and a tired guy, and you have the ingredients for a grumpy driver.  I got there safely, though, and that’s the important part.

No Sand Volleyball Today
No Sand Volleyball Today

Saturday morning, it was still raining, but the temps were in the high 40s, and there was no wind.  If it’s gonna rain on a run, those are pretty good overall conditions.  And frankly, I enjoy running in the rain.  It’s settling, peaceful, and is usually a wonderful experience.

A few days before the race, the race organizer let me know that the packets for the out-of-town participants would be at the race site at the Very Important Pi People (VIP2) table.  it’s the first time I’ve been a VIP at a race, so I enjoyed that.  They really seemed to be unaccustomed to folks coming from out of state for this fundraising race for the local school district.  But with a cool event offering a really nice medal, I’m surprised they didn’t have more out-of-staters in attendance.

The race was awesome.  The foot pain that kept me out of the races in Lincoln at the beginning of the year flared back up, so I took it easy, and mostly walked the course, which wound through a suburban park.  I had no idea what to expect from the course, but it was a paved trail, and very easy to navigate.  And it was flat!

A little over four kilometers in, I started to see people go off-trail, and up into the woods.  I quickly saw why.  The trail was flooded for about fifteen feet, and they didn’t want to go through the shoe-high water.  After earning my water wings in the Sandmine Challenge a couple of weeks ago, I simply couldn’t go around, and high stepped through the mini-lake!  And of course, that meant I passed about fifteen folks that were up in the woods.  Woot!

Finished!
Finished!

I came around the corner, ran to the finish (because you always run to the finish!) and collected my medal.  They had engravers on the spot, so I turned my medal over to them, and had my name and time engraved… except it wasn’t.

Like most on-the-spot engravers, they had a feed from the official timing for the event (this time from Fleet Feet Columbus).  I got my medal back, and the time was about two-and-a-half minutes longer than my own timing.  And suddenly, I realized I was dealing with gun time, and not chip time.  Again.  Dunno why suddenly this year that’s been such an issue, but it is what it was.  As with last week, I’m claiming my “watch time.”

So, race four of six in the back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back race weekends is in the books, and with some irrationality!  (See what I did there?)

Race Course:
Pi Day 5K Course
Pi Day 5K Course

can·a·peel (noun) ˈkan-ə-pēl – A meal with a lot of variety, where each participant finds and cooks their own food.