Tag Archives: races

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!


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

Race #24 – Shamrock Shuffle 5K

Nothing Like Bagpipes
Nothing Like Bagpipes

My third race of the year was a repeat of an inaugural event I ran last year, the Holy Infant Shamrock Shuffle 5K.  Last year’s course was tough, with lots of hills, and plenty of folks coming forth from their homes to cheer us on.

And it was cold.

I’d seen this year’s course, and while I didn’t know the neighborhood well enough to know the terrain, I knew the course was… well… convoluted.  So.  Many.  Turns.  To say I wasn’t excited about running this new course is an understatement.

I showed up early (typical for me!), and found a food truck serving coffee.  It was tasty, warm, and just what I needed to get me moving.  I watched the Fleet Feet folks set up the start/finish line, and listened to the dj start the music.  It was crazy loud, which I’m sure the neighbors of the race site thoroughly enjoyed!  🙂

And, the bagpipes were cool to listen to.

The race kicked off, I hit the button on my race watch as I crossed the finish line, and we were off.  In fact, I was zooming.  For some reason, I had some good energy, and tore up my first two kilometers (8:35 and 9:37).  That’s crazy fast for me, and set me up for a great race time.

I would my way through the weird course.  At every turn, it seemed like I was meeting folks that were turning in the opposite direction.  It was very, very hard to get a sense of where you were in the course, and whether folks you were encountering were ahead of you on the course, or behind you.

I missed having folks cheering us along the course.  While there were plenty of volunteers making sure we stayed on course (and were safe from traffic!), there weren’t many folks out cheering us along.  I miss that.

Finally, I turned the corner back toward the race site, and crossed the line.  I looked at my watch, and it showed I finished in 50:16, which was a terrific time, and about 50 seconds faster than last week on an easier course.  I was thrilled.

Finisher's Reward
Finisher’s Reward

There were plenty of food trucks around, so I got a bacon melt from The Meltdown.  This was a delicious grilled cheese with American cheese and bacon on the inside, and a parmesan cheese crust on the outside.  Exceptional!  I paired that with a free beer (the best kind), and had a pretty good recovery.

I walked to the Fleet Feet booth to see my official time, and noticed that it was about 50 seconds SLOWER than the time on my watch.  They claimed this was chip time — the time measured when the timing chip on my bib crosses the line at the start and finish of the race — but I believe this was actually gun time, which is measured from when someone says “go.”  Since it takes a while for everyone to wind through the start line, gun time is always slower than chip time when you start at the back of the pack like I do.  My Garmin is typically within a second or two of the official chip time, so I’m really confident in my 50:16 time.  That’s the time I’m claiming!

So, another race down — the third in three weeks, with three more to come over the next three weeks.  Next week is the Pi Day 5K in Columbus OH!

Race Course:
Shamrock Shuffle 5K Course
Shamrock Shuffle 5K Course

More Racing

Pi Day 5K Medal
Pi Day 5K Medal

It’s been said that I can be a little obsessive.  I think there’s a body of evidence to support that view, and I’d be pretty silly to try to refute it.  🙂

I’ve spent some time over the last few months looking for medal-bearing 5k races to fill out my running calendar for this year.  I’d already registered for a few races here and there, generally some of the ones I ran last year.  However, I wanted to find some other races this year, maybe even in different places.

So over the weekend, I signed up for two fun-sounding races.

The first is the Pi Day 5K in Columbus OH.  This one takes place on March 14th, and the race begins at 9:26:53 AM … 3.141592653.  Get it?  Add to that a pretty cool medal, and I’m in!  I’ve never been to Columbus, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s there.

The other race is in December, and I simply had to sign up for this one.  For the third year, Cleveland OH is hosting the Christmas Story Run 5K.  The cool thing about this one is the leg lamp themed medal.  And, of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there, so I’ll definitely be spending some extra time wandering around there.

The last race I’m watching for is on/around October 21.  You see, Marty McFly visited the future on October 21, 2015, and I’ve gotta figure someone will have a race to commemorate that!

2014 Races — By the Numbers

2014 was the first year that I was serious about running races.  Frankly, if I’d been more serious about training, my races would’ve been dynamite!  As it was, my fastest time for the 5K was in April, with a few other races approaching that time.

Unfortunately, the end of year brought a foot injury that hobbled me after a race in Shawnee KS, and left my skipping my last race of the year (and first of 2015).  That’s a subject I’ll address when I work on my resolutions for 2015.  🙂

So, this year’s numbers:

  • 13 Races
  • 11 races @ 5K, 1 race @ 4K, 1 race @ 4M
  • Slightly more than 40 miles of racing this year
  • 3 destination races (Kansas City MO, Tulsa OK, Shawnee KS)
  • 1 “delayed” race run in the Caribbean
  • Shortest time between races:  24 hours (Rock and Roll 5K Remix)
  • Lowest bib number:  9 (Tap ‘n’ Run 4K)
  • Highest bib number:  31212 (Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K)
  • Closet parking to start/finish line:  Operation Jack KC 5K (about 50 feet)
  • Farthest parking from start/finish line:  Mo’ Cowbell 5K (about one mile)
  • Kudos for Becky for winning “Best Costume” at the Undy 5000
  • Only one weather-impact race:  Route 66 5K (Tulsa OK), with some rain
  • LOTS of new attire:  new shoes, jacket, running pants, toque, neck gather, running socks
  • Met Fredbird
  • Three races in Forest Park, two in St. Charles, one in Soulard, only two in downtown St. Louis

Race #21 : Operation Jack KC Run/Walk in the Snow 5K

Now that title’s a mouthful!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for races to close out the year, and found this one.  It was a close race — Shawnee KS (a Kansas City ‘burb) is only about 3½ hours from here — and benefitted the local KC Autism Society.  How could I go wrong?

I also had a secret, hidden reason for going to this race:  Shawnee KS is home to the closest Runza I know of!

Friday, I cruised into town, got checked into the hotel, and set about finding the Autism Society office.  When I got to the building and walked downstairs to the race pickup area, I noticed someone had been eating Runza for lunch.  I chit-chatted with the folks doing race registration, and as it ends up, one of them had also been in Nebraska for a while, fell in love with Runza’s, and understood my mania.  After handing me my race materials, she directed me to the nearby Runza.

I haven’t eaten in a Runza since our half-cross-country road trip in 2008, so this was a treat — a regular Runza, onion rings and a root beer.  That was an awesome, awesome way to start race weekend!

Questionable Linens
Questionable Linens

I got back to the hotel, relaxed for the afternoon, and eventually wandered outside my room to find a pile of laundry appearing to contain every piece of linen from the room next to me.  I don’t know if there was some kind of plague in that room, or a crazy game of Wesson Oil Twister — either way, I stepped gingerly around the pile, and sequestered myself until the morning!

I figured out that the race site was about five minutes’ drive from the hotel, so I headed toward the park around 8:15am for a 9:15am race start.  And when I got there… there was almost no one there.  I parked within fifty feet of the start/finish line, which is as close as I’ve ever been to the line of any race I’ve attended.  Through the next forty-five minutes, runners filtered in, with maybe about 150 runners lining up for the half marathon, and about half that for the 5K.

When I walked to the registration table to make sure I had what I needed for the run, one of the folks from the office recognized me, and said, “You’re the Runza guy, aren’t you?”  I guess it’s good to leave a positive impression on folks!

Start/Finish Line
Start/Finish Line

There was no electronic timing, no banners, no post race activities… just a simple run that maximized the proceeds for the Autism Society.  That was nice to see, but I didn’t realize how much I missed having the post race hubbub, and the bigger cheering crowd.  And I missed having chocolate milk at the end of the race!

My time was really slow in this race, and I’m sure part of that was the crazy cold weather.  It couldn’t have *anything* to do with my lack of training this winter!!!

Cold Weather Running Duds
Cold Weather Running Duds

The temperature wasn’t really any colder than any other event I’ve run in, but there was a ton of wind and moist air to make things really cold.  For this run, I added a Buff reflective neck gather, and a new Saucony DryLete Skull Cap.  These kept my head, face and neck really warm.

I also had a new Nike Element Shield jacket, partly in preparation to stay warm in the upcoming Lincoln races.  I had a long sleeve jersey on as a base, and a short sleeve atop that, and then the jacket.  I was waaaaaay hot with all that, so I think they’ll do later this week for Lincoln.

However, my new Brooks running pants proved to be warm, but not warm enough.  Same with my gloves.  I have some Saucony gloves, but they’re proving not to be very useful once you hit 30 degrees or so.  I’ll need to resolve both of these pieces of human real estate before Wednesday.

In all, it was a good trip, and another medal for this year!