Blew My Streak and My Fuel

Getting in some final camping for the season this weekend. Had a chance to spend some time birding with my brother Ron and Linda even caught a local agility show to make sure Raven stays in practice. Dog shows mean I have extra time to get some to-dos off the list and one that always bubbles to the top is my blog quota. Always good to get ahead of the curve seeing how the end of the month usually comes faster than expected. Plus, we are creeping up on the witching hour which sucks up every available minute getting ready for the Trail of Tears (link here).

A few posts back I relayed the strenuous running activities that I once again have subject myself to – at some point I will learn. As a quick reminder I scheduled 4 half marathons (not to mention a 5K) in little over a month. This started with the 13.Wine race (link here), then the IVS Half Marathon (link here) and most recently the Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Half Marathon in Springfield. Keeping with the theme, thought I would give a recount of that latest hell, I mean race.

2017 Moonlight Marathon September 16th Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL

Unlike last year (link here), this time Sung and Ryan were able to go down to Springfield IL with me and take part in this year’s activities.  They were both familiar with the course having teamed up with me to do the prediction race Marathon two years back (link here).  That year we took third … thanks to two cheaters but hey, that is water under the bridge now (or not hehehe).  The prediction aspect of the race is gone now along with the team Marathon.  In its place are individual races – 5K, Quarter Marathon and the Half Marathon.  Choose your poison at this point.  We had them all covered this year.  Sung opted for the 5K, Ryan the Quarter and your’s truly decided to punish himself with the Half variety.  There is a theme to the first three races of the 4 ‘peat.  HILLS.  The 13.Wine was a grueling battle through long rolling hills that seem to last forever trying to get to the crests.  IVS is well known in these parts to be one of the toughest courses you can take on due to their 6 shorter but much steeper hills.  Then there is Oak Ridge which combines the length of the Wine hills with the steepness of IVS.  Basically pure hell.  This double loop that beat me last year – my find an exit, throw up, continue the drive home, find an exit throw up cycle that plagued me the entire way home.  Time for redemption this year!  If nothing else, I had friends with me that could help me get home so had to be better than last year… well, I thought.

I was scheduled to go off at 6:30 due to having two loops on my course.  Ryan went off at 6:45 to cover his one loop and then Sung launched at 7 for his shortened loop.  Sung took my finisher picture below.

2017 Moonlight Marathon September 16th Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL

Worth noting the genius of taking the finisher picture before I even started the race – look how relaxed and refreshed I looked!  A far cry from the reality over 2 hours later.  Seems this year the race coordinators thought the previous course was just too easy for us – that we might be getting soft.  To remedy that situation some masochist decided to move the starting line to the top of a big hill.  I remember seeing that and turning to Sung going “WTF!?!”.  Seriously people, that course through the Oak Ridge Cemetery would already make a normal guy sink to his knees.  It would be bad enough having to negotiate that hill at the halfway point, repeating that again at the end when the legs are jelly is just plain rude.  Time to worry about that later, one mile at a time, one foot in front of another.

Hit the jump to read how this race turned out – foreshadowing … not good

Continue reading Blew My Streak and My Fuel

Gut Check

Well, today I completed the last race of the 2016 season (well, at least of the ones that were planned).  In light of that, figured it would be a good time to get a previous race posted.  I hate it when I get too far behind on the race posts mainly due to how hard it is to remember everything about the race once another one is in the books.  The runs are stressful enough without that added task of trying to remember what the hell I was thinking in between big gulps of air.  Getting right to it, One week after running the IVS Half Marathon (link here), I headed down to Springfield IL to participate in the Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon 2016

This year the race coordinators decided to cancel the prediction element of the marathon and instead simply added a half marathon and a quarter marathon.  This meant we didn’t need to form a team which turned out to be a good thing since Ryan got hurt and Sung forgot to sign up (Sung also ended up getting injured as well not soon after that).  So, it was just me this year.  Linda ended up having a conflict with a dog show so it was me by my lonesome to take on the half marathon.  I wasn’t too worried about it since I knew the course and I knew I was trained up for the distance based on the results of the previous week.  However, little did I know at the time that this race was going to be a major gut check.  Race day prep was pretty uneventful.  The predicted rain had moved out and the early temps were in norm for that time of year.  Lining up for the race everything still felt fine.  First loop would be in the light and the second loop would require the head lamp.  All good and even reminded myself to stay in control having already experienced the treacherous hills in the cemetery.

Jumping ahead, the first loop went as planned.  Pace was right at where I wanted to be.  The quarter marathon was going off an hour after we had started the half so they were lining up to get their leg started as I completed my first lap.  Oh, almost forgot, like the previous year, after 4 miles into the race, it was as if I was on a solo training run.  There was no one visible in front or behind me with the exception of some union points in the course where the various routes came together.  Just me, the road and gravestones wherever I looked.  The second loop was a completely different story.  As I hit the first hill back out something started to feel wrong.  A dull pain was starting to build in my gut, but my pace was holding so it didn’t cause much concern.  By mile 8 that dull pain had turned into a serious pain in the stomach and a serious concern was swirling in my head.  By mile 10 it couldn’t be ignored anymore, forcing me stop running to walk up a large hill as I contemplated whether I needed to throw up to relieve the problem.  It also became apparent that the night air was not cooling as expected and the reality of overheating was a possible cause.  Walking during a race is like a swift kick to the nuts after training so hard to make it to the starting line.  At the top of the hill my mind told my body to suck it up – we were running again… but not for long.  At 11 the body shut down again and another walk was needed to calm the stomach again.  This was not good and the only thing that kept playing in my head was how mad Linda was going to be.  Taking advantage of a lull in the stomach pain, I was able to start running again and closed out the race (thankfully there is a long downhill in mile 12 that help out tremendously).  Short of the Marathon run (link here), this might have been the most relieved I’ve been to see the finish line.  Too exhausted to reach down and take the timing chip off, I headed over to a nearby wall to rest – race officials were busy running after me to get my chip but that was the last thing on my mind (they eventually got it off of me ha).

Hit the jump to see how this ordeal turned out!

Continue reading Gut Check

Cunning Defeated By Cheaters

Greetings all!  I finally got the race pictures processed and uploaded so the race post I’ve been promising time after time is finally a reality.  On May 9th my merry band of runners set out on a new adventure, this time in Springfield IL  If you read this blog regularly, you should know that one of my favorite events are prediction runs (link Screaming Pumpkin Race).  For those that are not aware of what this is, I’ll get some quick details.  Essentially you can have a team of runners (up to 4) to complete a marathon distance.  Your goal is to have the last runner on your team cross the finish line before midnight.  The catch is you are not allowed to have timing devices so you have to rely on whatever pace each member feels they can complete their leg in.  Your team starts running whenever they want …but obviously not too early because the closest team to midnight wins the race.  I like to call it the perfect race for slow runners like myself since it levels the playing field and relies on cunning to come out victorious.
Oak Ridge Cemetery Prediction Marathon Relay in Springifield IL

My wife actually found this race online somehow (never did ask where she heard about it).  The rules being eerily similar to our Screaming Pumpkin run right down to the fact they are both held in old, hilly cemeteries.  Springfield is not that far from where we live and I happen to have some roots there – I’m in! that was an easy decision.  Lucky for me, my training buddies and Pumpkin Team (Sung and Ryan) were onboard as well.  To add more excitement to the festivities, Linda also signed up for the fun run/walk 5K event giving all something to do that night.

To say this was an interesting night is an understatement.  About a week before the race I started digging into the details to become familiar with the course and get a feel for the required timings.  Unlike the first pumpkin race we would not have a practice run so we would be estimating blindly.  By now the team is pretty familiar with their paces on our hilly training courses so it was a matter of determining if Oak Ridge was flatter, as hilly as or more treacherous than our comparison base.  One statement on their website was a bit unnerving since they referred to the course as one of the toughest in the nation.  Sung, Ryan and I have been training all year on the toughest courses in the area so this brought a quick chuckle between us. The other pre-race intrigue involved some start changes for the other races being held there – they were shifted for .. wait for it .. wait for it .. PROM.  The excuse was some kind of picture event that happens near where the race started – that would be interesting.

We headed down to the race early that Saturday to drop the dogs off at my parents and then drove over to the race venue to pick up the packets.  First thing that stood out is the lack of people.  Based on the numbers we were seeing, it looked to have small participation across the board.  We picked up the packets, Linda had to deal with a shirt size issue since they didn’t have the size she ordered and eventually found a perfect place for the Wombat a short distance from the starting line.  The Ultra race (basically a fifth loop of the 6.65 mile course) started first with a whopping 8 or 9 people in it.  It is an Ultra for god’s sake so the low entry didn’t surprise me that much – those dudes and dudettes are CRAZY. After that came the competitive 5K, then the Half. the numbers picked up a bit, but still fairly low in my opinion.  Here is our traditional pre-race shot (thanks Linda).  It was a number of hours before I had to run which is why I wasn’t suited up yet.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Prediction Marathon Relay in Springifield IL

Hit the jump to see how we did

Continue reading Cunning Defeated By Cheaters