Saturday, February 28, 2009

Race #21 – Ortega River Run 5 Miler – Jacksonville FL – 02/28/09


Friday was my birthday, so when Linda asked me what I wanted I was more than happy to announce that I had picked out a race 400 miles away for this Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. After last week’s bone chiller in Asheville we were both ready for something a little less frosty. The forecast for the Carolinas was miserable but Jacksonville was expecting a high of 80 degrees for Saturday. I liked the sound of that, and with the little bit of leverage I gained from it being my birthday, we were off to the races in the sunny confines of Florida.
We arrived at Jacksonville Beach about midnight Friday and got an oceanfront room so we could enjoy the rest of Saturday after the race and got up bright and early and headed for the Ortega River Run. The weather was as beautiful as the 5-mile course that wound its way through tree-lined neighborhoods as well as across two bridges that crossed over the Ortega River.
This was my first 5-mile race (you might remember I just started running 6 months ago in September 2008) and I was excited that it met all the expectations I had for it. My first mile was the slowest because of all the congestion at the beginning of the race and my fifth mile was the fastest (7:22). This was one of the few races I haven’t taken a walk break at all. I’m still an advocate of Jeff Galloway’s run/walk strategy and I’ll be using it plenty, especially in long races, but I felt so good in this one that I just kept going.
Almost everything about this race was perfect: the food, the T-shirts, the course, the atmosphere, and the crowd. The after-race food was the best we’ve seen anywhere and included (all free for runners) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, bananas, bagels, a variety of chips, coffee, doughnuts (while they lasted), and more that I didn’t get around to.
The one drawback for me personally was that my registration information was somehow messed up and initially I wasn’t listed as being in the race although my number and times were listed. It took a couple of phone calls after we got home but the race officials straightened it out and even took the time to email me afterwards and apologize for the mixup.
Linda happened to get a photo of me just before I crossed the finish line. The photo shows 40:28 but my official chip time from the time I crossed the starting line to the finish was 39:11 (7:51 pace) so I’m really happy about that for my first 5-mile race.
We both came home sunburned and happy from spending Saturday afternoon on Jacksonville Beach in the 80-degree weather and within an hour of getting home the snow started falling and we had our biggest snowstorm (about 8 inches in Gastonia) in the past five years. It was well worth the drive and we’re talking about doing it again (or one of the other Jacksonville races) next winter.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
10 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 100

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Race #20 – Park Ridge Hospital’s Frostbite 5k – Fletcher NC – 02/22/09



It was a rare Sunday afternoon race, and to paraphrase an old Bible Passage, “Many were cold, and a few were frozen.” As a devout coward when it comes to cold weather, I religiously checked weather.com all week, hoping the Lord would smile upon us with warm weather for this race, but despite it being in the afternoon the temperature never did warm up — at least not enough the suit me. Temperature at the 2:30 race time was about 32 degrees with a 20 mile per hour wind, making the wind chill around 24. I’m not really complaining because there’s nothing anybody can do about the cold — it’s one of the fringe benefits of running in the winter in the mountains.
According to the race director, there were 420 runners for this year’s 17th annual running of the Frostbite 5k — 100 more than ever before. True runners it seems, unlike myself, laugh in the face of cold weather, and possibly also in the face of those of us who are praying for some warm weather to come soon.
We arrived about an hour before race time and found out there were no T-shirts left, and were pleasantly surprised when they informed us that they would knock $15 off the regular $30 (late registration) fee since we weren’t getting a shirt. The long-sleeved technical shirts were pretty nice but I preferred saving the money since I already have a lifetime supply of running shirts.
The after-race food was good although the line was kind of long. It was fine though since we were inside the hospital’s auditorium where it was nice and cozy. The 5k race was a part of the hospital’s health fair, which was also going on at the same time in the auditorium.
The race was the second race in the Asheville Track Club’s Grand Prix series and the course was tough, at least for me. I’m not used to the hills in the Asheville area since most of my running is down in the Piedmont around the Charlotte area. As is my custom, when the going gets rough, I get in Jeff Galloway mode, which works fine for me. I started out too fast, which didn’t help, and I ran until I got tired, then walked for 30-60 seconds to give myself a break before running again. I took several walking breaks like that but still finished at 25:29, which is not my best time but okay for me considering all the hills. Oh, I left off the part about gaining around 5 pounds over the past week or two after having gone back to some of my old eating habits, so starting tomorrow I’m back to counting points on Weight Watchers until I get back down to where I need to be.
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 5 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
  • 4 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 5 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 3 – 1-10 Other (3 extra points for discount on being out of T-shirts)
TOTAL – 87

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Race #19 – Chase for Cupid’s Arrow 5k – Rutherford College NC – 02/14/09


Maybe I’m showing my age a little bit (there’s a scoop for ya) but this week’s trip to the town of Rutherford College, North Carolina (population 1,272) provided a welcome return to normalcy after the pandemonium at last week’s Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh. We had originally planned on running the Cupid’s Cup race in Charlotte but last week my long-time friend Michael Fox emailed me and said he was going to run in Rutherford College. Michael is the inventor of the Dulcijo and is one of the world’s greatest clawhammer banjo players (and the fella who taught me to play the banjo 30-something years ago). So Linda and I changed gears and headed to Rutherford College. The course was a challenge, with a couple of steep hills, but the run through the countryside (you can see it in the photos) was spectacular.
I stopped about ten times during the race to snap a picture. I figure I’m not going to win anyway so a few extra seconds shouldn’t matter, and in the end all three of us — Michael, Linda, and I — all placed 3rd in our respective age groups. That’s one of the fringe benefits of smaller races — a much higher likelihood of placing in the top 3 in your age group. So if you like such things as medals and trophies (and I do) it’s a definite plus. I think there were about 130 runners in this race.
The race was well organized, the after-race food was good, and the long-sleeved T-shirts were among the best we’ve seen (you can see them in some of the photos I’m posting). One other nice touch for us old guys was that during the awards presentation they started with the older runners first and worked their way back to the younger runners. Ordinarily it’s the other way around, and by the time they get around to the geriatric set all of the young folks have gone home and there’s nobody left but us old people. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we still appreciate an attaboy or two every now and again.
Overall, this was one of those races that makes me happy to be a runner.
(Race Results are Below.)
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 8 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 4 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 3 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
  • 9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 0 – 1-10 OtherTOTAL – 91
6th Annual Chase for Cupid’s Arrow 5K
February 14, 2009
OVERALL RESULTS
PLACE NAME AGE TIME
1. Benjamin Canipe 17 18:04
2. Travis Franklin 15 18:16
3. Greg Kielar 16 19:02
4. Allen Alfaro 42 19:27
5. Mark Rostan 39 19:37
6. Scot Hayward 45 19:58
7. Charles Black 17 20:21
8. Jennifer Leone 38 21:31
9. Mike Flicker 39 22:30
10. Derek Marsh 16 22:44
11. Joe Kent 17 22:45
12. Shane Rooks 41 22:55
13. Rodney Lee 56 22:57
14. Jim Benton 55 23:03
15. Danny Dyson 44 23:24
16. Mackie Johnson 62 23:34
17. Joel Morris 52 23:41
18. Richard Watson 70 23:55
19. Richard Hefner 56 24:35
20. Seth Rickertsen 31 24:44
21. Derek McCloughan 18 24:47
22. Kim Oates 33 24:53
23. Frank Gentry 47 25:05
24. John Brittain, Jr. 45 25:10
25. Melvin Morrison 47 25:23
26. Leon Lewis 68 25:26
27. Amy Alexander 32 25:28
28. Jim Clark 40 25:29
29. Derek Dyson 9 25:31
30. Paul Mears 44 25:53
31. David Johnson 58 25:54
32. Emily Arensman 12 25:59
33. Lindsey Bakewell 22 26:03
34. Taylor Glenn 13 28:05
35. Elizabeth Parson 47 26:21
36. Hannah Arensman 10 26:53
37. Beth Roach 27 27:23
38. Jason Roseman 26 27:23
39. Melissa Littlewood 26 27:43
40. Foster Rich 10 27:45
41. Dale Less 49 27:52
42. Kirk Schwarting 22 28:00
43. Patti Griffin 54 28:04
44. Amber Allen 26 28:13
45. Emily Semmel 20 28:35
46. Robert Braswell 49 28:41
47. Jon White 37 28:44
48. Beth Kolb 30 28:50
49. Heather Wiatrek 36 29:03
50. Lester Copeland 68 29:15
51. Jim Gravely 55 29:21
52. JR Jensen 10 29:22
53. Jamie Reinhardt 30 29:29
54. Laura Roberts 25 29:32
55. Keri Anthony 27 29:38
56. Jerry White 45 29:39
57. Joyce Pharr 62 29:48
58. Laurie Toman 47 29:52
59. Amy Piercy 29 29:54
60. Danny Turner 51 29:54
61. Haley Brinkley 13 29:56
62. Tanner Carswell 10 29:59
63. Amanda Morrison 34 30:07
64. Melanie Mikusa 48 30:09
65. Andrew Call 27 30:09
66. Ingrid Anthony 25 30:13
67. Michelle Pazzula 25 30:18
68. Amber Justice 23 30:23
69. Wayne Thomas 43 30:23
70. Erin Byrd 23 30:44
71. Nancy Thomas 50 31:14
72. Kelly Cain 37 31:19
73. Michael Fox 53 31:20
74. Laurel Morris 23 31:39
75. Kelle Huffman 43 31:40
76. Charlotte McMillan 57 31:46
77. Carol Brinkley 36 32:23
78. Brittany Coffey 11 32:24
79. Katherine Arensman 9 32:25
80. Laura Justice 49 32:29
81. Kristie Compton 30 32:36
82. Ethan Thomas 12 32:48
83. Lynn Thomas 41 32:48
84. Karen Brown 46 32:51
85. Jim Cates 70 32:57
86. Catherine Lowry 44 33:16
87. Stella Turner 22 33:39
88. Wilma Bailey 61 33:51
89. Bridgette Blackwell 27 33:57
90. Alicia Mears 35 34:22
91. Ashley Simmons 23 34:27
92. Carly Raimondo 26 34:30
93. Becky Roach 57 34:47
94. Karen Rich 36 34:52
95. Linda Hefner 56 35:13
96. Teresa Pruitt 48 35:23
97. Cole Wilson 27 35:28
98. Lauren Wilson 29 35:28
99. Erin Leatherman 25 35:40
100. Nick Matzka 27 35:40
101. Anthony Cox 47 35:44
102. Lisa Wall 38 35:44
103. Erin Wall 29 35:45
104. Clementine Folan 13 35:46
105. Annette Skidmore 49 35:55
106. Teresa Clarke 45 36:01
107. Andy Lee 7 36:28
108. Dwight Winters 32 36:34
109. Steve Kent 48 36:44
110. Jordan Zuzolo 11 37:01
111. Scott Brown 47 37:06
112. Walter Pharr 72 37:08
113. Brittani W. 10 38:33
114. Mariea Brown 38 38:47
115. Peggy Mulrenin 52 40:01
116. Rhea Cooper 65 40:54
117. Danny Seagle 69 41:08
118. Tony Edmondson 60 43:58
119. Heather Oliver 32 52:37
120. Joy Garland 10 53:09
121. Jennifer Garland 40 54:15
122. Angie Alexander 34 58:21
123. Lynn Lawson 37 58:34
124. Tracy Oliver 32 58:36
125. Anna Jacks 13 1:00:17
126. David Pollpeter 47 1:01:03
127. ??? 1:01:09
128. Susan Pollpeter 52 1:02:09

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Race #18 – 2009 Krispy Kreme Challenge (Raleigh NC) – 02/07/09


So today we traveled 200 miles down Tobacco Road to run the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh along with 5,000 other sweet-toothed runners. Run 2 miles, eat a dozen doughnuts, and return to the starting point. The “challenge” is to finish in one hour. This was a race without a real sense of urgency, so I stayed with Linda throughout the race and we just kind of ran in mosey mode. Just as well, because when we arrived at the Krispy Kreme that was our destination there was a bit of a logjam (as you can see in the photos) with a few thousand other people trying to get and then eat their dozen doughnuts. The mess on the ground was pretty bad, but didn’t really compare with the organizational mess of this race. It took probably 15-20 minutes just to get the doughnuts so it was probably best to not worry much about how quickly you were going to finish the race. I was in the “Challenger” (timed) category and Linda was in the “Casual” (untimed) category. Before the race I wondered how the challengers might be organized in order to be sure they ate their doughnuts — possibly long tables with judges being sure everything went down before sending you speeding on your way, but nope. It wasn’t that critical. You could have just thrown the doughnuts away or even have just picked up an empty box and took off out the other end (throwing the empty box in a big pile was your proof that you finished). Oh well, it was all for a good cause and they raised lots of money for charity. I bought one of the “finisher” T-shirts on the way out, which should be a nice conversation piece but was an extra 15 bucks. The regular T-shirt given to all the participants was a real disappointment and probably the worst T-shirt I’ve seen in any race. Awards were given only to the Top 5 men finishers and Top 5 women finishers as well as the one person with the fastest split eating time… no age group awards at all. The porta potty situation was also a mess. Luckily most people couldn’t find them at all, which kept the line down to a hundred yards or so. There were a total of 10… that’s 1 for every 500 runners, not counting spectators. Overall, we had fun and I’m glad we ran but I won’t be coming back for seconds next year.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
5 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
2 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
3 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
6 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
2 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 65