Monday, June 26, 2006

Double Trouble Trail Run - The Results

Now I find this interesting:

2005 Results

2006 Results

Despite the adverse conditions yesterday and despite falling I was almost seven minutes faster and 38 positions higher. Checking last year's web posting I see the heat index was 100 degrees. I have a feeling that I like running more in the rain then in the heat.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Double Trouble Trail Run (15K)

This is one of the runs managed by the infamous Ron Horn of Pretzel City Sports known for his unique run applications. It is held in French Creek State Park. I didn’t remember it as so hilly but it is mostly going up or down. You can choose to run a 15K or continue on for a second loop. I have only ever done the 15.

The weather forecasters predicted heavy rain this weekend. At home it has been mostly intermittent, but as I headed west on the Turnpike it began to rain pretty steadily. It was mostly light for the next couple of hours.

Ron’s races rarely start on time and today was no exception. His pre-race instructions are part of the entertainment, including having the 15K runners taunt the 30K and vice-versa. Ron gives a head start to runners who come a distance – after lining up runners from Florida, South Dakota, and LaPaz, Bolivia he asked if anyone else came from a distance. Someone called out my buddy who is two days back from 18 months in Iraq. It was nice to see him given a warm welcome.

The first mile is always a little slow since it takes time for the pack to string out and there are a few choke points including a narrow bridge. But soon I was running at a good pace. There are two climbs in the race. For a long time I was able to run up the hills, but as the race went on it began to rain harder and more steadily and the trail conditions got muddy going uphill was more difficult. On a downhill I past a runner, but on the next flat he called out on your left as I moved to my right my feet came out from under me and I went down hard on my left side. A lot of the trail is very rocky but luckily this stretch was more so while dirty I had a cushy landing. The passing runner ran back and helped me up but I was fine and quickly back on pace. The runner behind asked if I was ok – you went down pretty hard. Hey falling is part of trail running, I’m great. (But my shoulder did ache a bit – probably regret all this wear and tear when I’m sixty.) So on we went – being passed and passing others. The runner who asked how I was, was just in front of me when we made a 90 degree turn and down he went. The trail turned sharply up and was a channel of deep, red clay. There was no solid footing at all if you tried to go to the sides you slipped down. Better just to slog thru the mud but what an uphill.

But after that the footing while churned mud was a little easier if you edged it out. Also the last couple of miles are mostly downhill. I was surprised that some people were walking but then I have been there in some races.

The last couple of hundred yards are on a macadam type surface with a tiny uphill and I ran in hard as I could.

Well it’s been said before on this list – in running we get to play, rain and mud only make it more fun.

And the promised hot water was actually warm this year so we got to shower before heading home.

On my way home just before I got to the Turnpike I got a flat tire, not good luck but as I was trying to get the lug nuts off a tow truck driver stopped (I had AAA available thanks to my wife's quick work but thought it would take them forever to get to me) and he quickly got me back on the road. Thanks to Crawford Auto and Dan Brookes.
View of the pavilion - Hopewell Lake - the run will circle the lake.

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The Finish Line

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Finish is a short uphill

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In the red and white with blue vizor = Ron Horn, founder of the feast.

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Craver had just returned from Florida where he won a speed carving contest on the Food Network.

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A Slightly Drowned Rat
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Double Trouble Trail Run 2006

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Media Five Miler

Another Friday night run close to home. Media is the county seat of Delaware County and has a fine, old Courthouse. Real estate values are skewed by the number of law offices in the town, but there are still residential areas which go from rows, to twins, to grand old Victorians.

For many years the Media Five Miler had been managed by the Delco Roadrunners Club. This year some kind of dispute arose and the borough decided to run the race without Delco.

It was not an auspicious beginning for the new group. The race began about 15 minutes late. The start as always was crowded but I got into a good pace quickly. It is a hilly course with sharp uphills and long gradually downs. Because it is two loops you know exactly how to pace for the finish.

But the finish area was disastrous: they had set up two chutes but were only using one. When I got to the finish there was already a back up in crossing the finish line – I think I only lost 20 seconds or so. But after getting thru the chute and circling back looking for some friends I saw that the line now extended more than 20 yards and people were bunching up rather that lining up single file.

There was no water immediately at the finish and the water was very hard to find.

I think the race director and his committee will need to work hard to gain back trust; otherwise the event could quickly whiter away. I heard several people say they wouldn’t come back.

Good things: the crowds were the best ever. Lots of house parties. Great crowds at the finish. On the course, there were plenty of water stops, most with plenty of volunteers. Lots of neighbors were out with hoses. Personally, I don’t like getting wet but it was a nice gesture.

Even with all the glitches I had a good time. It’s always nice to hear your name called out from the sidelines and I saw lots of friends both running and spectating. I like these evening runs and wish there were more of them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Out and Back Check

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The Out and Back Committee

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Tom and Bob

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Prediction Run

I ran the 5K Monk’s Run last Friday night (9 June). Fun, local race. Very hilly course. Clever gimmick - beat the Monk and get a voucher for a food item. Thought I would run easy but, of course, once in the race ran harder. Finished in 24:xx. Finish time slightly skewed because the finished chute backed up and I couldn’t cross the finish line. If I had known I would run so well I wouldn’t have started so far back – but it was fun mostly passing people rather than being passed.

Wonder if I can translate that into a good run tomorrow night in the Media Five Miler which is also a hilly double loop.

At 59 I know it is unlikely I will be winning any age groups, but last night I did win first place in Bryn Mawr Running Club’s first summer prediction run. For those unfamiliar with this type of run, you predict your finish time and run without a watch. I rarely finish even close to my predicted time (and the one time I did my results were somehow lost). Last night I simply predicted a time I thought would be slightly hard (46:20 for a five mile, hilly course). I ran the first couple of miles very leisurely mostly talking to friends. Then I challenged a couple of the hills running up hard because I thought it would be good prep for Friday. I felt the pace had been decent especially since I could still see some fast runners. So after the last hill I returned to a leisurely pace. My friend Joe had predicted a 48 and I felt he was way ahead of pace but since he is a metronome of pacing I wasn’t certain – still I held to my own pace and let Joe past me. When I came in I couldn’t believe that I was only 3 seconds off (and later was told officially 2 seconds off.) It is sheer luck of course. The course includes two crossings of Montgomery Avenue, very busy road. I got green both times I had to cross. If I had caught to light coming back I would certainly had finished out of the money.

Even though I wanted to go home to watch the AFI’s most inspiration movies (which turned out to be a big disappointment), I knew I had to hang around. I was glad I did however. Tom Corrigan is one of the founding members of the Bryn Mawr Running club. He was a great runner and was with me when I ran Boston. I had missed the club banquet in February and was in Nashville when the club had its (in)famous Out and Back run. I was surprised to last night to see Tom in a wheelchair. At first I thought maybe it was just a running injury but I saw it a technical chair and knew it couldn’t be good. Tom has ALS. Although recently diagnosed it has progressed rapidly. It made me very sad but Tom seems remarkably composed and in good spirits. The club has made the Out and Back a charity run for ALS and the run raised $30,000. It was a pleasure to see Tom make the presentation to the ALS foundation.

As for me – as the names got ticked off I began to think possibly I miscalculated, or didn’t hear the time correctly, or was missed again. But finally best prediction – Chad Brooks. Won a new pair of Pumas (Puma was a sponsor for this event.) Hope I like them.