Monday, April 5, 2010

LMTR Ramblings

Finally, after a couple of good nights sleep, I am able to reflect on the past weekend. My 2nd year of RD at Lake McMurtry went well. Brian and I were thinking possibly 130 to 150 runners, but instead, 215 runners signed up and most towed the line Saturday morning in one of the 4 starting times.As is nearly always the case, some runners got off course. Most of them merely ran on a semi-parallel trail for about a half mile and came out very near to where they needed to be, and 3 good natured dudes got into the McMurtry Triangle and ran in circles for 12 miles before coming back to our world.

From my standpoint, it was a fun but very stressful day. I was working with almost no sleep, and had spent the day before setting up the aid stops and doing a few touch-ups to the course markings.I had the awesome help of my nephews John and Jeff. There will be a day when they have other things to do and will not be able to help me with this race. I do not know what I will do then!Our poor TATUR tents have been through a lot lately. Every time we put our tents up, we have epic winds, or as in the case 2 weeks ago, tons of snow. But, nothing a little duct tape can't fix!

All the aid station foods were delivered either right before or just after the 50K early starters were sent off. After each start (7:00 am, 8:00, 8:30, and 9:00, I had to run someone or something out to an aid station. Each time, I was barely able to get back to be part of the next send-off. Brian was a lifesaver giving all the blah blah blah before each start. I'd come trudging in just in time looking the part of a TZ.

Jason, Lisa, and Kurt look great BEFORE the 50K. This trio is going to Desert Rats, a 6-day stage race in June along with Kurt's MUCH BETTER half Shelley, Vicky Afterburn, and Mike Adams. More on this story in a future blogpost.Speaking of Mike, here he is looking calm and cool. Is he thinking another win? I bet he is. I saw mike at mile 1 and he was running up a hill at a 6 minute mile pace +/-. He and Jay Jump ran together for several miles before the old guy (Mike turned 40 on Saturday) let the youngster go and settled for 2nd. And speaking of Vicky, she finished 3rd in the 50K. Shelley finished 2nd in the 25K. TATUR babes rock!! And TATURs will rock Desert Rats!

I was doing good to get any pictures at all. Here, the 25Kers head out for their passage over the north loops. we could have not gotten better weather is we tried. The rain from the day before did nothing but soften the trails and keep the dust at bay. There was very little mud on the course, and the temps were perfect for running. Only the 50Kers during their last miles had to be concerned with the heat.

At 9:00, we sent the 12Kers off.This distance had more runners than last year, and the cool thing, since it is kind of an odd distance, most everyone got a PR. The speedsters were through in less than an hour, and the people of my speed were in the 2 hour range.

It was very hectic from this point on. I was confident that there would be no one getting lost this year. But, somehow, a Y intersection that had been marked to direct the traffic one way had the tape torn down. Not sure if it happened that morning or late the afternoon before. But, a lot of the 50K and 25K runners were coming back on a different trail. I bolted to where I thought the problem was, barking directions to the runners as they past. The actual difference in the 2 trails was maybe a tenth of a big deal. It's a trail race anyway, and we do not generally charge extra for extra miles ran. If we did, a lot of people would owe me a dime! After fixing the altered course markings, I hurried back to the start/finish to help Brian with the timing, tag tearing, recording names, numbers, and times. It was maddening, but we made it. With 3 different distances, and the 50Kers coming through and going back out, the 25Kers passing through or finishing, and the throng of 12Kers, it was a monumental task keeping it organized. But Brian kept a cool head, and with the help of Shannon Dorothy, Chuck, and a few other people here and there, the task was completed. To my knowledge, there was only one person who did not get her time posted in the results and that has since been fixed.

I may be sticking my neck out a little here, but I think everyone had an awesome time. Someone will correct me on this, but I saw more smiles than tears after the race.

As I said, we were expecting 130, hoping for 150, and had over 200. Therefore, we ran out of t-shirts and finishers awards. A snafu in the medals for the winners left me scrambling for something nice to give out to those deserved runners. A good friend who made the Snake Run trophies came through and got us these crystal-like egg-like paper-weight-like trophy-like thingies. I like em.

The key chain finishers awards went like salmon patties at a cat picnic. Wish I had ordered more. Next year, I'll have PLENTY!

A course record was SMASHED in the 25K by Joseph Gray, from Team Inov8. Joe ran the race in 1:31. AMAZING! You can read his race report here.

TATUR did not invent the peanut-butter-m&m-oreos, but we sure like em and have them at all the aid stations. They are an ultra-runner delicacy, ranking right up there with boiled slated potatoes. But this year at LMTR, we may have taken the super-snack to a new level!Tom Robinson saw this and after a gaze to the heavens and a word of thanks, he scarfed it down. I wonder if the candy coating on the Advils makes it hard to differentiate between the candies and the drugs?

Finally, I want to thank Chuck, who works tirelessly all day cooking, running stuff to aid stations, helping with emergency course marking, helps with the timing. And did I say cooking? He makes the most delicious jambalaya ever. If you missed it, well that's a shame. Best after-race food ever!

So, after the shouting is done, I wonder what changes, if possible, could make this a better race for next year. There is no way we could top the weather. But more shirts, more finishers awards for sure. Marking the crucial turns down low and up HIGH so a speeding mountain biker might not mow the ribbons down? Maybe big signs with arrows? I am considering taking the south leg down towards the boat ramp and around the back side of the store to the trail head. Just a thought. maybe a blow-by-blow turn-by-turn course description? A map is good, but the important turns near the start/finish would be hard to see on a map. Maybe course marshals with tazer guns?

Well, next up? I dunno. the Midnight Madness 50 Miler, Kettle Moraine, OKC Marathon, Ouachita 50M. Maybe all of them. At least I am through RDing for a while. (Except for the Barkley Book Fair!!)

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