Sunday, December 16, 2012

Half and Half Marathon and Double Half

I run with some crazy people. Crazy in a running sort of way. It seems like someone is always thinking outside the box to figure out new and fun ways to have races--something new, something that's never been done before. RunnersWorld's Kathy Hoover and Derk and Barbara Pinkerton's latest brainstorm landed us on Turkey Mountain for two separate half marathons going on simultaneously.
The thought was to give runners a choice of a trail or paved half marathon, or you could do both for an official full. And with the Half Fanatics becoming as big as Marathon Maniacs, this also gave a chance for a double. Two half marathons in a weekend (in this case on the same day.) Throw in the coolest medal I've ever seen, and this race had the ingredients of success.

Parking places were hard to come by early Sunday morning. Good thing I live so close to Turkey Mountain. I rolled into Race Central about an hour before Go-time, having been out on the course checking to make sure none of the course markings had been vandalized. The ribbon gremlins were kind during the night.

Stormy and Edward had made an ice run, and handed me a sausage biscuit just minutes before the gun sounded. YUM! Richard looked like he would have liked a bite.

Stormy must have heard Tom's stomach growling, cuz Tom scored a biscuit too. Tom, Bobby, Bee Sting Bob and I were gonna all hang together along with K2 and a friend of co-RD Derk--Mike from Houston. The way it worked out though--Bee Sting left the old guys early on. Bobby locked in on 12 minute miles and steadily pulled away. We got separated from Mike, and K2 and I ran a little ways together but got separated while stopping for pictures.

I walked around and took a few more pics before the start. Tammy looked poised and ready to roll.

This is the line of runners waiting to run the trail portion...

...and this is the road runners lined up ready to run the opposite way. Same starting line. It was strange moving past each other after the gun sounded.

Here we go! Us trail runners had about 100 feet of pavement, and that was it. The first 400 yards were up a powerline easement toward Lipbuster, but tucked into the woods and took several switchbacks up the hill.

This work of art was created by ME. No, not the map. Ron Haveman gets that credit. I devised the course--the black scriggly lines, which strings all the easy trailz together for 6.55 miles, which ran as an out-and-back equals a half.

with over 220 runners running the trail portion, it got a little slow early on when we hit the narrow single track.

I think it's one of the coolest sights seeing a long train of runners frolicking through the woods.

Soon enough, we hit some wider trailz, and everyone got strung out to where heels weren't getting stepped on.

The next several pics are borrowed from Tim Bade. Tim, your check's in the mail. At this point in the race, we've covered about two miles, and are heading right off the end of the mountain. One of those patches of asphalt is where we'd be going later on the paved second half. And yes, we'd practically run downtown and back.

Aid stop #1--at mile 2.5. It had a Santa theme. Just give me my Gatorade and M&Ms.

Aid stop #2, at mile 5.1. It was at this point I had to make an unscheduled rest stop. All my running peeps jetted ahead.

I felt good after my pit stop, and ran into Shorty and ran with her for about a half mile. I saw Bobby coming back, and he was a solid mile ahead of me. I really doubted I'd catch him. I also passed K2, and finally Tom. I thought I had a shot at catching Tom so I picked up the pace. I saw Tom, K2, and Caroline as I was nearing the next aid stop, and kept running at about 90% effort, and finally caught them. It seemed like Tom and K2 slowed down, or Caroline picked it up, and it was just us three guys for the rest of the trail portion. Tom had a hammie giving him probs, and K2 was feeling the grind as well. My feet were beat up from running long the day before. We were a mess. It was heating up--low 60s, and I had on tights and a Capilene long sleeve shirt. I was running low on fuel too. SO at the start/finish/halfway point, I ate a bowl of chili, drank some Gatorade, and trotted out munching on some chips. Tom gave me some vitamin I, and I felt like running again.

The west side paved trail is nice, but after the endless variations of single track trail, flat boring pavement was--well--flat and boring.

This is a great bike ride, and if I rarely ran it, maybe a great run. I know every segment, and the tall buildings seemed to never get closer. But Tom and I BS'd all the way, and the time passed. K2 was behind us, or so we thought. Turns out though, he had found his mojo, and was about a mile ahead of us.

The best aid stop on the west--manned by Susan, Tracy, and Lyndsey.

Finally, the 11th Street Bridge--and the turn-around was almost clear on the far side. On the way back, we just ran--walking anything resembling a hill, until the very last hill. The last quarter mile is a good long climb, and rounding the last bend, all our friends were whooping and ringing cowbells--so we ran it. It was a slow marathon--7:36, but a good training run.

These medals--one for the road and one for the trail fit together to make a yin/yang design. This is why we do it. Kathy had an amazing corp of volunteers, and this race ran flawlessly. Congrats. Hope this race stays around for years to come.

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