autumn.

or Fall as some of you know it.  a time when quite a few ‘outdoors-y types’ (and eslecially runners) begin to celebrate and really embrace the turning weather.  a time when the temperatures are cooler.  a time when the humidity is lower.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

cold weather and short(er) days does not a happy runner make.  at least this runner.  and it really does not even get that bad in the South.  we do not have to deal with icy, snow-covered trails and sub-freezing temperatures.  nothing more than maybe a pair of arm warmers, gloves, and knit cap are needed most days to stay warm on an adventure.  and this is a time of year when some serious miles can be logged in between races or in preparation for the Winter race season – which we have down here.

but i can almost understand why Fall appeals to some…it is called ‘Summer In the South.’  having lived in Texas, Georgia, and now Tennessee for most of my life, Summer can be a bit less bearable for some.  when it is already 80° with high humidity before you even start your pre-dawn run, getting a good sweat in is not even a question.  and afternoon/evening training can be dangerous for some.  but this is all i know and use it as an advantage when i can.

while i do appreciate the turning colours of the leaves, these same leaves (and there are a LOT of trees in the Southeast) will soon be covering the trails making them difficult to navigate.  and those rocks and roots (again, LOTS of those) you see when the leaves are up and green?  yeah, good luck with staying upright…

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2012 Mardi Gras 10k

i raced this course last year, and since it is held at a local brewery (Terrapin Brewery), i decided to come back and race again. it fits very well in my early-season schedule, is not a 5k, and i won last year (2011 Mardi Gras 10k results), so i wanted to try and defend my title.

i found out the day before that it was a NOON start as opposed to the typical early morning start, and since i had to work that day, i was unsure that i would be able to race. luckily my shifts as a prep cook are pretty flexible (thanks to mike bradshaw – owner of the grill!), so i was able to get most of my work done before i had to head to the race. since the brewery is only a mile and a half or so from work, i rode my bike to the race. this let me stretch my legs a bit and not have to worry about parking.

when i got to the brewery, i checked in, got my number, and talked to mark and david of (Athens Running Company) for a bit. they more-or-less ‘sponsor’ me as i run in their gear and they give me a pretty sizable discount on said gear. works for me. and them. while changing and warming up, i spied the competition and tried to pick out who i would have to battle. i saw a couple of guys that looked like they might challenge (including one in an Atlanta Track Club singlet) and a couple of others. after racing for a few years and seeing familiar faces, i am usually pretty good about picking out who can run.

the race was running a few minutes late, so there was a few extra minutes to warm up a bit. the temperature was good, especially with the cloud cover (we had cool rain last year), so this was just to stretch out a bit. i lined up at the front as usual and WENT as ‘start’ was called. i immediately jumped behind the athens-clarke police department motorcycle escort and got up to speed pretty quickly. i already sensed that there was no one with me. i kept the gas on as much as i felt i had to, but with no one to run with (i peaked around a few times during the race), it was just a time trial for me. i kept it well within my comfort zone while still knocking out some quality miles. i finished in first and immediately went back out on the course to cheer some of the other runners on. i did not know any of the other racers this year personally, so i could just yell the generic ‘go runner!’ greetings. the second place finisher came up to me and we chatted a bit.

i stuck around to cheer on the runners as long as i could, but i had to get back to work. like last year (and i feel like a jerk for having to do it), i had to leave before the awards were given out. sorry, guys!

i want to thank any and all associated with the race (ESPECIALLY the volunteers), terrapin brewery (thanks for the hospitality – and the free beer i had to miss out on!), the city of athens-clarke county, athens running company, brooks running company (i raced in the pure connect this time), and my bo$$ for continuing to let me pursue my dream/passion.

image

my data file from the race including a map

2012 Race Calendar – pending

2012 RACE CALENDAR
==================

2/18 – Taste 10k** – Athens, Georgia (r)

2/25 – Cowtown 10k** – Fort Worth, Texas (r)

2/26 – Cowtown 50k** – Fort Worth, Texas (r)

3/3 – Nueces 50M**^ – Rocksprings, Texas (t)

4/16 – Boston Marathon** – Boston, Massachusetts (r)

4/21 – National College Blue Ridge Marathon** – Roanoke, Virginia (r)

9/7 – Wasatch 100M* – Salt Lake City, Utah (t)

** – registered
* – applied
^ – national championship
r – road
t – trail

Rock/Creek Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race – Raccoon Mountain (Stage 1)

Just a quick note – not a full race report. That comes later.

Good weather for a run. Well, for mid-June, at least. After saying ‘hi’ to a few familiar faces and rubbing elbows with a few new ones (and seeing a famous runner – Annette Bednosky!), we gathered near the start for a few announcements and such then headed out. I did not go out as hard as I usually do, so combined with little breathing room and a quick turn onto the single-track, I was behind more guys than I wanted. I stayed with this small group for almost two (2) miles before I surged a bit and got separation. From there I just continued to run my own race until Trapper Presslar came flying up after the second aid station at Mile 8. We ran a good chunk of the rest of the race together trading pulls until he could not stay with me on a series of climbs. A Rock/Creek runner (Kevin Boucher, maybe?) flew by me on a downhill section with about six (6) miles to go and just kept going. I was alone until the last couple of miles when I could see a guy about a minute up the trail. I went after him and just about caught him but ran out of real estate finishing ~8 seconds back in 13th for a 2:21 first day. Ate and drank a bit. While sitting on the curb, a guy said ‘hey’ and sat near me. ‘It is Mark.’ ‘Ok.’ Then I realised that it was Mark Hekman! He used to race for the Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling Team with Adam Myerson, so I knew who he was from running into him at a few races. We chatted for a bit. After giving up the fame and fortune that comes with being a pro crit racer, he turned to running as a new challenge. He picked a heck of a race to start out with! I packed up the moto to seek out a shower and food and here I am…

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huh…what?

Been a pretty average past week or so. Not much to write about. Racing this weekend. Basically all that I am thinking about. Gonna be a short trip, though, as I work the night before and again the night of the race. Adam will likely chide me, but shit, man, I have to work. Never mind that I have enough money put away to take most of the rest of the year off, I want more.

But whatever. The little bit of tiredness in my legs (and brain) will be worth the lack of hassle. And this will be the first race in about eight (8) years that I have brought someone to. Someone that I am seeing, at least. It is kinda by default, though, as she is providing the transportation to the race venue – Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Still. Will be weird to have to deal with someone else and not be as social (read: flirty) as I usually am. I mean, c’mon. There are always cute and fit racers at these events. How can I not flirt?

Not this year.

Training has been going ok lately. Well, it is not really training as much as I have just been out running. Long days. Fast days. A track day thrown in the mix. No real purpose to the miles I have been logging. I need to get serious. Picked up a book that kind of put things into perspective for me. Unless you are running with a (specific) purpose, you are pretty much just running. Not to say that all those long days pounding the pavement were bad, but did not do a whole lot of good, either. I have the base, and now I just need to get fast. Hopefully the last two years were not wasted.