Saturday, November 30, 2013
I'm not a fast runner yet I've somehow managed to "win" several goodies in three recent club races - all different clubs, none of which I am a member of.
First, it was the "just for sticking around late enough" pie at a $10 HM:
Then, a week later, I did an 8K at a winery with a few friends and we won the 1st place award for Masters Team (over 40 yo). We were the only such team :-P Nonetheless, we all got bottles of wine! My first 1st-place running award (of any kind ever)! I did say I'm not a fast runner, right?
Finally, determined to get my family out for exercise on Thanksgiving morning, I found another neighboring club offering a free 5K. I received a bottle of wine for the "visiting from another club" award. (They gave out other silly awards including such things as "least dressed" and "best beard".) Club races are awesome - but free? Wow!
Combined registration fees for these three races (HM, 8K, 5K): $40
Did my own club's Turkey Burnoff 10M today. Pretty good turnout of 600 runners for a no-award race (have I been spoiled?) with a starting temp of 28F! But plenty of food and good cheer.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Did a trail HM (half marathon) this morning in lovely Prince William Forest Park, Virginia, just 20 minutes south of DC.
The course was technically demanding - tricky enough that sometimes you would have to come to a complete stop before deciding how to deal with the jumble of rocks and roots in front of you. I took 20 minutes longer today than last week's HM which was entirely on paved roads.
But I'm used to running on trails (and am somewhat cautious) so I had no problems. Others weren't so lucky. A lot of people fell and, at the finish, I figure about 20% either had dirt mashed into their arms or legs, or were bleeding. Two guys said they were stung by a wasp. And one woman I passed was laying on the ground, completely out of it. Three runners had already stopped to help her (or I would have) and I heard later that she had either broken her ankle or torn ligaments.
That's trail running for you. Unlike paved surfaces, trails require additional skills - the willingness to stop on a dime, the ability to keep your concentration so that every step gets some individual thought, and to not freak out at the brambles tearing at your ankles or that the plant you just brushed past sure looked like poison ivy.
On the positive side, I got an age group award which was a first for me. Just goes to show what happens if you get old enough. ;-)
No finisher medals. Last week's Parks HM had no medals either so this makes two HMs in a row without medals - maybe this is a new trend. (One can only hope. Sorry but bling does not justify exorbitant race fees.) However, the race was moderately expensive. Now that I think about it, this may have been the most expensive race I've ever done that had no finisher premium.
But it did have excellent finisher food. The specialties - pizza and breakfast burritos - were yummy.
Probably won't go back next year - while the course was very good and quite beautiful, all in all it was just too expensive - there are other good races around for less. But I like trying new HMs near where I live so this was a worthwhile experience.
Sunday, September 08, 2013
Did the Parks HM today. This is an example of how good a club race can be. Bear in mind as you read this that it was a $55 registration with all the usual stuff: tech shirts, water/gatorade every 2 miles, etc. But above and beyond:
We encountered a variety of musical acts on the course including a bag piper and a pianist. (RnR has nothing on PHM!) The pianist was particularly notable because he was dressed in a tux and tails (and running shoes), sitting at a grand piano. Yes, someone had schlepped the grand piano out to the middle of the course which is itself in the middle of a park (hence the name of the race). And he was good, playing the jazzy riffs of Rhapsody in Blue during the time I went by. (Later, I saw video someone had taken and runners were actually stopping to listen for a while!)
Food was amazing and included the usual (fresh fruit, cookies, etc.) as well as more unusual: subs, pizza, bratwurst, and the most amazing soufflé. All you could eat. (None of this "one pass through the line" nonsense so common at big races.) I had two huge helpings of the soufflé :-P
Instead of yet another useless medal, the finisher premiums were winter hats. Despite the 70F weather, runners were proudly wearing their new winter hats as they munched on the great food, swapped stories, and made agreements to come back to this race next year.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Been going through some hardships on the trails recently:
4 weeks ago, a wasp stung me in the lip. Wow, did that hurt. My running buds joked that I should be thankful - women were paying hundreds of dollars to get that bee-stung look that I now had "naturally".
3 weeks ago, we were running through a trail with a lot of overgrowth. My ankles and thighs got a bit shredded by thorns from raspberry bushes. I suppose that made it easier for poison ivy to get a foothold so of course, I got a nice rash.
2 weeks ago, I was bitten by a wasp during the first mile of a planned 15 mile trail run. Several other people were bitten (we all stopped to compare our impressive welts) but the wasp decided to sting me twice - once on the front of the knee and once behind. I completed the run (wondering the entire time if that was such a good idea). Ten hours later, my knee had swollen a bit more and was hot to the touch. The pain was still strong so I headed over to an urgent care clinic.
The doctor identified two issues - allergies and infection - that could be the problem. He said the insect could have brought in some infectious material or some could have entered through the entry point. So he prescribed antihistamines and an antibiotic.
This was all from looking at the front of the knee. I then turned around to show I had been bitten on the back of the knee as well. I wasn't expecting anything more than an acknowledgment. Instead, he said "Looks like a tick bite." He pointed out a barely-recognizable bullseye rash likely due to a tick from a previous run. So more antibiotics! I suppose I should be thankful that the wasp bite was in the same place as that of the tick bite. :-P
By Wednesday, my calf looked like a plump sausage and my ankle was puffy too. So I went back to the doc who said, go over to the ER immediately - could be something serious like a blood clot. Spent several hours waiting (what a gigantic waste of time) for an ultrasound to confirm that it was just a lot of fluid from the stings - slowly working it's way down my leg thanks to gravity.
Meanwhile, I bought a pair of "summer tights" and soaked those with permethrin (repellent designed specifically for clothes) and deet for bare skin. Hopefully, this will reduce (or possibly stop!) the bites, poison ivy, thorns, and whatever else mother nature loves to dish out. Completed a run this past weekend and actually felt good at the end - finally - hooray. The tights were, well, a bit tight but they weren't unpleasantly hot.
But now I feel like a lab experiment. The deet has to be applied before any clothing (since it's bad for clothing). Who knows if my sunscreen can even be absorbed on top of the deet. The permethrin-soaked clothing has to dry for two hours before wearing (so has to be done the night before). And don't even get me started on moisturizer. I still haven't figured out how to work that in to my schedule or in what order. And everything says "wash hands" after use. (Actually, the permethrin says "wash hands for 20 minute if contacted".) Oh, and don't forget the bodyglide!
Anyone else going through nonsense like this?
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