Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome to Moe's!

The Plan 
Rendezvous with Devin for a low key 5k with and easy payday

The Catch
The race requires you to eat a Moe's wrecker burrito at mile 2

The Result
A very poor plan with a very big catch. 

The Lesson
It turns out if the prize purse is big enough then fast runners will show up no matter what torturous acts you throw their way.

The Contenders
Me - Winner of several awards for beauty and grace
Devin Swann - Sub 24 8k roads sub 30 10k roads etc
Ricky Flynn - 2:13 marathon (12th I heard at the trials)
Patrick Morgan - 4:01 mile
John Compton - fast but I don't know any of his pr's... often contending and beating Devin and I
Eric Ashton - South Carolina legend
And what appeared to be 8-10 other runners who were under 10 minutes at the two mile

How it all shook out
It was a very tense start line.  There were about 10 guys who all thought the exact same thing.  "Eating a burrito in the middle of a 5k is stupid.  No one will show up to this race and I'm going to make some easy cash."  There would be no easy cash.  The gun goes off and the field is out so fast you'd think this was the NCAA cross country championships.  4:30 pace didn't scare anybody as no less than two dozen runners blaze through the half mile in 2:15.  I know because I was in about two dozenth place.

The pace lags and I spurt to the front of the pack and take control of the race with Ricky Flynn by my side. We go through the mile on the garmin in 4:39 and start to get a small gap on the field.  I saw 4:44 pace late in the mile before the course took us to a left hand turn up a steep embankment leading to the two mile mark and the burrito station.  On the steep uphill I let Ricky get a few meters on me for the first time as I eased into the burrito station trying to not be too winded. 

What happens now is not something I'm proud of.  I grab a burrito, unwrap and take a bite.  It's like sand.  I grab a water and go Joey Chestnut on its ass.  Take a bite, sip of water, swallow, and repeat.  There was no chewing. 

The mannerless strategy worked.  I gulped my last bit and yelled "Welcome to Moe's!" to signify to the judges I was finished.  I was the first out of the burrito station.  I ran a few steps at normal race pace and looked back over my shoulder to see if anyone else had finished.  I can't describe the desire I had to look back and see no one.  In that moment it was a desire greater than any I had ever experienced.  Unfortunately I saw 3 people, running together a mere 20 meters behind me.  Complete disappointment.  Even now after having been fast to the burrito station and the fastest out, making up a good 8-10 seconds on Ricky Flynn, nothing had been settled. 

I didn't know what was going to happen now.  The prerace plan was to dominate to the burrito station, eat fast, and then cruise to the finish enjoying a huge lead.  4th place and no prize money was suddenly breathing down my neck. 

Begin system check.  I'm moving fast.  The garmin says 4:45.  I feel good.  I taste beans.  Spit.  I taste rice.  Spit.  Mouth is clear.  My new plan is to keep running fast until my stomach says "no more" in what I'm sure what be a violent scene.  I check the watch and I've covered .2 miles.  Then .3 and .4.  Still nothing coming up and still keeping 4:45 pace.  The finish is approaching and I'm confident that at this pace I won't be caught from behind.  I'm shocked at how fast I'm moving and how pain free my abdomen feels.

What seemed rather quickly I recognize the final turn that leads to the home stretch.  My lead has shrunk but not by much.  I make the turn leading to the last quarter mile and start to push.  I check over my shoulder several times as I'm running down the home stretch.  The lead may have dwindled more but I'm getting close and begin to kick in earnest.  Once the kick has started I can taste victory.  And a bell pepper.  But that's what victory tastes like sometimes.

Eating and running is what I do!!!

15:56 was my final time.  The garmin had the course at 3.00 miles with a lot of 90 degree turns.  The garmin also had me at 4:43 for my last mile.  I'm shocked at how fast I just ran with a burrito in my stomach.  The garmin had me kicking the last 12 seconds at 4:04 pace.  Ricky Flynn takes second place about 5-8 seconds behind me.  He's followed closely by Patrick Morgan then Eric Ashton and John Compton.  Devin takes 32nd place.  Eating and running is not what he does.

Caitlin Chrisman won the women's race and had a few videos taken of the eating.  Here's a link:
Leaders eating. At 1:46 you can see me running and the chase pack
Caitlin finishing burrito while Devin still snacks on his

Big races are on the horizon.  In 3 weeks I'll be competing in Helena, MT to possibly finish the cup.  June takes me to Mt Washington for a chance at making the world mountain running team.  July takes me to Whistler, BC for the NACAC mountain running championships.  Hopefully my hot streak will continue for a few more months.  As it stands I've got an 8 race winning streak!

Closing Thoughts

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lucky 7's

Last time I wrote it was regarding a mostly unlucky 7 month period.  Today I write regarding a 7 weekend/7 race win streak.  Not too shabby.  The 7 wins include two Mtn Cup victories, the title of Carolina Mtn Goat, and a butt whoopin to my old college teammate Devin Swann. 
No Devin at this finish line yet
This past weekend was a showdown royal for the Hell's Hills 25k in Smithville TX, the setting for "Hope Floats."  It may have stared Sandra Bullock and some dreamy heart throb.  Jared Scott (last years Mtn Cup champ) and Rob Krar (beat us both in Moab) showed up and so did the heat and humidity.  The high's were 86. 
Finishing photo courtesy Rick Kent - Enduro Photo
What a handsome sweaty fellow in his new La Sportiva get up!

The 7am start kept the temp in the low 70's and the 3 of us ran comfortably through blue bonnet fields on a rocky single track and rolling terrain.  Half way in Jared made is move in response to my move... a move to sit on a log and pop a squat.  For two miles I pushed to catch up with serious reservations about my abilities to ever see them again.  But I caught them both on the single track and got to settle back into their comfortable pace for about half a mile.  Then we hit an old logging road and Jared threw down again.  This time we were going 5:20 pace I hung tight though and it paid off when we got back on the single track.  I felt Jared and Rob slow on the single track around 12 miles in and decided to push.  I opened a gap that I held onto through the finish.  For a 15.5 mile race the ~20 seconds between first and 3rd was tight.  It was my third trail race in La Sportiva's Vertical K and I'm now 3 for 3.  Ryan likey.
24:49 for 8k

The big Mtn Cup showdown may occur May 12th in Helena, MT.  Jared, Rob, and Matt Bryne may all be showing up meaning my attendance would result in the ultimate Mtn Cup throwdown.  We'll see if that comes to be.
Carolina Mtn Goat

In the Meantime I'm going to keep the consecutive racing weekend streak going for two more weeks.  If I jinxed things then whoops but I can't contain the pleasure from the two mtn cup victories and the Devin Swann beat down.