Thursday, May 26, 2011

Race Review and Results (?)- Corporate Challenge

Here's the thing about hanging out with a group of above average intelligence runners who also know that you write a blog and have written about them... They start to predict what's going into the blog. Then, for some reason, they start to behave in a manner that becomes blog worthy. I am not sure I can get them all in or do them justice. That won't stop me from trying.
  • Unbeknownst to me, but knownst to other people in The Cast, there was more than adequate chitter on what kinds of clothes we were going to wear. The location of said conversation, FaceBook. For some reason, the Cast seemed to believe that we needed to match. "Everyone else is going to match," they chided. As teachers, I thought we'd be above peer pressure. I guess not. Even after all the conversation, we failed. Pic to follow.
  • Captain PE wanted to meet at our 'corporation' 2 hours before the race time to carpool. I had 2 separate problems with this. 1. Corporate headquarters are in the opposite direction from my house and the race. 2. I have never shown up for a race 2 hours pre-start (This includes every triathlon and the Ironman). I made the mistake of changing the location of the meet up place to my driveway (I am lazy), which was met with no fewer than 10 new email messages discussing this option. The Cast is really into clarity.
  • Finally, everyone met up and we were off. In transit, Captain PE got a hoot and holler from 2 inappropriately young but cute chicks. As he explains it, they were on a bridge and H&Hing at anyone who passed under. I'm pretty sure that's fallacy. He's just that awesome.
  • I was reminded of the numerous errors I made in my post about the Cast. Specifically, the Little Red Haired Girl reminded me that I grossly underplayed her athletic accomplishments. In her defense, she's absolutely right and I find myself a bit intimidated by her. Not only has she done a 13.1, she was a member of the marathon relay and she has done numerous 5ks. To top that off, there are rumors that she has climbed Mt. Everest, walked the entire Appalachian Trail, raced in the Iditarod, and Biked Across America. She's a machine.
  • On our way to the race, the Real Runner was trailing the lead vehicle whilst we were on our way to pick up the Soccer Mom. The plan was to drop off all cars in one place, then drive to the event in a single vehicle, thus allowing the Cast to arrive together and take full advantage of the single parking permit allotted to the corporation. At one point, Captain PE was unsure if the Real Runner knew the plan. Doesn't the Cap, at a stop light, stick his body out the moon roof  in an effort to tell the guy (who is following us) that we will be parking soon?
  • Upon meeting up with Soccer Mom (whom I haven't seen in months), I walk right up to her with her matching race jersey. The first words out of my mouth were not, "Hi," "How are you?" or "Nice to see you." I choose, "Take your shirt off," which she dutifully obeyed and started to disrobe, no questions asked. How's that for Jillian in-your-face instructions (part 1)? I may try this approach on other women just to see if it works.
  • Captain PE lost his bib. Not sure how. Not sure where. He was responsible for handing out bibs to the rest of the cast, which he fulfilled perfectly. Yet, hanging on to his own proved too challenging.
At the Race Site
There were just under 400 companies represented this year. Most had experience from years past and planned ahead. They had tents, grills, food, beer, volunteers, support crews, athletic trainers, and cheerleaders. We had a tree, which was nicely provided by the Rochester Institute of Technology campus.
That's our tree on the left
No trees here

We were all standing near our tree when Pondering had the great idea of taking a team picture. Since we had no support crew, only each other, we had to solicit a volunteer. There were many nice people in the race and finding someone willing to hang out near our tree proved rather easy. Here's his best shot...

 From left to right: 
Soccer Mom (Christine), Pondering (Laurie), Captain PE (Scott), Real Runner (Randy), Little Red Haired Girl (Jen), The Banter (the Banter), and the Tree

Take a closer look at the picture. One of these things just doesn't fit in here. Can you guess which one? If you guessed Captain PE, you'd be right on multiple levels. The leader on the team didn't want to match. First, for some reason, his captain's status removed him from wearing one of the track jerseys. I guess being captain has its privileges.  Second, take a good long look at his bib. Let me give you a close up, just in case you missed it.
Sweet deal. Hand-written. Out-of-sync number. Proud captain indeed.

The Race
Not to disappoint, the race featured roughly 9000 participants this year. We lined up in a coral which was supposed to be seeded by minute per mile pace. They had flags indicating 6 minutes, 7 minutes, etc. I firmly believe this is a great way to organize a race. So did many other people, especially the guys and gals who grossly overestimated their running ability. Based on the number of people I flew by like they were standing still, they may have misread the seed flags. How do you turn a 3.5 mile run into a 3.6 mile run? Zigzag back and forth through a crowd of people. No running the tangents for me.

I had estimated that I could achieve a 24 minute run. Taking on extra distance is counterproductive towards the goal. I learned that lesson at the Flower City Half Marathon. That could only mean that either I was destined for failure or needed to pick up the pace. After deciding that 3.5 miles was well within my range of endurance while running hard, I went for it. I kept my heart rate near my lactate threshold (top of Zone 4, if any of my athletes are reading). Even with the extra distance, I nailed it. I really enjoy making my goal times.

Please keep in mind that this is an unofficial time. Or is it? Here's the deal about the Corporate Challenge and one of the aspects that I did not enjoy: We were on our honor system to report our times to the team captain. But, all 9000 runners were supposed to have the same start time. LRHG and Soccer Mom didn't cross the starting line for 4 minutes as they lined up at an appropriate seed flag. There were that many people in front of them. How disgusting for them that their time started long before they crossed the line! It only took me 20 seconds to cross the line, making my official time 23:19, which is still goal killing. In a world of cheap technology, I would have paid the extra money to have this race chip timed. Lots of other I chatted with agreed.

As predicted, the course was relatively flat. I thought that there was little to no hillage. Right around the half-mile mark, there was a larger than expected incline. Since this was early in the run, my energy was still high and tackled the hill with ease.

Upon completion of the run, I met up with Drew, the Vibram Five Finger's guy, whom passed me in the final half mile of the Half Marathon. In the Corporate Challenge, the tables were turned and I buzzed past in the final 1/4 mile. Revenge is sweet. It's now 1-1, although I'm not sure when we'll have the rubber match.

Post Race
Upon completion of my run, I made it through the water trough and went back out on the course looking for more of the Cast. I never saw Captain PE or the Real Runner. My guess is that they finished not far behind me. I did meet up with Pondering and we shared the final 1/2 mile of the course while she ran her way in. I appreciate how she unplugged her iPod from her ear in an effort to make conversation. We shared whatever chit chat that she was capable of, but she was having a good run rendering chatter difficult.

Upon Pondering's finish, I went back out on the course again in search of LRHG and Soccer Mom. They were looking good and trucking along at the (ironically) 1/2 mile-to-go, almost at the same point I found Pondering. They were running together and enjoying the afternoon. I settled in and the chatter was much deeper. With about 200 yards to go, Soccer Mom announces to the world, "I think I'm done." I have never been more pissed at one of my runners in my life. I yelled at her, literally. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? NO ONE IS FINISHED WITH THIS MUCH LEFT!" She took off and sprinted to the end. LRHG could not keep up and I struggled as well. For a woman who was done, she sure had a lot left in the tank. How's that for Jillian in-your-face instructions (part 2)?

Here's a picture of us post run, as taken from an involuntary volunteer in the parking lot...
From Left to Right: 
The Real Runner, Soccer Mom, Pondering, Captain PE, Little Red Haired Girl, and the Banter. 
Not Pictured- The Tree

After all of this review, I find that there was not much discussion about the Real Runner. He finished second on the team and was my big fear. In reality, he hadn't spoken much all day long. Of course, he's Deaf and does not normally 'speak' in the conventional sense of the word. But, I do find him a joy and like sharing triathlon/ training conversation. Not trying to be condescending to him, but I hope that when I achieve his level of life experiences, I am as active as he.

I enjoyed this event. After the race was finished, it was inspiring to hear the ladies discuss their plans for next year. We are so ditching the tree, getting a tent, bring a grill, and possibly some fermented hops. The ladies, upon their running high, started talking about their exercise plans for the summer. I thrive on this sort of talk and I was proud of my team. Should the Cast want to do this race again next year, they can count me in.

1 comment:

  1. You're too funny, banter. I need some of that technology you got. I can't imagine how beneficial it is, it almost seems against the rules. You're like a cyborg out there running! Does this mean you won't wait until the last moment to sign up next year?