Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Busy, Nerdy November

November was a busy month for me. The month actually mentally started for me the week before, on October 25th, when I ran in Willie Lambert's first annual "Rock Creek 50K" at Lake Perry, Kansas.

I had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night prior to the race, due to some fun family issues. While I was driving the 70-minute drive to the race location, I formulated a plan for my race execution. I would go out like gangbusters for at least the first 25-kilometers, and keep going like that until my "sleep deprivation situation" set-in, and crushed me like a soda-pop can under foot.

Well, the plan worked-out fairly well. I actually cruised and was well-ahead of quite a few faster runners at the 25K point, and kept going like that until about mile 18 or so. Then the postponed sleepiness started to creep in. By mile 25, there was no escape from my "trail torpor," and I slowed significantly. At about that point, Pat Perry cruised by me, along with a couple of other runners. I mustered my fatigued brain back to life, and decided to stay ahead of the couple of guys that kept coming into view behind me, from time to time. I held them off, and finished with a time of just over six hours.

David Wakefield ended up winning the 50K, and Kyle Amos was third male, overall. Deanna Stoppler from St Louis was first female and 2nd, overall. She's a dynamite runner, and did well at my Free State race last April. Trail Nerd, Sarah Sinning was 3rd.

The Trail Nerds did very well in the 25K. Rick and Caleb led the men, while Kelley Johnson took first place female AND first place overall honors! She is one fast Mizuno rep.

I have honestly never run on a more perfect 50K course, in my opinion. There were hills and a few long climbs (for a Midwest run), and just the right ratio of technical trail and fast sections to whet any Trail Nerd's appetite. The aid station help and placement was superb. The finish line food, entertainment, and finisher's schwag was just awesome. This race is a must-do for next year!
On to the next event:
On Saturday, November 10th, Raul & Nancy Flores and I put on a first-time race in Shawnee Mission Park called "Pilgrim Pacer." It had a half-marathon, 10K, and 5K. We did well for a first year event. We collected over 480 lbs of food and $880 for Harvesters Food Bank. This will provide over 2500 meals for the holiday season.

Jason Crosby, our graphic designing Trail Nerd (once again) came up with a fabulous design that we used for the event shirts. I think it had a lot to do with the large turnout. We also had Raul doing chip timing, BJ the DJ doing announcements and music, and gave away cider, hot chocolate, and cobbler at the end of the race.

Setting up for our 3 remote aid stations on Friday night and early Saturday morning was a real trip. I now know that the little wooden bridges on the Streamway Trail will hold the weight of a Honda Element. I also know that said Honda Element can drive up and down the 35% grade of an earthen dam. I honestly don't know what crackpot driver would do that, though...or would I?

The race pretty much went off without a hitch. The weather was perfect, and the Autumn colors were gorgeous. You couldn't ask for a better race day.

The day after Pilgrim Pacer (on Veteran's Day), November 11th, the Trail Nerds hosted a little 4-mile race in Wyandotte County Lake Park. I played race director, and my grandson and dog helped-out. Sixty runners showed up to honor our veterans and to raise money for the Nathan Jones Recovery Fund.

Kyle Amos co-race directed and led the trail marking effort, leading up to the race. Ten Trail Nerds participated in the initial marking on the Thursday prior to the race, (of which I was one). That was a good time...running with three-foot long bamboo sign poles at hyper-velocity on rocky and hilly trails. Once again, no one got injured or put an eye-out.

My Little Helpers.

As the race director's dog, Fester pulls double-duty, designing trail race courses and driving. "You call that driving? Bad dog!"

About Nathan Jones: He is a third grader from Gardner, KS. He had extensive surgery recently after his optometrist discovered a large white mass that was later determined to be a brain tumor. Nathan is presently experiencing paralysis on the right side of his body and his prognosis remains unknown. Nathan continues to make improvements but it could be a very long and expensive process during his stay in the hospital. His father is taking an unpaid leave from his job to be with Nathan but still needs to pay his monthly insurance premiums. Proceeds from this race went toward off-setting the cost of the insurance premiums.TRAIL RUNNERS ARE GENEROUS! We raised $609 dollars for Nathan's cause.

More information and photos are here.

Immediately after the Vet's Day Race, I spent a week in Texas training for my job. The moment I got back, I went to the storage unit to get supplies to set up Nathaniel's Run, a 24, 12, and 6-Hour Solo & Relay run. A few Nerds participated, also.

It was a Trail / Cross Country Run that began on Friday, November 16th at 6pm. The course was a 1.3-mile loop course in Shawnee Mission Park on grassy, rooty, easy to moderate difficulty with some hills in mainly open, slightly wooded area.

Proceeds from Nathaniel's Run Ultramarathon benefitted the Flint Hills Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. (FHTRC). The center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for anyone with a physical, mental or emotional disability through therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. Hippotherapy requires licensed and trained physical, occupational or speech therapists using the horse to influence the client’s movement, and combines therapeutic riding with formal therapy exercises that help clients improve confidence, strength, flexibility and balance.
This race was a joy to work, and I even ran a few laps and got to know some folks a lot better, because of it.

You can see more here.

On Sunday, November 25th, a few Trail Nerds participated in Lou Joline's and the Blue Springs Runners' "Dude, Where's the Trail?" run. This run is a "fun run," and not a race. It's suggested by Lou that you carry a cell phone, a compass and the maps, and go in a group. You leave with your team in wave start, and have to follow 4 pages of instructions and maps for the not-so-well-marked course. In this fun endeavor, there's a lot of bushwhacking involved (with no trail). Last year, my little group put in an additional 4 or 5 miles from a wrong turn. We did better, this year.

One big Elk.

Our team this year consisted of Kyle Amos, Patrick Perry, Trish Williams (for 18 miles of it), and me. Rick Mayo, Gabe Bevan, and several other Nerds were also in attendance. Lou had marked the course somewhat better than in past years, so we only lost our bearings a few times. The weather was almost perfect, and there was no mud on the course.

We had a really decent and enjoyable run, and Kyle got to know Pat a lot better. I got to test a new race food strategy, and see how my 100-mile training was progressing.

Note to self: Don't let Kyle Amos lead me for most of ANY 50K run. I'm not making excuses, but I had run the day before, so I wasn't completely fresh. But Kyle is a top-3 finisher in almost every event he does up to 100-miles, and he's also 18 years younger than me. I was really "feeling it" those last 6 miles or so. But it was still a great experience.
All in all, November was a busy, but rewarding time for me. It couldn't have been any more fun.

Come out and join us for a trail training run, sometime. The Trail Nerds have up to eight scheduled runs per week!

Happy trails,

Bad Ben
My photos of the "Dude, Where's the Trail" run are here.


olga said...

Man, that's busy!!! Way to go, David! And that "Where is the trail" run - what is it, practice for Barkley?
Ben, talk to me more about 100k, I am getting really interested. I sent you an email:) I wanna be a trail nerd!


Bad, bad, Ben . . . being so busy! What are you thinking? You must be madly in love with this thing we do called RUNNING.

Love the report. Look forward to your next event!

Topher said...

We had a great time at the Pilgrim Pacer! You sure know how to put on a great event, and can't wait until next year.


Ben, aka BadBen said...

Thanks, Topher. I was happy that it turned out so well for a first year event. And Jason Crosby did a great design for the shirts!
See you next year.


Anonymous said...

Deanna's right your one busy dude. Where do you find the time? I'd look like Linda Blair from the Exorcist if I tried to keep up with you. Have a Merry Christmas.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

I'm trying to get the picture of you (as Linda Blair) out of my head. It may take a while.

Anyway, I have decent time management skills and lots of energy. For many years (from 1976-2001), I had a job where I was on-call 24/7. I was called-in at least once or twice per night, 7 days per week. So when I changed jobs to an 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. semi-normal job, it seemed like I had a lot of time on my hands. So...I put that time into "all things running," which includes trail running, of course. So managing a few blogs, web sites, and group sites along with putting on a lot of races didn't seem like such a chore. Not that I don't get overloaded, from time to time.

Happy trails,

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