Monday, June 14, 2010

L10 Day 29 - Possum Ridge 5K


I flew from DC Reagan National to Louisville Kentucky on Friday, and drove something close to an hour and a half to get to Brian's.  He made me feel at home and gave me a room to sleep in.  I believe it was Sam, one of six children, who got couch duty.  It rained really bad in the early afternoon, but later it cleared up and Brian showed me around the city.  Somewhere along the way we hit a little snag:

That is the Daddy goose with his harem out front.  Undoubtably, these geese had migrated from Utah.  Below is the second batch that decided to spread out a bit more.  We've got three or four cars behind us at this point.

Then the third batch decided to cross the road:

After getting out of Lexington's city traffic we toured some neighboring farms.  And if you had only one word with which to describe Kentucky, let me tell you what that word is:  FENCING.  Mile after mile of it.  Double fencing.  Got a tree in yer field?  Put a fence around it!  I'd say there is about 12 miles of fencing per horse, and there are a lot of horses in Kentucky.  Perhaps even more than geese.

Even a couple hundred years ago, Kentuckians were obsessed with fences.  But, they were stone fences.

There are barrios all around these farms, where scores of people do nothing except paint fencing, or clean stables, or mow grass.  The magnitude of the industry is enormous - to the point that cattle and corn were noticably scarce.

After the tour, we went back home.  We had grilled chicken and salads and it was good.  We watched Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland ... and it was good.  The sun set, the sun rose, and so a second day.

Saturday (Race Day)

Okay, you couldn't actually see the sun.  First, I woke up before sunrise.  And secondly, it was raining cats and dogs.  We left at about a quarter til six ... running to Brian's truck in thunder, lightning, and torrential rain.  My mind bounced back and forth between "Geez" and "Epic!".  Brian drove us through that rain on twistly roads dodging turtles and other rain refugees.  You know it's raining bad, when you'd rather take your chances on a back road in Kentucky.

Twenty minutes before we arrived at Taylorsville Lake State Park, the rain stopped.  We were probably within the first dozen people there, and we got our packets without incident.  Right next to the registration tables were the park's restrooms.  These guys know how to set up a race!

Here's Brian and I in our pre-race photo.  We are each thinking the same think "Bring it!! Wit yore bad self!!"

I nervously went back to the head, and then it was about time for the race.  Brian started out really fast (8:15 pace), I started out at a non-crazy pace of 10 min/mile.

After about a mile, I passed a lady who said "Gonna set a record, huh?"  I spent the next four minutes thinking "Hmmm, what did she mean by that?   Was it facetious?  Was it a wishing of well?"  And so I continued with fog of the head until the turn around point.  I saw Slingshot Brian and he was walking, but he started jogging again, and I eventually caught up to him.  We jogged together for awhile, but he ended up walking some more.  Later he would explain that he had gotten all cramped up and tossed his cookies.  This is difficult to do, as we had not eaten any cookies.

So, I gave Brian some privacy and no sooner had I done that, than that nice lady from mile one passed me.  I didn't have anything pithy to say, plus it's hard enough to breathe through a frog, much less speak through one.  Oh yeah: 74°, 91% humidity, and a heart-wrenching zero-mile-per-hour wind.  Most of the race, I felt like an oil-slicked pelican in the gulf.

Anyhow, at 2.5 miles in, I passed that lady again and for good.  You gotta love turtles racing, huh?  I completed my first 5K race at 32:39 (10:31 pace) with an average heart rate of 160.  As far as I'm concerned that was right on target.  That's just where I am right now.  But, I hope to get to 10:00 min/mile by the fall.  I finished third of six in my age group.  I have to wait for the online posting to see where I was overall.

I know I didn't get any prettier during the race, but I sure did feel happier and happier.  Brian and I had each looked death square in the eye and survived.  Or, we at least avoided the meat wagon.

Despite having to run/walk for darn near half of the 5K, Brian finished in under 35 minutes.  His post race picture was perhaps a little less serene than mine:

We waited for stragglers and the prizes and awards.  I got fifteen Snappy Bucks, redeemable at any Snappy Tomato Pizza location in the one-light town of Taylorsville, Kentucky:

Brian received a fetching handbag, that brings out the intelligence in his eyes:

For me, the coolest thing was the shirt.  Just look at that beady-eyed critter!

I asked Brian if he wanted to go to Snappy Tomato Pizza.  He said it sucked, so we went to a vineyard.

Equus Run Vinyard is a nice place which we didn't explore because ... yep, you guessed it, it had started raining again.  But, we did explore the wines inside their little tasting house.  If you look at their website long enough, you will see horses and fencing.

I tried all the reds and Brian mostly stuck to the whites.  I liked one of the reds enough to buy a few.  After this place, we went to lunch and then a movie named Splice which involved a genetic freak who grows up and wants to be your lover.  Surprisingly, it wasn't terribly good.

That night I sprang for one-third acre of pizza.  Each pizza was about the size of a doormat, but hopefully a little tastier.  Then again, it wasn't Snappy Tomato Pizza.

Finally, the sun set, the sun rose, and so a third day.


I got to the airport early, and was listed on a direct flight to DC.  I didn't make that flight so they put me on a connection through Philly.  Well, that was delayed to the point that I'd miss my connection, so they put me on a connection through Charlotte.  Naturally, I get to Charlotte and find my connecting flight is hopelessly broke in Jacksonville Florida.  The passengers down there had de-planed twice for 'mechanical'.  Then, when their plane works, they can't take off because of weather in Charlotte.  Naturally, I had paid an extra 50 dollars for this abuse.  Did I ever mention that I hate US Airways?  They have some of the rudest people going.  I waited at that gate for over six hours.  And if that wasn't bad enough, there was a North Carolina Dance Theater Company or some such thing waiting there as well.  They were a couple of dozen boneless twenty-year-olds, huddled together like Bonobos under stress - all humpy and doing that mutual grooming thing. I began my airport day reading a nice academic collection of philosophical essays regarding the tenability of naturalism.  After twenty minutes of that Bonobo tribe, I bought a Denis Leary book about dumb Americans and their McDonald's lifestyles.  Naturally, I was surrounded by the Bonobos on the plane along with their loud-talker tour manager.  I end up back in DC at 10 o'clock at night.

Whew!!  What a trip!  The only question now is ... who is next?  What fellow "junior-class" runner in the continental United States wants a running buddy for their next 5K?  Enquiring minds want to know!

Here's that Garmin stuff you know I'd put in here:

When I got home, Tami gave me an official Couch to 5K graduation shirt.  (From here.)  Although I'd celebrated and made myself a diploma, apparently Tami didn't think I had officially graduated from C25K until I'd participated in an event with other humans!

I'm gonna take a full week off, and then get back into my running groove.  Ciao!


  1. Congrats! Can't wait to hear more about the weekend! :)

  2. Congrats~~ Can't wait to see the pics and hear a bit more about it ;-)

  3. Thank you for the full write-up plus photos! Looks like you did excellent for your first official race. Brian too, considering how much work has interfered with his training.

    Enjoy your new shirts and time off, you've earned it!

  4. Thanks, guys. Pam - please let others know about the race report. I'm not on facebook and all that stuff. Thanks again!

  5. A very late congrats on your race! I kind of lost track of folks while the forums were down. Thanks for the write up and good to see you're still running strong :)