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A Flash First – Equinox Half Marathon

A Flash First – Equinox Half Marathon

Fall Equinox Half Marathon

2019
September 23rd at 4AM I was quick out of bed and feeling good. The weeks leading up to this momentous event were not without trials and tribulations. Training never goes as planned and when plantar Fasciitis reared its ugly head I thought I would be looking for a bib buyer at the last minute. But a couple test runs earlier in the week gave me hope that I might just pull it off.

 

Anything Missing?

My morning routine consisted of coffee first, fresh ground from Starbucks beans followed closely by a small bowl of raw oats covered in almond milk (30%). I had my fanny pack of water, gels, credit card, cash, phone and several tablets of Ibuprofen ready from the night before. I pulled up the checklist on my phone to make sure I didn’t forget something important. It has happened in the past where I rush out the door and forget my phone, foot pod, HRM – once I forgot my water and gels?!

Did you see any omissions on that list?  That notwithstanding, I used the bathroom and casually excited to my more modern F 150 pickup, put the key in the ignition and I was on my way to the park and ride. Green Events, the event organizer had arranged for school busses to transport all runners to the race start.

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Checklist

Dress
– Compression Socks
– Tank Top
– Sexy Shorts?

Pre Race
– Oatmeal
– Coffee
– Sunscreen

Other
– Water Belt w/ 2 full Bottles
– Bag ‘n TP (optional)
– Bib
– HRM
– Foot Pod
– 4 Gels
– Phone
– Ibuprofen (6)
– Cash & Card
– Sunglasses
– Sweatshirt
– 2 Extra H20 bottles at finish line

The trip from home to Poudre High School was uneventful, but interesting. At 4:45 AM all the cars on the roads were going to the same place. I parked my truck, skipped the porta potty and packet pickup and got into the buses line. As I neared the bus I remembered that my bib was my bus pass. Oh crap, I left my bib at home. What an IDIOT! I called Jan Baby several times and texted here but no joy. She was still catching zzzzz’s. So I jumped into the Ford and blasted home, running only one red light and doing a modest 55 in the 40 MPH zones. Got home, dashed inside and grabbed my bib, dashed back to the truck and on the return trip I upped the MPH by five and ran four lights; it worked. I got onto the last bus up the mountain, phew! While in route I pulled out my phone and added “bib” to my check list 🙂

Bus ride was a hoot. We were not singing songs, but we should have been! Upon disembarking at Mishawaka I went directly to the porta potties, no, I did not pass go nor collect $200.00. For you history buffs, Mishawaka was homesteaded in 1916, so it has some great Americana charm. That went smooth so from there I found a place to change out of my sweats and get into proper running attire; compression socks, over price New Balance running shoes, the briefest of shorts – sporting the Colorado logo no less, fanny pack with supplies, sun glasses and my favorite tank top in a lovely teal blue.

The final step before the gun was to get into the bag drop line. Green Events provided a honkin’ big box truck with volunteers stuffing bag after bag into the box of the truck. From there I spotted the 2:30 pacer about fifty yards down the road from me and the 2:45 pacer (Melody White) thirty yards up the road; a good place to get into the throng of expectant runners.

Looking at my watch I realized I didn’t have much time, just a minute or so and to my delight the race announcer got the race started exactly at 7 AM! Now that is refreshing.

I got off to a slow start. Bear in mind this race is 99% downhill, but not a steep downhill. I was literally just coasting along with the crowd. There was a racaus bunch behind me hooting it up AND they had a ghetto blaster blasting away. Looking back over my should I spotted Melody with her merry band of 2:45’rs. They were gaining on me so I picked up the pace to around 11:15/mi. I had it in my mind I would be doing 10:30/mi. more or less but everybody including myself said to take it easy at the start.

At the first pit toilet, somewhere around a mile down the road there was one runner exiting. At the second pit toilet, around mile 3 there were three women waiting. At the first water stop there were a row of porta potties with lines! Can you imagine having to wait in line to pee in the middle of a race? It was around mile five that I started to pick it up and got my pace down under 11/mi. As the miles slipped by I thought I was getting faster but when I would look at my Garmin it told a different story. The beautiful scenery was taking my attention more than my racing apparently.

Chevy Truck circa 1950
Chevy Truck Circa 1950
Zack Sanchez with Flash Budddy
First Glimpse of Sunshine

Hitting mile eleven was a joy. Nothing was hurting too much. A little calf tightness still hanging around and maybe some foot soreness from the plantar fasciitis – though by now I had popped a few Ibuprofens ;-P Every step I was saying to myself; “new record, new record” since I had never been over eleven miles in my training prior to this run. At this point I knew I was going to finish the race. I was still cracking jokes, I slapped some old guy on the ass and said; “pick it up old man, we have to REPRESENT”. He gave me a big smile and fist bumped me. The whole route, when I could catch up to some other runner I would ask them if they had seen the 2:30 pace guy. “some where down there” was the answer. I was mystified, I felt like I was going to make it under 2:30 but I couldn’t spot that dude anywhere?!

I was at mile 13 and I still couldn’t see a finish line. By this time a finish line would have been a very welcome site. No, I wasn’t dying but I was really ready to be done running.

Finally I spotted it. Looking at my watch I saw I was now at 9/mi. and speeding up. Entering the finishing chute I was flying, now 7:30/mi. Don’t we all like to finish strong? Apparently not as I was flying by other runners in the chute. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough room to get around ’em all but somehow I didn’t clip anybody and made it over the finish line in 2:28:11. See, I was under 2:30. Where was that 2:30 pacer? I didn’t realize that I had passed him at the finish until my wife showed me the photos she had taken. You could just see my shoe in front of him.

Lauren Prince came up to congratulate me, I got a hug and wondered what my wife must be thinking when she’s right behind me watching me hug this tall slender athletic college aged woman. Turns out they had met on the bus and thus acquainted – phew! . I was taken aback by her interest in an old and slow guy like me. Lauren is a real runner! I had met here on one of the Wednesday morning Fort Collins Running Club Riverbend Ponds runs. She was chatty, a college student working on her doctorate as I recall, and able to handle the 10:30 Riverbend Ponds pace. Following her on Strava I discovered she is the real deal; a multi sport athlete turning in amazing results.

Next up was the donut line. Greedy as usual I filled my plate with strawberry filled, lemon filled and and old fashioned donut. Horse & Dragon Brewing Company was on hand to quench thirsts, though I ran into a little interference trying to fill my commemorative cup with one of their brews. I ran into the ID Nazi! “Where’s your ID tag sir? You have to have a tag to get beer!” Seriously? Look at me, how hold do I look to you? “It’s a rule”. I reply; “What is the reason for the rule, aren’t there generally reasons for rules?”. Confidently I explained to her that I was going to use my ugly face as an ID and see. She actually followed me along in the line to the point where the beer meister eagerly filled my cup and she didn’t quite know what to do at that point.

The after party was great. My favorite irreverent group was playing and announcing results. This events has an amazing group of sponsors and holy cow, the shear number of smiling helpful volunteers was amazing, except for the ID Nazi, she wasn’t smiling.

One of my favorite Strava followers Zack Sanchez strolled by and I shouted out to get his attention. This guy amazes me. He started running a few months prior and was running twelve minute miles. He finished his first half marathon with a blistering 9:30/mi. pace. He just keep getting faster. I expect he’ll be in the eights by next month.

Colorado Run 10K 2019

Colorado Run 10K 2019

Just under 300 runners participated in the Colorado Run 10K this 2019 Memorial Day. I was lucky enough to be one of them. This was my third 10K in the last year or so. I had run 10K’s previously but that was BK (before kids) over 25 years ago! It took me long time to get my distance back up to 10K. Heck, 5K seemed like a long long way to be running hard. I ran this race last year and managed to complete it in 1:12:51. The time didn’t matter, just finishing the race was what it was all about for me.

While I’m on the subject of last year’s Colorado Run 10K, I want to give a shout out to Ross, my impromptu running partner. I didn’t know Ross before the race and chugging along Overland Trail I came up from behind him. He was the oldest looking guy around, I was hoping he was older then me. Being the oldest guy at a race gets weary. Turns out Ross was 82; sixteen years older then I. Ross was wearing a pair of American flag running short and as I pulled along side I told him: “I was going to wear my flag shorts but didn’t want to be the only one”. He ignored me. That didn’t stop me from a few more quips whereupon he slowly started to crack a smile. As we ascended Maniac Mountain Ross would coach me on where to run and where to walk for best results. We hung together for the first half of the race and chatted the whole time. At the top of the hill water station I had a cup and then surged ahead taking full advantage of the downhills. I’ve been looking for Ross at every race I run but haven’t found him yet. If you see Ross, tell him Flash says “Hey!, come run the Fireworks 5K. I’ll be the old guy in the American flag shorts!”.

The weeks coming up to this race ended up being pretty stressful. I had strained a calf muscle a couple months earlier. At a Tuesday Night Track (TNT) session I was able to test it out. A-OK. Remembering the vicious nature of the hills that I’d be running I had added a three mile workout using the hills of the race for my run. That ended up hurting my hamstrings – ERGO I’m instantly back on the defensive. I kept wondering if I’d be able to survive the hill portion or would my hammys blow up? Add to that waking up with a headache and generally feeling like crap. I did some quick research online and decided popping a couple ibuprofen wouldn’t poison my liver or kidneys and may help get me to and through the race.

With a minute to go I got into the middle of the start que, right behind Crisann Becker. It was good to see a familiar face. I knew Crissan was close to my pace after the season’s Tortoise and Hare events so I used her as a pacer for the first mile and then let her slowly get away. I had a blast on the hills since I had decided not to race, but to just finish without hurting myself. I ran the start of Maniac Mountain pretty steady, holding a 15 min/mile pace then decided to walk a bit. Greg Smith stopped along the course in the middle of his run from his house near the racecourse. His encouragement was welcomed and I was even able to increase my pace. Thanks again Greg! A couple young ladies passed me and we gave each other low fives. I got passed by a lot of runners. I had a feeling I would be reeling those in on the downhills, which was the case, though I never did make contact with Crisann. On the last of the downhills one woman and I had been periodically passing one another based upon the grade. I would overtake her on the steep downhill sections and she would blow by me on everything else. This continued into the finishing mile. I didn’t think I had a prayer to stay with her on the flat and when she showed up again I sped up, gave her a wild look and said some snarky think like; “Oh, its on!”. Of course I couldn’t maintain that and let her get away again. She looked over her shoulder at me with a huge smile and said; “c’mon, we’ll finish together”. That was really nice and made me happy though I let her do her thing and disappear down the trail. Greg Smith was along the finish mile and was again encouraging us. I was surprised to see my neighbor Bob working as a course volunteer right at the very end of the course. Thanks Bob, you did an excellent job with that flag!

I crossed the finish line with a net time of 1:05:58. I was very happy with that. My long range 10K goal is of course to get under 60 minutes. Time will tell. It was great to see my supportive wife and dog. We hung out and snacked on donuts, coffee, yogurt and orange slices. Gawd I love those donuts. Greg stopped by to chat and so too did those two young girls. That was very sweet of them and very mature too. It seems to me that teenagers have a hard time relating to old guys like me. Jacob LIAO ONG stopped by too. He had run the 10K as he recovers from a couple broken toes. I feel for that guy. He finished the Boston Marathon to come home and stub his toes, breaking two. Ouch! From there we drove Roxanne over to Intersect Brewing. This was my first time. I discovered great beer, nice venue and fantastic crowd – 99.9% runners helps 🙂

 

Fort Collins Running Club Homies

Colorado-Run-Awards-at-Intersect-Brewing

Intersect Brewing Patio

Post Race

I spent the rest of the day sitting on the couch watching tennis. For calories, I enjoyed a bowl of Costco granola with cashews, almonds and dark chocolate chips. I may have dozed off a bit and buried my head in my phone too. I use several running apps. Garmin of course since i use the Fenix 5 running watch, Strava and Smashrun. Each has their strength and weaknesses. Strava has become my favorite in large part because you can add photos and most of my running homies use it too. Running races are interesting. I always think of them as “fun”, but the morning before if full of angst, the race itself has a sprinkling of fun elements, like low fiving those teenagers and being invited to run with the woman who kept passing me, overall the run is hard and sometimes painful work. After the race is always a blast with the fellowship, donuts and beer. Reflecting on the day is completely satisfying and starting a new week with new runs, both training and races is exhilarating.

Photo Gallery

July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5K

July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5K

Flash and Jan at the July 4th 2018 Firecracker 5k

Jan Baby (the wife), Roxanne (the girlfriend) and I started our Fourth of July festivities on a scenic, flat and fast course in Fort Collin’s City Park. All ages and abilities were there and we took up our place at the very end of the start line; not the best way to start our July 4th celebration as we had to weave our way through half of the 1400 other contestants! I kept wondering how much extra mileage I was adding – how long would that curvy string I was running for a route straighten out to?! I think we would have been better off starting near the front and going out fast until some room opened up, then slow down to your sixties age group abilities. I was thinking about this as we first surveyed the start but the row of eight strollers put me off. I imagined they would fan out across the road, shoulder to shoulder and create the great wall of childhood. That scenario came into being at the back of the pack, so ARGH!

Jannie was going great guns and I was working hard to keep up with her. I was not on my game for this run, even though I thought I had done everything right throughout my training. I had to employ all my cunning cheats to gain any advantage. One of my favorites, cutting the corners with verve was proving to be quite effective 🙂  I know when things aren’t going great when I recognize that I’m not telling odd jokes to complete strangers during the run. I did blurt out to one woman; “I WANT YOUR SOCKS”. She yelled back at me; “You can have them if you’ll stop yelling at me!”. She had the coolest American flag decorated compression socks. Sadly at the end of the race, with 1400 people milling about plus all their support crews, I never spotted her to take her up on the offer.

We both finished in the middle of our “age group” pack. Actually, we were each one person towards the front of that pack. It’s not like us to settle for average. Jan finished in ninth place in the Women’s 60-64 age group with a time of 32:39. That put here in 812th place overall. Pretty impressive considering the sheer number of healthy young adults that were participating. I managed ninth place too, but in the Men’s 65-69 age group. Team Alexander finishes 9th. My time was just a tad faster at 30:59 and I had to go all out at the finish to make sure that old guy in front of me didn’t steal my thunder. Overall, that put me in 705th place. Funny thing after the race, that old guy sought me out to tell me how hard he worked to hold me off. He actually thought he beat me across the finish line. Doug, if your reading this, you finished in 32:09! See how delerious running can make you?

Snooze Eatery
Horse and Dragon Brewery

Next up is the Fort Collins Human Race, a 10K no less, taking place Saturday July 28th. We’re really starting to challenge ourselves. The Human Race is regarded at the best 10K in the Mountain West region. The event is hosted by Green Events and after having run about three of their events this year, I have to tell you what a great job they do. Each of the Green Events has featured chip timing and free donuts and coffee at the finish. They have a lot more vendors than the donuts and coffee people, but none of that other stuff appeals to me – unless the event has free beer! The Human Race is sponsored by Snooze (my favorite breakfast spot in town), Horse and Dragon Brewing Company ( I can vouch for great beer). There are other sponsors, but none that are more meaningful IMHO.

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates

1950 Colorful Colorado TT License Plates Arrived

Roxanne deserves proper badging, starting with period correct license plates. When we first met she was showing off a 1970’s Colorado Collector Series license plates, which is nice and they do have just the right amount of wear for a truck of this age. When I drove her down to get her registered in my name, they wouldn’t let me use the plates she came with. I ended up buying the Horseless Carriage plates – I think there about $12.00 for a year or so. I’ve been re-thinking that decision because those plates limit your mileage to about two thousand miles per year, and Roxanne isn’t exactly a horseless carriage. Horseless yes, but carriage? No.

 

 

Epay is the place to shop for vintage plates for your collectible automobiles. Prices range from $20.00 to well over $69.95. While there are plenty of Colorado plates, finding one with 19   50 stamped into the metal is nigh impossible – or so I thought. I ended up finding three different sets. I lost out in a bidding war for the first set, second offer was for one plate only and the third offer was for a set of TT (Truck Tractor) plates for a modest $39.95 plus shipping and tax. It was a Buy Now scenario and the plates arrived today.

The seller on EBAY was Tom & Margaret Boyd who goes by ‘licpl8s’. Tom it turns out is a license plate collector who happens to live in Boulder. Yeah, I lost a little respect for him just because he was from Boulder ;-P He is a bonafide member of APCL. Tom joined the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association in 1982 and has been active at both the international and local level.  He served as Vice President of ALPCA and was Editor of ALPCA’s magazine.  Locally, Tom was Secretary/Treasurer of Rocky Mountain Regional branch of ALPCA for nineteen years.  Tom has co-authored three books on license plates.

Check Out Tom's Ebay Store

Opens in New Window/Tab

Check Out Tom's Website

Opens in New Window/Tab

Old Town Car Show First Place

Old Town Car Show First Place

Drove Roxanne to the Old Town Car Show here in Northern Fort Collins – 2018 edition. If your new to my blog here, Roxanne is my new girlfriend; 1950 Dodge B-2-B-108 Pickup Truck.  Spent some time earlier in the week cleaning her up – got out the pressure washer and sprayed her inside, outside and underside. One doesn’t see much of an improvement but the driveway stains and dirt told another story. I went a little crazy spraying down the engine and got a lot of grease and dirt off – was a little freaked out that she might not start after water gets into the generator, starter, carb, etc. etc. so on and so forth… but she started right up!

My son Max walked over to the show from his Old Town apartment (he lives in a basement) and hung out with me. We enjoyed talking with one another and too with the car show attendees. Max was a good sport and tracked down a couple good burgers for lunch. I paid of course! It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to hear some of the stories car show visitors seeing Roxanne elicits. One fellow wanted to give me the original brochures and manuals he had from the truck his family moved from Nebraska to Colorado in. Their truck was long gone but the stories remained.

Rox Baby was the only vintage Dodge truck on display at the show! – Easy to see how she had garnered herself a first place finish in the Survivor class. The original paint, upholstery, even period correct tires with all the sidewall cracks you might expect.

Old Town Car Show Magazine Spread

NoCo Magazine wrote up a nice article on the show and featured Roxanne. That’s my girl.

Junk in the Trunk

Junk in the Trunk

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to carry all the odds and ends one needs given the limited cab storage space of a Dodge B2B half ton pickup. Many of the Guys on the P15-D24 Forum have come u p with some good ideas. Paul Flaming for example has a home built tonneau (aka plywood) cover that seems very smart and effective.

Tonneau AKA Plywood and Rope Bed Cover

Tonneau AKA Plywood and Rope Bed Cover

Long ago in my impetuous youth I acquired a steam trunk of substance. It has been a functional artistic decorator item in our home since about 1976. “Wouldn’t that be the perfect trunk for the truck?” I suggested to Jan Baby, my best friend and wife for over 40 years. She shot back: “It would get ruined in the weather and we need it where it is”. Thus began my Craigslist search for the perfect trunk for ‘ol Rox Baby’s bed.

If you click that last link, you will see that there are lots of options.  I’ve learned to take my time and cogitate on the options to eventually find something that suits my personal tastes while filling the bill of functionality. Several weeks passed and I started gravitating to vintage steamer trunks with the domed or camel back top.

I found a couple prospects. One was twenty minutes from the house and priced at $60.00 while the other was an hour away and priced at $100.00. I decided to on a rainy Saturday to email the nearby trunk owner and setup a viewing. My plan was to arrive and negotiate the price down to $40 or so dollars.

Norma was a delightful senior woman who graciously invited me into her garage to take a look at the trunk. She explained that it has held spare blankets for her bed for many years but didn’t fit in with her new homes decor. It was love at first sight. The lack of a key to the lock and missing side handles added to its character I thought. I held out $60.00 cash. No way was I going to haggle with such a delightful person such was Norma.