2010 Mebane Dogwood Festival 5K

The Banner Says It All
(All photos courtesy of Elaine Brixby of Mebane Running Club.)

Date: April 24, 2010
Location: Mebane, NC
Time: 17.40
Pace: 5.42 mpm
Place: 1st

Jeff wanted to run yet another race, as he’s getting the “bug.” I remember what that’s like! I used to run a race (sometimes even two) just about every weekend this time of year as well as during the fall months. Lately, I’m back to my old ways. Yes, I blame Jeff.
We chose this race because his mother, Brenda Allen, and her husband, Larry, live in Mebane. We hoped that they would be able to see us run, but she had work-related tasks to attend to. She’s the director of the Mebane, Burlington, and Graham Loaves & Fishes. Support her if you can!
I was concerned that the race wasn’t going to be well organized or start on time, as prior to the race the registration lines were long and no one seemed to know where the race starting line was. It was happily surprised, and I am delighted to report that the race was very well organized, including wonderful support from the volunteers, local police, and race organizers. Well done! The race organizers expected about 100 runners, and more than 300 ran or walked.
I ran 8 miles at Umstead Thursday evening at a rather fast pace, and had a challenging workout yesterday with my PT; thus, I was concerned that my legs were going to be too tired to race. I ran a mile or so warm-up, and my legs did feel a little heavy.
I ran in my brand spanking new Craft Bull City Track Club tee, Nike shorts, and Brooks Green Silence shoes.
The runners lined up in front of the elementary school near the intersection of W. Carr and N. Charles. The starting line was very crowded, and teenagers, runners from the local running club, and a man pushing a double baby jogger (who told me he didn’t want to have to pass all of the slower runners), surrounded me. The race began a little after 8:30, and as soon as it did I was off. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get tripped up and/or run over. For the first mile or so, I could hear at least one other runner’s footsteps. I didn’t look back until the course took a left on W 9th St., and the next runner was a good 30 seconds or more back. The course was not without its challenges, as their were hills and the last quarter mile or so leading to the finish was a somewhat steep uphill.
I once again (boringly) led from start to finish. The second place finisher’s time was 19 and change.
I soon as I crossed the finish line and had my chip removed, I ran to find Jeff. So that I could watch his form, I ran  a few yards in front of him and I ran backwards. I heard quite a few remarks about this… I shouted encouragement to all of the runners, including a young boy who couldn’t have been more than 10 who finished just behind Jeff (whose time was 23.27, his personal best). Jeff told me that the young boy had started the race on my heels, but had fallen back as the race progressed.
After I raced Jeff in, I attempted to run at least part of the course again as a cool-down. I hadn’t run more than a mile when a runner said, “Are you going to help that boy who fell?” I then saw a boy of 8 or so sitting on the sidewalk with a woman who was taking his pulse. She said that she had seen him weave on the road, and then collapse. Given my showing at the Wrightsville Beach marathon, I knew what had probably happened. I stayed with them a moment, and then ran ahead, as I knew there would still be police officers on the course directing traffic. I ran to the first officer I could find, explained what had happened, and requested that EMS be called to the site. I ran back to the boy just as a police officer arrived, who informed us that an ambulance was on its way. (Anyone from Mebane who might happen to read this and can provide an update, please do so.)
As Jeff and I were waiting for the awards, a local reporter approached me and asked me questions. He told me he was writing an article for the local newspaper, and he was kind enough to confirm the spelling of my last name and show me pictures of my finish. Questions asked: How long have you been running? Nine years. Are you a member of a running club? Bull City Track Club. What got you interested in running? It was a way to lose 40 lbs. How many races have you run in the recent past? Far too many. What kind of races do you most enjoy? Marathons and ultras.
He then gave me a quizzical look and asked, “If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?” When I told him I was 46, he said, “Well, I have my leader for the story: How to Stay Fit in your Forties and Beyond.” Ha! I’m looking forward to reading.
I received a gift certificate from Omega Sports. An enjoyable way to spend a Saturday morning!
See What I Mean About A Crowded Start?
And We’re Off!  (Notice the Totally Awesome Bull City Track Club Singlet.)
At Awards Ceremony

1st Annual Spring Saunter

Finishing Kick! (All photos courtesy of Jason Page.)

Date: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Location: Durham, NC
Time: 36:57
Pace: 5:57
Place: 1st

Jason and Kim Page, proprietors of my favorite running store, Bull City Running (BCR), were kind enough to give me one of two complimentary race entries they received for being one of the sponsors of the race. As I ran the Umstead Run 4-miler yesterday, I had contemplated not running this race. However, I wanted to proudly wear my BCR racing tee and represent the Page family (mostly their daughter, Elodie) and the store. I was surprised that Jason needed to ask me if I’d prefer to run the 5K or the 10K. I will always choose the longest distance when given a choice. I wore my BCR sleeveless Nike shirt, Nike shorts, and Brooks Green Silence shoes.
My goal was to run sub-37 minutes. I barely made it, but made it I did.
Jeff accompanied me to the race. Shortly after arriving, we met Jason and Elodie. Jason informed me that he drove the course on his way to the start, and that no cones had yet been placed on the roads. As most of the course was run on a 4- or 5-lane road, we discussed how this could be problematic. I wasn’t overly concerned; as Jason assured me that the course route had been approved by the Durham Police.
The course was a simple out and back, starting on Presidential Dr. (within an office park) turning right at T.W. Alexander Dr., staying on T.W. and crossing S. Miami Blvd., the Durham Freeway, and E. Cornwallis. The course took a U-Turn at Maughan Dr. There were no cones along the course, other than those at the mile markers.
The race began at 2:30 pm, and I boringly led from start to finish. It was a rather windy day, however, and this did slow me down somewhat. Otherwise, nothing dramatic to read about here, folks. A motorcycle police escort led me the entire way, and ensured that any oncoming cars didn’t hit me. Thanks Durham Police!
As I first crossed Miami Blvd., 1 of 4 officers yelled to his comrades, “I’m placing my money on 199!” Yes, my bib # was 199. My first mile was a maybe too fast 5.34. Miles 2 and 3 were 5.50 and 5.59. I was having a hard time staying motivated to run fast, as there was no one close to catching me. My time at the turnaround was 18.10, and it was a good 90 seconds before I passed the man in 2nd place; thus, I already had 3 minutes on him. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers ended up battling at the finish, and they finished 5 minutes after I came across the line.
Miles 4, 5, and 6 were 6.05, 6.11, and 5.59. I have never been cheered on by so many runners! As the 5K didn’t start until 3, I ran past all of the 5K runners on my way to the finish as well. Again, I have never been cheered on by some many runners! As I once again crossed Miami Blvd., the same office shouted to me, “Thanks for winning! I placed all of my money on you!”
The 2 different start times of the races was such, however, that it made for a somewhat challenging last half mile. I would have liked to run the tangents, but this was impossible.
Just before the finish was one last uphill stretch, and then the last .1 or so was a slight downhill stretch. I looked at my watch as I crested the last hill, and knew I was going to have to really kick it if I were going to finish under 37. Kick it I did, and Jeff believes he’s never seen me run so fast.  I ran the last .24 in 1.18, which is a 5.24 mpm pace. Yes, my Garmin tracked the course as being 6.24 miles.
Jeff and I spent much time after the race talking with Jason, Jerry (another BCR who came in 3rd place in the 5K), and other runners. It was a very friendly crowd. There were plenty of bananas, oranges, granola bars, water, and other goodies at the finish. I won a gift certificate to BCR and a somewhat cheesy medal.
Two races in 2 days, and my body feels fine. I’m enjoying my new training plan!

Competition to both my left and right, well at least according to Jason.
“Gun Show” (I had to pose for Jason. Ha!)

16th Annual Run for Umstead

Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010
Place: Umstead Park, Raleigh NC
Time: 23:30
Pace: 5:57 mpm
Place: 1st

This is a truly wonderful run, and is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause, namely Umstead Park. Given how frequently I run in Umstead, particularly Reedy Creek, it’s like running in my backyard. I ran this race in 2008, placing 2nd with a time of 23.34.
The race began and finished on a “private farm” off of Reedy Creek, just about a quarter mile from the entrance to the park. I ran 4 easy miles to warm-up, stretched, talked with some friends (including many from Carolina Godiva Track Club), and hydrated. The race began at 9:45, and it was already quite warm, probably in the low 70s. I did have an opportunity to talk with Jim C., and he’s still somewhat adamant about me running in the Blue Ridge Relay again this year. (Jim, if you’re reading this, it’s still very unlikely that I will be able to do so.)
Tim, a 20-year-old member of CGTC took off right from the start, and I was just 10 or so yards behind him. I heard Jim say, “There goes Paul.” Since I had told Jim that I was going to take it easy today, I can only imagine what he was thinking. Ha! At about the half-mile mark, I increased my turnover, as it was downhill, caught up to Tim, and ran beside him. I wanted to see what he had before making any dramatic moves. We ran the first mostly downhill mile in 5.22, just about the pace I expected. At about 1.25 miles, just past Reedy Creek Lake, the uphill “corkscrew” hill began, and he put some distance between us, probably no more than 20 yards and any given point. I contemplated when to make my move, and decided the best time to do it was on an uphill, as he kept pace with me on the first downhill. I surged and passed him at about mile 1.75. At mile 2, we turned around and headed down corkscrew hill. Jim was then in 3rd place. Most runners (with the exception of my BFF Brian) cheered for me, and I listened for their next set of cheers to see how far behind the next runner was. I didn’t hear any cheering, so I didn’t turn around to see what was transpiring. Obviously, Jim passed Tim at some point after the turnaround.
The last 1.25 miles were thus mostly uphill. I focused on moving my arms, and this seemed to help. At no point in the race did I have the feeling, like I typically do, that I just wanted to quit. Yeah! I did get a somewhat bad side stitch just before mile 3.5, and had to suffer through it until the finish. It was a good 10 or more minutes post-race before it went away.
Mile 2 pace was 6.11, mile 3 5:40, and mile 4 6:11. Weird how miles 2 and 4 were the same exact pace run on two very different uphill sections.
I received a very nice gift certificate from Great Outdoor Provisions, a hat (yet another) from Insideout Sports, and some vegan energy bars. The best part of the race was spending time with my friend of over 20 years, Jill H. I hadn’t seen her in 2 years, i.e., since the last time I ran the race. Every time I see her it’s just like the conversation begins where it last ended. 

4th Annual Less Fork, More Foot 5K

Date: Sunday, April 11, 2010
Place: 1st
Time: 17:42
Pace: 5:42 mpm
Racing to Finish

Jeff, Tegan, and I ran this last year, and it was the first ever race for both Jeff and Tegan. Last year’s race was held near Cameron Village, was run on Oberlin Road, and the temperature hovered near 100. This year the race was held entirely on the campus of Meredith College (where I used to teach), the course had many twists and turns, and the temperature was in the 50s. What a difference a year makes! Our friend Patti ran this year, and it was her first race ever.            
There isn’t much to report, as I led the race from start to finish. The course started near the new Meredith College outdoor track, and the first (and most of the last) mile was run on the greenway. There was a sharp left turn just after the start, and a sharp right turn onto the greenway shortly thereafter. A eventual 2nd place finisher in 19.26 said, “I hope the course is clearly marked, so I’ll know where to turn.” Facing the course, he started near the left hand side, so that he could get quickly around the turn. I started on the right hand side, as I didn’t want to be tripped. (Been there, done that.) The race began, I immediately surged, and was the first around the turn. A young man, 14 years old and the eventual 3rd place finisher in 19.53, ran a little behind me for the first half mile or so, and then I no longer heard his footsteps. An incredible race by such a young runner! The race organizer stated that the course was flat. For the most part, she was correct. Having run on the greenway, I knew there were  indeed some hills.
My splits were 5:36, 5:54 (two hills), and 5:42. As there wasn’t anyone breathing down my neck, and as this was my first race after the Wrightsville Beach marathon, my goal was to finish under 18; thus, I was pleased. Mile 2 was run on campus, with a half mile or so on the sidewalks, and had lots of twists and turns. The course wasn’t very clearly marked either. Not complaining, just stating. The volunteers were very friendly, encouraging, and helpful.
Comments I heard from other runners: Wow, I wish I could run that fast. He’s flying! Look at how well he’s moving his arms. I knew he was going to win.
The race finished on the track, and we ran 1 and a quarter times around it. As soon as I finished, I made sure the volunteers took the chip off of my shoe, and I ran to find Jeff. He wasn’t very far behind!  The second place finisher had then just entered the track. Jeff’s goal was to run 25. I caught up with him just as he was entering the main entrance to Meredith. I didn’t ask him any questions, as I didn’t want him to waste his energy responding. I encouraged him to let loose on the one downhill just before entering the track, and he did. I directed him to lane 5 for the first quarter mile, and then directed him to lane 1 until the finish. He asked, “How close is the guy behind me?” I said, “Not too close, but close.” Uhm, the guy behind him wasn’t going to catch him, but I didn’t want Jeff to know. With just 200 meters left, Jeff kicked it, and finished in 24.10, a PR, and 10 minutes faster than last year’s race.
I ran back to find Tegan, as she was already on the downhill close to the track. I almost didn’t recognize her, because based on her predicted finishing time I didn’t expect to see her. Once we entered the track, I ran ahead of her. There was a young boy who was struggling a little bit. I told him to run in lane 5, as he was running in the outside lane, and then directed him to lane 1 when he had a lap to go. With just 200 meters left, he stopped, so I turned around, ran backwards, and I encouraged him to finish. He immediately began running, and he even smiled. I ran backwards the remainder of the time, encouraging him, and telling Tegan to lift her knees and swing her arms. They both had strong finishes.
I ran back to find Patti, and based on her predicted finishing time of 33 minutes, I thought I’d have to run up the hill to find her. With just 100 meters left, I discovered that Jeff was running with her. He dropped off, and I ran her to the finish. She also finished strong, and finished in 29 minutes and change, much faster than her predicted time. Well done!
I kept my watch running, so as to know what Jeff’s, Tegan’s, and Patti’s times were as I caught up with them. Thus, the Garmin connect includes running solo as well as with Jeff, Tegan, and Patti. It’s somewhat amusing to view on the player.
I ran the course again to cool down. The awards ceremony was very nice, and they also gave away door prizes. As soon as the announcer stated, “The next prize is a 3-month membership to the Rex Wellness Center” I said, “I’m going to win this prize.” I did! It’s valued at over $200. As I’ve wanted to taking swimming lessons, this is awesome. Let me know. (Don’t worry, Michael, I’m not going to suspend our PT sessions.) I also won a $50 gift certificate to Fleet Feet on Wade Ave.
This is a fun race for a worthy cause. The best named race, too!

Paul at Start
(Not sure why my hands are on my hips… Weird mascot.)

Running Jeff to Finish

Running Tegan to Finish