Runaway Pumpkin - T-Shirt

 

13 down only 39 to go.

So, Tuesday I read a blog post that I found through Ultrarunner Podcast Daily News (yes – I read this even though I have never run more then 14 miles) that made me so mad that I’m going to start this post with a rebuttal to this jerk. Warning – rant ahead. The whole post is about how even though he is a slow runner he hates running with, “those runners” at the back of the pack. He goes on at length but I will just quote his second paragraph as it sums up the list of his complaints. “The back of the pack is filled with a different type of runner. The back of the pack crowd often sign up for a race without training. They trot along having conversations with the people around them. They don’t worry about form. Often you can hear them slapping their feet onto the ground like they are wearing wet flippers. They hold their phones in their hands so they can listen to their music without headphones. Occasionally, they will take a phone call and have a conversation during the race.” He goes on to lament that a serious runner such as himself shouldn’t have to put up with all this casual behavior.

Well, fuck you dude. Like you, I also used to be a middle of the pack runner who after a couple of running injuries and weight gain now find myself in the back of the pack during races. Unlike you, I have found the back of the pack to be a friendly place full of great people. Everyone runs for different reasons and I find your judgmental disdain for a whole group of people you know nothing about, disturbing. How do you know if people have been training? Why would you care? If there was no back of the pack distracting you from your serious run it sounds like you would come in DFL every time. If you are running a HM (that’s the distance race he wrote about) you should be able to hold a conversation for, at least, the first half of the race. If you can’t, you went out to fast. I have spent a lot of time talking to runners in the back of the pack and have been inspired by listening to their stories. The most common stories I have heard are from people who were running their first HM or trying to lose weight. I have talked to people who were coming back from injuries, a woman coming back from breast cancer, a 90 year old man and a truck driver who ran to undo sitting all day driving. I talked, for many slow miles, with a woman who was hit by a car and was just healing from hip surgery (maybe she was one of the runners with less then perfect form who annoy you) who was telling me about how wonderful it was to be able to move again.

As someone who has spent time both in the middle and the back of the pack I have never noticed that people at the back have worse form or flap their feet more. Paula Radcliff (a very elite runner) has awful form and heel strikers are in the front, middle, and back of the pack. There are more new and overweight runners in the back of the pack so maybe some of them don’t have perfect form and hit the pavement harder then you would like. Again I must ask – why do you care? If you are truly finding the sound of flipper flapping feet deafening, put on headphones. I did a music search for you and found at least 4 songs titled, “It’s all about me.”

OK – I agree that someone playing music without headphones is annoying but I have rarely seen that and again, it is not only a back of the pack thing. I ran next to a woman at the Tucson HM who was playing country western music for all to hear. It did inspire me to speed up long enough to get away from her. I came in just over 2 hours so I was not in the back of the pack that day. As for people having a phone conversation while running – what a great idea. Maybe next time I’m trotting along and can’t find anyone who wants to talk, I will call one of my running girlfriends and catch up. I can pretend we are running together, again. I don’t see how that is any worse then having a conversation with another runner. Oh wait, I forgot, you are against all talking while running. I have found the back of the pack a friendlier, funner place to run. As an aid station volunteer I found that people towards the back are often nicer, they thank you more often and slow down enough to throw their cup in the garbage can provided. I suggest that at your next race you spend some time talking to your fellow back of the packers. Time will go faster and you will meet some lovely people. I’m sure you would have a better time than you would have glaring at cell phones and pretending you aren’t one of us. Well, I guess I told him.

We went to packet pickup Friday. There was no line. In Tucson there was always a line at packet pickup, in Oregon we have never stood in a long line. This bag was chock full of stuff. I think it’s the most single items we have ever gotten in a swag bag.

Runaway Pumpkin - epic swag

Holy swag bag, Batman

What a fun race. We knew it was a Halloween party race so we brought our costumes. It was humid and I was having stomach issues again so I decided not to add a costume to the mix. There were more people than I expected at this race and lots of them dressed up.

Tim didn’t wear his costume to the race but when he saw how many people dressed up, he changed. I thought he looked more like an Oktoberfest bartender then a steampunk runner but while we were running a couple people yelled, “cool steampunk” and other such things, so I guess he nailed it.

Runaway Pumpkin - Tim

I’ll have a St. Pauli Girl

This course had more course support then any other race we have ever done. And they were all so friendly. This HM was a fundraiser for the ABC House, a great place that helps abused children. The head of the ABC House was pacing walkers.

Runaway Pumpkin - Hat

Cool pumpkin hat

The aid stations were closer together than in most races, almost every 2 miles. I liked this a lot because I try not to walk except to drink a glass of water at every aid station. More aid stations, more walking breaks!

This race started out on a wide gravel trail that fed into an asphalt path along Cheadle Lake. I was amused to hear them refer to this section as “singletrack.” Both Tim and me were confused to hear them say, “Be sure to walk only 2 abreast on the singletrack so people can pass.” We were pleasantly surprised by the wideness of the “singletrack.”

Runaway Pumpkin - Singletrack

Pretty

The race then weaved through some really nice residential areas and down a light traffic road. It was a mostly flat, scenic run. There was no chance to get lost as every possible turn had volunteers. They had local bikers directing traffic which added character to the race.

The started the race in waves, depending on how fast you planned on finishing. Even though they started 5 minutes after us we were passed by 2 speedwalkers They were in full costume no less. I couldn’t help but think, “WTF, we’ve been running for 5 miles, how are you passing us?” They were moving. Tim said he would stay with me for as long as I continued to run. A little after mile 6 I had to hit the port-o-pot and Tim took off. He later informed me that he passed the speedwalkers, but I never did. I did run with an adorable girl in a tutu who was running her first HM. She dropped me as well.

And right before the 13 mile mark was this guy.

Runaway Pumpkin - death

I always come across the finish line as fast as I can and then collapse in the nearest shade I can find. I am the spaciest, most incoherent person you have ever seen after a race.

A big shout out to Mrs. Kraut. Tim said it would be inappropriate to use your name, so I’m using your comment handle. I knew from reading your comments I would like you but when I saw your tattoo I knew we were kindred spirits. Sorry for being so out of it – I’m always like that after a race.

More people than I expected to expressed interest in the race medals so this weekend we (Tim) will add a link so the medal can be looked up by race. I’m adding a picture of this weeks medal because it is the coolest one yet.

Cons

  • They could have used more port-o-pots at the start
  • Some of the roads (not many) had an uncomfortable camber
  • Shoe timing chips – I find this awkward
  • It was humid (I don’t blame the race for this) just sayin’

Pros

  • No line, easy packet pickup
  • Much swag
  • Pacers
  • Well organized
  • Friendly, helpful volunteers – in costume
  • Great traffic control by bikers
  • Frequent aid stations
  • Port-o-pots at every aid station
  • Scenic
  • A good food spread
  • Chocolate milk
  • Long sleeve tech T-Shirt
  • Glow in the dark medal with movable parts

I really enjoyed this run even though it was so humid that both me and Tim got chafing and I threw up. This race would be great for beginners (they even have a walkers pacer) or anyone who wants a fun, flat, party race. We would recommend this race to everyone except the blogger who hates talking, feet slapping, unconditioned back of the packers. Actually, I hope he was at this race and got passed by a speedwalker dressed as a fairy who was talking to her speedwalking orange fairy friend.

Click here to leave a comment. I love comments.

4 Comments

  1. There are jerks in all sports. Always someone who wants to be superior to everyone and ends up being inferior.

    I’m proud of you! Great job! The doc made me stop running….again. I hope to pick it up again soon. He told me running is stressing out my body and right now I have too much stress. Sigh.

    I’m thinking of trying yoga. As you know I’ve been trying to lose weight too. I’ve lost 15 lbs 7 more to go to my goal weight of 135. It’s coming off slower now and that’s okay. I gained it slowly too…it took 15 years to gain and if it takes 6 – 9 months to lose it, I’m okay with that.

    You inspire me to keep trying. Love and miss you guys!

  2. Hey, a really pretty part of the Valley up there.

  3. Wow, I have a new running goal — to find that podcast douche in a run and pace off him for the first four miles whilst wearing my hotdog costume, slapping my big feet, and blasting a loop of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” on a giant boombox while talking to a friend on the phone about my cats. And then pass him.

    Thanks for letting me crash your party, you guys are fabulous! Don’t worry about being “out of it.” I myself was longing for the sweet embrace of either a hot tub or a peaceful death in a ditch; I was tired! I liked Tim’s steampunk costume but when he came up behind me at first I was all like ” whoo hoo! I’m going to get passed by a guy in lederhosen; my husband would be proud of his people today.”

    http://www.eraptors.org is where you can see my owl friends I take care of every Saturday — I told you I have connections!

  4. Well, I guess you told him! What a complete jerk. Makes me wonder why he bothers to participate in anything that involves other people. Perhaps he would be better off getting a treadmill and running at home in front of the television. No one to bother him. What an AH.

    Sorry you didn’t run in costume, because I would have loved to have seen it. Tim looked awesome, and I loved the guy at the end of the race! Very creative.

    I have to say, I don’t understand this passion for running, then throwing up. But I’m not a runner, so I’ll just assume it’s part of the running ritual.

    It’s so neat that you met Mrs. Kraut. I enjoy her comments. I love the photo of the medal, and couldn’t help but think that Tim could do some really creative bugs with those medals!

    Keep up the good work. Your 52-week party is truly an inspiration, Sharon. Hope we can talk soon. Sending you and Tim lots of love and hugs. I sure miss our Scrabble games!

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