Race #28 – Run for the Money 5k – Gastonia, NC – 04/18/09

This was my 28th race since I began running last September, but my very first race in my home town of Gastonia, North Carolina. It was exciting to finally run a race in Gastonia, and for the third time in my last three 5k races I again broke my personal record, this time at 22:15, finishing 72nd overall out of 750 runners. Sadly for me, although I had the fastest time among the 55-59 year-old runners, this race had 10-year age groups and a bunch of guys 50-54 outran me so I ended up in 8th place of 35 runners in the 50-59 age group. You know me — I’m not one to complain (just kiddin’) — but save the 10-year age groups for races with 75 people in them, not the ones with 750 runners!
Just to get all of the bad stuff out of the way at the beginning, the one other problem with this otherwise excellent race was that there was no after-race food for the runners. Hey, we’ve come to expect that little perk and this was the first race in 28 races that had zero food.
Other than those two little annoyances, the race was really good and the atmosphere surrounding the race and the entertainment were excellent. There was a karaoke contest, a New Orleans style jazz band, a symphony by a bunch of little violin-playing kids, about 40 tents mostly with information about various Gaston County organizations, and probably quite a bit of other stuff I missed.
The course of the race wound its way through the historic Yorkchester neighborhood. There were a lot of turns and quite a few hills but it was a nice route overall. About a half mile from the finish we shared the course with people from the fun walk who the runners had to dodge, but I didn’t see anybody get mowed down so it seemed to work out okay. The last part of the third mile was a long hill that was kind of a killer but it leveled off for the last tenth of a mile. I managed to pass Jerry Sofley, a great over-60 runner who I followed the whole race because I knew if I could keep up with him I’d be at a good pace, and in the last 100 yards or so I passed David Stafford, another fast local runner and friend who I met through this blog. David told me after the race that when he saw me pass him, he said to himself that he was going to beat me or die trying. I’m happy to report that he’s still alive and he beat me by a fraction of a second right at the finish line. Next time maybe.

Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
5 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
1 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 77

Race #27 – Bunny Run 5k – Concord NC – 04/11/09

Although we were scheduled to run the All-Star 5k in Asheville this weekend, when we hopped out of bed this morning we decided to change ears and head over to the Bunny Run 5k in Concord instead. I didn’t have a picture of the race logo so I’ll take this opportunity to attach a picture of my 4-month-old granddaugther Eva wearing her bunny ears.
I think all of that running I’ve been doing in Asheville is starting to pay off because the considerable number of hills didn’t seem to phase me today, and I finished first in my age group and 24th overall out of 225 runners with a time of 22:55, which is my new 5k personal record (yay!).
In addition, as opposed to last week’s 10k in which I walked a total of 10 times, this week I ran without any walk breaks at all. It’s not something I planned really, but I just do these little mental checks often in a race and ask myself if I feel like I’m about to croak, and today my ultimate demise didn’t seem to be imminent so I just kept on running.
The age group awards in this race were exceptionally nice — a nicely engraved (and informative) plexiglass plaque designed like an Easter egg (I think).
There were some disappointing things about this race such as the after-race food, which was practically nonexistent, and the parking, which was probably about a mile from the race finish. There was a bus that would shuttle you back to the parking lot, but the weather was nice so we decided to walk.
The walk back to the car ended up being the highlight of the race. Linda and I walked back with Margaret Hagerty, a legend among senior runners. Margaret started running at the age of 64, and now at the age of 86 she has completed 80 marathons and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person to complete a marathon on 7 different continents! We were mesmerized by her stories, especially about her experience running the marathon in Antartica, and when we reached the parking lot I was kind of wishing we could walk farther just to hear some more of her experiences.
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
9 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
2 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
3 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
3 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 64

Race #26 – Black Mountain Greenway Challenge 10k/5k – Black Mountain, NC – April 4, 2009

I never met a hill I didn’t like — to walk up, that is. My thanks once again goes out to Jeff Galloway, thinker-upper of the Run-Walk-Run method that allows people like me who may not feel like running all the time to finish the race without feeling guilty about doing some walking. Matter of fact, it occurred to me during this race that maybe I should have left my running shoes at home and just wore my old walking shoes instead. As you can see in the graph below where each spike represents a slow-down walking pace, I walked ten times during the race.
Some refer to it as “Gallowalking,” and those of us who do it are sometimes labeled as “Galloweenies,” but as advertised, it not only doesn’t slow you down a lot in the end, it might also actually result in a better time than if you run the whole time. My time of 49:47 in the 10k was good enough for second place in my age division and is probably about as fast as I can run a flat 10k, so bring on them hills and hand me down my walkin’ cane!
But I digress. One of the first things that struck me about the Black Mountain Greenway Challenge is that there was no sign of the Black Mountain Greenway. We didn’t run on it, I looked around and didn’t see it anywhere, and I didn’t even see any signs pointing to it. That little oddity aside, the hills were alive with the sound of runners.
There were big hills, little hills, steep hills, crooked hills, and luckily for me, what goes up must come down, so there was plenty of downhill as well to even things out some. I’m not complaining about the hills — I expect them anytime I’m running in this area and, hey, it gives me some hill work, which I’m kind of too lazy to do otherwise. I mentioned to somebody the other day that I started running seven months ago and this would be my 26th race during that time, to which they noted that that’s too much racing. Could be I guess, but racing every week also gives me some speed work (such as it is), which I also probably wouldn’t do otherwise, so it seems to be working okay so far.
Despite not being on the greenway, the race route was one of the most scenic that I’ve run. The Black Mountain area is one of the most scenic areas of the North Carolina mountains and it’s a great place to run. The weather was perfect as well, with no clouds and a racetime temperature of about 65 degrees.
After the race there was free beer from the race host and sponsor, the Pisgah Brewing Company. I don’t drink alcohol at all so that’s not much of a plus for me but it seemed like pretty much everybody else enjoyed it. I do drink water, however, and was a little bummed that there was no bottled water anywhere at the finish of the race. There was some Gatorade in some of those big orange coolers like construction guys drink out of, and there was a water spigot (with no sink underneath it) that magically came right out of the wall inside the brewery.
After the race there was pizza, which is always a plus for after-race fare, unless it costs extra, which it did in this case, so I went the free route with the free fruit (bananas & apples), cookies, chips, and pretzels, which were fine but not pizza-level stuff.
Being an old folkie myself, I enjoyed the music of the old-time band, “The Pitch Slickers,” who played right up until the awards ceremony.
Oy! Don’t remind me of the awards! Once again the awards were glasses, which I guess is to be expected from a brewery, but please, I’m beggin’ you race directors, knock it off with the glasses for awards! Honestly, if I want another glass, instead of running 6.2 miles to try to win one it’ll be much easier for me to go to the grocery store and buy me some jelly, then when the jar’s empty I’ll drink out of it. At least I know that’s what it’s for. I’m never sure what to do when I win a glass. Am I supposed to drink out of it, or put it on a shelf, or what? Geez… Am I going to have to buy a new shelf? I don’t have room on any of my existing shelves. Furthermore, I don’t like the looks of a shelf full of glasses regardless of whether I’ve won them or eaten jelly from them.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 86

Race #25 – Kelly Guffey Race to Remember 5k – Dallas NC – 03/28/09

This was the third annual race that memorializes the life of Kelly Guffey, a vibrant 32-year-old who lost her battle with carcinoid cancer in 2006, with proceeds going towards a nursing scholarship in her name.
I was excited about running this race. It was somewhat of a milestone for me, being my 25th race in the seven months since I began running, but also it was the first race Linda and I have run in Gaston County (where we live) and the first one any of our kids have attended. We were thrilled to have our son Joe, who lives in Tucson, and his fiance Natalie, currently living in Illinois, join us in running this 5k.
After about five straight days of rain and the Saturday afternoon forecast calling for 100% chance of rain, the morning weather was actually pretty nice with a race-time temperature of about 60 degrees and overcast skies but not a drop of rain.
It wasn’t the most scenic course by a longshot and a couple of times I thought I might have to resort to some dog-kicking (it wasn’t necessary after all), but the hills weren’t too bad and there were plenty of volunteers to keep you on course as well as calling out your split times at each mile.
The professional photography from Candid Captures Photography is spectacular. Be sure to check out the photos by clicking the link below.
The T-shirts were great and so were the medals given to the age group winners, which were actually inscribed on the back with the race information and what the award was for. By the way, Natalie, Linda, and I all placed in our age groups and I had my best 5k time ever at 23:28, my first time under 24 minutes!
The food wasn’t fancy but was adequate and there was plenty of it (bananas, oranges, bagels, cream cheese).
All in all, it was a lot of fun and this is a race I’ll plan on running every year.

Race Rating:6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
4 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other

TOTAL – 88

Race #24 – Shamrock 4 Miler – Charlotte NC – 03/21/09

Try as I may to avoid it, I still look like a ninja (an old one at that) when I dress for these cold weather races. Although it was the first race since the official beginning of spring, it was maybe 37 degrees at race time, which is not quite warm enough yet for me to run in my skibbies. The Shamrock 4 Miler is also the first race in the “Run for Your Life Grand Prix Series Presented by Asics,” which according to the Run for Your Life website, consists of “the best nine short races (5k to 15k) in the Carolinas.” It was my first actual Charlotte Grand Prix race and with the big build-up maybe I expected too much, but it didn’t seem nearly as spectacular to me as advertised. Not that it was a bad race at all — it just didn’t quite live up to all the hype of being “one of the best nine short races in the Carolinas.”
Once again, the awards were beer glasses. I guess it’s got something to do with the Irish drinking a lot of beer on St. Patty’s day (maybe all of the Irish people are too drunk to complain about being stereotyped), but come on folks… knock it off with the glasses as awards. Watching 12-year-old running phenom Alana Hadley, who was the #1 women’s runner, walk off with a beer glass seemed a little freaky. Lucky for me (Irish reference again), I didn’t win one. I finished 157th out of 824 runners, which was fine by my standards, but in my age group (55-59) I finished 6th out of 17 runners despite cutting 8 seconds off my fastest pace ever and finishing the 4-miler in 30:33 (7:39 pace).
The T-shirts were nicely designed but just short-sleeved medium-weight cotton shirts. Since all of the Grand Prix races feature “premium” shirts I was expecting maybe tech material or long sleeves, but nope.
After the race there was coffee from Iron Brew Coffee, always a plus with old coffee drinkers like me, and biscuits from one of my favorite restaurants, The Flying Biscuit. Other than that, there was some standard post-race stuff like bananas and oranges, but nothing spectacular.
Just before the awards ceremony they gave away door prizes chosen somehow by bib numbers. Probably 90% of the people in the race left before then so it seemed that about 1 out of 10 numbers called out were actually claimed by runners. People do tend to leave right after the race so that’s not too unusual, but it does remind me that there was nowhere warm for people to congregate after the race, and while that’s not always possible or always necessary, it’s definitely best when there’s shelter available.
>> Click Here for Race Results. <<

Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
5 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 78

Race #23 – St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Run 10k/5k – Asheville, NC – 03/14/09

Oh… My… God… I think I’ve finally gone over to the other side. That place where the running fanatics get up early on Saturday morning and run no matter what. It was just a couple months ago I passed on the Grasshopper race in Gaffney because it was too cold. I’ve felt a little guilty about that ever since so today I got up at 4 a.m., coerced Linda from bed, and off we traveled a hundred miles through the driving rain to run with the devoted. It was about 37 degrees and raining at 9 o’clock when the race started, but we both lived through it and were happy we decided to go.
In the race ratings, beginning with this race I’m adding a new item: “Indoor Shelter from Elements,” which gives 5 points if it’s provided and 0 points if it’s not provided. Much of the time it’s not needed, but when it is needed it’s bad not to have it. I’ve seldom been colder than I was today while we waited in the near-freezing rain for the awards ceremony. It’s not so bad running in the cold and even the rain because you generate enough body heat to keep warm during the run. Afterwards it’s nice to have a place to go to keep from freezing or drowning or overheating in the summertime or whatever. This particular race started and finished about a block from the YMCA and apparently miles from the Asheville Catholic School that benefited from it. I’m all for supporting good causes, but how about starting this thing at the school next time so we can use the gym before and after the race?
The 10k course was challenging to say the least. The first 2-1/2 miles were almost all uphill followed by about a mile of steep downhill that had my legs screaming for relief, then it kind of leveled out for the last part of the race. Considering the hills I was content with my time of 51 minutes and change for the 10k. This was the third race in the Asheville Track Club Grand Prix series so all of the fast guys were there to put neophites like me in our place, but I was content with 4th place in my age group. Linda was 1st place in her age group (55-59) in the 5k and I think she’s starting to actually like running, at least when she wins!
Aside from everything being outside on a less than idyllic day, there were some nice touches. The long-sleeved green cotton T-shirts were great, the food was basic but there was plenty for everybody (they even gave us a whole bag of oranges and a bag of bagels as we left), there was a St. Patrick’s costume contest, and a fun run for the kids that included the mascot from the Asheville minor league baseball team as well as the chicken mascot from Bojangles. The awards included a $10 gift certificate from a local running store and a drinking glass from Highland Brewing Company. Huh? Seemed a little strange, and Linda was a little miffed that there wasn’t something with the name of the race on it and possibly an acknowledgment that she placed in her age group.
  •  
    • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
    • 3 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
    • 3 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
    • 7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
    • 8 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
    • 6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
    • 0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
    • 6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
    • 7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
    • 4 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
    • 5 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
    • 7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
    • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
    • 0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
    • 6 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
    • 0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 75

Race #22 – Alston + Bird LLP Corporate Cup Half Marathon – Charlotte NC – 03/07/09

The weather took a turn for the better this week, so I didn’t have to travel 400 miles to get warm. The 30th annual Alston + Bird LLP Corporate Cup Half Marathon started and finished at the Childress Klein YMCA, which to my surprise wasn’t one of those old buildings that smelled like my 8th grade gym socks, but rather it is located in Wachovia Bank’s corporate headquarters in the Wachovia Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina. We didn’t exactly get to run through the building — the race was outside — but the weather was absolutely perfect with early morning temperatures in the low 50s and a high of about 77 in the afternoon.
It was only my second half marathon, and if you’ve been keeping up with my running exploits (and I know you haven’t), you’ll remember that at my first Half Mary, Thunder Road, I had to use the bathroom at about mile 8 and finished in 2:01:05, so for this one my goal was to skip my morning coffee (what a genius) and forego the bathroom stop, thereby increasing my chances of finishing in less than 2 hours.
It worked! Not only did I finish in under 2 hours, but I shaved almost 15 minutes off my previous time with a finishing time of 1:47:23! No more coffee for me before the long races.
As always in Charlotte, there are a lot of relatively small hills so there’s a lot of up and down, but I guess that’s normal for most cities. I really enjoy racing on the streets of Charlotte, police directing traffic at every corner and drivers who would like to be hurrying along their way stuck until hundreds of runners go by. It’s kind of fun watching their frustration and boredom as we trot by, but I’m glad to be on the running end of the equation.
As you might imagine, everything is first class for this race. All of the HM finishers received a medal. The age group trophies were great (I didn’t win one, by the way). There was plenty of good food after the race in the Wachovia Atrium, which provided shelter (not that we needed it this time around) as well as a live band and a stage for the awards ceremony. Another great thing for downtown Charlotte was free parking in the two Wachovia corporate parking lots.
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
  • 7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 100

Race #21 – Ortega River Run 5 Miler – Jacksonville FL – 02/28/09

Friday was my birthday, so when Linda asked me what I wanted I was more than happy to announce that I had picked out a race 400 miles away for this Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. After last week’s bone chiller in Asheville we were both ready for something a little less frosty. The forecast for the Carolinas was miserable but Jacksonville was expecting a high of 80 degrees for Saturday. I liked the sound of that, and with the little bit of leverage I gained from it being my birthday, we were off to the races in the sunny confines of Florida.
We arrived at Jacksonville Beach about midnight Friday and got an oceanfront room so we could enjoy the rest of Saturday after the race and got up bright and early and headed for the Ortega River Run. The weather was as beautiful as the 5-mile course that wound its way through tree-lined neighborhoods as well as across two bridges that crossed over the Ortega River.
This was my first 5-mile race (you might remember I just started running 6 months ago in September 2008) and I was excited that it met all the expectations I had for it. My first mile was the slowest because of all the congestion at the beginning of the race and my fifth mile was the fastest (7:22). This was one of the few races I haven’t taken a walk break at all. I’m still an advocate of Jeff Galloway’s run/walk strategy and I’ll be using it plenty, especially in long races, but I felt so good in this one that I just kept going.
Almost everything about this race was perfect: the food, the T-shirts, the course, the atmosphere, and the crowd. The after-race food was the best we’ve seen anywhere and included (all free for runners) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, bananas, bagels, a variety of chips, coffee, doughnuts (while they lasted), and more that I didn’t get around to.
The one drawback for me personally was that my registration information was somehow messed up and initially I wasn’t listed as being in the race although my number and times were listed. It took a couple of phone calls after we got home but the race officials straightened it out and even took the time to email me afterwards and apologize for the mixup.
Linda happened to get a photo of me just before I crossed the finish line. The photo shows 40:28 but my official chip time from the time I crossed the starting line to the finish was 39:11 (7:51 pace) so I’m really happy about that for my first 5-mile race.
We both came home sunburned and happy from spending Saturday afternoon on Jacksonville Beach in the 80-degree weather and within an hour of getting home the snow started falling and we had our biggest snowstorm (about 8 inches in Gastonia) in the past five years. It was well worth the drive and we’re talking about doing it again (or one of the other Jacksonville races) next winter.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
10 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 100

Race #20 – Park Ridge Hospital’s Frostbite 5k – Fletcher NC – 02/22/09


It was a rare Sunday afternoon race, and to paraphrase an old Bible Passage, “Many were cold, and a few were frozen.” As a devout coward when it comes to cold weather, I religiously checked weather.com all week, hoping the Lord would smile upon us with warm weather for this race, but despite it being in the afternoon the temperature never did warm up — at least not enough the suit me. Temperature at the 2:30 race time was about 32 degrees with a 20 mile per hour wind, making the wind chill around 24. I’m not really complaining because there’s nothing anybody can do about the cold — it’s one of the fringe benefits of running in the winter in the mountains.
According to the race director, there were 420 runners for this year’s 17th annual running of the Frostbite 5k — 100 more than ever before. True runners it seems, unlike myself, laugh in the face of cold weather, and possibly also in the face of those of us who are praying for some warm weather to come soon.
We arrived about an hour before race time and found out there were no T-shirts left, and were pleasantly surprised when they informed us that they would knock $15 off the regular $30 (late registration) fee since we weren’t getting a shirt. The long-sleeved technical shirts were pretty nice but I preferred saving the money since I already have a lifetime supply of running shirts.
The after-race food was good although the line was kind of long. It was fine though since we were inside the hospital’s auditorium where it was nice and cozy. The 5k race was a part of the hospital’s health fair, which was also going on at the same time in the auditorium.
The race was the second race in the Asheville Track Club’s Grand Prix series and the course was tough, at least for me. I’m not used to the hills in the Asheville area since most of my running is down in the Piedmont around the Charlotte area. As is my custom, when the going gets rough, I get in Jeff Galloway mode, which works fine for me. I started out too fast, which didn’t help, and I ran until I got tired, then walked for 30-60 seconds to give myself a break before running again. I took several walking breaks like that but still finished at 25:29, which is not my best time but okay for me considering all the hills. Oh, I left off the part about gaining around 5 pounds over the past week or two after having gone back to some of my old eating habits, so starting tomorrow I’m back to counting points on Weight Watchers until I get back down to where I need to be.
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 5 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
  • 4 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 5 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 3 – 1-10 Other (3 extra points for discount on being out of T-shirts)
TOTAL – 87

Race #19 – Chase for Cupid’s Arrow 5k – Rutherford College NC – 02/14/09

Maybe I’m showing my age a little bit (there’s a scoop for ya) but this week’s trip to the town of Rutherford College, North Carolina (population 1,272) provided a welcome return to normalcy after the pandemonium at last week’s Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh. We had originally planned on running the Cupid’s Cup race in Charlotte but last week my long-time friend Michael Fox emailed me and said he was going to run in Rutherford College. Michael is the inventor of the Dulcijo and is one of the world’s greatest clawhammer banjo players (and the fella who taught me to play the banjo 30-something years ago). So Linda and I changed gears and headed to Rutherford College. The course was a challenge, with a couple of steep hills, but the run through the countryside (you can see it in the photos) was spectacular.
I stopped about ten times during the race to snap a picture. I figure I’m not going to win anyway so a few extra seconds shouldn’t matter, and in the end all three of us — Michael, Linda, and I — all placed 3rd in our respective age groups. That’s one of the fringe benefits of smaller races — a much higher likelihood of placing in the top 3 in your age group. So if you like such things as medals and trophies (and I do) it’s a definite plus. I think there were about 130 runners in this race.
The race was well organized, the after-race food was good, and the long-sleeved T-shirts were among the best we’ve seen (you can see them in some of the photos I’m posting). One other nice touch for us old guys was that during the awards presentation they started with the older runners first and worked their way back to the younger runners. Ordinarily it’s the other way around, and by the time they get around to the geriatric set all of the young folks have gone home and there’s nobody left but us old people. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we still appreciate an attaboy or two every now and again.
Overall, this was one of those races that makes me happy to be a runner.
(Race Results are Below.)
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 8 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 4 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
  • 3 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
  • 9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 6 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 0 – 1-10 OtherTOTAL – 91
6th Annual Chase for Cupid’s Arrow 5K
February 14, 2009
OVERALL RESULTS
PLACE NAME AGE TIME
1. Benjamin Canipe 17 18:04
2. Travis Franklin 15 18:16
3. Greg Kielar 16 19:02
4. Allen Alfaro 42 19:27
5. Mark Rostan 39 19:37
6. Scot Hayward 45 19:58
7. Charles Black 17 20:21
8. Jennifer Leone 38 21:31
9. Mike Flicker 39 22:30
10. Derek Marsh 16 22:44
11. Joe Kent 17 22:45
12. Shane Rooks 41 22:55
13. Rodney Lee 56 22:57
14. Jim Benton 55 23:03
15. Danny Dyson 44 23:24
16. Mackie Johnson 62 23:34
17. Joel Morris 52 23:41
18. Richard Watson 70 23:55
19. Richard Hefner 56 24:35
20. Seth Rickertsen 31 24:44
21. Derek McCloughan 18 24:47
22. Kim Oates 33 24:53
23. Frank Gentry 47 25:05
24. John Brittain, Jr. 45 25:10
25. Melvin Morrison 47 25:23
26. Leon Lewis 68 25:26
27. Amy Alexander 32 25:28
28. Jim Clark 40 25:29
29. Derek Dyson 9 25:31
30. Paul Mears 44 25:53
31. David Johnson 58 25:54
32. Emily Arensman 12 25:59
33. Lindsey Bakewell 22 26:03
34. Taylor Glenn 13 28:05
35. Elizabeth Parson 47 26:21
36. Hannah Arensman 10 26:53
37. Beth Roach 27 27:23
38. Jason Roseman 26 27:23
39. Melissa Littlewood 26 27:43
40. Foster Rich 10 27:45
41. Dale Less 49 27:52
42. Kirk Schwarting 22 28:00
43. Patti Griffin 54 28:04
44. Amber Allen 26 28:13
45. Emily Semmel 20 28:35
46. Robert Braswell 49 28:41
47. Jon White 37 28:44
48. Beth Kolb 30 28:50
49. Heather Wiatrek 36 29:03
50. Lester Copeland 68 29:15
51. Jim Gravely 55 29:21
52. JR Jensen 10 29:22
53. Jamie Reinhardt 30 29:29
54. Laura Roberts 25 29:32
55. Keri Anthony 27 29:38
56. Jerry White 45 29:39
57. Joyce Pharr 62 29:48
58. Laurie Toman 47 29:52
59. Amy Piercy 29 29:54
60. Danny Turner 51 29:54
61. Haley Brinkley 13 29:56
62. Tanner Carswell 10 29:59
63. Amanda Morrison 34 30:07
64. Melanie Mikusa 48 30:09
65. Andrew Call 27 30:09
66. Ingrid Anthony 25 30:13
67. Michelle Pazzula 25 30:18
68. Amber Justice 23 30:23
69. Wayne Thomas 43 30:23
70. Erin Byrd 23 30:44
71. Nancy Thomas 50 31:14
72. Kelly Cain 37 31:19
73. Michael Fox 53 31:20
74. Laurel Morris 23 31:39
75. Kelle Huffman 43 31:40
76. Charlotte McMillan 57 31:46
77. Carol Brinkley 36 32:23
78. Brittany Coffey 11 32:24
79. Katherine Arensman 9 32:25
80. Laura Justice 49 32:29
81. Kristie Compton 30 32:36
82. Ethan Thomas 12 32:48
83. Lynn Thomas 41 32:48
84. Karen Brown 46 32:51
85. Jim Cates 70 32:57
86. Catherine Lowry 44 33:16
87. Stella Turner 22 33:39
88. Wilma Bailey 61 33:51
89. Bridgette Blackwell 27 33:57
90. Alicia Mears 35 34:22
91. Ashley Simmons 23 34:27
92. Carly Raimondo 26 34:30
93. Becky Roach 57 34:47
94. Karen Rich 36 34:52
95. Linda Hefner 56 35:13
96. Teresa Pruitt 48 35:23
97. Cole Wilson 27 35:28
98. Lauren Wilson 29 35:28
99. Erin Leatherman 25 35:40
100. Nick Matzka 27 35:40
101. Anthony Cox 47 35:44
102. Lisa Wall 38 35:44
103. Erin Wall 29 35:45
104. Clementine Folan 13 35:46
105. Annette Skidmore 49 35:55
106. Teresa Clarke 45 36:01
107. Andy Lee 7 36:28
108. Dwight Winters 32 36:34
109. Steve Kent 48 36:44
110. Jordan Zuzolo 11 37:01
111. Scott Brown 47 37:06
112. Walter Pharr 72 37:08
113. Brittani W. 10 38:33
114. Mariea Brown 38 38:47
115. Peggy Mulrenin 52 40:01
116. Rhea Cooper 65 40:54
117. Danny Seagle 69 41:08
118. Tony Edmondson 60 43:58
119. Heather Oliver 32 52:37
120. Joy Garland 10 53:09
121. Jennifer Garland 40 54:15
122. Angie Alexander 34 58:21
123. Lynn Lawson 37 58:34
124. Tracy Oliver 32 58:36
125. Anna Jacks 13 1:00:17
126. David Pollpeter 47 1:01:03
127. ??? 1:01:09
128. Susan Pollpeter 52 1:02:09