Monthly Archives: January 2012

20th Annual Run With the Nuns 2012

This was a nice run! Registered online thru, and the race was held at Bay Pines Memorial Park.
The race circuit is surrounded by trees, and right from the start you follow the winding roads that run thru the park. Which is nice for me, because looking down long straight stretches of road bum me out. The road is in good condition, smooth asphalt with concrete supported berms. The first section of the race circles back on itself, but once you get out a kilometer or so, it enters into the unpaved stretch.

The unpaved part of the course followed along a fenceline, thankfully there wasn’t any holes, drop-offs, or embankments to climb. There were a couple roots, but they were easy to see and accommodate. Having run on soccer fields the last few months I was use to the feel of natural terrain, and was able to pass quite a few people. This unpaved section seemed like it went on for a mile, give or take.

The final third of the race returned to the pavement, and headed back thru the area where registration was held, with a loop that ran close to the intercoastal, and finally finishing back in the parking lot. I really wish I would have had a better finishing kick, but to be honest I haven’t been training like I race, and that lack of practice effort showed in that last leg.

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Purple Stride 11-5-2011 – St Pete

Purple Stride 2011 – St Pete, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

This race was in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Network. (I had a few posts about it back then so I won’t belabor the point.)
Like the Celma Mastry event, it started at the airport, worked it’s way north for a lap around the Pier, then up towards the Vinoy, then back down to the airport.
The organizers did a great job loading the start box. They put the super fast up front, then proceeded to load it with people who knew what their mile average time was. So I was in front of the walkers (Yay!), and the race hadn’t even started. At the start of the race, I had a quick pace, things were going smooth. I hit a mental wall once we got onto the road down the Pier. It seemed like it was sooo long. At this point if anyone wanted to pass me, I had no interest in pursuing them. After the loop around the Pier I lost track of everything. It was like I was lost in some sort of running coma. I didn’t snap out of it till I was at the end of the Pier road, and realized the event volunteers were pointing at me to head north towards the Vinoy. I ended up pacing behind some guy, just to have him cut the course, and start heading back south before he ever got to the turnaround point.
For an instant I was angry, then I decided to it wasn’t worth losing revs over. On the return trip south, my quick start caught up to me. Several times I had to speed walk, before I could return to running pace. I wanted to have a strong finish, but even that seemed sluggish and slow.
It was my fastest 5k, and raised some money for a good cause.

Not a bad day.

Purple Stride 2011Purple Stride 2011 - St PetePurple Stride 2011 - St PetePurple Stride 2011 - St PetePurple Stride 2011 - St Pete
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Purple Stride 2011, a set on Flickr.

Creaky Bones VII 5k 10-27-2011

Creaky Bones VII 5k 10-27-2001, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

A night run that starts at the St Pete Pier, heads north around the Vinoy, then back down again to the Pier.
The race was fine, the race was fun, the race was dark. With it being dark, there wasn’t really anyway to connect with anybody and pace along. Had one guy decide that he was going to pace with the girl just in front of me, then he learned that he wasn’t strong enough to keep pace with her. But that didn’t mean he was going to get out of my way, so I had to run out into the grass to put him behind.
If there is one problem with this course, was the start. The start sends the pack behind the Pier for a loop, and it was a disaster. The street is so narrow, there are cars parked around the building, and of course you have people that are walking, or are running with their dog. By the time I got around the Pier, two minutes had passed.

There was a very nice after party, and with it being so close to Halloween, the event had a scary theme.
But seriously, that loop behind the Pier has to go!

Creaky Bones 5k VII St PeteCreaky Bones 5k 2011Creaky Bones VII 5k 10-27-2001

One Step Closer to a Cure 5K 9-24-2011

I’m back there, somewhere, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

A lot, if not all the runs are associated with charities. The One Step supports the cause of ovarian cancer.
The race set up was pretty nice, it started at the airport, made it’s way up past the Vinoy, then back to the airport again.
I started way in he back, didn’t really find anyone to pace along with, then kind of came back myself. The above picture was taken with a bunch of people, but they dropped-off at the halfway point.

Anyhow, this and the Creaky Bones was a buildup to the Purple Stride.

ok, so it's just a sunrise on Tampa Bayok, so it's just a sunrise on Tampa BayI'm back there, somewhereAlways behind somebodyCelma Mastry One Step Closer to the Cure 5k

SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Race Series (2011)

I could break all three of these events into individual write-ups, but they would all be the same. Ran in the sand.

Well, there is a bit more to it than that. It’s summertime in Florida! It’s hot, there is no shade, no matter which the wind blows, it’s hot air. About the only thing that changes is how bad the wind blows.

All the races are hard, they are hot, and it’s fun.

There is something about overcoming the heat that makes it worthwhile.

Running into the wind is an issue for me.SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Race #1 (2011)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Race #1SPRR St Pete Beach Race #1SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Race #2 2011
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The St Pete GP 5k 3-25-2011

2011 St Pete GP 5k, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

There was another huge gap where I was not able to run, or run races for that matter. It’s not worth even mentioning what the obstacle was.

I decided that my next race was going to be the 5k associated with the Indycar race held here in St Pete. The course starts at the Vinoy, then heads down to the airport and back. The nice part is that most of the course is on the actual Indycar racetrack!

It was a large group of entrants, 640 or so, and again having been off for so long, I started from the rear. Mistake.

Many of the entrants, were in fact walkers. People just walking the course, and it seemed like I was behind all of them. (if you look at the set below, you’ll see a picture of me with my arms up and I’m griping.)

The first kilometer is spent just getting down to the course. but once on it, my knees were in Heaven. So smooth & flat.

The walkers were out of the way, a little mental obstacle, because now you are able to see the runways, and pit road, and it seems so long. There wasn’t really anyone to match pace with, so I just tried to keep this one big guy in eyesight. I figured if I could catch him in the last few blocks, I could beat him at the end.

But about the time I formulate that race plan, he pulled up. He had been pushing himself too hard, and now he couldn’t move another inch. He wasn’t even walking. (I’m sure he was all right, because he kind of glared at me when I lumbered past.) So I kept on going.
Once off the track, it was a few blocks till we hit the brick road in front of the Vinoy. Not so pleased, because brick roads are not flat. So each step with my arthritic knees was measured. The fantastic part to all this was that my family came along, and my daughter ran out onto the course for the finish. My time was good, my place was fine. Not much in the way of oncourse battles.

This would pretty much be the kickoff for my current era of running. Enter more events, run more on my own, stuff like that.

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2011 St Pete GP 5k, a set on Flickr.

The Return to Racing (2010)

I had gotten back to running the streets, but not running races.
There were several reasons why wasn’t running races, one excuse was work, and the other was races I had entered before were no longer being held.

By the time I got sick of making excuses, it was summetime, and not many races are held in the summer (in Florida). But I did enough google searching to come across the St Pete Road Runners Group (SPRR), and discovered that they had a three race summer beach series.

On race day/evening I went to the beach and signed up to run the races, and found out that they actually run ON THE BEACH! Unlike the St Pete Beach Classic which is run on the streets. Oh well, what’s the worse that can happen? I was at the beach, I love the beach!

So I took up my usual spot in the back, just in front of a woman pushing a three-child jogger stroller.

The race starts, I put my headphones on, and about a hundred yards down the beach I start hearing things in the music that I had never heard before. So weird, it was a song I had listened to over & over, yet had never heard that backing vocal. Out of the corner of my eye, I realize something in the water next to me, I look over, and it is the woman with the triple jogger/stroller, and she is yelling at me to get out of her way!

It wasn’t the song I heard, it was her yelling at me. She was passing me, and pushing three kids through the water! God I’m slow.

There isn’t too much else to the race I remember. It seemed like I was passed by everyone. Running in the sand is hard. With each push-off your foot sinks a quarter-of-an-inch, there is a breeze that always seems to push you backwards, even though it is coming from behind 50% of the time. There were a few times I had to walk.

The start/finish line is in the same place, so you run down the beach and then back to the finish line. It’s exciting when you see competitors going in the opposite direction, you think “wow, the turnaround point must be right up here.” It’s not.

By the time the turnaround point comes into view, my spirit is broken. The lady with the three kids has long since passed me in the opposite direction, my legs are tired, and I still have to run back.

I do eventually finish, and people that had already finished were great and rooted for us late finishers. Afterwards was a little postrace beer & snacks, and post race awards were handed out. The SPRR group is a nice community and the folks all seem to know each other.

My time was in between my time for the St Pete Bowl and the St Pete Beach Classic. Ok, so maybe I’m not that slow. Heck there were times I had walked, and I had still run faster than my first 5k!

A few days later I would come down with strep throat, and it destroyed me. I wouldn’t be able to race the final two races of the beach series.

SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (race 1)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (Race 1)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (race 1)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (race 1)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (race 1)SPRR St Pete Beach 5k Series Races (race 1)

The Running Gap 2009-2010

Purple Toenails from Running, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

After the St Pete Beach Classic, there is a huge gap with the running.
It was a combination of events, work, family, but mainly being diagnosed with arthritis in my knees.
I had an event at the gym that caused my knee to swell, and took it to the doctor. After scans, I was diagnosed with arthritis, and advised not to run anymore.
So for the longest time I didn’t run. At the gym I would use an elliptical, and that was it. I was able to build up a lot of time and pace on the elliptical, and after a long while realized that the swelling and pain from arthritis was manageable/bearable.
This went on till the middle of 2010. After a few experimental runs, I realized I was able to still run. The economy was bad, so I dropped the gym membership, bought some Nike+ gear, and began to run the streets again.

St Pete Beach Classic 1-21-2009

Run Fatboy, Run!, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

Having had some fun at my first race, I quickly found & entered my second race. The St Pete Beach Classic.
The St Pete Beach Classic was a two part race, a 5k and a 10k. You could enter one or the other, or both also known as the “Duo.”
I chose to run only the 5k.
It was a freezing cold morning, finding a parking place was a debacle, many of the store parking lots won’t let you park, which makes things hard. Pretty much by the time I found a spot, and got back to the startline, the race was ready to go.
I don’t remember anything from the start, I remember a little from the middle like noticing that I fell into a group all running the same pace. Like my first race I made a note of those who I was running with, and tried to find somebody to mentally compete with.
There was one guy wearing all black that would speed-up & slow down, so there were times I would see him, and times I wouldn’t.
A curious part about the St Pete Beach Classic is you start the race on Gulf Boulevard, but you finish the race in the parking lot of the St Pete beach Sirata. So as I came down Gulf Boulevard, I figured the race was just a few feet from being done, but that’s when I realized the crowd was screaming to turn and run up into the parking lot, and there it was the “Finish” line! It was maybe 50 yards away, but I had no gas left in my tank, but I realized that the guy in all black was right there, so my mind used that as inspiration to sprint the last 50 yards.

I had run a minute and a half faster than my St Pete Bowl time, had a few on course battles, had a couple post race beers, and felt good.

St Pete Beach Classic RunRun Fatboy, Run!Run Fatboy, Run!Run Fatboy, Run!St Pete Beach Classic 10K startMALE AGE GROUP: 45-49
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St Pete Beach Classic Run 2009, a set on Flickr.

I’ve Been Running a While Now

floating, originally uploaded by porkfork6.

This picture is from my very first 5k I entered, it was the St Pete Bowl December 20, 2008.

I wasn’t really planning on entering races or doing a lot of running. I had just switched to doing more cardio in the gym and I was having high blood pressure problems. So I thought for giggles that I would try to run a race, and see if I could even finish.

I wasn’t doing any actual running, just Stairmaster and treadmill stuff at the gym.

I don’t remember a great deal from that day, a case of the nerves, is my paperwork straight? will I be able to stay out of everybodies way? will I die along the way? Before the start people were stretching, people were running and warming up all over the place. Heck I didn’t want to run one inch before the race. (I didn’t want to wear myself out.)

It was a very foggy morning in downtown St Pete. The start of the race was at Tropicana Field (where the Devil Rays play), the race would head down towards the Vinoy, and finish at Ferg’s Bar just a few blocks away from the Trop.

When it came time to race, I assumed a position in the back, since I didn’t want to be in anyones way. A lot of people broke away really fast, and I lumbered along blindly feeling uncomfortable to find my pace. People were passing me, I was passing people, I would come up on people walking, they would see me going by, and they would begin running again. Strange.

People I didn’t know were making it a point to stay ahead of me! That means they were racing me. Strange. As the race goes on, I find myself mixed in with people all running the same pace, and made a mental note of what they are wearing, wondering how old they are, making decisions on whether to pass, or follow.

As the race goes on, I realize I have no idea how far I have gone, or how much is left. I know that we are heading back towards Ferg’s, but it’s so foggy, I have no idea how far away that is.

A few blocks from the finish, I begin to make out the finish banner in the street, but it felt a hundred miles away, but I looked around and saw some of the same people running as before, but they were picking up speed. So I increased my speed. I wasn’t going to die! With about two blocks left, I really opened up my stride, and hastened my pace. Boom, strong finish. It took me 28 minutes. Not good, not bad for having never run a street race before.

Afterwards, had some breakfast and beers at Ferg’s. Not a bad experience.

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St Pete Bowl 5KSt Pete Bowl 5KfloatingI'm behind and to the rightJust a little closerThat's my arm finishing to the right of her

St Pete Bowl 5K, a set on Flickr.