Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Dirty Dash

Locally, there are two main running events that bring out the crowds. The companies that put these events on are looking to cram as many people onto a course as possible. The first is the Ragnar Wasatch Back and the second is the Dirty Dash. I participated in the Dirty Dash on Saturday.

Here is the description of the Dirty Dash.

This race puts all other races to shame.  The Dirty Dash is a mud run obstacle course where a military boot camp meets your inner five-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then…man to swine. 

You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud and a smile to show through at the end!

Let your inner mud-loving child loose on this course. It's designed in such a way that if you come out completely clean you'll easily be eliminated for cheating. A friend of mine won 6 free entries. When he asked if I wanted to join the fun, it was a no-brainer. There are two types of people participate. 1. Those whose sole purpose is to see how dirty they can get along the course no matter how long it takes. 2. Those who like the challenge of the obstacles but still have the racing spirit and drive to get it done as fast as possible.

At the top of the slide are people who squirt dishwashing
soap on participants so make them more slippery.
I run too many races to just sit back and get messy. If i'm in a group of people and someone says "go," I'm not hanging back to examine the scenery. This was the case for the Dirty Dash. I was in the 9:20 am group. When they said go, I went. The first obstacle was a steep hill that had been watered and muddied up to the point of absolute slickness. I ran up the side where the mud was least thick and some grass still remained. Upon reaching the top and starting on the course, I found myself in a position rarely experienced in the past—first place. My friend was in second and we both commented how strange a feeling it was. The feeling lasted for about 1/2 mile then a father/son duo passed us both. Throughout the rest of the course, I passed up many of the people who started at 9:00 am.
They were white when I started.

Throughout the course the were obstacles. These included a 1/ 4 mile of tires, 4 sets of walls within a mud pit, a rope swing, a rope ladder, a giant slip and slide, several barrels embedded in mud, a bog with water up to my chest at times and finally two big mud pits at the end of the race.

The course in itself would have been a challenge with the hills, but throw in all the obstacles and it was really tough. The majority of the people crowded around the shorter obstacles so in the interested of time, I went over the larger ones. At some point along the course, I lost my bib. When I finished, they asked if I knew my bib number or even cared. I didn't care. I finished under an hour which for this course is pretty good. After the race they had an area with water coming out pipes where participants could rinse off as much of the mud as possible. I purposely wore some clothes that if they got trashed, I'd be ok. My socks didn't make it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ethics in Course Creation

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that beside my running and pacing, I race direct a couple races each year. I also volunteer and coach on occasion as a way of giving back.

I came across a statement from a smaller relay in Colorado called the Colorado Relay that claims Ragnar Relays is stealing race routes from other races across the country including theirs. I looked at the maps supplied of the various courses and I have to admit that they look very similar.

I've participated in a variety of relays including Ragnar ones. As a runner, it is fun to get with a group of like-minded people running. It's fun to mix it up and test my skills in different environments.

As a race director, however, I know how much work goes into putting on a race. I've only done 5k and 10k races, but there is a lot of work involved. With my last 10k, I started organizing the race in October of 2010 for a June 2011 race. I spent a lot of hours looking over maps, working with local police and city, running the course, driving the course, etc. By the time the race happened, I knew every turn in the course, every incline, every potential traffic problem. The course became mine. For a relay, I can imagine how personal a race becomes.

These two courses look really similar to me.
The race director for the Colorado Relay claims that Ragnar came in and stole his course and claimed it for their own. The only difference is that Ragnar is running the course in reverse. In addition, Ragnar originally was running the course on the same day as the Colorado Relay. If I had created a course as large as these relays are, I would be very protective of my course. If a race started and finished in the same general locations as mine, that would be fine. But, if the entire course were copied, I would be steaming mad. While there is no regulation on how a course is created, there is an underlying code of ethics involved. When I run races, I am always looking at how the course is set up, what vendors they have, etc.

Ragnar is a large enough company that there is no need to use an already created course. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this. Is it flattery that a large company is using a route already created and running or are they just being too lazy to create their own unique course?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Know You're a Runner with ADD When....

Are you a runner with ADD? Here are some warning signs.

You Know You're a Runner with ADD When....

1. You stop to get a drink at the aid station, forget you are running in the race and start handing out water to the other runners.

2. In a panic, you search frantically all over the house trying to find your Garmin which happens to be on your wrist.

3. You pass by the window of a store having a sale and you stop to look in the window at what is on sale.

4. You go to get your Garmin and end up checking your email, posting on facebook, evaluating the new cover of Runner's World then leave the room wondering what you came in for anyway.

5. You leave the Honeybucket, but you forget if you are coming or going so you get back in line "just in case."

6. You compose multiple great blog posts while running yet none of them make it to the blog.

7. You sit down to check your email before you go for a morning run and then realize it's noon and you're still in you running clothes sitting in front of the computer.

8. The songs on your new playlist are the same as the ones on your old playlist–yet you like the new one so much better.

9. You forget to turn your Garmin on until 1/2 mile into the race and then wonder why all the road markers are off.

10. You're on the bus going to the starting line and you begin to worry that the bus is going to get to school late.

How many of these can you relate to?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pain Be Gone

School has now started for my kids and I've already been stumped by my daughter's beginning Algebra. I decided to write my own story problem.

Blaine decides to run a 207 mile relay. It takes his team 30 1/2 hours to complete with only 3 hours of sleep. The next weekend Blaine decides to run the South Valley Half Marathon the following weekend.
He then drives 6 hours in his car with his kids to Las Vegas in 118 degree heat with a radiator that is failing only to turn around 2 days later and drive back.

How well will Blaine be at running when he gets back from Vegas? Will he?

a. Run like the White Kenyan that he is.
b. Run in such a way that Runner's World contacts him to be with Kara Goucher on the next cover?
c. Run in a manner much like the drivers in this area (weaving in and out of lanes, stopping in the middle of the road to chat with a friend, deciding to cross four lanes of traffic on the freeway so they can make the exit)
d. Fail miserably and contemplate a new program called The 5k to coach plan

I know you want to say A or B, but my running after Vegas was much more like D with a good helping of C as I was staggering back home.

Why would anyone carry their money around this way. It's
like saying "Mug Me."
It must have been a combination of everything, but I noticed my ability to run through the hotel hallways at night naked race my kids to the elevator at the hotel was resulting in a slight tenderness in my right side going down my inner leg. By Friday night, the mild discomfort was turning into something more ominous. I had a 15 mile run scheduled for Saturday morning.

The plan was to get up, get in 15 miles then be back in time to take my son to his first High School Cross Country meet. The reality was me getting out the door, stretching just a little and only being able to go 3 or 4 steps before my body informed  me it wasn't going. Two more unsuccessful attempts to "run it off" resulted in my staggering/limping back home (where answer C comes into play).

There is a style that I
just don't have yet..sigh.
It's been almost two weeks since I've put in any sort of run.  I considered the possibility biking, but I just don't look good in a hat.

Today was the magic moment. No pain in my day to day movement since Tuesday. After the kids got to school, I kissed my wife, put on my Garmin and headed out for an easy 3 mile run. The result? A little stiffness, but no pain. If all goes well tonight and I wake up pain free tomorrow,  I'm calling myself healed.