My Leprechaun and Me

Forgive me Father, I have sinned. It’s been about three months since my last post. People were starting to wonder if I fell off the face of the earth and asking Gwen for my custom golf clubs and beer making kit. So here’s an update and a look forward.

The Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k with my two boys is always my favorite race. Mainly because I get to run it with them, but the atmosphere is so fun and the costumes are awesome. People bring their dogs dressed up as Leprechauns (leaving their little pots of gold along the course) and they have good goodies after the race.KMII Start

Parker wasn’t feeling so hot that morning. He gave it a valiant effort – donning his running shirt, bib and shoes – but as he sat in the back seat getting paler and putting my leather upholstery in danger, we decided to call Gwen to come and get him.

Carson and I waited at the start line chatting with other runners and some friends. The MC mumbled something unintelligible over the loud speaker and when the other runners started to move, so did we.

With Carson
With my little Leprechaun

Carson took off like he was late for a birthday party. However, his legs are a bit shorter than his eagerness and he pooped out before mile one. We ran-walked around the Cardinals Stadium to the end and finished with a strong push.

It was a warm day and we were thirsty. Off to one side near the band, Three Sheets To The Wind (or something like that), there was a long line to a table giving out chocolate milk. We waited in line, salivating as we approached with the anticipation of the sweet beverage running down our throats. Finally, we each grabbed a cold bottle, popped the tops and took big swigs. Then spit it out. It looked like chocolate milk, but it wasn’t. It was a gross, chalky protein drink that left a film in my mouth. So, we went to the next table and got water.

This was the first time that race has given out medals for the 4k, and functional ones at that. Sorry that Parker missed out, but Carson proudly displays his Irish bottle-opener medal on a hook in his room. They even have magnets on the back so you can stick them to the fridge. Clever.

That was my last race of the 2015-2016 season. The next one will be in early November.

As I will be turning 50 in December, I decided that it would be cool to mark the occasion with a special race, you know, before the arthritis kicks in. After much soul searching and talking to other runners, I came to the conclusion that a 50k would be perfect. I researched various local races, talked to some veteran ultra runners and picked out one that was a good size. Too small of a race increases my odds of being last and we don’t want that, do we?

Shortly thereafter, I made the announcement to various “awes” and “wows” and “what’s wrong with you’s” and I was satisfied with my decision. Then my friend asked if I wanted to join his Ragnar group.

Ragnar has been on my bucket list for a few years. We tried to get a group together last year but struggled to find enough people and… it ain’t cheap. This is the trail relay through the McDowell Mountains, not the 200 mile road relay. It’s less expensive with a smaller team and more feasible for me so it didn’t take long to change my mind. Can’t afford both with the other races I do.

Estrella MountainI was anxious to hit the trails. Although I’ve hiked Arizona since I was a kid, I have never done trail running and looked for tips and advice from the famous Coach Jenny and local group Aravaipa Trail Runners. These guys are way above my level, but I figured I could fake it long enough to get some good info before they figured out I know nothing about trail running.
With a little bit of dangerous knowledge under my belt, I made like a baby and headed out one morning to run a 3.1 mile loop at a nearby mountain park. I carried a water bottle, packed some cash and my phone and wore my Road ID bracelet so the first responders would know where to send the body.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus Atrox)

I didn’t have trail shoes, but wore some new Brooks that are as stable as they come. I bet I could kick down doors with these suckers. Anyway, I thought it would be fun – running out in nature, taking in all of God’s creation and watching the sun rise. It was tough. I walked the uphills but it still took a lot more effort than I was used to. And taking in creation? Pffft! Please. My eyes were glued to the dirt searching for holes, loose rocks and snakes.

It took me 45 minutes to do the loop and I left with a determination to do better next time. Ragnar Trail asks for an average 10k pace of 11 minutes so I have some work to do. Keep me in your thoughts as I embark on this new adventure and any advice you have would be appreciated. Over the summer, I’m going to experiment with different types of hydration. Glad I kept my old college beer hat!

 

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