Tag Archives: 5k

Never Been Kissed

It’s been a while since my last update because I’ve been pretty busy, but I do miss writing it. Plus, some poor soul has been checking in on my blog regularly. Mom? So, I will sit here with a cold bottle of home brew and recount my latest adventure – dedicated to you, loyal reader.

The last race of the season (fall through spring) is the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k. It is also my favorite because I run it with my boys, Parker and Carson. This was the fifth year and we were all looking forward to it. Well, I was looking forward to the run. The boys were looking forward to the treats at the finish line. The running was just a means to the end.

IMG_1233There we were on the crisp cool morning in a sea of green shirts wearing our green Irish buttons, necklaces or necktie and flashing gizmos, looking at all the funny people and dogs wearing kilts. One particular bulldog with a tiny leprechaun hat looked at us pathetically. “Don’t you poop on the course,” I told it.

A loud squelch followed by garbled music blared over the loud speakers. Nobody could make out a word of it and there was no flag in sight. But assuming it was the national anthem, we exchanged glances, put our hands over our hearts and sang along – everybody staring off in a different direction with a reverent look.

No gun, but the guy said, “Go!” Parker turned to face Carson and me. His face was a bit red but he was smiling.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

He said nothing. Just kept staring with that creepy smile. As the crowd in front of us began to move, I said, “Alright! Let’s go, guys!” Parker blew a fart in our general direction (because farts are still funny to a 12 year old) and took off.

Carson, bless his heart, tried to keep up. I was left back with the bulldogs and crying toddlers. Slowly, I trotted along and soon came upon Carson who was clutching his side.

“Got a side stitch?”

“No.”

We walked for a bit then ran every time the camera drone flew by. When we reached the first water station, I said, “Carson, do you think Parker is done yet?”

“Yeah.”

We ran-walked the rest of the way. The course looped around the Cardinals football stadium and as I ran, I imagined myself as receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Carson was quarterback Carson Palmer. “Carson, I’m open! Throw me the ball.” I said running forward.

“What?”

“I can score a touchdown! Pass it!” I hollered back.

“Dad…”

In my head, I made a spectacular one-handed fingertip catch, scraping my toes along the grass to win the Superbowl and was contemplating my celebratory dance moves when somebody shouted, “Drone!” We all faced forward, smiled and sucked in our guts.

I coaxed Carson to push it a little bit and sensed he was low on gas. As we approached the last turn, I said, “Ok, we’ll walk up to the corner then run in to finish strong.”

He didn’t wait for the corner. He took off at a full sprint. I thought, well he’s got a last spurt of reserve energy afterall, he, he. He’ll poop out in a minute though. When he kept going I decided I had better run and stepped on the gas. I ran full tilt and passed people left and right, “Freight train coming through!” Sideline supporters stared and gaped. Probably wondering why I didn’t go potty before the race. As fast as I ran, I still couldn’t catch the little squirt and he finished a few seconds ahead of me.

We high-fived and hugged and congratulated ourselves and got our medals. Then we went to look for Parker. He was standing at the finish line still looking down the road for us. We collected him and declared, “Time for treats!”

IMG_1242There was a long line for mini bundt cakes, KIND bars, Muscle Milk, Gatorade and various fruits. We sat stuffing our faces in front of the Irish band (I’m sure they appreciated that), then had to be going to get to the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. As we were walking to the parking lot, a lady passed by and, indicating the boys, said, “Did you check the times? They might have won their age group.” Hmm…

IMG_1243Sure enough, Parker took third place in his age group. But it wasn’t until days afterward when I saw the races photos that I learned the exciting truth. He was in a battle to the finish line with another kid! The crack photographers caught all the action and snapped a shot every second so clicking through the sequence looks like a stop-motion movie. They were looking at each other, hoofing it out on their skinny legs until Parker finally edged him out, leaping across the timing line like a gazelle! That’s my little wide receiver, I thought. I’d show you the pictures but I’m too cheap to buy them. Above is a pic of him getting his medal with a giant leprechaun. I asked him who stole his Lucky Charms but he just stared at me. Kind of like the time I tried to start a conversation with Mickey at Disneyland.

So, another year passed at the Kiss Me I’m Irish race and I still have not been kissed. Nothing lost though, because nobody kisses like my sweetie.

Tic-Toc Goes the Clock

Running has been sporadic over the past week which is a little scary since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half marathon is fast approaching; just three weeks away! Every waking moment the little voice in the back of my head says, “Dude, it’s cold out and you’re getting thin up here. Put a hat on!” It also says, “You better get in those distance runs. Tic-toc goes the clock, big guy.”

all-capsThe first problem has been taken care of. My boys got me this ultra-cool Darth Vader beanie for Christmas. Now the wheezing and heavy breathing when I run sounds intentional. Carson, the ultimate Harry Potter fan, got all the essentials to become a Gryffindor barber pole. And Parker is modeling his beanie from the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Park, which also makes an ideal target in our Nerf gun wars.

The second problem is a motivation issue. Lately, it’s been, “It’s cold out.” Or, “I’ll run later.” Or the ever popular, “I just ate that dish of lasagna and wouldn’t want to puke in the neighbor’s lantana again.”

However, a hero has arisen! Now that Parker has joined the cross country team at school, it gives us a reason to get out and run together. Well, ok, it’s more like, “Come on, Parker, let’s go.”

“Oh, alright,”and the negotiations begin. “Can I ride my bike?”

“No.”

“How far are we going?”

“You can run the first two miles with me then go in and I’ll continue the rest of my run.”

“Deal!”

That’s how it starts, but the truth is that we both thoroughly enjoy it. I love it because it’s a private time with my boy when we talk about whatever he wants. He likes it because he can run circles around me.

pj-meetpj-running

If you haven’t seen The Incredibles, you should. It’s my favorite animated film. There’s a scene at the end where Dash, the superhero kid who is super fast, is in a track meet with other kids and is trying to dial in his speed so that he’s competitive but doesn’t blow everyone away. He speeds up, then slows down looking at his dad in the stands for guidance. That’s Parker.

His skinny legs slip through the air with no resistance as his canoe paddle feet slap the pavement like flippers. All the while, he has a look on his face like, Come on, man. I’ve got places to go and people to see.

“I know you’re used to running a lot faster than this,” I say, and then his face softens as he takes pity on me and a conversation begins. He may have me on speed, but I can still outlast him. The max they run is two miles.

This week, my goal is 24 miles including some intervals (which for me is more like the sputtering death throes of a Yugo near empty) and 9 miles next Saturday. Depending on whether or not it rains, I would like to do that on a trail to get in some inclines.

Since training has been lacking, I plan on doing the run-walk method. I’ve done it before and it was quite entertaining. The app Run-Walk – which you can set for whatever time intervals you want and gives one loud beep when it’s time to walk and one loud beep when it’s time to run – is apparently pretty popular. As my phone beeped, I began to walk. Then in a few seconds there was another beep, and another. I looked up to see various runners starting and stopping and looking around at each other. We sounded like a convoy of U-Haul trucks backing up. This year, I’ll carry earbuds for one ear.

On New Year’s Day, I’ll begin the I Love To Run challenge of 1,000 miles in a year which, by summertime, could become the I Hate Running What Was I Thinking passing fancy.

Run into the New Year with determination, my friends, and don’t look back. I wish you all a wonderful, positive and productive 2017!

Howling Halloween 5k

The focus of my running for the past few years has been mainly on half marathons with a couple of 5k’s thrown in for fun. This year, one of my favorite 5k’s has gone the way of the Sony Walkman – disappeared, vanished, all but forgotten with no regard for its contribution to society and its inspiration to countless masses yearning to break free from the bonds of conformity, existing merely as a dust-covered memory in the dark shadows of our minds. Uh, where was I? Oh, so I was looking for a fun Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas themed run as I haven’t done one before.

Using the power of Facebook, I put out an APB to see if any of my local friends had one they were doing. Crickets. So I searched and found a Halloween themed 5k at a nearby park complete with glow-in-the-dark shirts and medals (which doubled as bottle openers) and even had a Groupon. Jackpot!

the-howling-night-runAgain, I harnessed Facebook to see if anyone wanted to run it with me. One friend offhandedly showed some mild interest, so I quickly pressured him into signing up with his wife and we were set!

Now I needed a costume. So I hit the Goodwill store and saw that they had clown wigs (or maybe they were shower poufs). Perfect! I had a red nose at home and picked up a big bow tie at another store. Clowns are funny, I thought. Oh sure, clowns have gotten a bad rap lately, but I won’t look like one of them. I’ll be a happy clown spreading good cheer and laughter.

WARNING:  The picture below is not for the faint of heart. Do not scroll down if you have a pacemaker or high blood pressure. Pregnant women in their third trimester should consult their gynecologist.

I parked and got out of the car. Various people were milling about, none of whom were in costume, of course. Although as more people arrived, a few princesses and aliens popped up. It was a nighttime run on an unlighted course so we all had headlamps.

Here’s a picture of me that my friend, Steve, took.

skittles-nightmareI call it the Skittles Nightmare. Now, in my defense, it was unusually hot and that wig made my head sweat. It hasn’t seen that much hair since I turned 40. The red nose made me sound like Rosie O’Donnell and I couldn’t breath with it, so that disappeared. As for the look on my face… don’t know what to tell you… it’s a cyclops clown with a five o’clock shadow who just ate a lemon.

Needless to say, I did not spread laughter and cheer wherever I went. Women gasped and little children ran away.

It was dark when we started the race. I was a few steps ahead of Steve and, as we passed through the starting arch, they flashed a strobe light in our eyes just as we ran over the timing sensor bump. I stumbled and looked back to warn Steve but he was already doing the zombie two-step, nearly doing a face plant. I should have given him my rubber nose, I thought.

It was a well set up course with the expected ghosts and ghouls hanging in the trees. The first half mile had a slight incline but after that it was a very pleasant level course. As I said, it was a warm night and I paced myself comfortably. A little boy and his mom were running alongside of me. He wore a black suit with skeleton bones and a skull mask. He yelled something unintelligible through his mask about the heat, then ripped it off and pitched it to the ground taking off like a cheetah, his mom in pursuit.

Around the halfway mark, I came upon a table on the side of the road with a man laying on top and a crazy doctor cutting him in half with a saw. There were some girls near me and we all approached to get a closer look. The patient had a turkey baster or something and squirted us with it. My shorts now had a wet spot, but it was dark so it was ok.

Towards the end there were some Sheriff’s deputies and my first thought was to yell, Don’t arrest me. I’m not one of those creepy clowns. I’m part of the race. But instead, I shone my light in their eyes as I passed. The funny thing is, the bright clown colors attracted bugs. I must have swallowed the equivalent of a trucker’s windshield by the end of the race. Speedy Steve waited at the finish line to cheer me in and a cute little zombie girl handed me a medal. “Don’t eat my brains,” I teased as she inched closer to her mother.

I was looking for the water station as my mouth was coated with wings and legs and, upon finding it, discovered there were no cups left. It was like that milk commercial where the guy finds himself surrounded by delicious cookies and starts chowing down, only to find the milk carton empty and that he has died and gone to hell.

“I have some water in my truck,” Steve offered.

“Oh, I’m ok,” I choked. “I do too. (hack, hack)”

Overall, it was a pretty fun race although $45 is steep for a 5k. I wouldn’t have done it without the Groupon. For the next 5k fun run, I will plan further ahead and get my kids to join me. I thanked Steve and his wife, Cece, for joining me then headed home to my family and a bottle of nut brown home brew.

Tonight I will take my kids trick-or-treating. Parker as an old man. Carson as a Phantom. The clown outfit is nicely tucked away until next year.

This Friday is the Ragnar trail relay and I’ll have a full report after it’s over.

Cool runnings to you, my friends!