It just wasn't right. Wearing shorts at the Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50 km, the VHTRC's annual holiday fat ass run. This event is noted for cold, snowy weather. But this year, the weather was near perfect with a high in the 50s and the morning cold around 40. The result was one of the largest fields in the history of the event. Is this what we have to look forward to thanks to global warming?
In the past, we have had snow, ice, and always cold. Especially challenging is trail below Hemlock. It's next to the stream and rocky. If the water is high, you get wet. This year, it was no problem. The same was not true in 2002.
As usual, many runners dressed in the spirit of the holidays. Besides the simple and uncreative red and green shirts (this reporter's style) there were antlers, Santa hats, and Paul Meltzer's Christmas tree lights on his Camelback.
Also true to form, the "race" was a bit confusing. You run for awhile and then people start coming back at you. Have they been through the Do Loop, or did they turn around early? It is pretty clear that the first folks have turned around at some point. But finally, there is a group with Sean Andrish and Mike Schuster. They are, in fact, the leaders. Not too long after them comes Justine Morrison. She is the apparent female leader. In the end, Sean, Mike, and Justine take the prize money. They also get free entry into next year's event.
Meanwhile, back in the pack, there is a lot of action. People are friendly and social but still drop this reporter. Just because I have not trained is no excuse to pass me. How do you think that makes me feel?
Eventually, we get to the Do Loop aid station. The Tequila bottle is there as usual but this year, it is nearly full. No takers? Geez, what a bunch of wusses. Maybe it's the weather. In cold weather, the senses are numbed and it sounds like a good idea to have a big swig of Tequila when you have several miles more to run. In warmer weather, that does not sound like such a good idea.
It is here that my running partner decides to go back and I go on alone into the Do Loop where I face adversity and death in the face. I decide that since Joe isn't here to do it, I will run it in the opposite direction. I almost never run it clockwise and with all the fall leaves on the ground, it looks like a different place. [Proofreader note: "almost never"? Geez what's this guy thinking? Can't we find someone who can write?] But I get to see all the folks, including many beautiful women, on the loop as they go by.
The trip back is pleasant but not fast. Unfortunately, by the time I get back to the Marina, the aid is gone. This is unacceptable, and all of us involved in the event apologize. We do note, however, that Joe received 100 RSVPs and 137 started. So if you didn't RSVP and didn't get aid, that apology is not for you.
Surprisingly, I recover mentally from the lack of aid quickly. The last five miles always go fast. They are broken up into several different sections (the hill with the hemlocks, the "Mojave Desert," the soccer fields, "Horton's shortcut," the other field, some hills, Anstr's [rock], the dam, the turn, the hill, the field, and the finish). All this diversity makes it seem to go faster. I am prepared to find both the people and the food gone when I arrive at the finish. In fact, the party is going full swing and there is plenty of hot pizza.
So overall it wasn't bad. Great weather, a dry trail, pizza, and exactly what we promised -- "some aid." Remember, a true fat ass run has no aid.
This event is very meaningful to the VHTRC. It was our first event and, appropriately, it has always been free. It is never our finest hour for aid stations, but it's way up there in fun. It stands for the proposition that a club whose "profits" go back to the running community is a good thing.
Thanks to all who helped including Scott Mills, Derrick Carr, Bob Phillips, Gary Knipling, and Joe Clapper who organized it, but then worked on his new house all day. Happy holidays!
* = Recorded time to the second. We ignored the seconds, but good try!
¶ = Merely listed a time but no distance, or listed the distance as "yes." Against all reason, we assumed that you went the whole way.
Several runners made notes about extra miles, best blood, poor course markings, the deficit, global warming or relationship issues. We ignored all that.
Overall, the penmanship was putrid. If your name is spelled wrong, it's your own darn fault. A couple of folks scrawled their names so badly that they made their neighbor's writing illegible too. One person carefully put a line through her 7s so we could read the number. Her name, however, was illegible.
Some people were creative in their distances. If you believe these results, only two people went to the Marina and back. That's only 10 miles, folks. (Ok, it might be 11 if you GPS it.) At the Marina when this reporter was there, thousands of people were turning around to go back. If you want to think you ran 15 miles, be my guest!