Sunday, November 7, 2010

Loopsterfest and Marshall University Pikermi RR

Well, there's already been lots of gushing, and there will be more to come, and I'll just say it's all deserved. The Loop has created a community like no other, and when we get together it's just magical. Outsiders may not understand when we say we're flying across country to meet a bunch of strangers we met on the internet. But we know. We're meeting up with some of our closest friends - the people we "hang out" with every day - the people who share our passion, understand the craziness, know what it means when we break PRs, or suffer through downtime, or celebrate just finishing your longest run ever. I was incredibly happy, emotional, and just kind of astounded at how amazing and just FUN this weekend was. After finishing my race, I had a huge runner's high, and sharing it with all you folks and seeing you finish was just crazy fun!
OK, now let me tell you about my race.
Race day forecast kept getting colder and colder and it was 20 something at dawn. Made this thin-blooded Californian a little nervous, but without any significant wind, and a little sunshine, it turned out to be nearly perfect conditions. Sure I actually had to wear long pants for once, but I ditched the extra shirt and the gloves by mile 2 and rocked my Team Pikermi shirt the rest of the way. (I got one Pikermi convert who liked my shirt)
Race plan was to go out at 8 minute pace and see how I felt and then do my best. Sassafras and I started together with the same plan and settled in at the same pace. It was great to run together with him. We were talking and having fun. The pace was reasonable and I felt good. Check out these Junblack-esque splits: 8:05, 7:50, 7:51, 7:51, 7:51, 7:49, 7:58, 7:50.
Sass and I were just cruising along. We got to run with ShaunP for a mile or two. The course was littered with loopsters! The only thing that would have been better was if there was an out and back where we could cheer each other.
Eight miles down. Felt great - almost like a training run. The course was virtually flat, and a little bit down for the rest of the way, so I felt comfortable starting to push it. Nine and ten were 7:38 and 7:36. Feeling the effort now but still in good control. We pushed it up a little more. Mile 11 was 7:23. Now I was hitting max effort, but I felt good I could keep it up. However Sass had an extra gear in his back pocket and pulled away. I tried to draft off his energy as long as I could but he disappeared like the Road Runner in a puff of dust! Sand Bagger!
Mile 12 was 7:26 and I hit mile 13 knowing I was looking at a good time. I hung on and posted a 7:22 for mile 13. Just before I reached the stadium I passed a guy in a Batman suit. Because no one likes to get beat by a freaking costume. (Later I found out Spiderman ran a 1:30 or something crazy) Entering the stadium and hearing and seeing Loopster cheers was fantastic! I got to do the finish with a football and run down the middle of the football field to the finish - very cool! Final official time: 1:41:59! A nice 42 second improvement from 2 weeks ago! I'll take it! And I felt good - no wall or significant torturous suffering. The mojo was back!
For over two hours we hung out on the field and cheered for loopster finishes and enjoyed the warming day. Did I mention it was an awesome experience? Later we all partied again at another wonderful spread of food and drink and got to hear SR sing and just had fun as long as we could although we were all getting pretty pooped out.
A big thanks to everyone who made this weekend work! You know who you are. I'll drop some pictures in later once I get home.
Oh, I went out for a Five Guys Burger tonight - my first. Awesome!


  1. Thanks for posting this here where I can comment. It sounds and looked like a great time. It is always a weird treat to meet someone from the on-line world in real life. You feel like you should hug or something, but then you feel like you shouldn't.

    Have fun running with CatChowder, she could use a little encouragement it sounds like. I wish I could fly out and run with you guys but I am on the DL to let my heals finish heeling, that and the whole money thing.

  2. We all got past the no hug thing right away. But I came in thinking the same as you.