I won’t bury the lede. I came in 3rd in my age group and won an AG award for the very first time.
But I won’t snow you. After years of failure, I can give you the four keys to getting an age group award.
1) Live long enough. I’m getting slower every year, but my age groups keep shrinking dramatically. There were only six dudes in the 55-59 AG, out of almost 300 runners. There were only four male runners total over 60.
2) Five-year age groups. I would have been 8th of 17 in a 50-59 group.
3) Small field. There were almost 1,100 people in the 5K, but only 300 in the 10K.
4) Be aware of your competition. You want to pace yourself correctly, but use your energy to pass those who appear to be in your AG.
You’ll notice none of these involves running fast. My splits are proof.
Mile 1 – 9:09
Mile 2 – 9:00
Mile 3 – 8:58
Mile 4 – 9:04
Mile 5 – 9:08
Mile 6 – 8:49
Finish – 55:12
The course appeared to be 0.1 miles short. I came in 87th of 296 overall.
I waited in a long line at the finish to check the results and I almost gave up. After seeing I was third I was pretty excited, but it was funny because I didn’t know what to do next. I knew there wasn’t going to be an awards ceremony because it was Thanksgiving, so I wandered around until I spotted some fast-looking youngsters at a booth getting their times checked. At the risk of embarrassment I sauntered over and gave them my bib number, whereupon I was handed the third-place prize – a pumpkin pie!
The photo was necessary because the pie is already half-gone. I hope your holiday is just as pie-filled.
The town of Mt. Angel, Oregon, is hosting the Run For Your Nuts 5K on December 6 in conjunction with the local hazelnut festival. Each runner will receive a bag of hazelnuts at the finish line.
In a related (?) story, research published in The International Journal of Exercise Science revealed that a surge in testosterone during a race doesn’t actually make you run faster.
“Many people in the scientific literature and in popular culture link testosterone increases to winning,” said study co-author Kathleen Casto. “In this study, however, we found an increase in testosterone during a race regardless of the athletes’ finish time. In fact, one of the runners with the highest increases in testosterone finished with one of the slowest times.”
These findings solve the mystery of why Mr. Testicles always seems to be in the back of the pack.
It finally happened. I went out for my long run last Sunday and my five-year-old Garmin Forerunner 305 DNF’ed. It was having trouble holding a charge and had gotten to the point where I had to keep it plugged in until right before I went for a run. But this time the low battery alert came on a mere 15 minutes into my run, and I knew it was time to put the old girl out to pasture.
Despite the fact that I am an award-winning running blogger (meh), Garmin is not in the habit of handing out free GPS units for review. So I had to shop for and buy one like any other prole.
The process was not as simple as I had hoped, since I kept bouncing back and forth between a watch that had all the features of the 305, and one that had the most important feature of the 305 – the low price. Ultimately I decided that since I hadn’t really been using all of the 305’s bells and whistles, I’d be better off with one that just took care of the fundamentals.
I realize the Garmin Forerunner 10 is by no means a new product. I only just remembered I made fun of it as an “old Casio” back in 2012 when it was introduced. I was surprised to find it met all my requirements:
* Large display – My eyesight is deteriorating, and it’s a detriment to my running form and dignity to have to hold my wrist in front of my nose just to check my pace.
* Reasonably quick satellite lock-on – It rains a lot in the winter here in northern California. It’s a challenge to run in the stuff, but I feel especially stupid standing in my driveway soaking wet with my wrist up in the air.
* Customizable main page – You’re not going to get heart rate or cadence or the alignment of Neptune from this thing, but I want my desired information immediately available on the main display. While running, the only details I absolutely need are distance traveled and average pace for that distance. I was able to set it up that way. If I’m bored, I press a button and can see time and calories. Press it again and I get time of day and date – something that was not easily accessible with the 305.
* Automatic lap – I’m not running 440 repeats so I just want the thing to accurately mark the miles.
* Automatic pause – There is no way I can remember to pause and restart at stop lights, driveways or other obstacles.
* Compatibility with SportTracks – I don’t use Garmin Connect, though I’ve heard some people have problems with it logging their runs. I also upload my runs immediately after completing them, so it doesn’t bother me that this model only stores your last seven runs.
What else do you really need? At the end of your run, the watch tells you if you set a new PR for some standard distances, or if you ran further than you ever have before. And of course, it needs to be mentioned that the Forerunner 10 weighs about the same as a standard watch. The 305, in the words of one runner, was like wearing a birdcage on your wrist.
I got my Forerunner 10 at Best Buy for $130, and it was the same price on Amazon, though it’s possible you can find a better deal with the holidays approaching.
I really didn’t want a new Garmin, but I’m very happy with my purchase. If this one also lasts for five years, it will have been an excellent value for the price.
Tip of the hat to Competitor.com for introducing us to The Asylum – an ultra race in South Carolina with an unusual first-place award.
The rules are pretty simple: You run a 4.5-mile trail loop in an hour or less. Those who make it start another loop at the top of the hour. Repeat as necessary until there is only one runner left – who must complete one more loop solo. The winner receives an embroidered straitjacket. Here’s a video.
One more race requirement you should be aware of. Any children conceived at The Asylum must be named after the race director.
We have an unusual number of running stories involving politicians, government employees and candidates recently.
1) David Cameron: I will not get re-elected if I wear Lycra – “Mr Cameron disclosed that be was invited to go on a run or a bike ride in Sydney with Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister and a former boxer. He declined the offer. He said: ‘I was going to start the day with a run with Tony Abbott but I thought he might go a bit fast. Then he talked about a bicycle ride but I thought that might involve wearing more lycra than is consistent with re-election.'”
2) Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop runs rings around her Beijing security entourage – “Indeed, it is no secret that Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister is a super keen jogger. On Parliamentary sitting days, she can be seen running through the Canberra streets on her way to Capital Hill. When home in Perth, she runs on the beach. And when she’s overseas, she runs wherever she gets the opportunity. But it turns out that the Bishop Really Likes to Run Memo did not make it to China. Last week, while in Beijing at the start of a five-day visit, Bishop hit the pavement, as per usual. The assigned local security agents, unaware of how seriously Bishop takes her running, came dressed in business attire – and so were forced to endure the session in suits, ties and dress shoes.”
3) Ma, Canadian MPs brave rain to join Terry Fox charity run – “[Taiwan] President Ma Ying-jeou and visiting Canadian parliamentarians, along with many others, braved the rain to join the Terry Fox charity run in Taipei Saturday, which was aimed at raising funds for cancer research.”
4) Bronx Principal Running in Circles for Good Cause – “The principal of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx is trying an unusual fundraising tactic. He’s running 100 miles around the school’s track. Principal Daniel O’Keefe is taking 24 hours to complete the challenge he calls ‘Achieve 100.’ It’s an effort to raise money for the school’s sports and activities programs.”
5) Running With Charlie Hardy – “‘Isn’t this just wonderful?’ he said, and took off alongside Interstate 25, jogging 3 miles, as he has every morning for the past three decades. Hardy, 75, isn’t Wyoming’s average candidate for the U.S. Senate. A former Roman Catholic priest who once ministered in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas, Venezuela, and lived in a cardboard and tin shack, he is a Cheyenne native running a grass-roots campaign without corporate or PAC donations.”
Film director Casey Neistat ran the New York City Marathon in 3:03:34 this month. He chronicled the race – minus the boring running parts – in a short video. Be sure to watch all the way to the end.