Sunday, April 29, 2007


River to River Relay

Well folks, it's been a week and a day since I ran River to River with the Buffalo Warriors and I'm just now getting around to posting a race report.  The delay has mostly been due to my incredibly busy work schedule (which is about to get worse), but also a bit to my embarrassment at not having performed better.

I was privileged to be invited by Shea to join the Buffalo Warriors (a running club in the vicinity of Champaign, Illinois) as a ringer at this year's River-to-River Relay.  Here's a photo of some of my teammates the night before the big race.  While other teams practice their wind sprints in front of the hotel, we're sitting out back drinking beer.  Later that evening we would march down the street for a pre-race dinner of BBQ meats and friend pickles.. and of course more drinking. (See the photo from my earlier post.)

Fried pickles!!!

Followed by a team meeting where race strategy was discussed for a few minutes, followed by poker.. and of course more drinking.  (See a pattern here?)

Now let me step back a minute and tell you about this particular relay race; without a doubt the weirdest running event I've taken part in so far.

The expo almost blew my mind for its utter weirdness.  Hundreds of people milling about, but nothing in particular going on.  Dozens of oddly painted vans in the parking lot.

Note this charming pair of signs next to the signup table.  One reads, "No socializing in this room," while the other promises, "Free Beer."   Unfortunatley, the free beer was some particularly awful fruit-flavored concoction.

Here's Shea, Kevin, and Eric posing outside the expo with our official registration bags.

Contents: assorted fruit and a roll of toilet paper!

Here's Shea & I in the back of the van on our way to the starting line.  The look of confidence on my face stems from ignorance of my true capabilities and what I'll be facing that day.

I don't really know what I was expecting.

Our team of 8 each had to complete 3 legs of 2-4 miles each.  None of the segments were flat, but all were primarily on pavement.  Shea volunteered for slot #6: the most difficult.  As the newest and least experienced Buffalo, I was assigned slot #4, which nobody else wanted.  It was not one of the harder slots, but it was the second longest.

Here I am about to take my first hand-off.

The first of my three segments was undoubtedly my worst, and at a time of 41:17 over 3.65 miles (11:19/mile) the most embarrassing distance I've ever run.  My teammates were supportive, but I could sense the frustration in the air; everyone else would have to run faster to make up for my slowness.

I realized at this point that my complete lack of hill training--as well as my general out-of-shape condition--did not make me particularly suitable for running this kind of a course after an evening of beer and barbequed meats.

Fortunately my remaining two slots would be at least a little better.

Eric ("Captain Pickles") hands the baton to Brian ("Devil Dog")

By the end of the first round the hardworking Buffalo had managed to regain much of the time I had lost.

Now on to the second round..

Shea at the end of his second leg.

Not content to coast through his "easy" leg, Shea burned rubber through 2.5 miles with a time of 18:23.  Kick ass!

I don't have any photos of my second leg, but I have to say it's the only one out of the three that I'm not completely ashamed of.  It took me 39:16 to run 3.8 miles (10:20/mile) -- the second longest segment anyone would have to run that day.  Nowhere near as good as the rest of my teammates, but definitely good for me over hilly terrain.

Unfortunately that second leg tapped what energy I had, and my quads were killing me (my muscles unaccustomed to downhills).

Fortunately the van was equipped with plenty of Sparks.

Shea was also nice enough to let me use his electrical stimulator.

It didn't numb the pain, but it did make my legs feel nice and tingly.

(Actually that might have been the Sparks.)

I ran my final leg at exactly the same speed as my second, averaging a 10:20/mile pace to finish 3.25 miles in 33:34.  But I should have been able to go faster given the shorter distance and fewer hills.

I was out of shape and unprepared.  I've got no one to blame for that but myself... and a lot of work to do out on the running path this summer!

Here I am in the van, wiped out after my final leg, eating kabanosy and drinking wit beer.

This photo definitely does not show me at my best, but it is a good public reminder to myself that I need to get in shape and train year-round; even in the springtime when it's cold and rainy.

We reached our finish line at the Ohio River just as the sun was setting.  Our total time was 11:00:35, ranking us 117th out of 227.  Overall, not bad.

My fellow teammates did a phenomenal job, all of them running their hearts out.

But two of my teammates particularly stand out.  Kevin averaged an amazing pace of 07:04/mile over 10.2 miles of hilly terrain after having just recently run the Boston Marathon.  And Shea, our team's MVP, amazed us all by running at blazing speeds on the most difficult uphills.  Way to go guys!

As the sun set over the Ohio River, it was time to celebrate our long day of hill running...

Corn dogs in the Golconda town square

Jaeger shots at the local hillbilly bar (served in paper cups)

And a nightcap back at the hotel

Next weekend I'll be running the half marathon in Indianapolis, and as you might assume from the tone of this blog post I'm definitely not ready.  But at least the weather is finally nice and I can enjoy myself.

I'm going to go right now and run six miles.

See you outside, everybody!


Postscript: Just ran 8 miles along the lakefront.  My goal was to make myself feel better, and I succeeded.  Managed 8 miles in 1:17 (9:38/mile).  Not enough of a long distance to assure I'll be ready for Indy, but at least it's reassurance that I can still put one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, April 22, 2007



I'm partway home from River to River, having stopped in Champaign to rest my legs and pickup some beer at Friar Tuck's.

I'll post a race report later this week, after I upload my pictures and collect my split times and regain feeling in my ankles.

Stay tuned.

Yes, I've locked comments on this post.  I'll have a real race report up soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


On your mark..

Shea and I prepare for a long day. Note the Sparks malt beverage.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Dinner with the Buffalo

Fried pickles! BBQ meat on the way. No carb loading for us! While everyone else does practice wind sprints we're drunk dialing.


On the Road with Shea

Heading downstate to Marion, illinois, where we'll be running the River to River Relay with the Buffalo Warriors. Fried pickles, here we come!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


At Home at US Bank

Conference call action photo

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Pre-Game Warmup

Beer intervals at Goose Island

Monday, April 09, 2007


Photo and Schedule Update

Here is a brief update on my goings on..

Here I am on my first conference call at the new job.

I still have a lot to learn, but at the start of week 3 I'm feeling a bit more confident.

Here's Denise with her new IL driver's license

It's easy to forget how much there is involved in moving to a new state.

On Saturday Jay taught an introductory beer class at my apartment, and it was a huge success.  Unlike at Jay's previous advanced beer class, we all managed to learn a lot about beer without getting too wasted, so there's a good chance we all remember what we learned this time.

No makeout action for Brian this time, but at least he didn't have an expensive cab ride this time!

Jeanne took a break from her family and consulting responsibilities to drink beer with us.  She knows how to knock back a bottle!

The Triple Crown has a new convert in Denise.

And I finally got to try shrimp with walnuts.

Well, that's all that's been going on for me recently.  Still no running.  Too lazy.

This week I'll be working 10AM-7PM.  Yuck.  But at least I'll have time for exercise in the morning.  Starting tomorrow.  Maybe.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Infoninja vs. Clinton Lake

Sorry it's been so long since my last post.  Been busy at the new job, and it's just as well since I'm not allowed access to Blogger from the new office.  (Though I am allowed access to personal e-mail--go figure.)

This past weekend I had the pleasure of crewing for Shea at the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Ultra Marathon.

The race consisted of three 10 mile loops around the north fork of Clinton Lake, about 45 minutes west of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

To say that the trails were "a little muddy" after several days of rainfall would be an understatement.  Runners reported water pouring down the trail at some points.

The conditions would be too much for many, and nearly 30% of the starters dropped out before completing their third loop.

(Needless to say, I myself am not yet ready to even consider something like this.  I didn't even pace Shea for the final loop like he wanted.)

Our hero at the starting line.

Shea finished his first loop right on schedule; not at the front of the pack, but not lagging behind either.

I did my best to be good crew for Shea, changing out his liquids and fuel and pacing short distances between laps.  I wish I had been in better shape so I could have done more.  Fortunately I was supporting a runner who did not require any additional inspiration or medical assistance of any kind.

Unfortuntely, I don't have any photos of Shea from lap 2 or 3.

But I do have this video (sponsored by Stone Brewing Company, makers of "Arrogant Bastard" Ale) of Shea 1.5 miles from the finish line:

Crossing the finish line!

This man just ran 30 miles in the mud!

Unfortunately, the presence of the local authorities (and perhaps electrolyte dehydration) discouraged Shea from drinking the bottle of Arrogant Bastard he deserved.  But for this guy, just finishing was probably intoxicating enough.

At the time of this posting Shea has not yet posted his race report (with more photos), but probably will soon.

In the meantime, let me be the first to say:  Nice job!


Next stop for both Shea & I: River to River with the Buffalo Warriors!

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