Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rosaryville Veterans Day 50K - November 15, 2015

I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can
- Rev. Charles S. Wing, The Little Engine That Could
RD Tom gives the pre-race brief  ("follow the white ribbons")

I spend the week prior to the Rosaryville Veterans Day 50K lurking about the list of registrants trying to see how many are in my age group and what their expected times are.  Besides me there are three other registrants.  One I know and am confident that I can beat.  The other two are unfamiliar to me but based on their times in other races I feel pretty confident that I can best them.  The great unknown is whether someone shows up and registers on race day.

As I did in 2012, I develop a plan for running the race. It's a simple plan for the three-loop race: run each loop only about five to ten minutes slower than the previous loop. Ideally, my plan is 2:00, 2:05, and 2:10 loops for a 6:15 finish. With an aid station about midway of the loop it is easy to keep track of progress - an hour between aid stations is the rough measuring stick.

Jeanne performs the National Anthem.
( Photo by Jon Valentine)
Let's Go!
Gayatri, me and Barry stay warm at the start.
The forecast promises near perfect running weather - sunny, upper 30s to near 40 at the start, rising to 50 or low 50s' midway, but with a bit of wind. I leave the house at 0630, pick up Gayatri from her house a minute later and gather up Barry by 0645. By 0730 we are at Rosaryville State Park, pick up our bibs, hand over our drop bags, chat with people we know and move the start line with the total of 134 starters.

Barry leads early.
Fresh from performing before a Friday night sold-out house in The Music Man, Jeanne sings the National Anthem and we are off.  It's about a mile on the asphalt park road before turning into the woods onto the mostly single track of gently rolling terrain,  I follow Barry for a couple of miles while I warm up, but after shedding the outer of my two shirts and removing my gloves, I go past him and a number of other runners.  I settle into a pace that feels a bit quick but not too strenuous.

Army Strong, or, An Army of One I
During the first loop I run awhile with Chris, a U.S. Army infantryman.  He is running the race at the urging of his mother, who is also running.

He tells me he is used to 12 mile hikes carrying his 40-50 pound rucksack but that he has never run an ultra before.  In fact, he has not run a marathon, or a half marathon, or a 10-miler, 10K, 5K or any race at all.  He does admit to running two miles as part of his Army physical qualifications.  And, he adds, he hasn't done any training for today's race. Also, He is a pack and a half a day smoker.

Running with pace on loop 1
( Photo by Jon Valentine)
He is wearing a pair of Adidas that he bought the night before.  His mother got them for him when she found out that he had planned to run in a pair of $15 plastic-soled shoes from Walmart.

He is, I think to myself, the perfect specimen to test my "Training is Bunk" motto.

I tell him that I'm running a fly-and-die pace, but that if he can execute my plan without suffering fly-and-die he will finish in about 6:15. But, I warn, running fly-and-die means that the last part of the race can get ugly.  He understands and takes off.

Man Down - Hard!
About a half mile from the midway aid station during the second loop I trip and fall on my right side. Usually I manage to tuck and roll on my trail falls, but this time I go down hard on ground that is hard packed and unyielding.  I lay there and assess the damage. My right wrist is sore but I have full, if painful motion. A small spot of blood oozes through my tights over my right knee.  My right hip has a small sore spot, probably from landing on a small pill box I carry in my right pocket.  But most painful are my right ribs.  They are quite sore.  I recall that a couple of years ago Sam fell out here and cracked a rib.  Tentatively I take a deep breath and there is no sharp pain, just soreness.

Getting to my feet I start walking. The thought of dropping at the aid station enters my mind. I try running.  The wrist and ribs are sore but I can run. I determine that I can go on, but try to stay extra vigilant for rocks, roots and other things that might trip me up.  I spend a lot of time contemplating how close I came to a serious injury.  Maybe spreading the pain was just enough to dissipate the force away from the critical energy necessary to have done serious damage to wrist or rib.

(Rosaryville claims two runners with significant injuries, both ankle injuries, including an alvusion fracture. Eight other runners also DNF.)

The Zen of Running Alone, or, Where Am I?
The 10- and 20-mile aid station at the start of the loop.
With only 134 runners spread out over a ten-mile loop one often spends time running alone, or at best, in the company of one or two other runners.  If one clears one's mind of the past and the future than one can consider that he is leading all other runners, or is trailing all other runners.  With no awareness of others, one can be first, or last, or both.

Once the field thins out during a trail race, usually during the first three to five miles, there is not a lot of passing. People get running to their pace, with the faster runners ahead and the field stretched out behind them based on their pace.  Run 15 seconds a mile faster than someone for ten miles and you have a two and a half minute lead.  If they then can run 10 seconds a mile faster than you - a huge 25 second per mile swing in relative pace -  it will still take them another 15 miles to catch you.

The midway aid station
(Photo by Jon Valentine)
Both of these threads come together and stay with me throughout the day.  Somewhere on the course are the others in my age group, but with the exception of Barry, I don't know whether they are ahead of me or behind me.  If they are ahead it is unlikely that I will catch them and if they are behind, it is equally unlikely that they will catch me. I am where I am, running at the pace I'm running. The mantra: Relentless Forward Progress. Thru the first loop in 1:59. Then the second in 2:11. Two loop: 4:10. Right on plan with one loop to go.

Fueling with Liquid Complex Carbohydrates - A Fictional Tale
[Rosaryville State Park does not allow alcoholic beverages without a permit. Legal disclaimer: This section is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.]
About a mile into the third loop I once again come upon one of the course marshals sitting in the canvas chair she has been using at this location throughout the day.  In her chair's cupholder is a familiarly shaped bottle wrapped in a Maryland-themed cozy.

Fictional course marshal holding
a fictional bottle at a fictional race 
at a fictional location.
"Is that a [four letter word for an adult beverage]?," I inquire.

"Yes," she replies, "Would you like one?"

I resist the urge to say something about bears in the woods. "Yes, thank you," I reply.

She hands me a bottle of carbonated liquid complex carbohydrates.  The cold amber liquid is refreshing. I stand by the side of the trail hydrating while another runner passes.  About two-thirds of the way through the 12 ounces of  golden aid I decide that prudence calls for not carrying the entire contents in my stomach the last nine miles, no matter how "Light" it may be.  Regretfully I empty the rest of the bottle on the ground.  The next few miles are pain-free. And if there is any weaving, well, that is because the trail meanders, not I.

Epilogue: After the race the course marshal give me a ride to my car from the finish area.  She introduces me to another of her "Bud-dies," who accompanies me back to the finish area to await Barry and Gayatri. This time nothing gets poured on the ground.

Share the Trail
Sharing the trail with equestrians.
The Rosaryville trail had been built by mountain bikers and as the day goes on, there are a number of them to be seen.  The bikers are invariably polite, pulling to the side for runners and offering encouragement. Some are going counterclockwise as are the runners, but some are going clockwise, so it is an opportunity to see them again a little later.

The trail is also used by equestrians. In his pre-race brief RD Tom alerts us that there are horse groups out today and they have flagged parts of the course, as well as other park trails, with other color ribbons than the white ribbons we are to follow. Sure enough we came upon a pretty fair number of riders, including a group of five from the Melwood Equestrian Program. As bikers yield to runners, runners yield to horses, and I'd stand quietly by the side while the horses went by.

Army Strong, or, An Army of One II
Is this an old aid station?
Before the midway aid station on the final loop (about mile 25) I catch up with Chris.  He's moving along OK, but his knees are starting to ache, his thighs are getting a bit sore, and he admits to hot spots on both feet.

We fall in, with him allowing me to set the pace.  I mostly run the downhills and flats and walk the uphills of the rolling course.  Even though I tell him, maybe even urge him, to go on, he insists that the pace is fine and he stays with me. And maybe that is right because when I stop to take a picture, I am able to hurry along to catch up to him.  He says that he may speed up as we get closer to the finish.

We get to the midway aid station in 1:09 since I entered the final loop, elapsed time of 5:19 from the start.

Another abandoned aid station?
We chat as we go along, and he tells me about his career and family plans.  He has just reenlisted for his second tour of duty and he lays out for me what he plans to do for the rest of his life. Since what's said on the trail stays on the trail the only thing I'll say is that at some point his plans and dreams involve a 67-foot sailboat.

This last stretch seems to go on forever. While the course makes more turns than the small intestine, the turns seem further apart and turns that I mistakenly remember as being closer to the end of the loop are not.

Five fingers for five Rosaryville finishes
( Photo by Jon Valentine)
With a couple of miles to go we come upon a runner who is walking and experiencing some cramping.  Chris goes on. After supplying the runner with an electrolyte capsule I look ahead for Chris and he is out of sight. Gone. Vanished.  He has put the hammer down and finishes 8 minutes ahead of me.

But that is yet to come.  Glances at my watch tell me that my time isn't going to be anywhere near 6:30. Out of the loop and onto the park road for the last mile back to the start finish, I glance behind me to see if anyone is coming.  No one is, so I walk. And walk. With a couple of hundred yards to go, and most of it downhill, I finally run and cross the finish in 6:41:59.  It take me a leisurely 1:22 to run from the last aid station to the finish.

I Thought I Could
And now to find the answer to the Zen question. I approach RD Richard who is working away on his tablet.  He shoos me away for a few minutes so he can concentrate on what he is doing. I wander away, change clothes and return.  He tells me that no one in my age group has yet finished - that's another Zen moment, or maybe I'm Schrodinger's cat. He checks with the timers, since he only gets results in batches and hadn't received the batch with my finish, and confirms that I am the age group winner. I'm awarded the winner's seat cover towel and proudly pose for my photo.

First in age group (60-69) of three runners and one DNS. Of males 57 of 67. Overall, 79 of 124.  My fifth, and slowest (by 31 seconds) Rosaryville Veterans Day 50K. But the second time I've won my AG.

Barry and Gaytri both finish after a bit.  We head off to Bojangles for nourishment before the drive home.
Happy with Medal and Age Group Auto Seat Towel Premium
( Photo by Jon Valentine)
Swag: hat, medal, bib and AG car seat towel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Marine Corps Marathon - October 25, 2015

Sometimes you're the windshield / Sometimes you're the bug
- Mark Knopfler, The Bug

Cinco Amigos V
Once again we've put the team back together for the 40th Marine Corps Marathon.  Barry, Emaad, Rebecca, Jennifer and I are prepared, as the MCM exhortation reminds us, "to charge the District, beat the bridge and TAKE THE IWO!"

We register in the Masters team category as Cinco Amigos V, as it is the fifth year we will be carpooling and running MCM together.  Only the top three finishers count in the team scoring, but we are allowed to have five on the team.  We expect another last place finish.

Sometimes You're the Bug I
Unexpectedly the casualties begin early.  Jennifer complains of plantar fasciitis in her foot. It's a sudden onset as she and I had been doing long runs in September in preparation for October marathons. She tries stretching and a short run but the pain persists.  As she plans to go to Seattle the week following MCM and do hiking and walking out there,she wisely decides not to risk aggravating the foot by attempting MCM.

Sometimes You're the Bug II
Rebecca is the next one down.  A couple of weeks before MCM she develops a fever and her knees swell up so much that she needs to have one drained and use a crutch for several days.  Tests for various illnesses - tick-borne and otherwise - come back negative but the illness saps her strength and she decides not to run.  She feels well enough however to come out and support the efforts of the remaining three Amigos.

Soft Targets
With me at the wheel, Emaad, Barry and I have no difficulty in getting to the MCRRC hospitality suite in Rosslyn.  At the appropriate time we head out for the mile walk to the start, which takes us past the Iwo Jima Memorial.  But shortly before turning left from N. Meade Street to walk down N. Marshall Drive toward Route 110 and the start, the crowd of runners comes to a halt. People begin to get antsy about getting to the starting line on time as there seems to be no reason for the delay.

New this year, however, about half a dozen metal detectors have been set up to screen everyone walking in that direction.  In year's past, there has been bag screening, but runners have been able to by-pass the bag checks since they are not carrying bags. With a handful of metal detectors, perhaps balky in the damp, misty conditions, the crowds have come to a packed standstill trapped with metal detector lines to the front, an armored police vehicle to the right, a fence and earthen berm to the right, and more runners to the rear.

Security has created not only a perfect mess of disrupting the smooth progression of runners to the start but have created what would be an ideal situation for a terrorist: a densely packed crowd in an area conducive to concentrating an explosion. A terrorist might not be able to get beyond the metal detectors, but would have no need to - security has neatly penned up hundreds of potential victims just outside the perimeter.

Finally a Marine takes control of the situation and orders runners without packs to move to the right and bypass the metal detectors.  The crowd quickly moves past the unnecessary (and unsecure) bottleneck.

Other locations lacked a take-charge Marine.  Long lines at other entry points resulted in hundreds of runners getting to the start line more than a half hour after the start. The race director extended the "beat the bridge cutoff time and kept the finish line open an additional 30 minutes to accommodate those runners.

Walking up Route 110 toward the start, a pair of Ospreys thunder overhead in helicopter orientation, then fly back in airplane orientation.  We get out of the road as the wheelchair racers start and come toward us.

Trying to get to the proper side of the start line.
We get beyond the howitzer that is fired to begin the race just before Marines stop the stream of runners trying to get to the far side of the start arches.  We walk past the corrals for the elite and other fast runners and duck into the starting area.  The howitzer fires, we allow a stream of faster runners to go by and seven minutes after the start gun, we cross the mat to begin the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon.

Got A Plan
Barry falls back while Emaad and I set out with a plan. While we both had somewhat disappointing results at the Wineglass Marathon three weeks previous, we figure that if we can run the first half in 2:10 we can go under 4:30 today. Both of us have run MCM the past four years in under 4:30, so our goal is fairly modest - about a 10:17 per mile pace overall.

We take the first few miles easy.  At the downhill at Spout Run (mile 3) we try to pick up the pace a bit.  A pushrim racer is trying to get through the dense crowd but people are slow to move out of his way.  In my best imitation of a Marine DI I start screaming, "Clear the center! NOW! Clear the center!" I come alongside one woman with ear buds oblivious to the request. I resist the urge to rip them out of her ear and simply yell at her.  (There are more than 23,000 persons running today and tens of thousands of spectators and by running with headphones she might as well have run alone.) The crowd parts for him, he gives me a thanks, and gets to go on and take advantage of the downhill.
In the sprint to help clear the path, I lose Emaad. I won't see him until back at the hospitality suite. Based on our splits, he passes me somewhere around mile 7. I pass him around mile 20. Neither of us sees the other. Given the way the day turns out, that might have been best for both of us.

Sometimes You're the Bug III
Emaad was beginning to develop a cold or other respiratory problem in the days before MCM. Today he pays the bill.  While getting through the first half in 2:15, he so runs out of energy in the second half, staggering through the second half in 2:59. He walks the last several miles. On the plus side, it is his ninth MCM finish even if his slowest since 2005.

Time for Plan B, or Maybe Plan C
I make decent progress for the first quarter of the race, getting through the first 10K in a 10:17 pace. In fact, for the second 5K, I've dropped the pace to just under 10 minutes per mile. The next 5K is a bit slower, but that includes the crowded out and back part of the course in Rock Creek.  Then it is past the Kennedy Center at mile 10 to begin the long straight flat to the halfway mark at Hains Point.

Beginning of the Blue Mile
A mile to remember them.
Mile 12 is the always poignant Blue Mile, lined with the images of those who have died for their county in its past twelve years of war in the Middle East.

My pace isn't what I want it to be. I'm running with the effort I want to be at, but the pace is dropping into the upper 10:20s.  It is too soon to be slowing down, but I am.

I reach the half in 2:16.  I know that 4:30 is out of the question.  By the time mile 14 passes in a slow and labored 10:39, I realize that it is time for Plan B.  I try to ascertain whether I can finish in 4:40. That will depend on how the teen miles go.

And they don't go well.  My pace per mile drops from the upper 10s to the mid to upper 11s.  I'm not suffering any pains. I'm just spent.  While I'm usually a pretty chatty runner, I don't feel the urge today.  My last real conversation was around mile 4 with a bunch of Australian runners who I teased should be watching the Wallabies playing Argentina in the semifinals of the rugby World Cup rather than running a marathon.  They assure me that they will be done in time to see it, and anyway, they are confident to advance to the finals, where the All Blacks of New Zealand await the winner. (Their confidence is justified as Australia easily beats the Pumas 29-15. The next week, however, the all-powerful All Blacks summarily dismiss their down-under rivals 34-17 to win the Cup.)

By mile 20 - proverbially where the marathon 10K starts following the 20-mile warm-up, I'm just hanging on.  I'll run mile 20 in 11:35, which shockingly will be my best mile split for the last eleven miles of the race.

It's not that I'm doing a great deal of walking at this point.  I'm only walking one minute at the beginning of each mile.  But I have little strength or energy, even as I drink Gatorade, take salt tablets and consume gels. I'm just trudging along.

Crossing the 14th bridge my goal now is to get to the finish in under five hours. As I tell a first-time runner who asks about the remainder of the course, the course on the bridge is a surprising  mile and a half long.  A police boat and a Coast Guard boat patrol the Potomac below.

Once over the bridge only five miles remain. I look forward to getting a taste of beer from the Hash House Harriers in Crystal City, but I miss them.  At each mile marker I do mental arithmetic to determine what pace I need to maintain to finish under five hours.  Depressingly, it continues to hover in the low 13 minutes per mile, a pace I am just running ahead of.

Not looking great at the finish.
Food offerings of donut holes at mile 24 have no appeal and I trudge (there's that description again) onward.  At mile 25 I weigh the time lost for a visit to a portapotty, against the likelihood of making it to the finish and decide the stop is prudent.

Finally to the turn to the finish, I can't even run up the final part of the hill to the Memorial, but I manage to run the last, mostly flat, 150 yards to the finish and cross the line in 4:56:06.

Past the finish I lean on a railing to recover.  I walk to help banish some lightheadedness, get in line for me medal, accept the salute from the Marine lieutenant bestowing the finishers' medals and find my way out and back to the hospitality suite.

Barry has a workmanlike finish.  Rebecca meets him on the Mall around mile 17.5 and paces him about five miles to Crystal City.  She was there when I ran by, but I missed seeing her.  It was that kind of day.

Sometimes You're the Bug IV
This was not one of my finer performances.  Half splits of 2:16 / 2:40 contribute to an overall pace of 11:17/mile, more than a minute per mile slower than last year.  It is the second slowest of my MCM finishes. Places were AG 160/430; Males 7812/12
774 and overall 12456/23186.

On the plus side, it was my tenth MCM finish.

The team Cinco Amigos V finishes like expected: last (11/11) in the Masters category and was the slowest of all 37 teams in all categories.  There is no award for being DFL, be we award ourselves the Lanterne Rouge.

Swag: Shirt, patch, medal, bib, program, box of snacks
(All ruby for the MCM 40th Anniversary)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wineglass Marathon - October 4, 2015

Vignettes of a Marathon
A week of rainy weather, led by a threat of a nor'easter and Hurricane Joaquin, and a mysterious illness that sidelines Rebecca casts uncertainty over our participation in the Wineglass Marathon but clearing weather on Saturday and near-perfect running weather Sunday save the weekend.  The course is nearly identical to that I ran in 2010 (report here), 2009 and 2006 (Mark's report), so I'll stick to the highlights and skip the mile-by-mile details.

How to Hydrate for a Marathon
Saturday afternoon is the day for a bit of Seneca Lake touring.  We go first to the FLX Wienery for lunch, for which I wash down a Zweigle's White Hot, home-made chips and french fries with a birch beer.  We drive down to Watkins Glen and then up the east side of Seneca Lake for a stop at Grist Iron Brewing for a beer.  From there we proceed to Two Goats Brewing for more beer and to admire the hundreds or thousands of dollars thumb-tacked to the high ceiling. The owner tells us the secret of how they are thrown up there using a stack of quarters as a weight behind the thumb-tack.  Then on to Damiani Wine Cellars for a tasting flight, and a visit to the next door Finger Lakes Distilling.  Barry and I pass, but Emaad has some whiskey, grappa, and maple jack liqueur. We drive the back roads of Schuyler County to get to Heavily Brewing in a converted dairy barn in Montour Falls. Barry gets a sandwich and a coke but Emaad, Sandy and I share two flights of beer amongst us.

After we are done we return to the house.  Barry calls it a day, but the other three of us head out for dinner.  We wind up in a sports bar, but wisely we all skip any additional complex liquid carbohydrates.

Barry, Emaad and I keep warm and rested awaiting the start.
Madness? Who's Mad?
About a mile into the marathon, Emaad complains that he is having trouble getting loose and that running is hard.  We are in the midst of other runners as we run down Route 54 in Bath, so I lean close to him and make a slightly inappropriate suggestion as to what would motive him to run faster.  He doesn't quite hear me, and I start to giggle at my own suggestion and his asking me to repeat it.  For some reason the humor (to me anyway)  of this grows on me and I start to laugh louder and louder.  Emaad  slides away to the side.  That makes me laugh more and louder.  Emaad moves further away.

Runners awaiting the start

And then I start to yell, "I don't need to take any medicine! I feel good without it! I don't need to take those pills!"  Emaad drops further away.  Other runners give me a wide berth.

[Later in the day, long after I've left him Emaad decides that his tightness is a result of his compression tights.  He ducks into a corn field to remove them and gathers shouts about Portapotties for his efforts.] 

Move on! Nothing to see here!
Running along East Steuben Street in Bath, the eastbound lane is given over to the runners. Periodic traffic cones provide some warning for runners and the few oncoming cars on a Sunday morning.

I'm with a group of runners regaling them with my favorite tales from Marathon du Medoc when I trip over a traffic cone, fall on my right side, roll and pop back up to my feet. 

Nice scenery on Route 415 east of Bath - between miles 6 and 8
People ask if I'm hurt but a quick inventory reveals nothing problematic medically: small scrapes to my right elbow and knee. Partially embarrassed from my inattention - I never saw the cone even after my fall - I yell out, "Nothing to see here! Just keep moving along!"

But I managed to fall squarely on a gel pack in one of the compartments on my shorts and the pack burst, leaving sticky gel smeared on the right side of my shorts. Retrieving a couple of other gels from adjacent pockets that were coated in the mess, I carry them along until I get a bottle of water to wash off them and my sticky hands.

Pictures Along the Course
I'll let the camera do the talking for much of the course.

Along Route 415 headed to Savona - about mile 8

Well maintained red barn on County Road 125 outside Savona- around mile 11
Crossing the Cohocton River in Campbell - around mile 13
Horses in a field on Tannery Road - around mile 15

Recrossing the Cohocton River into Curtis - around mile 16
Less well maintained red barn on Route 415 around mile 19

On on! Hashers serve beer on Painted Post Trail 
- about mile 23
On On!
Hash House Harriers are those fine folks who belong to "a drinking club with a running problem." Local hashers frequently set up impromptu beer aid stations at marathons, and I'm looking forward to seeing them today.  Five years ago I got to their station only to be disappointed that they had run out of beer.

That is not the case this year and the liquid refreshment just past mile 23 is welcome.  I greet the fine HHH volunteers with an "on on!"  

Help Wanted
The marathon may start at mile 20 but I knew at the halfway point that I wasn't going to be able to reach a stretch goal of 4:30. The lack of serious or even goal-oriented training was a large part of it, and also that I hadn't started out the day with a particular goal in mind.  The 4:30 had been a fleeting thought, but reaching halfway in 2:15 with the knowledge and experience that I don't run negative split marathons but an end to any chance of it happening.

So when I got to mile 20 the goal was to finish in under 4:40.  A glance at my watch indicated I have about 65 minutes to go 6.2 miles, around an 11 minutes/mile pace.Mile 21 was a bit of a drag and then well into mile 22 Elaine, the 4:40 pacer, caught up with me.  I figured that was the end of it for me.

Elaine leads the 4:40 pace group at mile 25
But she was cheery and positive enough that I was encouraged to try to hang with her and the group that was following her.  We chatted as we went along. Her previous race had been a little jaunt in France at the end of August, the 170 kilometer long, 33,000 feet of climb and descent, Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, which she finished in 44 hours.

I figured I could buy into some of that toughness and try to hang with her for the last four miles.  We compared watches and discovered that I had started about 50 seconds later than her, so that was She was running a rock steady pace and sometimes I'd get ahead but then I'd walk or slow down and she would catch up.

Despite her encouragement, by ones and twos the group with her started to shrink.  By mile 25 there were six left and I think that by the bridge over the Chemung River to turn onto Market Street for the last half mile or so a couple more had dropped off the pace. I had gotten a little ahead and took the slight uphill onto the bridge as a chance for a last walk.  When she caught up I took that as the clue to start running again.  A straight shot down Market Street to the finish and I was done.

She finished in 4:39:07, just 23 seconds faster than the 4:39:30 that she told the folks running with her that was her target.

Awkwardly worded volunteer shirt
What were they thinking?
Volunteers on bicycles cruise along the marathon route.  They are easy to spot wearing their special yellow shirts.  Only when one goes past me do I realize that the slogan on the back may be poorly worded - perhaps "course support" would be more appropriate.

At the end I point that out to one of the female riders.  She agrees. "I'll raise that in our post-race meeting," she says, allowing me to photograph the shirt. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.)

Results and Some Unusual Statistics
The details for me:
Finish; 4:38:07; 18/40 AG; 529/729 M; 1170/1931 Overall
Splits: about 2:15 / 2:23

Overall, 62 percent of the finishers were women, significantly higher than the 43 percent reported by Running USA for marathons in 2014. And the half marathon, run at the same time on the second half of the course, had 78 percent of its finishers being women, again significantly higher than the 61 percent reported by Running USA for 2014 half marathons. I have no idea why the proportions at Wineglass are so much higher.

Swag: Bag, split of sparkling wine, wineglass, shirt, bib,
program, gift cards, candy, glass finisher's medal

Friday, August 14, 2015

Maryland Heat Race 25K - August 8, 2015

One Man's Misfortune is Another Man's Good Luck
"Your lucky day," Don emails, "Doc says 'no running' for a few weeks. So I'm offering you my 25K bib, no charge. The RD says: no transfer fee."

The day before I had indicated to Don that I might be interested in running the Maryland Heat Race with him. Normally I would be more interested in running 50K than half the distance, but a either run on a hot and humid August day did not sound appealing.  On the other hand the 50K was $60 compared to $50, so you got twice the distance for only 20 percent more.

Combined with a long range forecast indicating that the weather would not be awful, a free entry was too much to refuse and I quickly accepted Don's offer.

Paying It Forward, or Backward, or Something
Race director Nick arranges for the transfer of Don's entry to me and as a small token of appreciation I offer to donate some truly fabulous gifts for him to give away.  The race does not have prizes but at the post-race picnic he gives away various items by pulling runners bib numbers from a hat. After I give him a list of what I am proposing to bring he emails, "I'm not sure what the second one is, or how much people will want these items, but who knows. . . . . Maybe I can convince you to announce what they are, since I won’t remember :-)"

The evening before the race brings a flurry of emails - and a possible motive for Don offering me his entry.  Carol starts it off by asking Don if he is registered for the race.  In July he had mentioned to her what a good race it was and that he intended to enter.  She promptly did enter - it was to be her first trail race.  When Don got injured volunteering at a race July 18 he did not inform her that he was sidelined, and now, the day before the race, she found that she was going to be on her own.

Don replies apologetically but mentions that he transferred his "bib to another friend (Ken Swab) who I think you've met and he runs your pace (maybe a hair slower) and adds me to the email chain. She replies to both of us, "I was looking forward to running with you but will look for Ken. . . ."

I'm always willing to run with someone so we exchange pictures and mobile numbers so that we can meet up at the start.

A Day in the Woods
Parking is at a park-and-ride lot just off I-195 and a bus shuttles runners into Patapsco State Park to the pavilion on a less than ten minute ride. Check-in is quick and easy and Carol finds me without any problem.

Since Don had indicated that I was "a hair slower" I ask her about her speed.  "I run 8:30 pace," she replies.  That makes me much more than a hair slower, I think, but she is a bit concerned about her first trail run so she indicates that she is likely to stay with me, at least for the first part of the race.

We toss a couple of horseshoes in the pit next to the pavilion while waiting for the race to begin. The 50K started at 7 a.m. and at 9 a.m. race director Nick gives a brief description of the course and the aid stations positioned every four miles.  Instead of saying "Go!" he leads us on a loop around a ball field then down a short road over the river to where a trail begins.  It takes some exertion to keep up with Carol.

We run on a dirt trail paralleling the river for a bit, then through a short tunnel under a railroad line and head up a hill away from the river.  Carol is strong on the uphill and pulls away from me as I walk the single track.  At the top we hang a right at a four way intersection under the guidance of a course marshal and I make up time on the downhill, finally catching up to Carol.
Nice runnable section just past the power lines.
She's wisely being cautious on the downhills, perhaps because I have told her the slogan, "it isn't a trail run unless you fall or get lost."  A loop takes us back to the intersection with the course marshal who directs us in the proper direction.  In a bit the leaders of the 50K race come flying past.

A bit of rolling course takes us out to a trail under a powerline cut and we head uphill with Carol in the lead. We briefly go back into the woods and pop out at a road where we don't see flagging for where to go.  Three guys sitting on the tailgate of a pickup point us in the right direction, and we debate whether they are volunteers, or just three guys sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck willing to help out confused runners.

Carol reloads at he first aid station.
Now It is a Trail Race
We quickly come to the first aid station on the edge of a field.  A glance at my watch indicates that it has been 56 minutes from the start.  My unofficial plan is to run each four mile stretch between aid stations in an hour, so we are on schedule, assuming the aid stations are four mile apart.

The trail heads downhill, first gently and then more steeply.  Carol and I tread carefully as more 50K runners bound past.  We navigate one of the several stream crossings, but like all of them they are low enough and there are adequate stones to get across dry-foot if one wishes.  We do, but other runners simply splash across.

Headed up after the really steep part.
What goes down must go up. A course marker points right and upward at a 45 degree angle, and it isn't much of an exaggeration,  It is a rocky stretch and I go in parts on all fours until it eases up a bit. Near the top there is a sign pointing to a scenic overlook not far off the trail and we at first consider it and then decide that we ought to keep running.

Carol takes off and I plod on behind.  A bit of rolling up and down and as I turn a corner I see someone bent over a runner on the ground.  It's Carol, and apart from a bump on her leg she isn't injured.  I tell her that it is now a trail race.

We pass a spot where a couple of folks are sitting by ropes that go over the side.  I move close to the edge and quickly retreat having no interest in the rock face that seems to descend a deadly distance.

The Patapsco River from the Grist Mill Trail.
The course turns downward and by the foot of the Bloedes Dam we are on the paved Grist Mill trail next to the Patapsco River.  Carol cranks up the speed once again and I don't try to stay with her.  We make a right onto a pedestrian suspension bridge over the river and arrive at Aid Station 2 in 53 minutes since leaving the first aid station.
Aid Station 2, with Don (back to camera, r.) snapping pics and Carol to his left.

Carol and I clown around at AS 2.
(Photo Courtesy of Don Libes) 

Second Half
After stopping to exchange photo opportunities with Don I grab a handful of chips and M&Ms and head uphill on the trail.  Carol soon overtakes me and we go on together, first downhill, then rolling along a ridgeline above the river. We turn away from the river and run past a couple of collapsed buildings in the woods.
A fixer-upper in the woods.
In a bit I glance at my watch as it ticks (metaphorically) toward one hour. We are still in the woods with no aid station in sight.  But within a couple of minutes (1:02) we arrive at the final aid station.  Just four miles to go now.

Aid Station 3.
Now It is a Trail Race, Part II; or, An Ethical Dilemma Revisited
I'm in and out of the aid station quickly. Carol lingers a bit more but quickly catches up.  We both are felling good and move along smartly.  There is a wider stream crossing than some of the others we have managed and I decide that getting my feet wet isn't a problem so I deliberately avoid trying to skip from rock to rock.  Carol does likewise and declares the water "refreshing".  I concur.

My pace seems to have picked up a bit and I gradually pull away from her.  At various points I slow down and look behind.  At first I can see her with another runner, and then, while I can see her as the course winds around and up and down I can hear her talking with another runner. I have a slight pang of conscience of leaving her behind but rationalize that she is with another runner so it is OK.

And after a little bit more I can't hear her either.  I slow down a bit but keep going.  With about a mile to go a runner catches up to be and asks if I'm Ken.  He then tells me that Carol had fallen and sprained her wrist and that she wanted me to know that she was OK and that I should keep going.

A couple of years ago Rebecca and I had a conversation about what I would do if she fell and was injured.  I told her that I'd dial 911 and leave her, since I'm not qualified to render medical advice.  This becomes one of Rebecca's favorite stories to tell on me (see the section, "What Goes Up" here).

Now I am confronted with the real, not the theoretical, question.  I trot on a bit more, slowly.  Another runner comes by and gives me the same information and same advice to "go on" from Carol.  I go another ten yards.  Then ten more. Then I stop.

Carol comes along.  Her shoulder and back are dirty from her fall and three of her fingers are sore from being jammed into the ground.  She assures me that I didn't need to wait and I tell her the Rebecca story.

The Wall from the back side. Carol on top.
We go on together and come to "The Wall" a twelve foot high flood control  measure on the bank of the Patapsco.  We find a place to climb up it and I clamber down the other side, while Carol walks along the top to find another place to descend.

We cross a beach area busy with picnickers and come out onto the field where we began.  I ask Carol where her 8:30/mile speed is and she immediately kicks into high gear and roars to and over the finish line 100 yards ahead. Despite the fall and the wall, we finish the last four miles in 1:01.

Fabulous Party, Fabulous Prizes
BBQ on a bun, beans, kielbasa, mac salad and a pilsner.
The finish line party is everything that was promised.  Volunteers have grills going full blast, and there are hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, black bean burgers, macaroni, fruit and quinoa salads, pizza chocolate cake and much more.  And coolers full of a wide variety of craft beers.
Just some of the beer selection.

Around 2 p.m. Nick jumps onto a table and begins to pull numbers from a hat.  There are no prizes for winners, but raffle prizes for lucky entrants, where 25 or 50K runners. He gives away several restaurant gift certificates and some running gear and then turns to the items I donated.  Rather than draw numbers he simply asks who wants them, one at a time and gives away several of the items I donated: a mini-Nerf football, earbuds, an unopened Baltimore Ravens 1996 Inaugural Season bottle of Coca-Cola Classic, and a pocket sized copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

Then he calls on me to describe and present the final items. The first is a red presentation box containing a white Chinese ceramic bowl with lid. The last two are identical, and what I described to the crowd as an American version of the Maltese Falcon differing only in that they are eagles rather than falcons, brass rather than black, metal rather than stone, and American rather than Maltese. Other than those few differences, I assure people, I'm sure that Kasper Gutman and Joel Cairo would be after them. 

Me hawking the American version of the Maltese Falcon.

Race Roundup
Carol finishes in 3:35:50 and I'm seven seconds behind her due to her sprint at the end. We are both first in our age groups. OK, there are not many folks in them (3 females, 3 males total), but we did beat the others. Good for bragging rights anyway. I'm 58 of 83 males, and 88 of 146 overall. 

Swag: four gels, sticker, bib.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bighorn Trail 32M Run - June 20, 2015

The Sunglasses and Hats Amigos - Barry, Rebecca, Emaad and Ken awaiting the start
The running gods bear a striking resemblance to Greek gods, sometimes dishing out adversity; sometimes being indifferent; and sometimes providing providence, all without any discernible pattern to the mere mortals whose paths are made straight or crooked by the whims of the divine.

For this year's Bighorn Trail Run the gods were not merely merciful, they were benevolent.

Starting Out
To get to the start of the 32-mile race requires a 40-mile bus ride of well over an hour from the small town of Dayton, WY up into the Bighorn Mountains, first on Route 14 and then on unpaved Forest Service roads. The ride itself has spectacular views as the road ascends about 3500 feet.

We hesitate a bit before getting off the bus making last minute equipment and clothing choices as you can leave a bag on the bus to be returned to Dayton for your pick-up at the end. I decide that it is warm enough to go the entire day with shorts and a short sleeve shirt. Barry does likewise; Emaad decides to start with a pair of shirts and Rebecca, as is her usual, goes with several layers.

The view from the start. We go up Dry Fork Ridge to the left.

The start line
The National Anthem
A very nice rendition of the National Anthem marks the time to move to the starting line. The nearly 300 starters move the few steps from the parking area to stand behind the start line. Those of us toward the back don't hear to start signal but it really doesn't matter as the crowd starts forward at the 8 a.m. start.

Barry with 88-year old Bob Hayes
Dry Fork Ridge looking back around mile 4.
Within a couple of minutes the runners are spread along the road headed for the turn up Dry Fork Ridge.  The sky is a beautiful blue with scattered clouds.  The trees and meadows are spring green.

And then it is time to climb. Over the first two miles we climb about 1000 feet to the top of the ridge according to the elevation chart.  The ridge is about 8400 feet and I feel a little bit short of breath but not too badly.

Emaad feels the altitude a bit more and lags behind.  Barry, Rebecca and I leapfrog one another chatting with the other runners.  We walk and chat a bit with the legendary Bob Hayes of Evaro, Montana, 88 years old and still running ultras. 

Rebecca gets ahead and Barry falls behind and I run chatting with the folks around me.  I spot a Virginia Happy Trails Running Club shirt and introduce myself to 'Smitty.'  We trade tales of races we both ran. He tells me of a coast-to-coast road trip he took when younger, selling his car to buy a pick-up with a cover so he and a friend could cruise the West and attend rock concerts.

What Goes Up Must Go Down
View to the southeast from the Dry Fork Ridge
After stopping to take and pose for photos around mile 4 we reach the Riley Point Aid Station a.  I grab a few cookies and potato chips and head out.  The trail turns sharply downhill and we run through a mix of forest and meadows, with the occasional muddy rivulet to cross, losing about 1700 feet in altitude over 2.2 miles.  About five of us make the descent together, with me being the engine of the 'train' and Smitty being the caboose.  I repeatedly ask, maybe even urge, the others to go by but they insist the pace is fine.  I'm a bit uncomfortable having to set the pace, worried that I'll run faster than I prefer because of a subconscious need to please the rest of the group.  Passing through some wet areas in the forest we spy some large tracks in the mud. "Moose," someone from the rear declares. 

Headed down from Riley Point. It got steeper.
On the way down I spy a bag containing unlabeled white capsules.  Naturally I pick them up.  They look like the Succeed! salt capsules I'm carrying but none of the runners around me are willing to try one. Since I've taken found pills before, I figure they'll make a spare supply if I need one. 

At the bottom of the descent the trail joins the route that the 100 and 52 milers run on the way to the finish.  The 100-milers started their race the previous day on the out and back course and the 52 milers started near the turn-around at 6 a.m. this morning.

Within minutes we join 100-milers as we get to the next aid station at Kern's Cow Camp.

What Goes Down Must Go Up
Kern's Cow Camp aid station, around mile 8, is pretty remote, but provides runners not just with the usual ultra food of cookies, candy, chips, fruit, water, soda and Powerade but freshly fried bacon and potato slices fried in the bacon grease. Runners mill about enjoying the food before heading out.  

Over the next six miles the course generally goes gently up and down for about four miles and then climbs about 800 feet over the last two miles back to near the start at Head of Dry Fork while following the Dry Fork Creek drainage.

Rebecca is at the aid station.  I eat several slices of bacon, grab other food and headed out with 'Minnesota' and Rebecca joins us. 

Minnesota is not the runner's real name, it is Tonya.  I have a horrible time remembering names and have found it easier to remember something else about the person, often where they are from.  So for me today, Tonya is Minnesota. She owns a restaurant back home and tells us tales of the business and her brother, who is the elected local sheriff.  Rebecca and I get to tell her our oft-told tales of races we have run together. Rebecca tells her favorite story on me, how I told her at one race that I would run with her unless she got hurt  - in which case I would dial 911 and leave her. My rationale that I am not trained to deliver emergency medical assistance and hence useless in that situation was unpersuasive.

We join up with a 100-miler and his pacer for the climb to Dry Fork.  Not surprisingly, the pacer is more talkative than the runner, who has been going for nearly 24 hours and still has nearly 20 miles to go.  All things considered, the runner is in pretty good spirits.

One of the food tables at Dry Fork AS
The Gods Toy with Us
We reach the Head of Dry Fork aid station in 3:53.  It is another fabulously stocked aid station, with not only the items in the picture at left, but anther table with hot pizza.  While I'm munching pizza, a volunteer asks if I'd like my drop bag.  I start to decline, then remember that I've put gels in it to replenish my supply.  Once I've filled up with them I'm ready to go.  Minnesota is telling me that she is heading out.  Rebecca comes over and tells me of a runner who lost his bag of salt capsules, and I hand over the bag. Rebecca is going to change socks.  I tell her she'll catch up with us as I leave.
Rebecca at Dry Fork AS.
The uphill resumes upon leaving the aid station.The course climbs about 500 feet over the next two miles before descending about an equal amount over the next three. 

On the way up we pass the father-son pair of Stricklands.  The young Strickland is 10 years old. For him this is no big deal, He ran a 12-hour race at age 9 and a 100K in April.

But it isn't the climb that is troubling. It is the cool wind dropping over the ridge and the dark clouds to our left.  It is the sign of an approaching storm.  We hurry on, going on the the premise that the clouds are moving southward and we are moving east, and if we get far enough east we will escape the storm.  And we do, even if I do so at the cost of leaving Minnesota behind. (It turns out that the running gods were taunting us.  No rain fell, even behind us.)

Looking back toward Dry Fork. Connecticut is on left.
The Stricklands are next on the trail, center.
Cresting the ridge that separates the Dry Fork Creek drainage from the Sheep Creek drainage I turn around and take a picture.  As I do a runner catches up with me.

We exchange pleasantries and names and where we are from. Lyndsay promptly becomes Connecticut.  We run a bit together and then she pulls away.

I walk a bit with a 100-miler who is not having a good day.  He had hoped for a good time but spent 20 minutes heaving due, he said, to a B-vitamin capsule being lodged in his stomach.  In response to his request I give him three of my Succeeds, which he immediately downs.  Having done my duty, I resume running.
On the way down to Lower Sheep Creek AS.
"The Haul" is up the ridge in the center rear. 
I'm running the gentle downhill on a four-wheel drive track following the runners in the near distance.  Then the runners ahead stop and turn back toward me.  I stop, too, and look down the slope to the right where I can see a couple of other runners. The runners in front of me had missed the flagged turn off the four-wheel drive road onto a single track trail.  We backtrack - only about 100 yards for me - and head in the right direction.  Connecticut was one of the runners who went the wrong way and when she catches up with me we stay together as we head toward the Upper Sheep Creek aid station at mile 19.

Hauling the Sound of Music
A 100-mile runner is at the aid station when we arrive. His shirt has a handwritten message, "Happy Birthday to me. I am 40."  He is in good spirits and even points out that yesterday was his birthday.

Connecticut and I hustle thru the aid station. I tell her that lingering at aid stations, a natural tendency in ultras because the food is good and volunteers friendly, can add up to significant loss of time over the course of a day. (For example, she took almost 15 minutes at Dry Fork; I was there for less than 7.)

It's been four years since I last ran here but I remember the course in detail. From the aid station we descend about 100 feet to the small wooden bridge that crosses Sheep Creek. We have arrived at the foot of "The Haul."

The Haul is the name for the half mile long stretch of trail that climbs about 500 feet to the crest of Horse Creek Ridge.  I may remember the Haul but I don't remember just how steep it is. 

Flowers in the meadow at the top of the Haul
On the other hand, the weather has been nearly perfect in the Bighorns this spring and the meadow to our left is full of wildflowers. Connecticut takes out her camera and takes closeup pictures of many of the flowers.  Her mother is an avid gardener and she also has the interest, identifying some of the wildflowers for me. Her gardening opportunities are limited as she lives in an apartment, so she is taking advantage of the run to combine a pair of interests.

More meadow flowers at the Haul.
At the top of the ridge we exchange cameras to take pictures of each other with the meadow, canyon and plains in the background.  I've been carrying and nibbling on cookies from the aid station and finally finish the last one before we head down toward the canyon.
The cookie made it to the top of the Haul but no further.

It is a long descent, perhaps 2500 feet over four miles or so through varied terrain: meadow, fields, dense woods with brush, rock. Sometimes gentle, sometimes steep, occasionally almost flat.  We spot two runners sitting on a low rock outcropping to enjoy the view of the canyon and we also stop but to adjust shoes and socks.  Connecticut is done quickly and resumes running.  I first go to sit on a pile of rocks but then think it is a perfect place for rattlesnakes and choose a spot in the center of a large low boulder.  I feel like there is a small stone under the ball of my foot but removing my sock reveals a blister.  It isn't particularly painful, so I simply replace the sock and get going.

Heading down one section I hear a runner coming up on me.  I move over to let him by and it is the 100-miler that I gave the Succeeds.  He apparently has recovered and is flying.  Smitty also goes by in this stretch. Earlier, Connecticut and I move over for a woman running the 52 miler. Connecticut identifies her as Darcy Africa Piceu, one of the world's best ultrarunners. She on her way to a first place finish (5th overall). (She was in and out of the Dry Fork aid station in 95 seconds, BTW.) And we pass a older couple, wearing matching Superman shirts wearing 18-mile bibs, the first, but not the last, 18-milers we pass today.

In the Tongue River Canyon.
Tongue River Canyon
The Tongue River Canyon is entirely different than the first 24 miles of the course.  The steep canyon walls trap heat and for the first time in the day it feels warm rather than pleasant.  The trail is rocky in some places rather than simply dirt.  Sites of rock slides are evident. Most the trail is in forest. The views are just as good but of a different sort.

At mile 24 I arrive at the Lower Sheep Creek aid station. I glance at my watch and pace card and see that I'm about two minutes behind a nine-hour pace. I'm in no hurry, but a seed has been planted.
The 'bridge' over
Lower Sheep Creek

Tongue River Canyon with the
Needle's Eye ahead.
After crossing the creek, I spend some time taking photos and exchanging cameras with other runners so we can get pictures of ourselves. (No selfies for ultrarunners; the scenery is too big.) I catch up to Smitty and express surprise; he says he is busy taking photos.

Kick It
My goal in coming to Bighorn was simply to enjoy the day and make up for having to drop down to the 18 miler in 2011 due to "the chicken-fried steak" incident.  But at the Tongue River Trail Head aid station (mile 26.6) a glance at my watch and then at my pace card shows that I'm still only two minutes off the pace for a nine-hour finish.  

By now we are about out of the canyon and the remaining course is on a mostly level gravel road, I figure I might as well try to up the pace.  I feel good, the remainder of the course is not photogenic and the temperature is climbing, and there is only about 5.4 miles to go officially.

I'm quick through the aid station.  I estimate that I have enough water in my pack to last. soak my buff to cool off my head, drink a cup of soda and grab some snacks and head out.  Touring is over; there is work to be done and a clock to be beat.

Substitute Spouses
I make good time headed to the final aid station, appropriately named Home Stretch at mile 29.6. On the stretch of road approaching it volunteers ride bicycles handing out ice pops to the runners.  At the aid station a volunteer sprays me with a mist of cool water.  I get a drink and push on.  A glance at the watch and pace card shows that I am now eight minutes ahead of a nine-hour finish. With only 2.4 miles officially to go, I'm confident that I'll make it.

I walk a bit with a 18-mile runner with a British accent.  She's relocated to nearby Sheridan, WY. And I chat a bit with a 100-miler.

But soon I'm running again and take a sip from my pack.  Nothing. I've miscalculated and have another mile or so to go and nothing to drink.

A woman riding a bicycle and towing a child in a bike trailer pedals alongside and asks if I'd like some water. I thank her as I take it.  She tells me that she had come out to escort her husband to the finish but had missed him.  I joke that I can be her substitute husband and she can be my substitute wife as my wife didn't come out to escort me.  She tells how running has become nearly an addiction for him since he gave up smoking several years earlier, and she is glad it has, as addiction runs in his family, with a brother with alcohol and drug problems.  She says she'd like to run and I encourage her, telling her she could even walk the 18-miler.

In Dayton for the last few blocks she peels off and I turn into Scott Park to cross the finish line well under nine hours.

The Gods Strike Down Hubris
When I cross the finish line I strike a Usain Bolt winner's pose. This angers the running gods, and my feet slide out from under me and I fall flat on my back, much to the consternation of the finish line volunteers.  I assure them that I am OK as I get up and grab a chocolate milk to await the others.

The Round Up
I finish in 8:33:47, 4/11 in AG, 100/132 males, 163/233 overall.  Given my split for the last section, I I suspect that the official distance is a bit overstated - at least for that stretch.

Smitty finally stopped taking pictures and finished in 8:43. Lyndsey, aka 'Connecticut' was two minutes behind him. Tonya, aka 'Minnesota' finished in 9:02. The father and son Stricklands finish in 9:11.

Barry and Emaad caught up with Rebecca at the Dry Fork aid station and ran together for awhile before Barry took off to cross the line in 9:14.  Emaad and Rebecca ran and finished together in 9:37.  Emaad's ten-year old daughter runs with him the last 100 yards.

Swag I: Bag, shirt, insulated bag, sticker, buff.

Swag II: Two pint glasses, finishers' shirt, water bottle, bib