Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Calling Someone A Quitter: You Have No Right

Very rarely do I get so fired up to write something publicly and if I lose any announcing assignment as a result of it, so be it.

I strongly believe in what I am about to write.

Over the last few years, I’ve done my best – in a totally volunteer capacity – to promote the endurance athletes of Montgomery County and Spring – a place where I live and socialize the most.

I have a trivia question:  How many people who call or have called Montgomery County home have finished both an Ironman and a 100-mile endurance run?

The list is pretty short.

These are ones that live in the County and have recently (both in the last five years):

Karen Felicidario  (Ladies first, of course)

Curtis Hooper

Dan Jordan

I’m not certain if Allen Wrinkle lives in the area anymore.  I know that he used to.  (I just checked.  His Facebook still says “Spring, Texas”.)  Allen has completed some nasty 100-milers as well as Ironman Florida and Arizona.

Yep, count Allen too.

And, of course, there’s the legend:  The Woodlands’ Jim Braden.

Two Western States 100 and (at least) 11 Ironman finishes, including seven straight in Kona, in his 50s.

If I’ve missed anyone, please let me know.  (I looked at all of the guys and gals in the area who have finished 100-milers – John Powers, Troy Pfeiferling, Rick Cook, Patrick Shannon, Les Ellsworth, Bill Dwyer, Lynnor Matheney, Matt Zmolek, Bill Cox – and they haven’t finished an Ironman.  Yet.)

So if any one of these five decides to call any event of any distance a day before they cross the finish line, who has the right to say anything?

Or, heaven forbid, call them – *gasp* – a quitter?

The way I see it:  ONLY the other four (or anybody else who has accomplished both of those feats) can.

I don’t care if they boasted that they could break the Guinness record in some athletic endeavor – even when they didn’t have a chance of doing so or their effort, training or preparation suggested otherwise.

Sure, it may make them look foolish, but it certainly doesn’t justify somebody who hasn’t completed the feats that they’ve already accomplished to either outright call them a quitter or imply it in some other form or fashion.

If you think it does, you’re certainly taking these sports – and yourself – way too seriously.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Corinth PD Foot Pursuit 5K Race Report

Next up - this morning - was the Corinth Police Department Foot Pursuit 5K to make it a race in my 95th Texas city or town.

I honestly can't say that I had ever heard of Corinth before seeing the event on a race calendar or two earlier in the week.

If you follow Texas high school football, Corinth is home to Lake Dallas ISD and the Lake Dallas Falcons.

With an 8:30 a.m. start, and staying just down I-35 in Lewisville near Vista Ridge Mall, I left around 7 a.m. and picked up my packet in plenty of time.

There was a pretty good cool breeze going at 7:30 a.m., but it didn't stick completely around when I came near the finish line at 9 a.m.

They got the race started on-time.  And even though says that the course had an elevation gain of 59 feet, maybe it was the tired legs from yesterday that made it seem twice as hilly as yesterday.

We did almost an entire loop around Lake Dallas High School before heading out on a square course that featured three right-hand turns before a fourth turn back on to the Lake Dallas ISD grounds.

Obviously, the course had excellent police protection and great volunteers -- and plenty of them.

I was a little curious about the timing, because they were using an RFID system that I haven't seen before.  And they had a reader device at the halfway point too.

After an offset time of 10.40 seconds, Mile 1 was 9:52.89 (or at least where I saw chalk markings on the street) and the last 2.1 miles was 21:53.16.

This gave me a time of 31:46.05.

Nonetheless, Delta View Timing captured my gun time as 31:56.13 and my chip time as 31:45.89.  Can't complain too much about performance like that.

The course is here on MapMyRun.

The results are here.

Camp Fire Chicken Run 5K Race Report

The first race of the weekend was the Camp Fire Chicken Run in Cleburne on late Friday afternoon, April 25, with a 6:30 p.m. start.

The race was hosted at Lowell Smith Middle School and had a 1-mile kids' run that preceeded it.

I finished getting my hours in for the week very early and had an appointment at my alma mater that got cancelled.  Therefore, I was in the area way early.

I picked my packet up at the race site, changed clothes in an off-the-main building locker room and still had plenty of time to wait.

I always cut community races - as this one was - some slack with race "formalities", such as announcements, etc.

I think as long as you can get a race started on-time, you're still OK.

The only "criticism" with this event - and some others that I've done - is that the race director needs to be free from doing detail items in the last hour of an event so they can be free to make the decisions necessary to get an event started on time.

The volunteers at this event were absolutely super.  Every intersection was pretty well-covered and they had one water stop at the turnaround point.

The course was an out-and-back with some slight rollers. stated that the course had an ascent of almost 115 feet.  Whatever it was, it felt like more.

As we made a right out of the parking lot, we climbed 39 feet in two-tenths of a mile.  Nice.

We kept proceeding on Country Club Road until reaching Harvest Hill Road where we headed to the south -- and down some rollers that we'd have to head back up.

Mile 1 came through at 10:05.49.

There was a little dog-leg right and then left on to Lakeshore Drive, which was just to the east of Lake Pat Cleburne.

I went 5:31.42 to the turnaround for 15:36.91 at the half way point.

And another 5:01.58 to the two-mile marker for a second mile of 10:33-even.

The inclines on Harvest Hill took their toll, especially with feeling the afternoon heat (80 degrees ... hottest it has been for awhile).

I thought to myself during that stretch, "It wasn't this warm last Saturday morning in Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania running that 5K with Waverly!"

Making the right-hand turn back on to Country Club, we had a half mile before we hit the down hill and I thought I could make up a little time, but it wasn't to be.

Mile 3 was 10:48.58 and the last tenth of a mile was 1:01.11.  Ugh.  That's a 10-minue per mile pace.  I usually can gut it out faster at the end, no matter what.

So 32:41.52 minus 13.34 offset and that comes in at 32:28.18.  Yikes.

I checked with a guy - after the race - that was wearing a GPS device on his wrist and he said that he had 3.17 miles -- and there really wasn't any place that would obstruct the reading nor any place to do a lot of weaving around.

It is possible if the turnaround spot was put out just a little bit beyond where it should have been.

Who knows?  The bottom line is that it was a race in my 94th Texas city or town.

If you're interested, here's the link on MapMyRun.

Official results by Cox Racing Services haven't been posted yet.

Why 5 Races In A Weekend?

The first answer would be, "Because I can."

The second answer would be, "Because I want to."

The third is, "Yes, I'm crazy."

And the fourth would be, "Think of as running multiple legs in the Texas Independence Relay (or whatever other favorite relay that you might run in)."

(I technically could have made it seven - with one more city, but I decided against it for multiple reasons.)

As of Saturday morning at approximately 10 a.m., with two down and three to go, the weather could get bad tonight and neither of Sunday's races at this point are a guarantee.

I've been needing to get my running back into gear.

Two deaths in my family this year, a crazy daily commute of anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes road trip, a desk job, working a LOT of races this spring (with 4-5 hours of sedentary prep time for each) and three out-of-state trips and my running - and workouts - have gone to pot.

So this was a way to kick start once I saw that there was a Friday evening race in Cleburne.

I've added Cleburne and Corinth, will add Highland Village this afternoon and hope to add Carrollton and Muenster tomorrow.

I could have squeezed in Decatur at 1 p.m. today, but I'll pass on that event for now.

Additionally, I know that I won't be getting optimal results from this exercise.  Especially finishing it up with a 15K at high noon.

Sometimes, though, you need to just get away, do something different and have fun - even if you're all by yourself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Texans by Age Division at 2014 Boston Marathon


18-34 - 2:34:08, Zachary Cater-Cyker, 29, Houston
35-39 - 2:35:45, Dane Bartzel, 36, Arlington
40-44 - 2:45:37, John Yoder, 43, Houston
45-49 - 2:46:43, Greg Rankin, 47, Plano
50-54 - 2:53:46, James Cleary, 50, Austin
55-59 - 3:03:22, John Potts, 56, Georgetown
60-64 - 3:05:32, Jerry Hammervold, 61, Sugar Land
65-69 - 3:34:33, Larry Lichnovsky, 66, Arlington
70-74 - 3:51:09, Ed Craighead, 71, Dalhart
75-79 - None
80+ - 3:58:55, Harold Wilson, 81, Tyler


18-34 - 2:53:43, Anita Quirino, 31, San Antonio
35-39 - 3:13:32, Sarah Sallee, 35, Katy
40-44 - 3:06:30, Rachel Hanson, 40, Flower Mound
45-49 - 3:07:34, Laura Bennett, 46, Houston
50-54 - 3:30:06, Ling-Yuan Kong, 50, Houston
55-59 - 3:22:43, Carrie Croan, 55, Plano
60-64 - 3:42:37, Debbie Clark, 61, Colleyville
65-69 - 4:26:18, Roswitha Goossens-Winter, 65, Corpus Christi

Note:  18-39 is the official Boston Marathon division.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Announcing the UIL District 14-5A Track and Field Meet

Great, fun evening the last two days while announcing the UIL District 14-5A Varsity Track and Field Championships at The Woodlands High School.

I've said it many times to boys cross country and track head coach Juris Green -- as well as his first assistant Shawn Hamilton -- that it is an honor to be able to announce their events.

Last night was no different.

You want to make sure that you raise your game to match their great tradition and history.

Announcing a cross country meet, especially working with (and getting great timing support from) Raul and Meghan Najera with Run-Far, is something that I think that I've adapted to very well.

I've had the opportunity to announce both Nike South and the Nike Cross Regionals each of the last two years.

However, track and field is new to me.

A year ago, after doing just the first Nike South and Nike Cross in the fall of 2012, Juris asked me to come out and do their Wacky Relays, which is an off-shoot to a traditional track meet where all of the distances were non-standard.

They were pleased enough with my work where they invited me out to announce the district championship meet last night.

I never got to hear J Fred Duckett announce a track meet, but, reportedly, he was the best.  Especially as the meet announcer for many, many years at the Texas Relays.

Regardless of whether my style is any different, I, like a road race, want to make sure that people get to where they need to be, the events start on time and that people are sufficiently informed.

And that what I do is never, ever about me -- and is always about the kids or athletes (in a non-scholastic event).

I think I succeeded at that the past two days.

At the end of the meet, as he was working as one of the judges (and the fact that he didn't know me from Adam), football and track and field assistant coach (and former McCullough QB great) Robbie Dueitt walked up and told me that I had done an excellent job.

Again, I never look for those types of compliments, but they are appreciated when received (and obviously earned).

I never know what goes on behind the scenes (nor do I ever really want to anymore), but everything about The Woodlands High School programs appear to be as class as they come.

You don't get to be the best in anything by doing things sloppily.

And the athletes there Tuesday and Wednesday night were superb.

Madi McLellan.  Wow.  Of course, I saw her during cross country season, but she was something else on the track.  Almost like a machine.  Very, very focused on dominating the field behind her.

She took two district championships in the 1600 and 3200 meters.  It was her fourth straight District championship in the 3200 on Tuesday night and third in a row in the 1600 on Wednesday evening.

The one young woman that was almost freakishly fast was The Woodlands' Kaitlynn Lindsey as she won both the 200 and 400 meter dashes as well as running an impressive leg on the girls' winning 4 x 400 meter relay team to close the meet.

Oak Ridge High School's Trumaine Jefferson was the boys' top performer as he claimed District titles on Tuesday evening in the long jump and the high jump before checking off the 200-meter title the following evening.  Impressive.

Next up for me in the track and field arena?  Not sure, honestly.

(I would be remiss if I didn't mention the gentleman from Spring's Roberson Middle School who did the FAT timing for the meet.  Just like at road races, the sound guy and the timer make me come across like a million bucks.  It was no different here.)

Obviously, I need to go and listen to a top flight track and field announcer to know where I can get better.  Yet at the same time, I don't necessarily go out and seek business.

I'm pretty busy.  Most of my work comes through referrals - and that's a good thing, of course.

I continuously asked for feedback on Tuesday and Wednesday - not for platitudes (I don't play that game) - but to ensure that I was meeting their expectations.

And living up to the standard that The Woodlands High School had developed and work very, very hard to maintain.

Before I left Wednesday evening, I listened to Juris address the team and I was impressed.  I can't say that I had an expectation of what I thought that I would hear, but he gave all of those young men an incredible amount of well-earned praise.

He reaffirmed that the District Championship was a willingness to buy in to the "crazy workouts that we sometimes put you through".

I can hear the presses working on the T-shirts from here.  :-)