Monday, March 31, 2014

On Being a Race Bandit


Last November, runners were told to get over ourselves. While I agree that on some level this assertion is true I can also think of no subset of the human population that couldn’t be told the same thing. What raised the ire of many runners was this proclamation was coming from the mouth of a self-professed (and portly) non-runner. Like the old adage of “I can make fun of my family but you can’t”, this one came from outside the inner circle. That’s not acceptable. 

Then runners were hit from within.

One runner at a half-marathon in NYC recently posted a bunch of selfies with herself and other “hot” male runners in a race. Relatively harmless, the piece went viral, although I wondered if it would have received the same haha praise if a male runner had done it with “hot chicks” in the background. 

Then a few days later, another runner and blogger Ashley Hesseltine, thinking this selfie idea was brilliant, usurped it for her own article. Problem was, unlike the runner in NYC, she didn’t pay for the race she decided to run.  She became a bandit. But worse, she became a smug, not-particularly-funny bandit, writing about it without the best of writing skills relying on mainly snark and cursing for humor. When runners deemed to tell her being a bandit was wrong, her self-righteousness went to eleven.

I have no doubt that some people were probably far too bothered by it and I am sure others took to insulting her personally rather than her actions.  Of course, if you title your own blog “Witty + Pretty” you are asking for people to take swings. I get it.  My job title on Facebook is “Manufacturer of Awesome.” You don’t think if I have a bad day or race or comment or whatever that those who don’t like me aren’t going to jump all over that? Please. But I digress. (I also am pretty freaking awesome, so no worries on that one.)

By the time many read Hesseltine’s blog for the first time, the addendum she added in response to the initial commenters simply oozed with indignation. If I had to guess, even though Ms. Hesseltine is a runner, I bet she never had banditted a race before. She probably wasn’t expecting such vitriol or anything other than “You so funny!” Thinking she did nothing wrong, she had to stay on the attack when those speaking of what she did pointed out it was uncouth. (Coincidentally, I had unknowingly read other articles by Hesssletine in the past which I only now realized were hers and the same confrontational-for-the-supposed-sake-of-being funny attitude permeated throughout those as well.)   

Races cost money for a reason. People who take part in them fairly do so because they have paid for that right. I won’t list all of the things that runners’ fees go to pay for but police officers, road closures, aid station food and drink, chip timing, race medals, t-shirts and course entertainment are just a few. Claiming, as some of her defenders did, that the roads are public and they pay taxes so they can use them during race day is asinine. Your taxes pay for school chemistry labs too but you can't just waltz in and fire up a Bunsen burner whenever you want. Plus, on top of all the other safety reasons in races that existed prior to April of last year, we now live in a post-bombing of the Boston Marathon world. People who aren’t where they are supposed to be are going to be looked at different. Sure, Ms. Hesseltine is a white woman but if she was a Chechen or Middle-eastern man doing the same thing, she would be looked at differently. This is not me taking the slippery slope too quickly; this is looking at real life.

Here’s the thing. We all make mistakes. I banditted a race once. I felt wrong after. But even in that race I did not take any of the fluids, food or medals for finishers which others spend their money on. (A picture since taken down, apparently showed Hesseltine taking bling she didn’t pay for.) Also, I definitely did not bandit specifically to write a post about it in hopes of bolstering my writing career. Therein lies the fundamental problem with Hesseltine’s post and why so many were bothered. The whole  “Thanks for the PAGEVIEWS, suckas!” attitude showed absolutely no remorse whatsoever or even a hint of “Sorry, my bad.”  If either had popped up, I am guessing runners would have dropped the whole issue. But, the more people disliked her, the more it fueled her post being viewed and the more she fired back at her “trolls”. Unfortunately, just because someone disagrees with you, does not make them a troll or a bully, both words Hesseltine threw around in her middle-fingers-up-and-ablazin’ responses.

But that sort of response is fairly typical of the too-cool-for-school Gen Y  blogger. Saying “Get over it already” and then writing ANOTHER blog with one of those horrible non-apology apologies to milk her 15 minutes even more didn’t help matters at all. I guess that is what they do over at the Huffington Post. Click bait. (Just be happy she doesn’t write for CNN or she might have written about Malaysian Air 370 for the past two weeks and then complained about people being upset about her mocking the crash before writing another post about us needing to get over it.) 

Stating she had raised money in the past for charities and had signed up for this race again already (which I found shocking that the race would allow) seemed to show she was a good person. She probably is. But it was strike two at missing the point. She made a mistake and did something wrong but rather than just owning up to it she put up another layer of talk-to-the-hand to her haterz.

Perhaps this is another case of runners needing to get over themselves. But runners are rather good at self-policing their sport. When someone gets out of line they get whacked down. One can claim as Hesseltine did that her entire post was all in the name of showing off her city or just trying to be a comedian. Even supposedly sending in a check afterward to pay for the registration fee smacks of Hesseltine trying to buy her way out of the hole her own attitude created. Simply taking it on the chin would have done her a world of good. Of course, contrite and logical doesn’t get pageviews.

I hope those pageviews were worth it in the long run. And maybe if she did a few more of those long runs, her times would be better.  

Burn.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: The Swashbuckler's Guide to Running Away from Dinosaurs



I read a lot.  Not nearly as much as I would like and not always things I am happy I spent time reading (like, for example, the steaming crap pile that is Ashley Hesseltine’s Huffpost article about being a pedantic annoying thief at the Georgia Half Marathon. No, I am not linking to it.) When I read something good I want to share it. Which is why I am telling you to get The Swashbuckler's Guide to Running Away from Dinosaurs by Sputnik.
 
Full disclosure: I am quoted in this book (on page 102-103, thank you very much.)  And my quote is one I am particularly proud of.  But I am quoted often and that means very little to me. So, know I am talking about this book in spite of my addition to it.

For the most part, if you know me, you know I can’t stand trite, flowery, everyone-is-a-winner sentiments. I know they sell well and I should just put out a 50 page book of those sayings and retire. But I can’t and it is not because I don’t like money and wouldn’t mind never having to ignore some idiot on twitter again. This is not to say Sputnik’s book is the things I described above.  It just could have been that and the fact it isn’t makes it great.

There are tons of quote in the book, interspersed with Sputnik’s own brief race recaps. It is not too heady, it doesn’t take long to read a passage and its brevity allows it to be picked up, read for a few minutes and then put down. But unlike other books filled with quotes, there are some really good ones in here outside of the typical rah-rah fare. Most are not the contrived drivel meant to be clickbait on Upworthy. Some I am absolutely going to be putting into my own words and stealing down the road.

I don't know if it is the Australian author and the well-known great attitude Aussies have but it permeates through the book. You owe it to yourself to grab yourself a copy. I only wish I got royalties.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Race Reports

I read lots of race reports. Race reports from people I know and don't know. Race reports about races I have no desire to do. Race reports from people far slower and far faster than me. I feel a learn a little from every one of those reports. Sometime it is what to do and a lot of the times it is what not to do. Here is a partial list of things I have come across.

* People are often disappointed in their result no matter what it is. It could be a PR by a huge unexpected margin but they are still not happy. I really find this disheartening because I wonder if they are ever truly happy about anything. I finished a half marathon last weekend 11 minutes slower than my PR and found tons of silver linings.

* People do not seem capable of listening to their own bodies and running within themselves. One particular runner will always go out way faster than they are capable of holding onto for the entire distance, falter and crash. This is not just once but dozens and dozens of times with the same end result. Yet they steadfastly hold to their ill-conceived, completely irrational plan that has never panned out. I think it is the German in me that gets a tad bit of schadenfreude by watching them never succeed.

* People do not listen to the advice they ask for from others. This is one reason why I hesitate about giving any when asked for advice. Regardless of the fact that everything depends on factors too numerous to list, I just bristle when I am asked for advice, give it, have it not be followed and the person does poorly. A much wiser friend of mine taught me a trick that basically just involves asking someone what they think they want to do and then agreeing with it. Makes you seem like the smartest person on the planet.

* People do seem to be enjoying themselves in a variety of different races. That's good. That's really good. The marathon gets too much attention anyway. I love it. It is a great distance but it has become a tad blase'. I think far too any people take on the distance before they should and then having completed it, don't go back. So when I see all the other distances getting some love, I smile. The more people who race hard at shorter distances means the more people will eventually race hard again at the longer distances. Fast is Fun.

* People seem to enjoy in eating and drinking after a race almost as much as they do running the race. There is nothing wrong with enjoying food (I guess. I am not a foodie so I don't get it.) But, it appears to be very evident that they are not helping their own health as they are vastly underestimating how many calories they are taking in for their "reward" for finishing a race. Finishing a race should be your reward for finishing a race. Not eating something that has three times the calories you burned in the race.

* People are stepping up their writing game a lot. Race Reports used to be awfully short and uninformed. I wrote a race report on how to run the Old Dominion 100 miler 7 years ago because I couldn't find anything other than "There is a hill . You go up it.  Drink water." when looking online for help. There are also a lot of people who still think writing is easy and it shows. That makes me feel good about my own writing. :)

Basically, I need to get over the flu so I cannot stop reading and go running. 11 Days and counting. This is not fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Prize Money Equality in Races

I saw a recent post about the Irving Marathon that offered prize money for the first place finisher only. Not per gender but overall. This sparked a discussion about gender inequality and how it will ruin this race in the long run and a dozen other tangents. I had to sit back and think about whether this bothered me and I still don’t know if it does. So I decided to try and think it out before coming to an opinion (how novel!)

Firstly, the prize was offered to the first person crossing the line so on its face it is not discriminatory.  If a female won the race, she would win the purse (a term which I am surprised has not come to be called sexist.) So, that doesn’t bother me. First person wins. Good.

However, more realistically, the chances are far less that a woman will women based on physics, previous race results and common sense. What I found interesting was watching people decry this prize money structure and flat out admit that the chances of a woman winning were slim to none. Undoubtedly, a large percentage of these people are the ones who also say that anything a man does a woman can do better. Except run faster, I guess.

It reminded me of an article written by Ellie Greenwood, an elite ultrarunner, about the politics of prize money. The situation was basically the same but this time it was in a 100 mile race instead of a marathon. If you follow ultrarunning at all you will have seen many articles recently touting that ultras might be where the pendulum finally turns an women beat men on a semi-regular basis. Women, the articles say, are better built for it.

Now, all of those articles have stopped recently as, well, none of that has actually happened. The gap in times between the absolute elite men and the absolute elite women has stayed the same or widened. Sure, more women are less likely to DNF at ultras than men but that is mostly because women seem to have more common sense about taking on a distance that they are likely to finish. Male hubris takes over upon registering and they often take on a challenge without proper preparation. Hence more DNFs. (Yes, I am probably over simplifying this, so deal with it.)

So, even in the distance and sport where the playing field seemed more level, women haven’t quite closed the gap yet, if they ever will. Which leads us back down to marathons. The women’s world record in the marathon is a 2:15:25. That is so fast the closest other world record is nearly 2 minutes slower and it was set by Paula Radcliffe.  In addition, it was set 11 years ago. The men’s world record (not world’s best which is actually faster) is a 2:03:23 and that was set just last year. Women have seemed to stagnate (or Paula Radclliffe was so otherworldly good we won’t realize this for another decade) while men continue to get faster.  This seems to go well for those saying there needs to be separate purses for this race as, obviously, men and women are basically competing in different worlds.

But as much as I am an advocate for women in running (an entire chapter in my book sings the praises and documents the trials and tribulations of women fighting for even footing in the racing world) I just can’t seem to get bothered by this one race offering one prize in a winner-take-all style. There are something like 600 marathons in North America alone. This race in Irving is one out of many, many, many marathons out there with prize money. In addition it is hardly the standard bearer for races. I doubt other races will follow suit and give away the same sort of prize money. So it sort of sits alone. If you feel it is not right, then don't run the race. It is not like it is the only deal in town.

[Sidebar: Interestingly, I never heard any females complain about the LA Marathon challenge bonus.  This year, elite women were given an 17:41 head start. I am not sure where that number comes from but I am sure there is some scientific reasoning (obviously it is not the difference in the World Record times.) When the smoke settled, the male winner won the race in 2:10:37 and the female winner in a 2:27:37. Because of the headstart, the female winner took home $50,000 by “beating” the male by 47 seconds. Ever since this was instituted in 2009, I have thought it was the most sexist thing imaginable. But if you were against it, you were a chauvinistic pig. I have heard that because there were men’s races for so long that events like this and “women’s only” races exist rightfully to make up for lost time. I cannot even begin to talk about how ludicrous an argument that is.]


So, even though I wanted to bothered by this, I simply cannot. It is one race. They had a decision to make about what they wanted to do with their prize money and they are sticking to it.  No matter what. Or until enough people complain about it and it get changed, as it did almost during the time that I first saw the hubbub about the event and the time it took me to write this article, that is. (I am not joking.)

I would have had greater respect for the race if it had simply kept to its original intentions. Reminds me of a few years back when a marathon in DC had a 5:30 cutoff.  People were up in arms. Never mind how difficult it is to shut down the nation’s friggin capitol on any given day, people were bothered the race wouldn’t let those finish over five and a half hours. I thought it was a great idea. What is wrong with having a race that encourages people to try harder? Like I said about the Irving Marathon, there are literally hundreds of other marathons in the US alone and I guarantee 99% of them would not follow suit. Why? Because slower runners make up the bulk of registrations, sales of apparel and merchandise. If race wants to make money it has to accommodate those in the back of the pack. Which leads me to the final point I heard about accommodating elites and its effect on the race’s success in general.

As I said a few months ago when Competitor, the owners of the Rock N Roll series, decided to end their elite program, it is their prerogative to do so. They know what benefits them the most as a company making money and it was not helping elites. (Of course, they did a semi-about- face a few months later but that is another story.) I heard elites complaining that prize money is how they make their living. Well, this is a bitter pill to swallow but it is not up to anyone else to make you earning a living easier. I have learned this many times personally the hard way. Just because you think more races should coddle elites because you think it will help the bottom line and bring in more sponsors and grow the race, doesn’t mean it is true or that the race sees it that way even if it is.

All told, if I felt that offering money for the top finisher (or the top 3 or 5 or whatever) was a trend that was going to take hold and, for all intents and purposes, completely shut women out of making a living at the sport, I too would have to give this a thumbs down.

As it stands, if you want something and it is given to the first person to get to it, I guess you just have to run faster than everyone else.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gupton Jeep Tom King Classic Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 9; 5th Edition 
32,9 miles run in 2014 races
Race: Gupton Jeep Tom King Classic Half Marathon
Place: Nashville, TN
Miles from home: 2346
Weather: 50s; bright sun

Running when you are not in the best of shape is, by definition, what we do most of the time. It is, however, that subset of running efficiency, running when we are far below our best which is not very fun. Speed is relative but every runner understands how not fun it can be to try and race when they are a shadow of their best.

Two years ago I was in a bike crash.  Prominent injuries were tended to. However, it appears that less prominent ones have shaped my running since then. My legs have hurt, somewhere, somehow since that bike crash.  I assumed it was because, well, my legs hurt. Now, I have found out that chances are strong they hurt because of something that happened to my body during that bike crash.

Two years ago I met a wonderful gentleman by the name of Peter Pressman.  Peter is the president of the Nashville Striders running club. He mentioned that he was interested in potentially bringing me in to speak for the Striders signature event, The Tom King Classic. A mutual friend, Joe Henderson, had graciously given me a good review which piqued Peter’s interest. I was more than happy to consider the request but given that many people approach me for events which never pan out, filed it away into my mind.

I did, however, do my research and found out that not only were the Striders a very well-received running club but the Tom King race was known to be extremely fast, reward runners very well before during and after the race and the entire endeavor would be enjoyable one.  Then I promptly forgot about it.

You can then imagine my surprise and pleasure when Peter contacted me and we solidified this gig. Given 2014 was supposed to be my year of getting faster at the shorter distances again, I saw the Tom King Classic as one of the races at which I would test my fitness level. Then a painful calf problem cropped up right after I set a record for the fastest known time running a marathon on a cruise ship. I don’t correlate the two any more than their proximity in time, but that’s when it happened.

The week prior to the race had me experimenting with my leg. I had, 7 days prior, run a completely pain free run and thought perhaps the problem was gone. But then on four consecutive days it got worse. I ran the exact same course in an attempt to ascertain from where the pain was coming from but simply could not. I finally decided that I would run, not race Tom King and then probably shut it down.

Presenting at the dinner before the race, I was happy to have an engaged and excited crowd. I love speaking to any organization or group of people and given my varied background can relate to pretty much anyone.  But speaking with runners is like telling inside jokes. And as I relayed my issues with my legs I told them I have always said the hardest run a person does is their first one. The second hardest is every run afterward that they don’t run when they want to. I got a lot of knowing nods.

Race Morning:


After snow and storms had struck the region earlier in the week, the day before the race and the day of were just about as nice as you could ask for. This was, to me, just basically another dagger in my side.  Great course, great organization, great weather; gimpy Dane. Prior to the race my friend Candice had mentioned she was also on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list  and would be taking it out relatively slow. I said it would be good to hang together for as long as we could and enjoy our pain together.  We lined up in the back of the pack which is hard to do for two reasons. First, it is admitting you are already not racing. Second, and to this day I cannot understand why people do this, without a doubt there are hundreds of people who place themselves WAY far ahead of where they should be. We figured it would just feel good to pass all these people as we work out our kinks.

First 3 miles: 7:07, 7:07, 7:06


The first quarter basically had me hobbling along with a peg leg.  But then, as usual, the leg felt better and I could ambulate with minor amounts of Captain Ahab-ness. This portion of the course had us starting outside of the Tennessee Titans stadium and heading out along some wide city streets. Candice and I had to part a little as we calmly picked our way through the throngs.  We then joined back up and started running side by side. She had a hip issue bothering her and was trying to do her best to run controlled.  When I saw our first few miles I felt bad. I felt bad for me because I wanted them to be faster. I felt bad for her because I know she wanted to run closer to 7:15s.  I figured something would give eventually for both of us.

We encountered the only hill to mention of the entire race right along the second mile. For those who run in Nashville, to find a long stretch of flat running is almost impossible. Tom King, however, manages to have virtually every mile of its 13.1 do just that. Not too shabby.

To the Midway Point: 


The race has to cap its participants at 1500 for one main reason: the bike trail.  For roughly 9 miles runners head out and back along a bicycle trail along the Cumberland River. Perfectly fine as bike trails go, once runners are coming and going, there is not enough room for lots of people. So the Stirders wisely cap it.  They also cannot close it to outside traffic which, for the most part, was not a problem. We did, however, get a big kick out of the woman on her bike out for a leisurely stroll who tried to weave her way through all of us staring around mile 4.

I was beginning to feel human and picking up the pace right around the time she went by.  So basically, I spent the next half mile right behind her as she dainty asked runners to move over to let her pass.  I wonder what I would do if I tried to go for a bike ride and 2000 people (including the 5k) were in my way.  I am pretty sure I would pick a different path. But that’s me. I’m considerate.

Before much longer the leaders were coming back at us. They were flying.  Candice’s husband, a 2:26 marathoner seemed to have a lock on third place and would come in with a 1:10 half. Dang.  Even more dang was the women’s overall winner, one Lanni Marchant, who set a new Canadian women’s record finishing also in 1:10.

Around 5.5 miles, I felt Candice begin to fall back a bit just as I was beginning to feel better.  I had a feeling we were parting ways. As the turn-around neared, I began counting people in front of me that I felt like I could still pass. I stopped when it got to 30.

Onto Mile 10:


I told Candice good luck as we passed in opposite directions and began to set my invisible lasso on the next group of runners in front of me.  My just over 7 minute miles began to dip into 6:50 and 6:40 miles. I would grab one group of three or four and soon leave them behind.  My leg felt, for all intensive purposes (thank you, Mike Tyson) pain-free. The best part of this portion of the course were seeing all the runners I had met at the dinner the night before and waving at those who shouted my name as I passed who I had no idea who they were. You have to shout before I pass you so I can find your face!

There was a group of three runners, one woman and two men, who were about 20 yards in front of me that were running virtually the exact same pace. As such, they were chewing up and spitting out runners in front of them as well.  I always wonder when I see someone running so akin to what I am running, what their plan was for the race.  Did they intend to negative split and took it easy? Were they battling injuries that mysteriously disappeared for most of race? Why is it we are both so far back in the pack but now running the same pace that the ones we are passing can’t seem to hold on anymore?  This, non-runners, is just a small sampling of what I think about when running. What the hell do you think about when you aren’t?

A small looped portion that we did not run on the way out allowed for a slight deviation from the original out and back. It was a nice diversion that took runners over an extremely quaint, if not hazardously twisty footbridge. Running solo as I was, I could plot an exact straight line to not deal with a single right angle, as long as I kept my elbow unnaturally high for about 30 yards. Also, by running virtually with no one by my side, I could hit every curve in the inside. Even running the same speed I would, by physics, catch some of those in front of me.  And I did.

A friend I had known for seven years, but whom had never actually met, was on the sideline cheering runners on. Trent and I would later break bread two more times over the weekend but getting cheered by someone you knew but didn’t know was a nice treat. Now it was down to the nitty gritty.

Heading Home:


When I am not in racing form and am way off my PR speed it is never how much longer time wise that a race will take me to complete that gets in my craw.  Rather it is the distance left to travel when I hit my PR that rankles me so. In this instance, when I hit the 11th mile, I knew that if I had been running at mile half-marathon PR pace, I would have been done. To think I was 2 miles behind my own self, set just last fall when I was hardly in 13.1 PR shape, was rather disheartening. Alas.

In a race designed like this, there is not a great deal that the volunteers can do to mess things up out on the race course itself, especially at the aid stations.  I designed the revamped Drake Well Marathon course (now apparently scrapped by the new race committee) partially for the same reason. One portion contained an out and back on a bicycle trail which meant that aid stations doubled up.  Less volunteers needed, less aid stations which needed to be set up and manned. That said, people can still go above and beyond the call of duty and that is what these volunteers were doing.

As we went through what would be the last aid station I reached out to grab just a sip of liquid. The sunny weather was perfect for the race organizers and a welcome respite for the runners.  But it was a tad warm out for yours truly.  As such, I had already grabbed drinks twice before by comparison (in the Heart Breaker Half a few weeks ago I ran the entire 13.1 with nary a sip) but needed one last drink. My pace had quickened to a 6:38 mile and I was desperately trying to reel in as many runners as I could.  I knew after the slight downhill we had gone up earlier that we would have a virtual flat plane the rest of the way. For whatever reason I don’t run fast on flats.  Haven’t figured it out yet but I am exceedingly better at something with a slight grade in it.  So, needless to say I was doing all I could to push hard and getting that drink was necessary.  Of course, I then proceeded to drop the cup from the last aid station volunteer. Bollocks.

As I tried to deal with this small setback, I pushed forward. I heard brisk footsteps and figured one of my competitors had read my body language and knew this was the time to take advantage of me. Suddenly a hand appeared almost over my shoulder holding a water cup.

“Here,” said the volunteer whose cup I had missed. I was dumbstruck.  He had taken the time to grab another glass and then sprint after me to catch up just because I had messed up and missed the hand off. I thanked him profusely which I am sure came out as “Fankewe berry dunch” in my dry mouth, running hard phase. Just wonderful stuff though.

Here, however, even with the surge from liquid in my throat, I found my leg not responding for the first time.  More accurately, it was the first time I called upon it to surge forward and it plain and simply would not do so. I was still gaining or passing a runner here and there but one I had been tracking down for quite some time no longer was getting any closer.

We neared the stadium where we started but I knew we finished inside of it. I wasn’t 100% sure how we got inside the stadium or what we did once we were in there but I knew we still had about a mile left of running. That being said, and knowing this, it is still hard to run all the way around a stadium, and as I learned once we exited the tunnel the Tennessee Titans exit for game, that we had to run all the way around the field as well.

We could see the finishers ahead of us crossing the finish line on the gigantic screen above the field. This was great for the spectators but not all that helpful per se for runners. That doesn’t matter as we should be focusing on the road in front of us. One last turn at the end zone and around mid-field the finish awaited.  I suddnelly felt a presence and saw a shadow.  A person was trying to pass me.

I have almost never allowed someone to outkick me in a race.  As the runner approached and got to my shoulder, I realized today was going to be one of those times. I knew two things for certain
1.    Given his speed and acceleration and my leg not working, I could not match him.
2.    He had been way far ahead of me at the start so losing by a second meant absolutely nothing here.

As it ends up I finished 77th overall in a time of 1:31:11.  Not too shabby given all the circumstances but definitely a little disheartening.  I waited after the race with Ben, Candice’s husband, and a few other new friends to cheer Candice in. Her time was not what she was hoping for either but given her own injury I hope she realizes it was solid.

After the race, runners were treated to an amazing smorgasbord of breakfast food in the warm confines of the club levels of the stadium itself. If that weather had been inclement in any way, I can see how people might have never left this comfortable area. All told, the Tom King Classic (named after one of the founders of the Nashville Striders who is not only still alive but a wonderful gentleman in his own right) is a race that is a must-do. It is definitely know by people far and wide but not nearly as far, nor wide, as it should be.

Here’s hoping this recap helps remedy that as soon as possible.