Friday, April 15, 2011

35th Running of the Pear

This week I really struggled to find a decent title for our blog, hence the serious delay with which I will now attempt to cover all things related to the biggest running event in the valley.  Actually, it has nothing to do with coming up with unique titles, I thought of a bunch.  "Bananas and Bread," "Maximum Effort"(although I think the Mail Tribune used that one year and I just don't come up with stuff that clever), "Rennaker Fails as a Pacer," that one i really liked and will go into more detail.  Seriously though, I drug myself out of bed every morning, gingerly descending my stairs while avoiding numerous pitfalls (an English Setter jumbled with a poor excuse for a legitimately sized Australian Shepherd) just to make my way out of the kitchen, grabbing my running shoes, and to my computer to look for descent pictures of everyone from the race (read that part really fast as I tried to fool you by thinking I was dragging myself out the door to run, I don't do that anymore though, duh).  I say decent, not because everyone ends up wearing little to no clothing at these things (road races) anymore but decent in the sense that I don't think we ever tend to run as fast as on East Main and Hanley and therefore look like we are about to enter a casting call for "America's Got Zombies." OK so that was another title I was thinking of and it had to get used.

As race morning approached I grabbed Carly by the hand and we headed out the door to make our way to Medford for an event that I had no role in planning or erecting. However, I felt like I had put in a lot of time  geting ready for it with coupons and bread and signage, really the gut busting stuff.  As you probably saw, I did put in enough time on the course though, ugh!  

Kicking and screaming the whole way, you can't even see the coffee Carly spilled on herself in the car. 

This year I felt like I was entering the PBR with enough strength and speed and to indeed break my PR as I hadn't run anything over the marathon distance since early March.  Not a usual occurrence so it would seem the legs might be fresh enough to roll 5:30's with ease. I even thought I might see Erik on the straightaways?  Another part of me also knew that this was probably not to be as my speed work consisted of what it always was or rather wasn't, some fartlek  trail downhills and the occasional hill repeat/stride. 

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 and the mussel loaders blast, false start?  We'll, for a second or 5, and the runners are off.  The picture above tells the tale as it was certainly one of the most awkward starts I've been witness to, but eventually the mob was off and out of site.  Casual chatting took a back seat at the 1st mile mark as a runners fell in line, marching to some unseen destination but in the most rapid fashion.  I tried to count the masses in front of me but eventually fixed my gaze on Neil Olsen's green RVR singlet.  It would carry me out and back on this day much like a tug boat to the sea. Sorry Neil but I can only think of those large ships that cruise around with the bright blue hulls.  In my haste, I thought I had snuck in on the top 10 but it was Neil who ended up grabbing the penultimate podium spot joining Max (CR) and Erik (5th). 

I think I see that giant ship sailing in the distance.
1700 finishers in this years 10 miler and just over the same amount in the 5k.  Too many local runners out there to name individually but their performance are all just as noteworthy. However I would like to congratulate those in the fairer green singlet.  RVR runners Bree Ray for her commanding 2nd place finish and Becky Hacker's run for 8th spot along with group run regular Melissa Schweisguth who ran very well to capture 5th place in 1:05:24.  All the results can be found here

David and Jeremy crest Hanley Hill with no problems.

Erik eventually go the best of this BAC runner.

A wondrous sight to behold in the Rogue Valley, runners as far as the eye can see.
Was this taken after the race? 

In the end there were a few surprises.  Max broke his CR(not a surprise), but did not wear the pear monokini, surprise.  Bree ran strong (not a surprise), but did drop her pacer, surprise. RVR was there with fast runners, good coupons, and lots of bread (no surprise), there were more people at the store later that day, surprise.  Nice work southern Oregon, and another big thank you to Jerry and Zellah and all their hard working volunteers. 

Another victory for one of the best guys around. 

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