Race Report: 2003 Coburg Run in the Country Five Miler and
If you're a runner,
whether a back of the packer or an elite, the Coburg Five
Miler and Half Marathon aims to please…and they are very good
race can afford to do everything they'd like to for runners
from pre-race to post-race. With all due respect to the Boston
Marathon, unless I missed something as I staggered around
the finish area (although is was way back in '97) of the most
widely recognized road race in the world, other than the best
finisher's medal bar-none anywhere, the finish area isn't
what one would expect from the Mecca of road running events.
In my delirium, I must confess I couldn't find anything to
drink. No kidding. All I could get my hands on was a very
dry granola bar…not exactly what I had delusions of consuming
the last three miles.
I suggest that Boston ask to talk to Dave Wisniewksi, Jeff
Riley and Erik Lovendahl, the co-directors of this year's
Run in the Country. Listen and bring a notepad. Where limited
budgets fall short, attitude and sincerity go a long way and
there's no shortage of those qualities at Coburg. Having volunteers
and race organizers who truly understand runners and walkers
of all abilities is exactly what every local race should have.
While you won't see a Portland-esk finishers' area at Coburg,
you will experience a genuine effort to reach out to kids,
elites, older, younger, wheelchair, men, women, and oh by
the way I almost forgot, the walkers, too.
I couldn't think
of a better event to return to racing, seven months to the
day following back surgery on December 20, 2002. It had been
a long road back. I needed a flat course and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Coburg 5 Miler was perfect.
Warming up, I noticed
the familiar gait of Kyle Gee, who was back to defend his
win in the Five Miler in 2002. Turns out he was injured, too
(hamstring) and hadn't been 100% for some time now. We then
bumped into Todd Bosworth, whose shredded legs looked like
he had been running through the brush. Turns out, while he
had laid a hash down the previous day through thick brush,
he was going to run and wouldn't be pushing Weston, his young
son, which is the only time I am reasonably certain I can
run with him.
In any case, I
was just going to try to run hard and see what happened. Kyle
warned me about the first mile being fast…and it sure was
at 5:44. Uh oh. Not a good start. I should have known to stay
away from Bosworth, who likes to pound on you early and often.
I backed off and let him go…not that I could have gone with
The second mile
was 6:00, which felt much better. The third was slower, at
6:10 and I was fighting off negative thoughts, and tried to
focus on something else other than how bad I felt, so I watched
Todd who was about 40 yards in front of me. He had his sights
on Ramon Estrada, who was running strong in third and I watched
the two of them as they seem to take turns trading paint.
up in mile 4 and Todd took a detour through some sprinklers
as I started to feel better. My spirits were boosted with
a 6:02, and I started to remember what the smell-the-barn-zone
was like. I caught Todd with about a half mile to go and he
gave me a boost with "the Rage is back." I was back to being
awful tired by then again, though…but thought I could muster
up enough to reel in Ramon, who was running third…but well
behind Liz Wilson, the women's winner (28:36) and the leader…a
young 17 year old (Paul Nielsen of Florida), who was taking
all of us to the woodshed (28:22).
On the final straight,
I knew I had waited too long to catch Ramon, and now focused
on the clock. Man. I could break 30, if I just made it hurt
a little more. My finish clocks always seem to be set to run
in the 50-somethings, no matter how I run the race. If I ran
it harder, it still would have been 50-something when I got
close enough to read it. Why for once can't it be 30-something?
What's up with that? I finished at 29:59. Kyle was right on
my heels and Todd a few seconds back.
The race organizers
were also kind enough to give out hardware to the top three
men and women finishers and had the coolest age division trophies
I have seen presented at any race I have ever been to. Odis
Sanders, the half marathon winner and multiple year champion
also gave a heart-felt thank you to the race organizers and
especially acknowledged the wheelchair division winner, who
I understand qualified for nationals with his finish.
for all race directors everywhere, just when you think you've
got it down, make sure attitude and sincerity are on the top
of your to-do list. If they appear anywhere below the port-a-potties,
you should schedule an immediate and mandatory trip to Coburg
to see some good old small town atmosphere to remind you what
every race is about: Runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes
of all abilities.
The Coburg Five
Miler and Half Marathon is guaranteed to loosen up even the
tightest of sphincters.
I highly recommend it.
And that's The
Truth. The Rage
Report: 2002 Run in the Country Coburg 5 Miler by Kyle Gee
Since my buddy
The Rage wasn't at the 2002 Coburg 5 Miler to nip me at the
tape and then offer his version of the race (see 2002
Butte to Butte), I figured I would step into the gap and
provide a guest race report.
Prior to this
run I tried some 10KTruth pre-race preparations. My goal for
this race was to average a 5:48 pace, so I tried a 5M
dry run a week previous at 6:00 pace. However at this
pace I went totally anaerobic after mile 3 and bonked hard
at the end of mile 4. Maybe it was the heat but still my confidence
was shaken. I just couldn't seem to get my legs feeling good
since that Butte-to-Butte run. The rest of the week I just
ran easy, and then the day before tried the Rage prescription
of three 85s
fartleks at a bit faster than 5K pace. Felt a bit better.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.
Race day dawned
clear and warm. I was distracted before the race and didn't
notice much who was planning to run. I did see Ramon Estrada,
a good runner who usually goes out fast. Sometimes I catch
him, sometimes I don't. As we surged from the starting line
I found myself completely in front, suddenly wondering where
all the usual fast horses were.
True to form Ramon
quickly moved in front and we settled into a rhythm. I was
planning to run about 5:55-6:00 for the first mile to see
how it felt, then (hopefully) speed up a bit if I was OK.
I came through at 5:41, feeling surprisingly good. Ramon was
5-10 seconds ahead of me. I moved through the second mile
without trouble, getting a split of 5:51, but still no closer
to Ramon. My strategy at this point was just to maintain contact
and hope for an opportunity. Then it came in the third mile,
as Ramon slowed to get some water at the aid station. As I
passed him I tried to surge a bit to make it seem like I was
running faster than I actually was. Suddenly I found myself
leading the race! Even though I had considered this as a theoretical
(but remote) possibility, when it became reality I wasn't
exactly mentally prepared for what to do next. My mind racing
for some guidance, I tried to remember the Rage race report
from the 2002 Rhody Run, when he found
himself in a similar predicament. All I could remember was,
"Don't do anything stupid." I couldn't think of anything stupid
to do, so I just settled into trying to maintain pace and
hoped I could put some distance between me and Ramon.
I knew from previous
experience on this course that if I could make it through
mile 3 without slowing too much, I should be able to pick
it up for the last 2. My mile 3 split was 5:50 - good enough,
although I was starting to feel some truth. I started wondering
about the officer in the police cruiser leading the race.
I figured he was probably thinking something like, "Man, usually
when I draw this lame detail I can at least get the car into
second gear. If this guy doesn't pick it up my car is going
to stall!" I focused on keeping my stride short. My short,
bowed legs certainly don't make me a gazelle. I have to maintain
fast turnover to keep up the speed, but when I get tired my
stride lengthens out, which for me is sure fire way to slow
way down. I hit mile 4 with a 5:48 split, and a 4M PR of 23:09.
I desperately wanted to look behind me. But like the Rage
at Rhody I didn't want to make it too obvious that leading
a race was a novel experience. The middle of the last mile
has a tough little hill coming up from Bottom Loop Rd onto
Coburg Rd, not much on its own but at that point in the race
it definitely adds to the truth of the moment.
"I didn't have much gas left, but wanted
to look strong for all the TV camera crews at the finish..."
onto Coburg Rd with a half mile to go I couldn't hear anybody
behind me, and so I started to believe that I actually might
win this baby. I didn't have much gas left, but wanted to
look strong for all the TV camera crews at the finish so I
used it all up in the last curves through the neighborhood
that led to the finish line. There was no tape to break; I
assume it had been already taken down by Odis Sanders, who
had smoked the half marathon race and by now was probably
finished showering and enjoying a nice breakfast. Without
a tape I was left with the problem of figuring out a striking
gesture to make that would look good on the cover of SI. However
at that point I was much too tired to think. I
managed a grunt and maybe some weak fist clenching that probably
looked pretty silly. Fortunately all the reporters and cameras
were gone - they must have packed up quickly after Odis finished
the half. I just hope I didn't look as tired as Rage did when
he broke the tape at Rhody. Nevertheless I was pleased with
my time, 28:46 (5:37 for the last mile) which was a half minute
PR. And that's the truth.
10kTruth photographer was there to capture the moment!
On a more serious
note, I would like to dedicate the first (and likely only)
win of my running career to my friend and neighbor Mark Annett,
who died the day before the race in a farming accident. He
was a beautiful soul, the kind we can all aspire to.
2001 Run in
the Country Report by S. Cooper
In the yawning
absence left by the Rage I feel compelled to report on the
Run in the Country halfathon held on Sunday morning July 22,
2001. I don't have any photos to submit to fluff up the report.
My words will have to suffice.
It was a cool
clear morning in Coburg for the start of the race. That's
about all I remember until I hit around mile 2 and was dazzled
by the bowling ball performance art along one of the front
yards on the race course. Approximately thirty bowling balls
mixed strategically amongst tasteful ornamental plantings.
My goal was not to wake up until mile 5 but the bowling balls
brought me out of my stupor.
At mile 5 a woman
I was running next to complained "what do you have to do to
run a 7 minute pace around here," clearly frustrated by her
7:05 split. I on the other hand was okay with it. Several
runners around her said not to trust the mile markers, but
she wasn't to be consoled. I picked up my pace and, like Lance
Armstrong, turned around briefly to look at her as I went
past, surging past mile six with a 6:58 split. I then ran
slightly behind a couple of guys who were comparing the open
farm fields and the distant hills to a scene from the African
savanna. I looked over the scene but did not feel Isak Dinesen
speaking to me. I was wondering who was leading the British
Open and whether or not I set the VCR up properly to record.
At the water station
around mile 8 I ate some of that goo, triberry I believe.
I choked it down and chased it with some water after I had
to come to a full stop in order to open the goo packet. This
resulted in a 7:19 split for mile 9.
As the Rage would
say the race starts at mile 10. I'm not sure what that means.
Looking down that long straightaway was disturbing. But I
did notice that I was passing some people and they weren't
walkers. The blue silo loomed in the distance.
Miles 11 and 12
went by and I felt reasonably good. I didn't see the mile
mark at 13 but I knew I was close to the finish. I also knew
that I was rolling along alot better than last year. I finished
with a semi kick but noticed that my form was not good. This
was a concern because I like to make a point of looking good
when I go through the chute. Finished with a 1:33:37 which
was about a 4 minute pr for me. To what do I attribute this
faster time? Training with the Rage.
I didn't set the
VCR correctly and only got to see Duval finish on the 18th.
Later reading a review on the Open I became interested in
the story involving little Woosie's caddie. Was it really
his fault that there were two drivers in the bag? The caddie
wasn't testing out Allenby's driver the evening before. Graciously
placing complete blame on his caddie for the two stroke penalty
Woosie said, "I'm not going to sack him, he's a good lad."
I've been trying
to think of a good analogy between running and being penalized
for carrying too many clubs in your bag. I don't think there
is one. The Rage will return for the next race report and
he'll have lots of photos. S. Cooper
Report: 2000 Coburg "Run in the Country" Half Marathon
Kong before the start of the Coburg Run In The Country
Half-Marathon, July 16, 2000
portrait of John Krigger before running the Coburg 5-Miler
of the Coburg Run In The Country Half-Marathon, July 16, 2000
take "Bad Finishes" for 100, Alex. And the answer is:
Mir Space Station. And the question, you might ask:
What did Mike Logan resemble on the last three miles
of the 2000 CRC half?
That about sums it up for the 'ol Rage. Crash and burn,
baby. Mile 10: The solar panels come flying off. Mile
11: A fire breaks out. Mile 12: ET phones home. Mile
13: Rocky Balboa's first fight with Clubber Lange.
This one was brewing all summer long and I got exactly
what I deserved from not training properly. I had not
run Kong (our metaphor for a little 2,000 foot climb
just east of my July 16 meltdown) since late May and
my intervals were few and far between at best. While
I faked a good Butte to Butte (36:52) and my first all-comers
mile (4:57), you can't fake nothin' in a half marathon,
baby…especially given what Manciata refers to as my
"small gas tank."
In the end, I felt very good about just finishing, but
not the way I did it.
you wall, you must do it with class: Take your medicine,
suck it up and finish. I didn't even do that very good
either. Trying to hold off a sea of runners coming up
on me, I did the despicable sneak a peak over the 'ol
shoulder and sprint-to-the-shoot crap.
The night before the race, I made the mistake of pulling
out my number from the 1999 Coburg RC to review my splits.
The mistake was that particular race happened to be
the race of my life: 1:20.28…a 6:09 average pace. While
I knew I was not in 1:20 shape, I thought I could do
around 6:15's and I thought I could handle that pace.
I went out in 6:12's followed by a couple of 6:15's,
a 6:18 and a 6:14. After six miles, I was 37:29 and
felt in control. At that point, me and two other guys
I thought I could hang with were already well back from
the lead pack, who were way out there on this straight,
flat course…but not as far as Odis Sanders was last
year. His course record (1:10) would be safe today.
Auditory hallucinations commenced shortly after mile
6, with some Bruce Hornsby sounding stuff filling the
air….but wait! Visual hallucinations, too? Oh man….I
could have sworn there was a woman sitting in a chair
reading music and playing an accordian outside of an
electric utility substation…I tried to shake it off,
but when the two I was running with said "Cool!" I knew
it was o.k. to yell "Hey Cory!" Then they asked who
she was, and I knew everything was going to be o.k.
I bid farewell to one of the guys I was running with
just as we turned the corner on to Herman Road, having
done mile 7 in 6:17 and knowing I couldn't hold the
6:15's I had planned on. I thought I would run with
the other guy, who also slowed a bit and quickly tried
to adjust to 6:25's. That didn't last long either. Mile
8 was 6:29 and Mile 9 was 6:32. I was fading fast. Mile
10 was 6:37 and I was really hurting.
I thought if I could just get to 11…just get a whiff
of the 'ol barn, I could pick it up on the last two.
Wrong. Next thing I see on my watch is a pathetic 6:52
and the furthest thing from my mind was picking up the
pace. I started to worry about finishing. Yup. This
is a bonafide bonk, folks.
Last year, I remembered doing the last two miles in
12:18. I couldn't pedal a bike that fast today. I got
the news on my watch on mile 12: 7:02. I really was
struggling with myself just to keep running. When I
turned the final corner and saw the clock, it still
looked miles away. It felt damned good to finish.
Recognizing I did a classless move in the last quarter
mile, I was not going to start making excuses. I always
can't stand it when someone with a time I would love
to have starts whining around folks who worked their
butts off for their times or, worse yet, may have just
run the race of their life. So I was not about to break
a second unwritten rule of "bonking with class," even
when folks politely started asking me what happened.
Rule #3 in class bonking is saying "Yeah, I was hoping
for something better. But I ran hard. I feel real good
about finishing. You got me today…" and then ask them
how they did and how they feel, and congratulate them
on a great effort; including Bruce who ran strong, Bill,
training for his first marathon, and coming in with
solid 1:27, and Coop who PR'ed. These guys are good
and Bill at the end of the Coburg Half-Marathon
kicking it in at the finish of the Coburg Half-Marathon
Egbert put it in perspective and helped put this one
behind me: "So you had a bad race…" As his voice trailed
off, I covertly filled in the rest: Next time, baby.