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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?

Sunriver, Oregon Turkey Trot —A Fun Run

Uncle Rage and Matt Logan

Rage Race Report: 2004 Sunriver Turkey Trot

It was a bit nippy, to say the least. Matt Logan was about to find out what running a hard three miler on November 26 feels like in central Oregon (not to mention the 4400 feet of elevation).

Matt runs for Branham High School’s (San Jose, CA) cross country team. He was also the only district meet qualifier from Branham (not too bad for a freshman).

It was about 25 degrees during our warm up, and his hands and face already were reminding him where he’s used to running. No big deal. After all, he'd be running with Uncle Rage.

I had guaranteed him a top five finish, and some age group hardware…a pretty safe bet with someone with his young talent, the day after Thanksgiving in a resort community and…the weather. We scanned the crowd and I didn't see the kid from Stanford last year that reminded me how old (and slow) I was.

Uh oh.

Then, we spotted two young dudes with state meet sweatshirts on, which looked like they were not older than 19 (e.g. Matt would be on the lower end of the 13-19 age group. Bummer.). Of equal importance from hardware standpoint (at least from my perspective) was another fast looking dude that looked like he might be bumping up on my age group (40-49).

Well, we were going to have to work for it today.

It's 25 degrees and they paid $25 each. Idiots?

Our plan was to let them go, tuck in behind and reel them in on the inward half. It was an out and back course…starting at the lodge, out past the airport with the turnaround at the stables. The surface was icy in parts, but otherwise fine…much better than the snowy conditions of 2003. I suggested we create some running room early to avoid traffic.

Logan takes the early lead.

Matt created some early space all right. He shot out like a bullet for the first quarter mile chasing the other fast looking dude. I let them both go.

First Road Race: Fifth Overall

By the time I caught up to Matt, the other fast looking dude (uh...check a bonafide fast dude) had gapped us by about 60 yards. I told Matt, "That guy is very good. Hold this pace."

Then, I hear the unmistakable sound that happens when you’re about to become someone’s road kill. What I had wasn’t good enough to hold them off. Of course, it's the two state meet sweatshirt kids. How could I have forgotten about them? Turns out they were just out for a jog. They were running shoulder-to-shoulder and weren't even breathing hard, having not even bothered to remove their sweats. They dropped me with a nice, in-your-face, non-anaerobic "Hello, Sir." I hate it when that happens.

We sure weren't going to beat those guys and I re-focused my attention on trying to catch the only other guy in front of us.

I was still optimistic at the turnaround point, but the look on his face when he went by didn't remind me of someone who tended to go out too fast. Turns out I wasn't able to catch him like the two state-meeters did; failed to get closer than 23 seconds. (The good news was he was thirty-six years old…just a kid.)

And as Uncle Rage guaranteed, Matt got a top five in his first road race.

And that's The Truth.

The Rage


Rage’s Shameless Fun Run Sandbag Attempt Turns into a Trip to the Woodshed

O.K. So I confess. But, as rare as a “W” is on my running resume, is it such a crime to wear a game face to a “Fun Run?”…as in the Sunriver (Oregon) Turkey Trot Fun Run?

When I showed up that cold November 27 Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving, I didn’t expect to see too many runners, especially in a resort community after gorging themselves the day before. But, maybe that’s why we do because we can…or something like that. I know I certainly had no intention of racing. When I got to the registration table, I was pleasantly surprised to see about two dozen hearty souls of all ages had already arrived 45 minutes early…and more were starting to pull in.

Not bad for a 25 degree morning and about eight inches of snow on the ground. The course was a sheet of ice. Racing would be out of the question.

I went for a short warm up jog and actually found myself practicing a short, skid proof stride, trying to compensate with as rapid of turnover that my 47 year old parakeet quads could possibly produce…which isn’t much. But it was enough to start thinking to myself “….Well…it ain’t race pace…but, I think I can hang on to this for three miles without falling down, and…if no stallions show up, who knows…I just might be able to win this thing…”

Uh-oh. Next thing you know it, I am actually scanning the crowd for stallions. Yeah, I listened closely to the starter’s instructions…who drilled into our heads: “…I’ve got two words for you all: FUN RUN…” …but, I still wanted to win it!

It wasn’t like I was lined up in the front row with elbows poised to knock some kid into a snow bank or anything. I know a low key deal when I see one, o.k.? Heck, nobody really even knew exactly how long the course actually was. Just head to the mall and follow the pink paint marks in the snow. And the guys in front of me started off very responsibly, making sure of every step to prevent a pile up on the first couple of sharp turns. Nope. I was just going to try to keep in contact with whoever decided to lead and see what happened…that’s all. After about a quarter mile into the thing, the pace appeared manageable (Translation: If Rage is in the lead pack AT ANY TIME, it’s either (1) within 50 meters from the start; (2) everyone else is on crutches; (3) a lot of runners slept in that day or; (4) Bruce paid them all to pull a George Plimpton).

Then, all of a sudden, this one guy starts to pick up the pace. I thought, o.k. I can cover that…I think…uh…wait!…It wasn’t long before I realized I couldn’t cover it and this kid was for real. He had a classic Manciata-like leg flair that was way cool. Effortless. Pure cruise control, baby. This guy was good, and he was taking me to the woodshed something fierce…and making it look awful easy.

I watched him slowly pull away. My goal became just trying to keep him in view. Wrong again.

I arrived at the fifth tee box on the Meadows Course and broke into the open, finally found some dry pavement and hoped to get a glimpse of him. By the time I saw him again, he had almost a minute on me. By the time I finished, it was more than that.

I sought him out at the finish and here was the exchange:

Rage: Nice run. You from around here?

David: Thanks. Just visiting. My dad signed me up.

Rage: So where do you run?

David: I run in college.

Rage: Yeah? Which one?

David: Stanford. Rage: (Gulp) Oh.

Rage: (Pause. Choke. Gag.)

Rage: So…do you know Ian Dobson?

David: He’s my room mate.

Rage: No kidding. I followed his career at Klamath Union High School with him and Eric Logsdon running against each other. He did great in Waterloo (NCAAs).

Rage: You guys must have been amused at the talk Stanford runners not being able to handle the cold, eh?

David: Yeah. I’m from Montana. You?

Rage: Uh…yeah…I really don’t…It’s just kind of a mid life crisis kind of thing…

David: Yeah.

Rage: Nice talking to you. And nice run, too.

What a class, humble individual he was to take the time to deal with my stupid questions. Sure hope he didn’t mind.

When I got back to town, I checked out the Stanford Cross Country Team’s website. Sure enough, there he was: David Vidal, who owned the 11th fastest high school mile time in the nation as a senior and who earlier this year had recorded a personal best in the 1500 of 3:47.

Wow…(and gulp again!). So that’s what class, talent and a bright future look like.

O.K. I get it.

And that’s The Truth. - The Rage (12/05/03)

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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:43 PM