Rage Race Report: 2013 Rhody Run 10k
"Hated to be rude, but I didn’t want to hear the whale story again."
Florence, OR – Nothing rattles the crab pots in Old Town this time of year like a pod of Harleys rolling to the annual Rhododendron Festival.
But this year, long before the first accountant shook off the hangover, donned on black leather and Henna tattoos for yet another weekly tough guy delusion, the roar of the Eugene Hackers had already thundered through town.
The only ones not pumping
their fists this side of Mo’s Restaurant were the longshoremen tasked
with re-stacking the crab pots that succumbed to the Doppler Effect from
the neon wave of Eugene Hackers passing by en route to grabbing six of
the first 12 spots.
The sound was deafening:
Orestes Gutierrez - 33:39
What made these results especially impressive was not the average Hacker pace (6:08 / mile), it was the average Hacker age (50.16 years).
But this didn’t take anything away from the younger Gutierrez win. One old timer local exclaimed, “We ain’t heard that kind of noise around these parts since Dinatale (Steve) and all those wins…and the Rage back in ’02….and don’t get me started about that whale they blew up back in ’70 out there on the beach…”
Poor dude didn’t even know it was me when I asked him for a quote. Even had one of those funnels I had to talk into that he held up to his ear. Hated to be rude, but I didn’t want to hear the whale story again.
Nevertheless, it was shocking
he didn’t recognize me. Time has clearly passed me by. The blond mane
no longer dances on shoulder blades. The wind no longer sifts through
the sideburns on a once chiseled jaw….sigh….
Rage Race Report: 2007 Rhody Run Whalen, Kreuzpeintner Break Course Record
I wish I could say I didn’t throw a good race at these dudes or imploded in a pile of twisted, nuked-out cooling tower rubble. Nope. Wouldn’t have run it any different. I (gulp) just got beat by (double gulp) better runners on this particular day. - The Rage, Rhody Run
Florence, OR – Let’s face it. Runners coming down the Siuslaw River are not nearly as fun to watch as Harley Davidsons roaring through Mapleton on way to the Rhododendron Festival. Nor is watching a bunch of runners anywhere near as fun as witnessing sperm whale carcass abuse that actually occurred a couple miles west of here back in ’70. And finally, it doesn’t even come close to as fun as watching a nuclear power plant cooling tower implode the next day about 130 miles from the start of the 28th Annual 5k / 10k Rhody Run.
The closest thing to cooling tower implosions and carcass abuse this town had to offer on this particular day came in the form of the two sorry saps trying to reel in Boz (a.k.a. Todd Bosworth or “Boomer”) in the 10K race, complete with yet another Flintstonian finish.
Largely accustomed to being a “carcassor” (e.g. a net creator of carcasses), it has been somewhat difficult to absorb the reality of being a “carcassee” (e.g. becoming a carcass)…and we ain’t talkin’ about no sorry ass rotting whale on some beach, you know what I’m talkin’ about? The worst part of the whole experience is leaving myself wide open for the spew that will undoubtedly emulate from these two particularly vociferous blow holes until I do something about it.
I wish I could say I didn’t throw a good race at these dudes or imploded in a pile of twisted, nuked-out cooling tower rubble. Nope. Wouldn’t have run it any different. I (gulp) just got beat by (double gulp) better runners on this particular day.
More on that later.
Fun is a relative thing, of course…and any chance a race director to take a break from sweating all of the details on our behalf, Jack Spaulding doesn’t miss a beat. Watching him put his craft on display for the bazillionth perfectly organized road race in a row was especially good this time.
Most people would never think of asking a dumb question to a man with a bull-horn in his hand. Not K.C. Taylor, who for some reason couldn’t resist interrupting Jack’s final instructions to the racers asking if he would care to hear “a few words from the defending champ.” Perfect.
As if all on cue, the crowd roars as Jack’s bull-horned response (“No.”) echoes through the Siuslaw track grandstands…and K.C. slinks back into line. Does it get any better than that? And to top it off, Jack also got to witness Boz’s vain attempt to dodge 53 year old Marcial Soto with a shameless attempt to buy him out of the 10K by covering his 5K entry fee. But on this particular day, buying some Rhody hardware was going to cost him $72 more (assuming they all wanted shirts) to cover the other four runners that finished behind Soto.
Now…let’s get on with the race.
The 5K and 10K races start together, with the 5K runners exiting stage left about a three quarter mile down the course, so it’s especially challenging to get a sense of pace in the early going. Taylor and Rage ran the first mile together, behind five-time and 2004 10K Rhody champ Steve Dinatale. The 5:55 was more work than I wanted at that point, and I let Taylor and Boz go, tucking in behind The Dina.
In mile two, we all went to work on Rhododendron Drive. I kept a watchful eye on Taylor, Boz and the Siuslaw River, biding my time until mile five, which is almost entirely uphill. I pressed on mile four and closed the gap, but it was harder work than I thought it was going to be. They were both running strong, as usual and I had let them get too far away. I made my push on the second half of mile five and closed within a few yards. I’d made up 10 seconds on mile five, but was still 10 seconds behind Boz. I still thought I could get Taylor, but a 7:04 over the last 1.2 only got me only 3 more seconds.
This time, a scant seven seconds separated The Flintstones:
In the 5K, Thomas Kreuzpeintner held off Chris Yorges to win in 16:36, after serving notice to the field with an opening 5:05 mile and holding his pursuers off on the track.
And that’s The Truth. - Rage (5/28/06)
Like a "Green Wave" coming out of Pepperdine University that has been known to slam into the likes of UCLA on occasion, Eugene's "Gray Wave" of masters, sub-masters along with some more spry Eugene area runners hung some serious ten at the Rhody Run at Florence, Oregon on May 21, 2005.
And the difficult hilly segment in mile five of the newly commissioned course hit the field almost as hard as the epiphany of newly discovered gray follicles allegedly spotted in K.C. Taylor's hair shortly after the race.
But not before K.C. took the field to the woodshed, including Rage, who had to come clean on throwing a pre-race gauntlet down on T-Bone who couldn't make the trip. More on that later.
Some might call this one for the ages on the Oregon Coast. But don't tell that to Steve Dinatale, Todd Bosworth and The Rage. And don't spoil Brian Stockdale's PR by reminding him how old these guys are.
Nope. None of the above. This one was all K.C. Taylor.
The veteran Eugene, Oregon masters runner and former South Eugene half miler bided his time and reeled in FIVE-time champ ('86-88, '03-04) and former record holder on the traditional course (31:24) and fellow master veteran Steve DiNatale for his first and long overdue Rhody Run championship in the 10k run in a time of 37:20. And he did it on the new, more challenging course, complete with the hill gut check that conjured up the Butte-to-Butte hill comparisons (o.k it's not THAT steep) in at least one conversation of runners post-race.
DiNatale, coming back from a stubborn hamstring injury, still managed a courageous defense of his most recent back to back titles (2003-04). Knowing he wasn't in top form, he decided to gamble and rolled the dice early in the race opening up a 40 meter lead and make the field work for it. On another day, it might have worked. Even so, he held the lead for nearly four miles while K.C., Stockdale, Bosworth and Rage all did their best to hang on for dear life as he pumped out sub-6:00 miles.
K.C. started to make his move around the fourth mile, where a series of hills on the new course rudely introduced themselves to the field and played right into Taylor's wheelhouse. Stockdale tried to go with him, but couldn't match him on the hills and all Taylor had to do for the win was stay on his feet for the last mile and a half and maneuver through the usual gauntlet of ESPN cameras, reporters, Chris Berman (he knows the drill all too well)..
Now, back to Rage's pre-race gauntlet.
In an uncharacteristic in-the-moment intelligence lapse, feeling frisky about finally being in reasonably good shape after two years of injuries, I confessed making the mistake of blurting to T-Bone (on the way out of town and wouldn't be racing), that I would jump off the Highway 101 bridge naked into the Siuslaw River if I didn't beat Stockdale.
Furthermore, I told T-Bone there would be a trail of my blood from mile 4 to The House to make sure it didn't happen.
(Editor's Note: The phrase "what an idiot" would be highly appropriate here).
A Four Time Champ and a Wannabe
So there I was at the moment of Truth. At mile 4 with a serious deficit (in real estate AND motivation) ahead of me and breathing awful hard, despite the urging of my fellow pursuers, Mr. Bosworth and Mr. DiNatale to "go get 'em, Rage." Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Stockdale was having particularly good day on a PR pace. Nevertheless, I went after him with what little vengeance I could muster up at the time knowing full well what I had said and who I had said it to and what I now needed to do about it (poor Brian knew nothing and still knows nothing of my stupid remark). But wait! I was closing fast. Then, just as we stepped onto the track with 300 meters to go, Stockdale looks back and sees me coming and starts to press. I couldn't get him and all I managed to do was help push him to a better PR, coming up 5 seconds short and wondering how cold the Siuslaw River would be.
At the finish, K.C. spoke with
a local reporter and complemented the course, volunteers, crowd and mercifully
didn't embarrass me with the nature of my indebtedness (which most certainly
will be a frequent topic of discussion until paid in full monty you understand what I'm sayin'?).
Stockdale was the first loser at 37:37. Rage was the second loser at 37:42 followed by DiNatale and Bosworth who had 37:49 and 37:59 respectively to round out the top five. Josh Masterson finished sixth at 38:29 and Tod Harris and Joe Canale finished 11th and 14th. Thad Kwiecinski clocked 44:40 to round out the Tuesday/Thursday running group. Canale won his age group, as did Harms and Nancy Halter, won the women's 45-49 age group. Marilyn Nippold, the women's 2002 Champion also won her age group for the bazillionth consecutive time.
But the story of the day has to go to Mr. Bob Harms, who rounded out the top 10 of Gray Wavers from Eugene with his first-ever sub-40 10k (39.59).
Congratulations, Bob (*not to mention Toni Harms (F40-44), who broke an hour (59:56) the same day hubby cracks the 40 minute barrier)!
And that's The Truth. - Rage, 5/22/05
Past and Present Rhody Run Champions: Rage (2002);
Steve DiNatale (2003-04, two others), K.C. Taylor (2005)
So, what do T-Bone, Rage & Arnie have in common? Two things. Yes, all three have golf swings that are not too terribly pleasant to the eye, and yes, neither of them was at the 2004 Rhody Run. But, the third one is what we were looking for here.
The not-too-subtle connection for golf and running purists is the direct similarity between Arnie paving the way for U.S. players to cross the pond to play in the British Open and T-Bone and Rage re-opening the floodgates from the Willamette Valley to Florence to the old-guys-still-can-race set. Yes, The Rhody Run is back.
Just ask The Dina (Steve Dinatale), K.C. (K.C. Taylor) and Boz (Todd Bosworth), who finished 1-2-3 at the 2004 Rhododendron Festival in Florence, Oregon on May 18.
While Bone and Rage soaked up the media coverage with their back-to-back top three finishes in 2001 and 2002, including a win, you could darn near guess what Dina, K.C. and Boz were thinking as they choked down the race results over their Monday morning coffee a short couple of years ago: "How could we possibly have let these two pukes sandbag any hardware in any 10k, especially one that's only 60 miles away?"
It's one thing to watch Arnie walk over the bridge at St. Andrews and wave to the crowd one last time. It's another to see some skinny bald guy in serious mid life crisis high-fiving the bikers unchallenged down streets of Old Towne Florence. Give me a break.
So, even if the Rage and T-Bone didn't remotely resemble Arnie that day, the path was blazed and fire was lit. Especially with Dina. He has never lost the Rhody Run. He's had four finishes and has four wins, but K.C. and Boz weren't just going to hand it to him by sleeping in that Saturday morning, either.
As expected, Dina ran well (35:46) to win it and K.C. and Boz (37:43) duked it out for four miles before K.C. opened a half-minute gap and held it to finish second in 37:14. Their 1-2-3 places in the overall results were also the first three spots in the 45-49 age group division.
Nevertheless, the historical significance and legacy of Rage and T-Bone's 2001 and 2002 trail blazing trips is inescapable, starting with the string of three successive skinhead champions, which more than one curious on-looker took note of. Even the crowd murmured as The Dina powered his way down Front Street "...it's Rage...no, wait...IT'S DINA! GO DINA!"
...and the lore of the Rhody Run continues to grow, and T-Bone has already shaved his head.
And that's The Truth. - 6/5/04
"I ain't heard folks buzzing this much since we blew up that whale back in '70," said one local commenting on The Rage and T-Bone's top 5 finishes at the 2001 Rhody Run.
On November 12,1970, a large sperm whale washed up dead on the South Jetty beach not far from the Rhody Run course. Man, did it wreak. The stench was bad enough that someone came up with the idea to blow up the 45 foot, eight ton carcass in an effort to accelerate the decomposition process. The plan was to stuff as much dynamite (twenty 50 lb. cases) as that bad boy could hold, lifting, directing it out to sea while reducing it to bite-sized chunks for the seagulls and crabs. (This is a true story. I swear to God. http://www.hackstadt.com/features/whale/)
U.S. Hwy 101 crossing of Siuslaw River at Florence, Oregon
A large crowd gathered for the show. The South Jetty parking lot was jammed with cars and people as the last of the dynamite was cannon-prodded into what must have appeared to be chipmunk-looking cheeks of that once magnificent mammal. No orifice was spared.
Seagulls, crabs and the crowd awaited in anticipation. BOOM!
The parking lot, moments earlier bathed in sunlight and motionless spectators, was now a scene of chaos as people ran for cover, but had nowhere to go. The larger chunks landed first, followed by a fine mist that significantly reduced the chances of anyone hoping to get seated at the Gingerbread Restaurant for lunch on the way home. Even the seagulls were grossed out and flew off. The crabs quickly moved into deeper water. Numerous cars were hit by flying whale chunks, including a three-foot chunk that landed on the hood of one car. The phrase "Car hit by flying whale chunk" was used for the first time in the auto insurance industry.
That T-Bone and The Rage were mentioned in context with such unique local lore spoke volumes for the magnitude of their shocking finish. Clearly, 2001 would be hard to top.
The pressure for a repeat performance of last year was largely self-induced by statements implying even faster times might have been possible (e.g. Rage: "…I was distracted by all of the screaming fans…."; T-Bone: "…I stopped and talked to the bikers in Old Town…"). We arrived at the start and immediately began scanning the competition. It looked like there were a few more horses than last year. Oh, well. So much for a repeat of last year's finish. But wait! Would they be running the 5k or the 10k? Encouragingly, most of the horses appeared to be running the 5k!
When the gun sounded, we quickly fell way behind. Probably lots more 5k runners than I thought. I would soon find out as those running the 5k would be turning around about a mile and a half down Rhododendron Drive.
To my surprise, everyone in front of me peeled at the 5k turnaround point. That meant only one thing: I was now (gulp) leading the 10k race!
I have never led a road race. If I was leading, T-Bone had to be right there, too, but I couldn't hear anyone behind me. I was dying to take a peak behind, but didn't, not wanting to make it too obvious that I was in unexplored territory. I'd get my chance to see Tommy at the 10k turnaround.
I pushed hard to mile two, suddenly realizing there was absolutely nothing to give me any clue of whether or not I was holding pace, especially when I missed the second mile marker. I wasn't supposed to be leading. I wasn't sure I liked it. It was way too quiet. Only the silence of the river and my own breathing. None of the usual foot pounding of other runners in front of or behind me. Weird. I also realized I hadn't checked whether or not there were any course changes. Oh no! They hadn't changed it from last year, had they? Oh good. All the runners are following me and I wasn't sure where I was going.
I arrived at the turnaround and headed back. There was Tommy, running fifth and not too far back. I wanted to say "Go Tommy" but I was way too jacked. I started telling myself "you got the lead, now don't do something stupid to lose it."
And then I proceeded to do something stupid. Failing to take an earlier opportunity to cross over onto the other side of the road, I got cut off by a truck pulling a trailer, which now was pinning me on the wrong side of the road with other runners coming at me head on. I yelled at the driver to speed up, but to no avail. Now, I was forced off the road and started to high step through the weeds off the shoulder, which was the only place I could go to avoid the on-coming runners. I got some real puzzled looks. Luckily, I didn't fall and finally managed to cross over.
I was 24 flat at mile four, and had two sets of hills to deal with coming up. I wanted something closer to 23:50 if I was going to have a shot at my goal of sub-37. It didn't look good at this point, win or no win, if I was going to avoid Bruce turning away in disgust. I'd better pick it up.
I knew mile five was short when my watch said I just ran it in 5:27. No way. I was starting to pass the 5k walkers, who despite their obvious lack of knowing what real leaders should look like, were very encouraging and enthusiastic. Not one of them snickered.
I passed under the Highway 101 bridge and headed through Old Town and the traditional gauntlet of motor cycles on Rhododendron Festival weekend. Nobody seemed to be paying attention. I tried to yell "Excuse me, but I'm leading the 10k!" but I was way too tired. Skinny bald dudes in running gear isn't the album cover that pulls many people into the music store, you understand what I'm sayin'? You know what I'm talkin' about?
Nevertheless, I broke the first and probably only tape in my racing career in 36:45 and watched Tommy finish in fourth place in 39:31. Waiting for Tommy, I hung around the 5k winner after the race, hoping to attract the attention of the local paper's sports reporter who was interviewing him. I even kept my hat on as I tried to think up some metaphors for sound bytes. As I anxiously awaited my turn to speak into his pocket recorder, he turns to me and asks "You wouldn't happen to have any spare AAA batteries, would you?" I sprinted to Safeway, got some and sprinted back, but by that time, he was gone.
And that's The Truth.
2001 Rhody Run Report and Pictures T-Bone & Rage Ruled
Twenty years ago, the above headline could have easily been substituted for a sidebar in a British tabloid recounting what it was like for us to open for whatever band happened to be cutting decent wax at the time. While there may have been a lot more shakin' goin' on back then, T-Bone and The Rage dished out a much more subdued present day version at the 2001 "Rhody" (e.g. Rhododendron) Run, shaking some good runners and hanging on for impressive finishes in the 10k race.
Runners view of dunes near mile #5
By our own standards, there was nothing subdued about our finish, as we went 1-2 in our age division (40-44) finishing 2nd (36:20) and 4th (38:43) overall. However, despite the nostalgic significance of our effort, I doubt there will be a serious run on any "Rage & Bone's Greatest Hits" CD's anytime soon (send check or money order payable to 10Ktruth….just kidding). In fact, the only people who even recognized us at the finish were T-Bone's better half and her lovely mother (my family chose a walk on the beach instead…and I guess I can't blame them…it was a beautiful day).
To give you an idea of the crowd we're talking about here, the city council passed an ordinance requiring no open containers on the sidewalk after 8:00 p.m. just for this event. You gotta love that.
Gettin' into it.
As well planned as this event was, I wouldn't be surprised if the organizers had something to do with the crystal blue May day. Oregon runners can best appreciate such a day on the Oregon coast, where sideways rain powered by gale force winds is entirely possible this time of year. Right from the start, I knew this was going to be our day when the portable toilets were unloaded off the flatbed and we were first in line. Even the port-a-potty guy was whistling while he put the finishing touches on each unit. It just doesn't get any better than that, baby. Then, it got better. Just as I started my warm-up strides, I turned toward the direction of pounding music to see a jazzercise group leading the entire field of runners through a spirited warm up. Anyone with any pre-race jitters didn't have many at that point…although the Bone must have felt really stupid after he jumped up on that stage…
Runners' view heading toward Mile #1.
The 5k and 10k races were being run at the same time, with the 5k runners turning around just past the first mile mark. The pre-race instructions were refreshingly delivered by someone who definitely had not been to any sensitivity training, drilling the 5k turnaround thing into the runners heads. I also appreciated the way he took charge of moving some folks to the side up front that otherwise might have been run over. Then, we were off. T-Bone actually did a responsible start, for a change. It took me only a couple hundred meters to catch up with him this time. It was weird trying to judge 10k pace with a 5k going on at the same time. Then, when the 5k runners reached the turnaround point, I was surprised not to see more runners in front of me continuing on in the 10k. We crossed the first mile in 5:44 and 6:00 respectively.
Mile #2 of the 10k (turnaround is near the point on the right)
Just short of mile two, I was disappointed when the other guy running with me started to fade. I was now running alone and into a breeze, which slowed me to 6:06. Also, most of the third mile was a long stretch along the Siuslaw River with no windbreak. As I approached the 10k turnaround at the Coast Guard station, the leader had made the turn a couple hundred yards ahead and he now came back past me. He looked strong. It was not until after I made the turnaround that I realized I was running second. When I doubled back on the runners, T-Bone was also running in the top five. A burst of motivation at least kept my pace consistent, with a 6:05 third mile…and now, I had a slight breeze at my back and was getting a lot of polite encouragement from the runners to go after the leader. Having never been chasing a leader in any race before, I was suddenly real motivated.
The wind and my ego pushed me to a 5:50 fourth mile. I was hoping for a sub 37:00, and now, I was back in the ballgame. The good news was, I felt real strong. I hammered mile 5 with a 5:49 and then started to get real interested in what I could run. I also couldn't believe I was still running second.
Now, it was just a matter of hanging on to the finish. I reached the motorcycle gauntlet and heard a rumbling close behind…a three wheeler, or "trike" in biker speak. Never before had I been escorted to a finishers' shoot by a biker…who probably was some accountant doing his weekend wannabe thing. As I approached Mo's restaurant, I had no idea how far the finish was until a volunteer said "…4 tenths to go…" This helped a lot, as I cut in front of the trike and headed for the last turn. Just before the finish, I came upon a kid finishing the 5k and he broke into a sprint. Of course, I responded (…what a grown man will do in a situation like this is truly pathetic, but at least I didn't bump him on the way in…but I gave it serious consideration…).
Tommy was having his own battle, as he focused on the runner in front of him, slowly closing the gap and finally running him down after five and a half miles. He could only remember one other 10k where he had run faster.
10k Winners, Monte Gregg and Angie Radosevich.
This race offered me an opportunity to think back about my dad's boat, which 32 years earlier, had been moored for a brief time a short distance from the finish after he first bought it. The first trip we took was right down that same Siuslaw River, continuing down the coast to Charleston and Coos Bay, Steve Prefontaine's home town. About the time I was listening to "Hey Jude" on the fan tail of my dad's boat, Pre was a freshman at the University of Oregon, and the Rhody Run had not been conceived yet. Had it been, I'll bet he could have run it under 28 minutes…and I wouldn't have a clue what it meant. While I still don't have a clue…after a 36:20, I think I have a general idea…and I am definitely coming back next year.
And that's The Truth.
Date and time page last updated: 05/30/2013 12:43 AM