Butte to Butte
Race Report: 2002 Butte to Butte
the annual whining from the polo shirt set about the layout
for the U.S. Open Championship, I thought of a more suiting
alternative to the Tour's "These Guys are Good" ad campaign:
"This Ain't No Round Belly Tour Event."
I try to remember
that every time I toe it up at the Butte To Butte, but I
still catch myself dreading The Hill. No. This ain't no
Round Belly Tour Event and there ain't no golf carts waiting
to shuttle you to the top of Donald Street and down Fox
Hollow, baby. You understand what I'm sayin'? You know what
I'm talkin' about?
in the late 1970's and early 80's, the Paddock Tavern on
East Amazon near mile three was the closest I ever got to
the course when the field was much stronger than today's.
The two sub-37's, probably a couple of the best races I
will ever run on this course, probably wouldn't have got
me a top 100 back then.
I remember selling
my 71 VW for ninety bucks and heading straight to the Pad
to buy my friends Bee-Burgers, pitchers and way too many
rounds of Trap Shoot. No, I was too young to be in the place
when Pre was pouring beers, so no help there on whether
or not any of his legendary Paddock lore was true. I loved
watching him run like everyone else, but with the problems
I had between my ears, even Pre wasn't enough of an inspiration
to get me into running gear back then, which might have
helped me cope with the questions I now ask myself about
how fast I might have been. Running never entered my mind.
Not when South Eugene High was #1 in state and the McChesney
brothers, K.C. Taylor, Steve Surface and a whole host of
other talented runners defined what running should look
like. K.C. still does.
thing I ever came to hill repeats back then was peppering
the clubhouse at Laurelwood Golf Course from the ninth tee
and seeing how many I could get to come all the way back
down to the gully at the bottom of the hill. Just shorten
the back swing a tad, close the stance just a smidgen gives
you all the draw you'll need…toss the club in disgust to
make it look unintentional, then re-load a "provisional…."
O.K., so I know
where the course is and I've run it a few times, but I am
still trying to figure out how to play it…just like Laurelwood,
which is about as up and down of a golf course as you'll
find. The Butte to Butte course goes up for a mile and then
straight down for another mile and a quarter. Bruce says
"the race starts at the bottom of the hill…" That's really
good advice. But if you want to avoid a death march down
High Street, you'd better have a few hills under your belt
before you even think about showing up for this one. And
I ain't talkin' playing No. 7 at Laurelwood over and over
again either. If you're not in shape and run the second
mile hard, your quads will be shredded.
I didn't prepare
adequately last year and I hobbled for a week after the
race. This year, Manciata prescribed a dose of Kong Repeats.
That's right. I said, "Kong Repeats," as in on the steepest
part of the course. Bruce took extra precautions prior to
this particular workout to establish a 10 meter buffer zone
removing all blunt instruments on both sides of the road
fearing at least one of us would choose death over finishing
the workout. I begged T-Bone to kill me before the last
hill, but Bruce had us climbing before he could find a decent
I was ready
this year, at least quad-wise, but I didn't really know
speed wise, after a so-so dry run of 38:04. It didn't matter.
I was making no predictions, as is my rule.
I had the pleasure
of riding to the start with Kyle Gee (see
Rage Race Report: 2001 Scandia Run) whom 10Ktruth has
featured as a remarkable example of someone who understands
what serious Truth is all about. I always had a curiosity
if he was from the same Gee family who I used to work for
during my years in that plywood mill. I was almost certain
it had to be true as Kyle, Don (Gee) and I share a high
probability of reaching a point in our lives of having fewer
follicles on our heads than our own teeth (I can't speak
for Don. Kyle, you want to weigh in on this?). As I asked
him, I was thinking there was just too much Karma for it
not to be so. As soon as I mispronounced his name, I knew
it couldn't be the same family. Darn. There goes an angle
that I was dying to cover in this write up. Oh well.
trying to get the annual image of T-Bone wearing that pathetic
Fourth of July get-up out of my head, including that tie
that he continues to keep well hidden from Tina, I tucked
in behind a group of runners headed up Donald Street. They
were all good runners, as usual for this race, which attracts
a couple of thousand runners every year. I was trying to
stay with Kyle, as he pushed an excellent pace up the hill.
As I tried to keep pace, I took in his very efficient running
style and solid turnover. He sported T-Bonesk calves that
I suspected would make quick work of me once we got to the
steepest section. Sure enough, he bounded up the hill as
if it angered him and kept pushing through the summit and
down to the first mile split as if to say…"is that it?"
I checked the watch: 6:43. Not bad.
Now, for mile
2: For me, if I am going to run a fast B to B time, I need
to hammer the downhill mile. This is where course knowledge
is bad. My mind says go, but my natural body defenses say
"I know what a 5:30 on this slope is going to feel like
tomorrow, Rage." Sort of like a bad case of the running
yips, and the long wand ain't no help, you understand what
I'm sayin'? You know what I'm talkin' about?
A 5:38 was just
fine, thank you. Kyle must have felt sorry for me as he
kept me company down the hill.
It got quieter
once we hit West Amazon and started turning it over heading
to mile 3. Just before Dari Mart, he put a Mike Wilson-esk
move on me reminiscent of the Run for the Shamrock. I covertly
bid him farewell, put my head down and got into my own groove
and settled for a 5:49. I felt o.k. and wanted to keep it
At the bus shelter
on Amazon Parkway, I noticed Steve Dinitale running strong,
as usual, and I told him so as I came up along side. There
were now a group of about five of us, with Kyle several
seconds ahead with two guys making him do all the work.
"Maggots!" I thought to myself, and pulled up along side
Kyle to offer some pacing work.
to push a good pace down the Parkway and came across mile
5 in six flat. I sensed the first half of mile 6 was slower
as Sarah Raiter passed us. I got a nice tow from her on
the last half mile at the Truffle Shuffle a couple of years
ago. This time, I couldn't go with her. As we passed 4th
Avenue, Rick Goertzen announced that we were running in
the top 35. Now, if that didn't stimulate the antenna of
about a half a dozen runners in the smell the barn zone,
I don't know what would. I thought I sensed an omniscient
smirk on Goertzen's face when I went by. Thanks, Rick. As
if we needed any more reasons to try to kill each other.
the park, I felt remarkably well and picked up the pace,
but was still about 5-6 seconds behind Sarah. I wasn't going
to get her. Going up the last hill about 200 meters from
the finish, Kyle led a group of guys past me up the last
hill. Kyle kept the pressure on with a nice surge after
he crested the down hill, and the two guys didn't know what
hit them. He was gone before they knew it. I swung wide
and turned on the jets, and we Flintstoned the shoot (translation:
as in "bam-bam" for a very close finish. Another "you-heard-it-first-on-10KTruth"
metaphor to be added to our "Runners
Was that any
good, or what? I reminded Kyle that at this rate, it would
take me about 40 more Butte-To-Buttes to make up the 41
seconds he put on me last year.
And that's The
Report: 2001 Butte to Butte
The starting line for the 2001 Butte to Butte, 7/4/01
I never know what to
expect on this one, and this year was no different. What you can
always count on is that it happens on July 4, and T-Bone will
be wearing his trademark stars and stripes tie, which he has hidden
so well from his wife for the last dozen or so Butte to Buttes.
T-Bone was running this race despite having completed a triathlon
5 days earlier (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, half marathon). He
passed 105 competitors in the half-a-thon leg. Let's be clear
about one thing: Tommy's entry into this years' B to B is a cry
T-Bone in his traditional 4th of July Butte
To Butte outfit
Rage makes sure his stuff won't get lost.
One runner asks if that bus is heading to
You mean we have to go run now?
Rage demonstrates the benefits of clear bag
Three celebrate liberty.
While we might encourage Tommy to seek treatment, most Eugeneans
acknowledge this course as somewhat schizophrenic (a perfect metaphor
for Eugene), which makes this race so great. It's the city's most
classic 10k road race, which references Eugene's two most prominent
geographic signatures: Spencer Butte (near the start in South
Eugene) and Skinner Butte (near the finish, downtown along the
Willamette River). The course takes you sharply uphill for the
first mile, followed by about a mile and a quarter of some serious
quad busting before it flattens out. It might be raining and in
the high fifties, or warm and muggy and in the low seventies.
This year, I would guess it was in the high sixties at the start,
given the pre-race warnings to hydrate early and often to the
largest field ever, according to the honorable Mayor of Eugene
and master of ceremonies, Jim Torrey.
Phillip Hudspeth and Jeff Krueger
had the pleasure of accompanying my neighbors, Phillip Hudspeth
and Jeff Kreuger to the shuttle busses, which were already in
high demand seventy five minutes before the start. So what about
Coop, you might ask?
Mr. Consistent was out theresomewhere,
undoubtedly feeling positive and looking great (while we have
very little in common in these areas, we seem to get a long anyway).
I knew I would see him in the finish area, probably resting up
a bit before running the course backwards.
Phillip & Jeff (left)
The Rage you might ask?
I was looking for my third consecutive sub-37 on this course which
is really good for me anywhere. I knew it would be tough for me
on this slightly muggy day. I felt sluggish in my warm-up and
hoped that I could shake it. My training had been adequate, not
stellar. Some good intervals had me wondering, though, plus a
decent 3-miler and 10k dry runs in the last couple of weeks, but
I was not making myself hurt as hard as I had the last two years
and I knew it.
Jeff, Coop, Rage, Phillip: Taylor/Whitbeck Street
takes no prisoners.
was to take it out in 6:45 or so and hammer the downhill, and
slingshot onto East Amazon and hope for the best. I thought what
Bruce had told me in the past about this course: The race starts
at the bottom of the hill.
When the gun sounded,
I started pushing right away, trying to get my turnover, short
stride uphill thing going for me. I tucked in behind this fast
woman, and tried to stay with her. I got to mile one in 6:40,
but it felt a lot harder than last years' 6:37. I tried to open
it up on the downhill, but it was not there. I was now 10 seconds
off my split from last year. When I hit East Amazon, I knew I
would have to adjust my pace goal. The reality check was when
I crossed mile 3 in 18:07 and did not feel smooth.
I hit mile 4 in 24:12,
which was 31 seconds slower than last year at that same point.
It became hard to stay motivated. As Olympian Annette Peters went
by, I gave her what must have been the bazillionth "Go Annette"
when she passed me at about mile 4 and a half (she was not racing
that day…duh…). She gave me some encouragement, while she strode
by with what must be her channel changer pace (she finished in
36 and a half, or so after jogging the first half).
The Rage: "My legs feel like a couple of spent
I couldn't get motivated by an Olympian, there was not much hope.
But wait….just short of mile 5, there was my wife and son (Donna
and Shawn, 10) and neighbors (Sally Kreuger, Daniel, her son and
Jenna, her daughter all waiting for their dad)! I managed to suck
it up for a couple hundred yards hitting mile 5 in 30:22, but
returned to my shoulder slumping death march mode shortly thereafter.
I lost a bunch of time in mile 6, running a 6:19. I remember thinking
how much time I "lost" from last years' 6:06 closing mile.
Ahhh...shade at last!
finishers' shoot was now mercifully in sight and I just barely
broke 38 (37:52). As if to make a statement on my effort, my results
were listed with the 4.5 mile walking results in the local newspaper
the next day…and still couldn't win that, either…getting beat
by one person (turns out she was a runner, too)! As if that was
not enough, it was even mentioned on the local radio.
Now, in case you don't
know, there are some serious walkers out there who don't appreciate
sandbagging runners…can you blame them? They train hard, too,
and deserve recognition. Ever tried keeping up with a serious
walker? Try it sometime. Let me tell you, I think running is easier!
Not that I was made to feel like Rosie Ruiz Rage Walker, or anything
like that, but let's say, that I was REAL motivated to make sure
the website results were updated.
neighbors? Phillip finished in 54 minutes and Jeff in 49 minutes.
Coop finished in 44 and some change, and, to my surprise, asked
for a ride home. I turned away in disgust, of course. Tommy? He
runs a tad bit over 41, and was overhead in the finishers shoot
mumbling something to himself about "making Wilson pay for last
year." He could not be reached for further comment.
And that's The Truth.
The Rage and Coop cool down
Report: 2000 Butte to Butte 10K
In 2000 "The Rage (right) admonishes T-Bone
for whining about his splits on the wrong end of the finishers'
shoot and that pathetic American flag tie he wore during the
2000 Butte to Butte 10k race. Mark
looks on in shared disgust."
I ran my warm up for the July 4, 2000 Butte to Butte 10K,
I thought back to last year's race, which was a major breakthrough
for my running. 1999's Butte to Butte race marked the beginning
of a series of races that I will never forget…and I certainly
won't forget how Bruce administered his patented Truth Intervention
(i.e. hills, intervals and mile repeats), made it all happen
and saved me from the junk mile method.
I was not in the same shape as last year, having not run Kong
in weeks, I was determined to prove to myself it was no fluke.
Yes…I had fallen off the Truth Wagon in recent weeks, but
during my warmup, I was starting to convince myself that it
had not been too long. I felt good.
was a cool morning and a strong possibility of rain. There
were also more runners than in recent years (over 3,000 I
seem to remember from Mayor Torrey's ceremonial pre-start
remarks). That was good, because in it's hey day, this was
a huge event. My time (36:40) for my 20th place finish last
year would not have gotten me in the top 100.
What happened to running in Eugene anyway?
watched as the traditional skydivers did their annual near-impaling
on the Spencer Butte Junior High backstop, which resembled
a huge human fly swatter for a few minutes. Then, I made my
way to the start. I noticed that there appeared to be several
more fast runners that showed up. Last year's winner, Eric
Heinonen was surprised to have won after nobody responded
to his early lead and ran away with it. I overheard one mutter
that no sixteen year old was going to do that again this year.
I wondered if he was one of the one's Eric dropped last year.
I also thought on a cool day, someone might flirt with sub
30…then I quickly came to my senses and seemed to recall that
had not been done since Steve Placencia did it somewhere around
'95. What happened to running in Eugene anyway?
bumped into T-Bone just before the start. Once again, he wore
an American flag tie…traditional apparel for him in this Fourth
of July event. When the gun went off, T-Bone did his usual
bolt out front and I watched him hammer up Donald Street,
which is a tad bit steep. Most people over-think this first
mile hill thing, which is more of an opportunity than anything
else for those of us who run Kong. My plan was simple: 6:45
on the first mile and hammer the downhill.
hit the top of the hill, which is also mile #1 in 6:37, but
it was more work than I had hoped. The effects of my Kong-less
training were clearly evident. I thought to myself that it
was easier last year.
tried to hammer the second mile, but again, I seemed to be
working at it too hard and not taking what the hill gave me.
Still, mile two was not bad: 5:31. I was still ahead of last
year's pace. When I hit the bottem of the hill at West Amazon
Parkway, I remembered Bruce's advice: The race starts at the
bottom of the hill. I settled into a good rhythm and proceeded
to run by mile three without getting my split. No big deal.
I felt o.k. I got my split at mile four and I was one second
ahead of last year's pace (23:40). I remembered I felt a lot
stronger at this point last year, though. My stride started
to get a bit choppy.
mile five, things still felt good, and I did mile five at
5:56. I thought, o.k., time to take it to the house…but nobody
was home. I did mile six in 6:04 and finished in 36:52. I
was delighted with that time, but it was a hard finish and
my quads were trashed for several days...something I did not
experiece last year when I was up Kong at least every other
week for several months. I knew I needed more work and the
Coburg Half was coming right up. Uh oh.
finished in just over 39 minutes, just behind Ron Wilson,
who snuck by him on the downhill and T-Bone managed to forget
all about him. Ron didn't. He gets more speed out of shear
determination than anyone I have ever seen. Coop finished
with a PR. He later dissed my post race outfit, which consisted
of hat and rain gear, while he shivered in the rain. Problem
was, he still looked good and I looked spent under all that
was extra motivated after Ron's covert victory, and he proceeded
to enter a series of All-Comers meets shortly thereafter culminating
in his first ever sub 5:00 mile (4:59) (Note:
See the Rage on Training: Wanna Run Faster? Try Beating Your
Buddies). I know he can thank Ron for part of that.
home, I saw Coop jogging home and honked. He lives about 3
miles from the finish. My legs were dead. He waved as if to
say, what's wrong, Rage? I reached down and rubbed my quads
under the steering wheel as he waved enthusiastically.
was the first time I ever had thought bad thoughts about Coop.
Note: In answer to your question what happened to running
in Eugene, I submit the following from Runners World,
September 2000. "When I'm running I visualize light coming
into the top of my head, filling my body and an energy bubble
surrounding me," says Kay Porter a sports psychologist in
Eugene, Oregon. "Then I imagine the 'heavy' energy in my body
flowing out of my feet into the ground."
quote. The "energy bubble" must have been that car she got
into halfway up Donald at the Butte to Butte and the last
line reads like a slogan from a port-a-potty company. I wonder
how many of these visions Emil
had when he won the 5k, 10k and marathon? Give me a break.
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