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Butte to Butte

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Rage Race Report: 2002 Butte to Butte

Listening to 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?

Unfortunately, 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.

The closest 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 sized rock.

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.

"We're chick magnets...keep running and you can be a chick magnet too."After 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 that way.

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.

We continued 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.

Turning into 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 Speak" page).

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 Truth.

Race 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 for help.

T-Bone in traditional 4th of July tie
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 the finish.

You mean we have to go run now?

Rage demonstrates the benefits of clear bag labeling.

The quote of the day from a guy on a bike: "What is up with that?"

Quote of the Day #2: "I can't even look at those guys."
Is this a great country, or what?

The two on the left - one can barely watch, the other turns away...

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 can't wait!

I 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 there
somewhere, 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.

Coop, 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.

My plan 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 fuel rods."

My legs feel like a couple of spent fuel rods.If 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!

The 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.

The Rage and Coop cool downMy 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

Race Report: 2000 Butte to Butte 10K

Finish of 4th ofJuly Running of Butte to Butte 10K Eugene, Oregon 2000

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."

As 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.

While 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.

It 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?

Everyone 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?

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.

At 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.

T-Bone 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 gear.

Tommy 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.

Driving 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.

It was the first time I ever had thought bad thoughts about Coop.

Postscript 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."

Nice 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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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:41 PM