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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
Coburg Run In The Country


Rage Race Report: 2003 Coburg Run in the Country Five Miler and Half Marathon

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 at it.

No 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 him.

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.

Things heated 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.

My suggestion 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

Race 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..."

Turning 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.

Our 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

Race Report: 2000 Coburg "Run in the Country" Half Marathon

Team Kong before the start of the Coburg Run In The Country Half-Marathon, July 16, 2000

Self portrait of John Krigger before running the Coburg 5-Miler

Start of the Coburg Run In The Country Half-Marathon, 2000

Start of the Coburg Run In The Country Half-Marathon, July 16, 2000

I'll 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.

Take your medicine, suck it up and finish.

When 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 runners.

Bruce and Bill - Coburg Half
Coop finishing Coburg Half
Bruce and Bill at the end of the Coburg Half-Marathon

Coop kicking it in at the finish of the Coburg Half-Marathon

Daryll 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.


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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:42 PM