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

Run for the Shamrock

Rage Race Report: Run for the Shamrock, 2007

Photos Courtesy of Mr. Al Whalen

Introduction: With the Flintstonian (e.g. as in Bam-Bam) finish from a year ago firmly etched into the lore of this local ten klick, it was inevitable that the pre-race buzz would include some speculation about how tightly The Flintstones would finish come show time this year.

"Like a bunch of triple twenties in a 301 game…before the beers kick in," said one anonymous observer reflecting on last year’s finish. She was metaphorically referring to the popular dart game played well into the wee hours on a nightly basis in so many of the local watering holes sprinkled about this college town.

Allowing a pair of sub 37 performances just a week earlier to speak on their behalf at Champoeg just about 75 minutes north of here, Ken Vendley and K.C. Taylor served notice to the wannabes that no Flintstonian finish would be complete without Betty, Wilma…and yes…Pebbles…

Nobody wants to be Pebbles.

Taking special note of this was the now 50 year old Rage, with the Shamrock being his season opener, he covertly assessed his fitness level in his warm up routine. While he was feeling bouncy on this particular day, he still had no clue how he’d run. He seemed content with shooting for another respectful finish as opposed to rolling the dice for a fast time.

The Rage was not oblivious to the whispers. The rampant rumors of his descent into wussyness were many. None cut deeper than the suggestion he should start subscribing to (gasp!) Runners World for some help. The suspicions were further fueled by a YouTube video clip showing him hugging people he didn’t even know after finishing a short "jog" (he claims the clips were altered).

Literally speaking, during recent years, some even had suggested he’d adopted the dreaded STR (e.g. "spineless training regiment") since losing a chunk of it in 2002, resulting in back surgery.

In any case, all of these rumors were dispelled over the last year as he started chasing the TWBD (e.g. "Team Whalen Big Dogs").

So today, there was no reason The Rage shouldn’t run well.

Rage: As I warmed up with Vendley, I wondered out loud if last year’s first mile three metal (6:10) might be too conservative off the tee this year. I decided I’d go ahead and hit driver, and joined Todd Bosworth and Josh Masterson as we all chased K.C. Taylor down the first fairway in 5:55. It didn’t take long for us to develop a sense of unspoken bond in our group as we all shared one thing in common: We’d been passed by Randy Hilliard no less than four times in the first mile and a half.

But we soon decided we weren’t in a bonding mood, and the three of us pressed on without Randy, giving whatever chase we could muster up to keep Taylor in view, who’d already opened up about 40 meters on us.

Mile two was long, which made mile three short, and none of us really knew exactly where we were distance-wise, but it was clear that Taylor would have to come back to us…a lot… if any of us was going to close on him. He was looking strong.

A four mile split of 23:55 kept me motivated to keep pressing, but then turned back into the wind when we crossed over the Willamette River at the Greenway Footbridge. Nevertheless, a five mile split of 29:57 continued to hold my attention. Even so, any aspiration for another Flintstonian finish was all but gone with Vendley and Taylor now 30 – 40 seconds ahead.

After a six mile split of 36:04 put a sub – 37 out of reach (e.g. a 55 second sprint was physically impossible for me in .2 miles), I was momentarily content with a 37 oh-anything and cruised around the last turn preparing to mug for Al Whalen’s camera.

Then, I noticed the finish clock at 36:42…and it jolted me back into the reality that the ball game wasn’t over. The last .2 must have been short...which meant if I dug deep enough, I could break 37 minutes for just the fifth time ever! (Translation: "Oh shit…I sure don’t want to have to sprint right now…because I am really tired….")

The official final number (drum roll please): 36:59!

Race Epilogue: Ken Vendley finished in 36:21, holding off the hard charging K.C. Taylor (36:30).

Todd Bosworth continued his comeback with a 38:15.

Josh Masterson ran a personal best (38:04) for 10 kilometers.

Masterson, Hilliard and Taylor earned top age group finishes, with Vendley, Bosworth and The Rage either the first or second losers in their respective age groups.

Notable: Shelley York (Team EWEB) finished first in her age group. (The Rage, 3/30/07)

Rage Race Report: 2006 Run for the Shamrock

Alton Baker Park, Eugene, Oregon (March 11,2006) - Perhaps there will never be another race where the phrase from Rage-speak vernacular called "Flintstoned the chute" will ever be more appropriate than at this particular 10k road race.

That's because we ain't just talkin' about no "Bam-Bam" finish here, baby. Try "Bam-Bam-Bam-Bam-Bam," as in Ken Vendley, K.C. Taylor, Kyle Gee, Todd Bosworth and The Rage separated by a total of 17 seconds.

…And while you might have been able to get a Portland phone book in the biggest gap between them, forget about Seattle's.

That is unless of course you don't include Thomas Kreuzpeintner, who is in another league altogether, finishing second overall in 35:23, and who usually puts the entire eastern seaboard's phone books between him and these sorry asses anytime he decides to lace 'em up, you know what I'm talkin' about?

Wow. Forget for a few seconds that the answer to the question of which of the five "group B" (e.g. sans Thomas) runners saw the four others cross the finish line happens to be The Rage. And forget that his average 6:00 pace he threw at these dudes over 6.2 miles (5:58 over the last 5.2) only served to raise the group average pace by nearly a full second per mile (…a fact made all too clear at an impromptu group intervention surrounding Rage's pickup in the parking lot after the race, all but securing him the coveted position of "Van Driver Specialist II" on any future relay invitation unlikely to come his way).


Now, visualize The Rage trying to sneak back into the picture yet again with another patented furious second half rally to get back in the ball game, after opening with a 6:07, 6:03, and 6:02.

The Rage, who reluctantly rolled down the window just enough for ESPN's Chris Berman's microphone, spoke in hushed tones as the Dodge attempted to slink quietly out of parking lot unnoticed while Boz, Taylor, and Gee continued their moshpit-like celebration.

"It almost worked again, but Todd was just too strong today," Rage told Berman. "I wouldn't have run it any different," as he reflected on a fifth fastest lifetime best 10 kilometer road race not even good enough for the podium on this particular day.

"I could feel my eyeballs get real big when the field started coming back to me," Rage said after closing with a 5:58, 5:57 and 5:54. His must have seemed small compared to Boz's when he spotted Rage closing on him with a half mile to go as he turned into the park.

...and that was that. "The Boomer" was gone, taking off like a down wind four iron on Bandon Dunes, determined to settle his oh-for-05 match up with The Rage once and for all in their inaugural '06 match up.

Nuf said there. Boomer's back…and he's talkin' smack.

While all of this was going on, several other issues were being sorted out amongst friends, namely Taylor, Vendley and Gee who weren't doing much chatting the last couple of miles. With only six seconds between them, it was pretty much all a blur.

Taylor shrugged it all off at the finish, hangin' with Barney's kid (e.g. overall winner Matt Barnhart, whose father Dan graduated in the same class as K.C. and The Rage). K.C., while pleased with a sub-37 effort, worked harder than he thought he would and was impressed by how much company he had at the finish in this tune up for his goal race in the form of the annual Pear Blossom Run (10 miler, April 8 in Medford). With these dudes right on his ass in a 10 klick, "Spay Cee" had his game face on before he even took off his bib number.

It should be a dandy come April 8. Stay tuned.

And that's The Truth.

Post Race Notes:

Quote of the race was NOT the one by Rage in the finishers' shoot as he stood immediately behind Bosworth:

"…Let it be known that the eco-system now officially has been restored to a balanced condition…"

The Quote of the Day goes to a race volunteer, who replied: "…Huh?"

The Numbers Are The Only Relevant Truth:

Todd Bosworth 37:08
Kyle Gee 37:01
Thomas Kreuzpeintner 35:37
Ken Vendley 36:55
K.C. Taylor 36:58
Rage 37:12

Rage Race Report: Run for the Shamrock, 2002

When I woke up on race day, looked outside and it was snowing. Perfect. As if running a 10k isn't hard enough already…

"Aw quit whining," I said to myself, as I waited for Coop's green pickup to turn onto my street, with my Dodge nursing a dead tranny. "It seems that every time I slide into that truck, the weather is terrible. What's up with that?" I continued to whine, as I thought back on our experience at the California International Marathon just a few months back. Coop was starting to earn a reputation of Manciata-esk proportions for bringing bad weather on race day.

As my 14 year old daughter, Jackie, heard me mumbling to myself as I stared out the window, she asks, "Dad, you don't have to be The Rage today. It's o.k. to be Dad every once in a while, you know." I didn't quite know what to say, other than "Wish me luck, Jack" as Coop pulled into the driveway.

Coop had his CD player teed up with some Steely Dan, and then proceeds to accuse me in no uncertain terms of mindlessly grooving to their jams for the past three decades without questioning the origin of the name of the band. I thought it was about some guy who caught a lot of fish, you understand what I'm sayin'? I thought I heard him mumble something about "Dude…you must have powered down a few too many of Yoko's shaved fish tacos…" (For more on the fish theme, see the Rage's Wimpy Trout)

Coop might read a lot, but I think he was just trying to fire me up on race day.

Oh…the race, you might ask. I thought I could hold onto 6:00's, but it had been awhile. Coop, coming off of a marathon P.R. and last year's Shamrock, where he nearly broke 42 minutes, was looking for something in the low sevens.

I made sure I didn't start out too quick. The first mile was 6:07. I felt good.

Up ahead, I saw a young runner that I knew had to be one of the Sheldon High School track team runners…and the son of one of my running mates. I decided he would be today's motivation.

He started quickly and it took me until mile 2.5 to catch him. He was running smooth…just like his dad.

At mile three, I pulled even and we ran stride for stride, but I said nothing. He sounded like he wasn't even working, and I was trying to make it seem as though I wasn't. On the footbridge at about mile 4.25, he was about to be cut off by some pedestrians, and I said "come on over" and slowed to let him in front of me. Breaking the silence, he finally asked, "Do you work with my dad?" I said, "You're one of the Wilson boys, aren't you?"

I complimented him on his running and we exchanged some more chit chat, and then, as if he tired of my presence, he proceeds to throw a brief surge at me about 1.75 miles from the house. I couldn't cover it, and he put about 5 seconds on me. Nice move.

Thinking I could do my patented "come to papa" move by mile 5.5, I picked it up at mile 5. At mile 5.5, I still had not closed the gap, and knew I couldn't wait much longer if I wanted to avoid seeing what his 16 year old legs could do in a sprint.

I could see the finish and was now going as good as I could with about a half mile to go. My sixth mile was 5:55 and I still had not closed that gap. Worse yet, he looked very strong. I knew I had to break one minute in the last .2 if I was going to have a chance, and he probably could cover that easily, too. One hundred yards to the finish, I knew it was hopeless, and decided to save my legs from a total lactic attack. He was too strong for me, and beat me by 6 seconds. I finished in 37:24.6.

Thinking he was actually taking me seriously, I learned later he was thinking more about the Churchill High School runners in the field. I guess he just had to settle for the 'ol Rage. He finished in sixth place overall. Remember this name: Mike Wilson. You read it here first, on 10kTruth. He's gonna be good.

Coop finished in 43 and some change and was pleased with his effort, as he should be. He ran a good race.

The overall winner was Dan Ohlmstead in 33:16.8. Erin Gray was the women's winner, in 40:51.3, followed by Wendy Simmons at 43:04.2.

Mike Wilson: Hope to see you at the Butte to Butte! - Rage

Rage Race Report Run for the Shamrock, 2001
(And It's Tough to Be a Race Volunteer)

St. Patricks Day, 2001 in Eugene, Oregon was a great day for a race. Cool, cloudy and lots of runners showing up for the 5k and 10k races with proceeds going to support the Sheldon High School Irish track team. I peddled down to the start, camera poised and ready, trying to spot my training partner (Coop) at the start of the 10k. K.C. Taylor, a high school classmate of mine (a sub 2:00 half miler at South Eugene High, whose son now runs track at Sheldon) also on a bike, would be calling splits at the first mile not too far from Pre's Trail (yeah…lots of running lore in this town…). They were a couple of fries short of a happy meal and needed splits called at mile 2. It looked like I was it.

Start of 10k Race 2001 Run for the Shamrock
The Start of the 10k Race 2001 Run for the Shamrock

When the gun went off, I finally discovered what the usual local leaders, including Dale Londos look like from the front during a race. I peddled across the Autzen Footbridge over the Willamette River on to mile 2 and waited for the runners. It didn't take long.

The leaders came by in 11:04. They made 5:32's look easy. I couldn't resist a confident "Stay on it, Dale" as Londos went by, and immediately felt like one of those idiots intentionally trying to be overheard, like I run with him all the time or worse yet, could if I wanted to. I thought I caught a glimpse from him as if to say "just stick to the watch and leave the color commentary to Dwight (Stones), o.k., buddy?" My confident barking out of the times suddenly got quieter.

And right on the button, here comes Coop. He wanted to hang on to 6:45's and he hits mile 2 at 13:30. It was no surprise to me. He was running better than I had ever seen him run. The two key indicators in the last two weeks were a dry run we did on a course a couple hundred meters short of a 10k where he runs 43 and some change plus a 5 x 800 workout, with the last rep his second fastest.

Lead pack approaches Mile #1
The lead pack approaches Mile #1, with Dale Londos running 2nd.

Over 90% of the race course covered the same route as our dry run about 9 days earlier. The only question I had was whether his first two miles were more even than his dry run, when he went out too fast. As strong as he looked, my guess was that he was running smart.

Right on target pace

Coop approaches Mile #2 right on his target pace.

I withheld the temptation to talk smack as he came by, giving him a safe "you're looking good, Coop." This must have really caught him off guard, knowing me all too well. I thought I caught a look of "what's up with the positive reinforcement, Mr. Sultan of Smack?" (see Rage article on Smack & Trash Talk). I started thinking to myself: "This volunteering thing is harder than it looks."

After the last runners came through, I crossed back over the river to catch them coming in. The view offered a great background for some good pics looking down river as the first runner came into my view finder. The lead pack of mile 2 was no longer a pack, with the first three runners spread out over a hundred meters.

Next, I got a puzzled look and a question from Robert Towne as he ran by. "That's not a mile mark, is it?" having confused him and probably a dozen other runners seeing the same guy down the course and assuming I was at another mile mark (I tried to make sure I was well back of the 6 mile mark…Oops, again!). At this point, I was thinking I would have caused a lot less damage if I had just run the race. When Coop came by, I thought it would be best to minimize any additional damage. I turned my bike around, tucked in behind him and peddled ahead to the finish.

I couldn't help but notice Joe Henderson, of Runners World, looking on as Coop rounded the last turn for the final straight to the finish. As I held my camera up, I thought I saw him frantically fumbling for his note pad to scribble down his number as he broke into his .2 sprint, hitting the shoot in 42:04…and lowering his personal best by 1:30.

All business

Coop is all business with a half mile to go.

On Cruise Control, Dale Londos has a friendly smile for the camera with about a half mile to go (he finished 3rd).

Kyle Gee tries to do everything he can to not get beat by a guy wearing shamrock dealy bobs.

Coop eyes the clock

Coop eyes the clock and digs for the finish..

I tried hanging out with Coop, Dale and Robert at the finish, but every time I walked over, it would get real quiet. At this point, I thought I could go bond with Henderson, offer up some of my photos for the next issue and sort of chew the fat with him on his upcoming column plans…kind of one professional to another kind of a thing with me being there sort of on assignment covering the race for 10k Truth and all…

I must have just missed him. I then wondered what Bruce and Cory were doing at about that time…

And that's The Truth.

Coop reluctantly poses for a post-race photo.

Dan Barnhart after a satisfying 5k Race.

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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:54 PM