Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The No-Frills Ten-Miler

Date: July 21st, 2010

Location: Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario

Event: The No-Frills Ten Miler (For those using Canadian notation, that would be 16 k)

No Really, What’s the Event: The Showdown: ROUND 4

After a shellacking at the July Beaver Chase, which followed the close finish in the 10 k Canada Day Road Race, Brad was bruised, battered, and above all ready for some revenge. Enter the No-Frills Ten Miler, advertised at the Beaver Chase, and taken up after a few mini-pitchers of Rickards Red and some trash talk at the local watering hole.

The stage was set for an ultimate match up: not the dream ‘marathon’ that Brad was gunning for, and not the fun 10-15 k trail run which Kieran had envisioned. This meant only one thing – nobody was going to have a good time.

The Showdown was set for 6.30, Brad prepared by making sure Kieran had no idea where the heck it would start, and Kieran prepared by eating a couple of pita’s with peanut butter and honey while completely underestimating the time it takes to get to the Experimental Farm from Hunt Clun Rd. Can you see where this is headed?

(we will now convert to clock time)

-4:00 – Kieran screeches around the Experimental Farm desperately looking for something involving a run – cones, a big banner, people wearing running shoes, damn, why did this have to be a NO FRILLS (which means that the entry fee is low, as are the amenities and advertising) race!

-2:00 – Kieran finally spots a startline-esque spot, and then finds the correct parking lot. And then realizes that he can’t get into said lot.

-1:30 – Kieran pulls into another lot, rips off his shorts and sandals, jumps into his shoes and running shorts, grabs his keys and entry fee, and hits the ground running.

-1:00 – Why are there so many fences in the Experimental Farm?

0:00 – Kieran rounds a corner, sees the start line and Judi asking him what the heck is going on.

0:30 – Hands off keys and $20, joins the large pack as it heads out, and Kieran realizes that although his warm-up may have been non-traditional, he definitely started the race with an elevated heart rate. That’s what the coach always recommends, right?

1:30 – Brad and Aaron (Hey! He makes another appearance! The guy is practically a regular on this blog!) cruise up alongside uttering witty comments such as “nice to see you made it!” and “damn, I guess you figured out how to get here after all, now I don’t feel so bad about not giving you directions”. Kieran, still reeling from his warm-up, decides to let them forge on ahead alone.

4:00 – Although Brad and Aaron are ahead by a solid 20 seconds, they are in sight, and Kieran settles down to pacing himself for the next 15.5 km, or three loops. Wow, that seems like a long way.

14:05 – Brad and Aaron seem to be creeping away, but Kieran steadfastly refuses to up the pace – this is what it’s all about. Confident pacing, calm, rational thought, and planning the race in your head.

14:10 – Okay, all that is really lame – Kieran decides to nut up make it and race. AND THE SHIRT COMES OFF!

15:11 – Judi fields a t-shirt which she desperately wishes she hadn’t

17:25 – Kieran rounds a corner, and finds Brad suffering from a mechanical. For those not familiar with Tour de France lingo turned to Kieran’s road races, that means he was tying his shoe. Jackpot! It’s officially a race!

19:06 – Aaron, still only about 30 seconds up on Brad and Kieran who are now running together, comes by on the second out and back muttering about Shleck and Contador, and how he should have waited. After the race it is confirmed that he was in fact talking about he and Brad’s situation. Luckily, there’s no sportsmanship in running. Leave that weak crap at home!

23:07ish – Kieran and Brad go through the lap together, leading a pack of two or three other guys who have decided that using Kieran’s gigantic and sculpted upper-body in order to cut through the vicious head wind is a fantastic idea.

26:16 – Kieran sits in the front of the pack, happy with his position, feeling strong, confident, yet aware that there is still a lot more running to be done.

27:20 – Roughly a minute later, Kieran has inexplicably forgotten all the above, has remembered the Tour de France stages he watched earlier this week, and how real men are made by attacking on the hills. However, this being the Experimental Farm, hills are few and far between. Kieran rounds a corner, and attacks on the Cat Nonexistent 0.5% Grade Climb which lasts for roughly 150 meters and gains about 5 meters in total elevation. He can feel the manliness exuding out of his pores as he drops first the two other goons, and then Brad.

29:47 – A quick look back reveals that Brad has only been dropped by about 5 seconds – not really a dropping at all. A quick look down reveals that Kieran’s legs are still attached to his body, despite the fact he can no longer feel them. A quick look forward reveals Aaron is still pulling away. Sit-rep: not a good decision at all…

31:27 – Brad cruises by. Kieran says something like “I think I’m going to pay for that little stunt back there”. Brad says “oh.” And keeps running. Kieran tucks in behind him, and begins preparing for the patented Kieran Jones-comeback. Other people may call it the Petter Northug-esque sprint, but Kieran is pretty sure that he did it first, so now it’s been re-named. Sure, with well over half the race to run, it seems like admitting that a battle for the line is a bit premature, but with legs like concrete blocks and Brad for an opponent, sometimes shit gets real.

40:29 – Kieran and Brad hit the second out and back, and Kieran is now clearly a few steps behind. The two goons who were dusted by his earlier attack have now gone by. All earlier dreams of glory, success, and mega-babes have disappeared. Hanging on to Brad at all costs is the order of the day, and even that seems to be getting trickier. At this point, in 99% of Kieran’s runs in the last 2 months, he has stopped. At his body clearly didn’t get the memo that tonight was supposed to be different.

47:33 – Kieran hits the lap. Brad now has a 30 second lead, and it seems to be stretching. Kieran has shut down completely, and is now thinking solely about simply finishing. Which at this point, seems like a solid alternative.

55:55 – Kieran is now hemorrhaging time. If you’ve seen the movie 300, Kieran’s odds at tackling Brad are now rated at about the same as the Spartans. But his abs are nowhere near as awesome. At a rough estimate, the gap has stretched to nearly 2 minutes. Brad is almost out of site – only the white singlet and black hat make him identifiable. Kieran hits a water station, and slows to almost a walk in order to ingest as many fluids as possible.

58:19 – At this point, as Kieran’s brain is wallowing in self-pity, deep-seated despair, and an utter lack of motivation, anger kicks in. “There is no way that I’m going to get smoked this bad,” he thinks to himself, “if I’m going to lose, it’s going to be obvious, painful, and gut wrenching.” And then he digs in, puts his head down, and ratchets up the pace.

59:58 – Kieran passes Judi, gives her a cheeky grin, and states “he’s not that far ahead,” receiving a sad smile, a shaking head and a chuckle in return. The gap is only 1:45.

1:01:04 – Kieran passes a water station, opts to skip the water and focus on speed, and gets mad compliments on his hustle from the crew. “Man, you look good!” “Good work, you’re really hammering”. The gap has been closed further, down to 1:15

1:03:48 – Brad has gone around the last out and back, and has crossed paths with Kieran on his way back – Kieran can see the fear in his eyes, the shake in his step, and sweat dripping off his hat. Kieran rounds the out and back like a man possessed, and almost pukes. The gap has dropped massively – Brad is now only an astonishing 45 seconds ahead – is another comeback possible??

1:07:18 – Further up the road, Aaron finishes in a respectable 9th place.

1:07:58 – Kieran is now running basically full bore. He blows by Judi, who, cheering at the side of the road, again shakes her head at the stream of trash talk coming from Kieran’s mouth, despite his unreal speed. The gap has fallen, down to a mere 20 seconds! Can Kieran do it again?? Can he astonish the running, blogging, and commenting community with yet another gut wrenching, sound-barrier blasting, running shoe-scorching, Brad-humiliating sprint finish???

1:09:03 – Brad has turned the last corner – while he is close enough to see, is he close enough to catch? Kieran’s sprinting motto of “there is always an extra gear” seems to be true – he isn’t slowing, and hasn’t slowed in the last 5 minutes. He has one corner to go, and has pulled out all the stops that weren’t pulled out, has put down several hammers, and used every other cliché for sprinting to the finish that exists!

1:09:19 – Brad crosses the finish line, calmly ahead of Kieran. His effort has earned him 14th spot overall, and first in an age category not titled 20-29. (Age is protected for privacy reasons)

1:09:30 – Kieran crosses the finish line in complete haze – he has no memory of the last 10 minutes. He staggers drunkenly, almost flattening Aaron’s girlfriend. The only thing he is thinking about is never running 10 miles AGAIN, and the fact that The Showdown is now tied at 2 apiece.

1:09:31 – Milko Rivera crosses the line. Notable only because he was part of Kieran’s earlier pack, and that his utter humiliation on the finish line by Kieran Northug Jones preserves Kieran’s greatest claim to fame – in the last 100 meters, you don’t win. It wasn’t Brad, but at least someone felt the sharp end. And really, what’s a friendly, low key road race in the middle of July for if not humiliating some dude in the 30-39 age category?

What’s next in the Showdown? Who knows, whatever road race comes up in the Ottawa area that seems like a fun time, The Showdown Crew will be there! Want to be featured in a Showdown blog? Submit a proposal, including a road race, to: thisisnotademocracy@gostuffyourself.com.

Showdown Results (including total time) will now be posted in a sidebar. Stay tuned…

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