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Catch a Leprechaun 2009: The Defense (Race Report)

Well it has been a long time and I owe some reports.  First off I must apologize for the delay.  I have been real busy and somethings have gotten pushed to the side.  Well, it is time to update my race reports. 

There are things that I have missed since I moved from the Cleveland area to Delaware.  The first being an actual winter.  The second being the races that I left behind.  Well one that I will never leave behind is the Catch A Leprechaun 30k I love this race.  It is a fantastic tune up for marathon race pacing and very well put on. 

So after a long a grueling drive on a Friday evening from Wilmington I made it to the Red Roof Inn in Avon Lake.  This gave me a day to rest up, get a hair cut and the best fried rice ever made at Tay Do.  Yes I am willing to drive all the way to Cleveland (Berea) to get my hair cut.  Well, the gas prices have gone down and she know how I like my hair done. 

It turns out that in Congresses infinite wisdom the clocks now spring forward on the same day as the CAL ’09.  I mean of all the things to mess with: the economy, taxes, mortgage regulation, tobacco, personal freedoms, socialism are all okay but screwing with a runners schedule is unacceptable.  That being said the race was postponed by about a half an hour.  No big deal.  It was still very dark when we left the hotel and drove the 2 miles to the packet pick up. 

Two years ago I ran (and won) this race in sub freezing weather with a biting head wind coming off of the frozen Lake Erie surface.  It was so bad that I “let” an older gentleman pass me for the sole purpose of drafting behind him.  It was awesome.  Last year we had a nice rain with cool weather that turned into a warm weather steam sauna.  Tough finish but still awesome.  This year had a new torturetwist.  Cold and Raining.  It was right at freezing but not enough to make snow or freezing rain and it was coming down.  When I looked out the window and at the weather channel I thought about putting on my warm running pants but decided that it was not that cold and the thinner ones were good enough.  To be honest, I would have been better off with just shorts or the warm pants.  The thin ones just soaked and stuck to my legs and I never really warmed through out the race.

Any way, I got the packet pickup and got everything order.  It was across the street from the start but it was warm and dry.  Eventually my buddy Dave got there and the Leprechaun himself Frank Zgrabik.  It was real nice seeing familiar faces at a race.  I feel like an outsider sometimes in the Delaware Valley.  Well the time was come for the start and we all reluctantly made our way to the line.  Rick has some instructions for us and we kind of paid attention but you could tell the majority of those running today were CAL Alumni.  We just kind of huddled under something till we had to start.

It starts and the gazelles, David and Frank take off and I get right into a comfortable pace.  It is cold and wet but all is good.  I have started one of my favorite races and it rocks.  This is where I can get into some real trouble.  The 15k and the 30k runners start at the same time and if I start pacing off of a 15k runner I could be going out way too fast.  The real bitch of it is that I started to think about the race with regards to the 15k.  The race is two 15k loops and being a NCN race has no split times except at the end of the loop.  Well, as the miles tick off Iam actually thinking stuff like “6 down, 3.3 to go.”  The problem is it was 12.6 to go.  The best part about this strategy is that segmenting my race into smaller races is how I got through my first half marathon and in a way how I get through my marathons.  

The good news is I hit the end of the first loop at 1:17.  The bad news is that I was totally soaked and real cold.  David sent me data on the day later it averaged at 38F.  The good news is that there is overlap of the loops at the beginning and end.  At that point I look for other “O’s”  An “O” on the racing bib means that you are in the Male Overweight Category (Clydesdale).  The “O” is just a coincidence.  This way I know if there are any competition that I may have to real in.  The really good news is that I say none.  I was in the lead.

Well, I switched caps and went on.  As I headed back out and hit the 5k turn around point (did I mention there is also a 5k), a fire was called in on a restaurant that just happens to be on the route.  Now I know that Fire bad.  For the love of all that is edible we want our food cooked on purpose.  Well, you might think that the fire being on the route as the bad thing.  The actual rough part is that the Police that were directing traffic around the runners were called off.  This left all of us with no road support.  I think there are drivers out there that are in wait for an opportunity like this because they seemed to be crawling out of the Northeast Ohio Pot Holes.  Cars started buzzing me and a few runners ahead of me were getting the same treatment.  I don’t blame the police because they were doing a fantastic job before and they had an emergency to tend to.  For the love of Prefontaine there were frying burgers that were about to be flame broiled. 

I eventually got of the main drag and into the neighborhoods and got settled down.  I was starting to get fatigued and because of the previous situation I had sped up to get off the main road quicker.  The funniest thing happened as some point on the second loop where I realized I had no idea what was playing on my MP3 player.  The music was there but I had tuned it out and my internal playlist was creeping in. It was disconcerting because I had never had my brain override my ears like that before.  No matter it was okay.  The rain was coming again and I need fuel.  Well, I had an e-gel ready.

I got the home stretch and speaking of my MP3 player, there are some songs that just get me going like The Distance by Cake, U-mass by the Pixies,   High Octane Salvation by The Dirtbombs, Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger, and The Distance by Cake.  Well, it was that song with just a mile and a half to go that came on.  It just propelled me on to the the finish line in 2:38 for another PR and to three time defending Champion.  That’s right I was once again I was the winner of the Fat Ass Division at the CAL ’09.  I cannot wait till next year to see the next torture. 

On a side note, as I was trying to cool down I totally pulled my thigh.  It sucked but did not deter me from running the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon the next week.  Just wait for that report.


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