Saturday, June 8, 2013

Whitetails 5k run

Breaking with  my established stylebook, the
remaining pics are displayed at the end of  the article,
rather than intermeshed throughout. In the event your
reading at work, or you recently ate.
How does the adage go? Desperate times call for desperately stupid measures. I have not reclaimed balanced running since my Umstead marathon debacle. The plantar fasciitis twinges on my surgery side leg responded well to immediate rest and icing. Two weeks out of running shoes satisfactorily banished the arch pain. Then with abecedarian irony, I injured my 1st metatarsal on the opposite foot in a crash landing while bailing out of a handstand. I was trying to cross train! Maybe a nice stationary bike would have been a more age appropriate response?

I like a lot of things about distance running, especially trail running. The mountain vistas, a chance meeting of a doe and her fawns, the subtle hues of sunrise, the shocking temperature drop running by water at night, the alone time in your own head, endorphin highs, a connection to the very earth your treading. But most of all I love the oddity of trail runners. I rank their freakishness factor just ahead of an Athens Halloween block party and just behind a Kansas City S&M party. So maybe its not the peaceful miles of only regulated breathing, uninterrupted by cellphones, FB notifications or McDonald's commercials. Maybe its the tutus, tattoos, home brews, sardines and pickles. And I would confidently wager a medium sized ultra boasts more cross dresser's than the Bay area on a Tuesday. I know there is some vanilla out there, but face it most of you are vaudeville strange.

Presently, I can just manage 3 miles. Over 4 miles guarantees limping for a week. But my aberration index is nearing a PR. 

(X * aberrancy) + (Y * miles) = bliss.

If the miles are down subtract no divide, then carry the 3, no wait there is no 3. Never mind, my math skills are declining in a linear relationship to my Garmin GPS use. 

I decided to end my injury streak with a streak. The Whitetails 5k run is my second nude run. I ran the same race two years ago, before I entered the blogosphere. Also it was a time in my life when I possessed too strong a sense of decorum, to publish such low brow adventures. My recent running decline has left me with less to blog. And the high quality of so many other running online journals have done a better job depicting their adventures than my vocabulary and writing salary allow me. Time to borrow a page from publishing giant Hugh Hefner. And those pages are in the buff. (Don't panic, just like Hef I am wearing a robe and smoking a pipe as I type.) 

Wow. Ok. So I had some words saved up in my works. Sorry for the Russian novel introduction. And PLEASE take this opportunity to click on an advertisement. I will make $00.0003 and I can't wait to see what advertisements Google pairs with this entry.

The Whitetail 5k is held annually at the White Tail Resort (A Family Nudist Community) in Ivor, VA. A resort established in 1984. A much free-er and breezier 1984 than George Orwell envisioned. Allowing for coffee, bathroom stops, and bouts of prudence, the 7 AM registration (just didn't feel like the kind of race you pre register for), required a 4 AM start from Durham. I have over 250 running social contacts from FB and various other running group publications. Surprisingly, I departed alone. Brief (get it? brief, while talking about a nudist colony) moment of honesty: I wanted a win. Really, how fast can aging hippies and the overly tan run?

Despite my GPS's constant insistence that I take smaller and narrower roads, the drive was no more nerve racking than my usual pilgrimage toward a trail race. I arrived right on time for registration, even a few minutes early. I gained a good half hour packing for this one. The final approach brought me to the main gates via a long gravel stretch that ended in an imposing wooden gate and fence, marked only with a modest sign. A small intercom speaker and button instructed visitors to ring. I rang and spoke one of the stranger sentences of my adult life, "Is this the place for the naked race?" Reminiscent of the scene in King Kong, the gates opened inward. I hoped for an experience better than Fay Wray's.

I was directed to park and head to the main office to fill out some paperwork and provide ID. Not required for most firearm purchases, but apparently birthday suits are not constitutionally protected in VA. The feeling that I had to deliver a speech for school, but forgot to wear pants dream deja vu started at about this point. I felt a bit awkward in cargos and old race shirt amongst the very naked colonists. It felt like a library (with a small gift shop)/information booth, but the nice lady at the computer, the man taking a photo copy of my driver's licence and the couple browsing sunblock had not a pocket between them. They finished checking me in and directed me toward registration at the outdoor pavilion.

A lot more skin out here. Maybe 50 hides milling about. I stopped by the car and took my clothes off like a band aid. (Quick and with minimal hair loss). The approach to registration mirrored the usual, with the exception of a much longer line. Their were only 6 people in line, but the space between each of us was proportionately respectful to the awkwardness. My turn arrived quickly enough and I received my (ready for it), race T-shirt. No bibs. Not even a number to hide behind. I had been hoping for something like #8375093275. When you cross the finish, they record your time on a note card and you add your name and then drop it in your age group category bowl.

If you find yourself clothed and outside on just too many days of the year, this race is part of a series. One of the middle calendar events hosted by B.A.R.E. (Butts A’runnin Race Enterprises). They put on a great race. More than adequate snacks, water, clear course markings (1 mile loop, repeated), and free grounds access for the rest of the day. The course starts near the office, runs through the semi-permanent community (trailers/mobiles), enters a wooded trail, then reenters the community. Many of the locals were out with great enthusiasm and cheering. Some provided additional water and treats. Maybe, the best crowd participation, outside of Disney Marathon's paid cheerleaders, I've ever seen. And of course, at Disney most characters wear pants.

The director lined us up by pace expectation. Much to my dismay, the aging hippy to average 5ker ratio was the opposite of my expectation. Nobody lined up for the 5 minute mile pace, but the 6 minute group was fair, and the 7 min coral was overflowing. I lined up with the 9's and hoped I was being humble. I targeted 7:45, but was secretly hoping for sub 7:30. My soft tissue may be in poor shape, but I've kept my cardio up on the elliptical, swimming, and bike. Its a flat course. 

Line up was uneventful, but with a noticeable lack of pre-race stretching. No lunges with the goose pimpled crowd. The other dismaying ratio showed in the M to F count, roughly 117 to 1. OK not quite that bad, but I am confident that the female sex is, in general, more demure than Renoir suggested. Not great for ambiance, and even worse for my age group chances.  

The start was a simple, "go". We went out FAST. I usually do, but the pace was a bit unprecedented, even for me. At heart, I am wound pretty tight. The free spirit stuff is always outside my comfort zone and I over think everything. I had practiced on the treadmill at home to make sure the mechanics were possible. (Room darkening shades: Your welcome neighbors.) I thought the practice would negate the nerves, but not so much. Running 6:37 per Garmin with the lead pack at the 1/3 mile mark was way outside of my abilities. 

I settled down about the same time we entered the trail section. Pretty rooty through this 1/3 mile. It rained heavy the previous night and this part of the course was all mud. Finally, some cover, at least from the mid calf down. We exited the trails and back to bridle-type gravel road for the last 1/3 of the first mile. Everything turned automatic for me for the next mile. The nuts and bolts of extended streaking are surprisingly user friendly. Let's just say there is a rhythm to the workings. Honestly, thanks to Nike and modern fabrics my everyday running gear barely outweighs my au natural state. I was done with bashful and into racing mode after a half mile. On strictly journalistic intention, I did interview one of the more amply equipped female racers in the Jacuzzi after the race. Apparently their race equipment causes more of an issue. Sports bras were well represented.  

The last 3/4 mile was rough. The too fast start and the adrenaline rush took their toll. I faded pretty hard and the front runners were nothing but a dust cloud ahead. I had nobody reachable in front, but my rear felt exposed. I had a tail in my wake from about a mile in and they were closing. Still holding out for an age group place, my shadow was undoubtedly a M 30-40 years old. I managed a kick for the last 150 yards and he finished just behind me. First throw up finish in 2 years! Thrilling to finish strong, but disappointing to discover that apparently, my stripped form makes me sick. 

Definitely, threadbare training, but I did manage 3rd in my age group. And they did go 3 deep with the awards. Hoping for a medal, or better yet a sash of some sort, the award proved a poor cover. Third is a certificate for a free entry back to the nude commonwealth!

Just like every other race ever run, the after phase was mainly carbs, awards, and hanging out with every body else. Slightly different, I have never witnessed so much eye contact after an event. The after access to facilities made a nice bonus. The place is really well equipped; indoor pool, outdoor Olympic sized pool, Jacuzzis, tennis courts, showers, considerably sized outdoor chess set, fitness room (yikes!), and restaurant (Try the lobster served outside of its shell). Next time I will call ahead and schedule a massage session with the onsite masseur who books up early on weekends. 

Its a good time and completely tame. Makes for a great story when your one upping somebody at a dinner party. The aerodynamics all but ensure a PR. Go try it out, but seriously don't wear the heart rate monitor. This is really the race to try without it. Don't get caught in the bum's rush, sign up today. 

My new favorite race shirt. Breathes well.

OMG! No life guard on duty.

Really difficult to choose pics for this write up.
For those of you easily nauseated, do not scroll
down any farther. I'm talking to you Jim Wei.

Happy tea pot. Not that kind
of happy.
Full moon at morning, take warning.

Third place age group. Its the start of a new streak!


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