Monday, April 6, 2009

Brew to Brew 43.5 mile Kansas City to Lawrence Relay Run

Sunday was the Brew to Brew run and the above sentence describes the theme of the day. We didn't get the snow that I talked about last week but it was a miserable day to be out running, much less trying to run 43.5 miles. I was definitely glad to have some comrades for this madness.
Here's the scenario. A six man team starts running at the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City and runs 43.5 miles, divided into 10 different legs approximately 4-5 miles each, finishing at the Free State Brewery in Lawrence. The run is a benefit for Cystic Fibrosis research.
Our six man team consisted of guys from my small group. We are all Majors or Lieutenant Commanders (Navy equivalent) which means we are all in our mid to late 30's and most of us are coming off an Iraq or Afghanistan deployment in the last 4 or 5 months. Only three of us are what I would call endurance guys, me and two other guys who occasionally run marathons, although we are all fairly fit, so we went into this with the expectations of; Hey let's run a little bit, drink some beer and support a good cause. By the time we were done though it had morphed into let's see if we can, stay warm, beat any other small groups that we could recognize, and finish this thing in under 6 hours (8:30 min a mile pace). Pretty much in that order of importance.

Here are some of the pictures that we took and I may add some more as I get them from the other guys who were taking pictures (Shantel and I are still having issues with our cameras and desktop computer)
The mass start of Fort Leavenworth teams and other teams that started at 9am. Only 43.5 miles left to go.
Jerry finishes Leg 1 and hands our Oscar the Grouch baton off to me for Leg 2, a 5.2 mile stretch along the Kansas River levee. It is just starting to rain and drizzle with the temp hovering around 38 degrees at this point. What fun!This is me about three-quarters of the way through Leg 2, the sweatshirt that I HAD NOT intended to run in , but had to because it was so cold, is starting to get extra heavy because of the drizzle and there's some guy who's been right on my tail for the last half mile and won't pass, really irking the heck out of me. Just to add a little more misery, I've got to go around the bend and then climb up all those big rocks they put on the side of embankments to keep them from eroding to get on the bridge to cross the river. Oh yeah I paid for this!OK, I'm finishing my 5.2 miles here, it's still drizzling, I'm soaked, the sunglasses are alternating between a thin coat of ice and fogging up so I've pushed them up to the top of my head and one of my earphones has fallen out, where's the dude I'm handing off to. What???? He's running away from me, this leg is only 2.5 miles, he should be running to me at this point!!! My time for 5.2 miles - 43 minutes and change - good for a 8:16 average, not too shabby.This is one of my teammates finishing up his leg about 40 minutes after I had finished my first leg. Sure glad that's him and not me. This guy drew the short straw without knowing it, having probably the worst weather while running this leg and then on his second leg he had to stop and wait 20 minutes for a rubber boat to take him across a creek, it was either take the boat or run a extra mile. I'm not sure which would have been better.

Here is the embankment down to the boat crossing. Imagine where the grass went after all the runners went down it to the get in the boat.

OK that's it for the pictures. By now you are probably wondering did we make our goals? Well with temps in the 30's and wind gusts that supposedly reached 50 mph we only stayed warm while in the car, we passed at least one other staff group and probably several others that we just don't know about. As of this writing no official results have been published. Yes we did beat the 6 hour mark helped in part on the last leg, which I ran, by those 50 mph wind gusts.

The start of the last leg was almost due south along another levee and the wind was blowing out of the north, the first mile of that leg I ran a 7:19, which was definitely wind assisted, unfortunately the rest of the leg was pretty much due west with a viscous cross wind. I did make it to the finish line at 5hrs 59min 59 secs. Mission accomplished! Not bad for a bunch of old guys on a really crappy weather day.

Next up is the Shakespeares MaxTrax Duathlon in Columbia, which is a 2.5 mile run, 14 mile bike, and then another 2.5 mile run. The weather is supposed to be much better this weekend. Let's hope the forecast stays that way.


Anonymous said...

Quite a story! Are you part of a CGSC group training for the 1/2 Ironman in Lawrence? I had heard there were a few students getting ready for that.

James said...

Yes, I'm a CGSC student and I'm doing the 1/2 Ironman at Lawrence, but I'm training on my own and occasionally with one of the other guys who ran brew to brew with me. It will be my first 1/2 Ironman in 9 years.