Dead Runners society race report
Dead Runners Society World Conference VI,
St. Louis Missouri, 22nd-25th May 1998.
One month after Boston Shelley and I crossed the pond again for DRSWCVI :-) Here is our combined megapost.
Tony and Shelley here in merrie englande, back home and awake from our trip to the USA.
Day 1 - Friday 22nd May
(Tony) At last the day of departure had arrived, we'd both been busy busy busy all week, Shelley had things to finish for her class in the last week of term and I was trying to get a thesis chapter out but by late thursday evening everything was taken care of and we were off to the world conference today :-) Up early for an easy 2 mile run before heading off to heathrow on the airport bus, goodbye to Cambridge for 2 weeks.
(Tony) Flew from London to Chicago, we had about 3 hours to kill before our flight left for St. Louis. Waiting for our flight we met up with THE Annie Wynn, great to meet her again. Annie was the first US dead I ever met at a race in england 5 years ago. Onto the plane and we taxied out onto the runway and there we stayed for over 2 hours :-( Bad weather in St. Louis was causing delays and we had to wait. It got so bad the Captain was serving drinks at the back of the plane :-( We had hoped to get to St. Louis in time for the tail end of the opening night party but we finally arrived very tired about 11.30pm all hot and bothered. It took AGES to get a taxi but eventually Shelley, Annie and myself got to the Radisson and some air-conditioning about midnight. Straight to bed, we had been up for 24 hours and were VERY tired.
Day 2 - Saturday 23rd May
(Tony) Somehow we were awake in time for
breakfast before the Hardee's 5km, met up
with Jane and Don from California who were in the next room to us as
well as a few other deads at breakfast and in
the hotel lobby. Off to the race in with
Neil "if it moves photograph it" Cook, Peter "Bob" dellaFemina and Dennis "the menace" Halpin. The idea of a fast race
seemed utterly ludicrous
but we were up if not awake so off we went.
(Tony) Met up with lots more deads at the race including the amazing Sally and Kevin from California, Obi-Wan, the Patty Wagon and Erika, Theresa the marathon runner from Chicago, Ray "don't hug me" Eydmann, Penny the librarian and Rita from Cleveland amongst many others. Got my number and t-shirt and I went through the motions of a pre-race warmup on automatic pilot, it was a very warm and humid morning and the 8.30 am race start still hadn't arrived :-( I did about a mile to warm up which in retrospect was about 1500m too far. A bit more stretching and the time to line up, definitely a day for a work my way through race rather than a blast from the start.
(Shelley) I met up with Rita for the first time and warmed up with her. I knew I was not in my best condition for a race, but still wanted to make a good effort so that the race would take the place of my customary Saturday tempo run around the park. I thought originally from the way Rita sandbagged that I would be able to do this by running the race with her.
(Tony) Away we went, immediately lots of runners zoomed away and after a few seconds I started to weave my way through, fairly quickly I passed Rita and got going at what seemed a comfortable if not superfast pace and kept passing runners comfortably for the first mile which I reached in 6.19!
(Shelley) At the race start I met up with
Theresa and Peter who said they were planning for Theresa to pace Peter around at about
7:15 pace, and from what Rita had been
saying earlier I thought that she would probably be going somewhat slower, but that if we were feeling real well
or they were going slower than planned we
might be able to keep up with them. Peter was talking it up about negative splits, so I thought that Rita
and I maybe would be able to hang on to
them for a while at the beginning at least. But when the race started I was surprised to find Rita starting out much
faster than Theresa and Peter. In the
state I was in, I had absolutely no sense of pace and also was
conscientiously trying to compensate for the tendency that I thought I would have of being sluggish, so thinking that maybe Peter and Theresa had really been serious about the negative split stuff, I ran up and caught up with Rita and tried to stay with her.
At the first mile marker, though, I was astounded to see a time of 6:56 on my watch. Could I keep it up? I was beginning to feel nervous. If I did maybe I could really finally get a time in a race as good as some I have done in training runs. It was a flat course, so maybe there was a chance of it. So I really did try to keep it up, but partly I got overconfident and eased off a little at the beginning of the 2nd mile but mostly about halfway through it the combination of everything started really getting to me, the slightly too fast start, the lack of sleep, the humidity, and every other excuse I can come up with.
(Tony) It didn't feel that fast, feeling a bit tired by now but still working my way through. Back towards the start area at the golf clubhouse, by now we were well spread out and catching runners got pretty hard. Neil Cook and the lead car came past on the opposite side of the road, Neil was directing traffic and photographing everything in sight. I was trying to catch dead Mike Lozano but he wasn't getting closer. Got to 2 miles in 12.53, 6.34 for the last mile. Round a roundabout to run back to the finish area. I could see lots of deads on the other side of the road as I ran past, Rita was just ahead of Shelley who was just ahead of Theresa.
(Shelley) I let Rita go shortly after the 1 mile marker. I kept close to her for about a half mile, but then things started getting worse. I ran mile 2 in 7:39. When Tony saw me I was still ahead of Theresa, but not for long. Theresa had left Peter behind and she soon passed me.
(Tony)I was trying to get away from a runner in baggy shorts and I was drowning in sweat, by 2.5 miles baggy shorts was away and I was really suffering in the heat. Finally past the golf clubhouse again, 3 miles in 19.40, 6.47 last mile and managed to speed up a bit to finish in 20.18. I think in decent conditions and with some sleep I could have broken 19 on such a fast course as that.
(Tony) Very tired on finishing, pretty good
run in such humid conditions coupled with
no sleep and jetlag, I was dying in the last half mile though. Straight to the drinks at the finish and poured 2 cups
of water over my head, ahhhhh, that's
better. Poured some drinks down my throat as well and then
cheered on the deads who were finishing. I saw Peter dellaFemina finish with a blazing sprint finish and then Shelley came in for a new pb :-)
(Shelley) By mile 2 with only a little over a mile to go I though maybe I could pick up the pace, but there just wasn't enough left and that mile just seemed to last forever. I ran it in 8:02, but I was still on course for a pb. Peter passed me quite close to the end and I desperately tried to sprint to close the gap right at the end, but :-) outsprinting Peter was not to be done. But still, it was a pb by a small amount. 23:24, my best previous was 23:40 in Irvine California, also under unfavourable conditions. But the best was yet to come, as Tony will explain next.
(Tony) That wasn't the end of the fun though, after everyone had finished it was time for the presentation of awards and loads of deads won hardware including the beautiful Shelley (first lady in 40-44 even if she does only look 19).
(Shelley) This was really quite a thrill for me. I suppose for people in the states of about my level it's no big deal, but here it is much harder to get age group prizes, and I can't even imagine getting one for a 23:24 5k. They changed the order of the awards for my age group just for fun and started with 3rd place, so when I heard the time of the 3rd place of 26:xx I nearly flipped. Then I heard the 2nd place as slower than my time too and I was confused, because I though Linda would get first place and wondered if there was a mistake. But then I heard my name called I realized that they must have had a no duplication rule so that Linda couldn't get the age group prize because she got the 3rd overall prize. It was the first prize I have ever got in a race, so I was very excited and I must now show it to all of my clubmates here. Btw, the newspaper article has a typo. They robbed me of a whole 10 seconds and listed me with a time of 23:34, but the official time when I was getting my prize was 23:24.
(Tony) Other prizewinners were Linda Wack
(3rd lady overall), Erika Steinberg (1st
20-24), Sally Smith, Penny McCreight, Rita Cognion, Mike Toolen (1st
50-54), Pat Mitchell, Ray Eydmann and Alejandro
Munoz del Rio. They were also giving away
extra race t-shirts as spot prizes and thanks to my lack of dress sense I won two of them :-) 1 was for wearing shoes
with some green colour
and the other for wearing a pair of really loud and obnoxious running shorts (which I purchased in California). Anyone want a Hardee's 5km race t-shirt?
(Tony) Back to the hotel and then off to
breakfast with some of the deads where we
all told our race stories and Shelley showed off some pictures in her
digital camera. After breakfast we got cleaned
up at the hotel and then we got into Bob
Hart's "neodedmobile" (which I travelled in at DRSWCIV) to go off to
the picnic at Laumier sculpture park. The
survivors of the morning trail run were
there as well and lots of food and drinks were consumed. Met up with
loads more deads including fellow Cambridge dead
Doug Dodds and Sid and Cilla from Texas.
It was really hot and humid by now and the sky started to get darker and darker. By the time we all assembled by a
piece of strange sculpture for the
conference photo there was a bit of thunder and lightning and soon the heavens opened. We all stayed under cover
eating and drinking and writing postcards
as we heard the tornado warnings go off, oh dear, rather worrying sound to hear although I was reassured that
tornados usually precede rainstorms
rather than follow them. As well as writing loads of postcards to deads all over the world we also signed the shirts for
the new members of the "Dead Romantics Society" Anne Davidson and Andrew Duffy
who had just got married. Dr Chuck
McCaffrey had a gift for Jim P who was en route from Vermont to Utah (who knows where he is now :-)), we all signed
Chuck's workers' copy of the "Communist
Manifesto" for Jim. I don't know Chuck, the message behind the gift could just have been a bit too subtle for
Puckett to comprehend :-)
Eventually the rains eased off and back to the hotel.
(Tony) We were very tired by now after a very enjoyable day. We went out to dinner with a bunch of deads including Sally and Kevin, Neil, Dennis and Barri. Kevin was videoing everything in sight much to the annoyance of our waitress, by now we were nearly falling asleep. After the meal we headed back to the hotel and straight to bed.
Day 3 - Sunday 24th May
(Tony) Off for a bagel before heading off to the 1904 olympic track at Washington university for the DRSWCVI track meet. After the thunderstorm the night before temperatures were a bit cooler although it still got pretty warm when the sun came out. I did the ceremonial lap of the track with everyone behind Sid and the DRS flag before helping to time the sprint races including Shelley's comfortable victory in the ladies 400m. Some good sprint races, Dean Muller was not put off by Peter's pre-race antics and won the 100m and Alejandro just pipped the Patty Wagon on the line to win the mens fast 400m race.
(Shelley) The 400m race was the highlight for me. I had never done a 400m race before and was curious to see what I could do. I'd done 80s 400m reps on the treadmill (not very many) and the fastest I had done them on the track was about 85s, but I thought that maybe in an all out race with only one to do I could do about 76s. So I did a little bit of training for it a couple of weeks before the weekend by doing some 57s 300s (not very many, just to get used to some fast running) I tried a couple of them on the track one day as well and even managed one in 54s. But I was well aware of how much farther 400m is than 300m, so I really had very little idea of what I could do.
There were four heats for the 400m, because of its great popularity, three for the men and one for the ladies. The slower men ran first and then came the ladies heat. Since Linda was not going to run, I suspected that there were not going to be the best conditions for an optimal time, because I didn't think the other ladies would give me a lot of competition. I was a little worried about Erika, though, since she is so young I figured she would be fast over short distances, but she told me that 400m was to far for her.
So, enough preliminaries, after the first
men's heat we all got lined up just like
in a real 400m with the staggered lanes and all, Erika in lane 1 behind
us all, Rejeana in lane 2, me in lane 3, and
Barri ahead of me in lane 4. Barri didn't
like this because she didn't want to be passed, but otherwise
everyone was happy. I tried to get ready to start my watch, but Kevin told me that they would keep the time. In some ways, though, I would have like to because I wanted to know how I was doing on the way, but maybe it was just as well. Then when we were all ready, the whistle was blown and off we went.
I think I probably went off a bit
conservatively for fear of that reputed piano that is supposed to drop on you at 300m, and
before too long Erika started to pass me,
but I didn't let her and she probably helped my time considerably. Then I was out ahead of everyone, which
probably gave me a bit of overconfidence,
so I didn't work as hard as I maybe could have. But when I came to the final straight, I was hearing Rejeana
creeping up on me and also by then I knew
I didn't have far to go, so I gave it all I had. It was kind of creepy not having any idea of what time I was doing,
and I was worried that hadn't done as
well as I wanted to, but then when I asked Tony what time I had
done and he said 75s, I was really relieved and could hardly believe it. Still when I looked at the time on his watch I couldn't quite believe it was so. I had set out to break 76s, and done just that, and it didn't even feel that bad. The last 100m were hard, but no piano dropping on me or bear. All in all a great first 400m race giving me something to build on. The official time was 75.6. Knowing now that I can do 75.6 without dying, I think if I did it again I could probably do it a little bit faster without any further training, so maybe next year if I go to the WC and get in the mood for it, I'll prepare for it a bit more and challenge Peter to spot me 10s on it and aim for breaking 70s. But that's a while from now, so we'll see. It was really great for once to set a goal and actually achieve it.
The rest of the races I didn't take quite as seriously. I was quite pleased with the 100m, though. I've also never raced 100m. We used to do 50 yds when I was a little girl and I don't remember doing better than 8s, so I though I wouldn't do better than 17s and was quite pleased to find I had done 16.17, so I can still run as fast as I could when I was in high school. When it came time for the mile race, I couldn't be bothered to really race it, but just decided to do it for a little bit of fast paced longer distance training, sort of a 1xmile rep. I though I might try to do 6:30, but the motivation wasn't quite there, so I did 6:52, which I was kind of disappointed with--only 4 seconds faster than the first mile of the 5k the day before.
(Tony) Then it was on with the spikes for the
mile race, did 2 laps to warm up then we
all moved back about 9 metres from the start line. Off we went, Doug
"non-runner" Hutcheson zoomed off followed by
Alejandro and I tucked in behind Ed Spier
and Troy Rondot. By 300m Ed was getting away so I overtook Troy getting to 1 lap in 91s, far too slow so I immediately
sped up chasing after
Ed, got to 2 laps in 2.58 (87s last lap) but Ed wasn't coming back, 3rd lap in 4.28 (90s) and picked it up on lap 4 to get under 6 minutes finishing 4th/10 in 5.55.6 (87.6 last lap). As usual didn't go off hard enough, thought I had about 5.40 in me, still great to run on the olympic track. Did a cooldown lap and then timed some more short races.
(Tony) I did the 200-400-800-1200 relay, our "A-team" of Shelley, Alejandro, myself and Linda looked a pretty good team but we had reckoned without the B-team" of Barri, Erika, Karl and the Patty Wagon.
(Shelley) I was pretty tired by the time of
the relay, so was glad to be only running
200m. This was quite amusing because I was racing against Peter. So just when I was beginning to think I was pretty fast,
I get the chance to race against a real
sprinter. And wow, you don't really see how fast someone is until you run against him. It was just like driving on
the German Autobahn
with Mercedes flying past. Here I was running as fast as I possible could flat out, no worry about tiring, because for 200m you can run flat out, and here he comes, literally making me look like I am standing still. And then passing the baton to Alejandro was something really tricky, because what they forgot to tell us was that you have to keep up with the guy you are passing to. So here
I am at the end of 200m figuring I have run far enough, and having to chase Alejandro down to hand him the baton. But somehow we managed, and finally my running was done for the day. Well, at least I thought it was, until I got roped into a certain bit of silliness in the evening that we will talk about later.
(Tony) I started the 800 leg about 200m up on
Obi-Wan but by the handover he had almost
caught me, Linda did well to hang onto Pat for a while on the 1200 but Pat won pretty comfortably. We made a big mistake
in the order of our runners for the A
team, if we had put Alejandro on all 4 legs we might have done better :-) A fun morning at the track, pretty
tiring even though I only
did 2.5 miles.
(Tony) After a huge sandwich for lunch back
to the hotel to laze around the pool for
a while. It was very hot and I soon had to get into the shade again.
(Shelley) That was real nice in the pool after
all that racing. Sally and I even did
synchronized swimming together. (Tony)
Shelley suggested we go on the St. Louis hash house harriers run, that
2.5miles in my training diary for a sunday
didn't look good so mileage junkie that I
am I thought another 4-5 miles would do no harm. (Shelley) Stupid Shelley, It was peer pressure, and
besides I thought it was just going to be
a leisurely social run of 2-3 miles. Oh well, it was an interesting experience, as in the Chinese curse, "May
you live in interesting times"
(Tony) Shelley and I went down the hill to Shaw park with Jason the Ironman, Ron the Cowboy, Neil, Penny, Theresa, Dennis, and Sally and Kevin. We met up with the hashers including StiLldeads Bob Whitman and Pam Thurston, everyone introduced themselves and the we gave Bob 15 minutes start as he hared off to set the trail.
(Tony) Off we went following the flour trail,
for the first 10 minutes it was quite
pleasant but soon after that the real hashers were out of sight and we
were left to fend for ourselves at the back. By
20 minutes we were all hot and bothered
and totally lost and feeling very tired from our track exertions, fortunately Theresa appeared to a natural at following
the trail so we were "on-on" most of the
time and the rest of us followed Theresa. Eventually we arrived in another park, I thought we had made the
finish when I saw some people by picnic tables. They looked to be too normal to
be hashers so we had to run for another
couple of minutes until we finally made the end after 47
minutes of running and walking. The post-race beer drinking antics by the hashers were a bit uncomfortable for me as someone who doesn't drink alcohol and we were glad to get away to get ready for the pizza party. It was a interesting experience though, thanks to the StiLl dead hashers for organising it although I'm not sure if I'd want to do another one.
(Shelley) I would, but probably not after a track meet on a humid day like that.
(Tony) Pizza Party! Great fun, we were pretty hungry after the hash so we had to force ourselves to eat a little bit of pizza :-) Just like at DRSWCIV in Cleveland the deads appeared to be extremely adept at making pizza vanish. Joan's quilt for Conrad was very impressive, are you sure you aren't taking orders for these quilts Joan? I think I have one or two spare t-shirts lying around you could use for another one :-) The DRS Jam session sounded pretty good, fortunately Shelley is a good singer and helped drown out my caterwauling, I liked "The Penguin Sleeps Tonight" :-) We were falling asleep by now so we couldn't stay for the ugly t-shirt contest. We said our goodbyes to Dennis the menace from Texas and then back to the Radisson.
Day 4 - Monday 25th May
(Tony) Memorial Day, the last day of a weekend to remember! Up early yet again and off to the University City Library with Shelley and Barri for the Memorial Day races. Shelley was going to do both races as a long run but I wanted to really race the 5k.
(Shelley) Since I was just doing the races
for a long run, I decided to do the 10k
with Barri and help her to break the hour. There was quite a jolly group
of us, Peter and Penny joined in as well. We did
the first mile a little too slow, because
it was hilly, running it in just under 10 minutes, but after that we picked it up and did the next two miles each
in a little over 9 minutes. Barri was
lagging behind, but mostly she seemed to be doing well, and we figured that she just didn't know what she could
do, so we encouraged her on. We got to
mile 3 just about on schedule for a 1 hour 10k, but right about then I had got involved chatting with Peter and soon
we turned around and saw
that Barri was not with us anymore. The news we got seemed to be that she was
taking walking break, I think Peter looked back and saw that, and he didn't want to stay with her if she was going to walk. Well, I didn't really want to walk either, and besides I wanted to continue to talk to Peter, so we continued on without her and let Penny take care of her. From there on we
continued at a fairly even 9 min pace, hoping to inspire her to catch us, but mostly having fun chatting. Toward the end of the race, with still no Barri in sight, Peter of course had to go for a cheap sprint finish, and of course I just had to try to keep with him, but of course that was hopeless, but not quite as hopeless as on the 200m race.
Then I ended the race improperly, I believe
in the noncompetitor lane, which was
probably the right lane for me to be in anyway, and afterward handed in
my number late. So I have no idea how
they came up with my time or whether it was right, but from what I saw it was 56:xx. Then the next
thing to do was to look for what happened to Barri, but that was no problem,
because a couple of
minutes later at 58:xx, breaking the hour with plenty to spare, there she was, waving the American flag as she crossed the finish line. And according to Penny, she had kept us in sight the whole way, so perhaps we did indeed supply some inspiration, but Penny and Barri were the real heroines.
(Tony) Watched the 10k start then met up with the deads in the cheering section. This was great fun cheering everyone in at the end, as the race progressed the cheering section got larger and larger as finishers came to join the fun.
(Shelley) After the 10k it was off to get a
quick drink of water and use the toilets
before the start of the 5k, but a certain reporter from the local paper had other ideas. He had seen our DRS shirts and
was curious about what it was, so he
stopped Barri and me to find out. He talked quite a lot with Barri, and she told him all about us. He was also
interested to find that I had come all
the way from England. While we were talking, a couple of other deads showed up, and he talked with them too.
Unfortunately I had to leave fairly
quickly to get ready for the 5k. Then unfortunately there was a line at
the toilet, and also the 5k race started a
little bit early, so I was a bit late
started and had to run to catch up. If I had planned to race it seriously
I would have been seriously miffed--and Tony
says rightly I wouldn't have run the
10k--but as it was the only thing that bothered me was that I couldn't
find Peter, who I had planned to run with. So
instead I ran with another fast runner
who the track meet had killed off so he was taking it easy, Alejandro,
and again had a pleasant chat. This time,
though, we went a little faster starting
out slow, but gradually accelerating to about 8 min pace. Toward the
end it was getting tough for me with all the
running I had done, but Alejandro
kept me going and looked all the while like 8 min pace was only a gentle stroll for him. And you guessed it, he too couldn't resist a sprint finish, so I got two sprinting practices that day. Needless to say, Tuesday's day off from running felt definitely earned.
(Tony) After all the deads had finished I did
a mile to warm up to get ready for the
5km race. I met up with Steve Crooks and the Patty Wagon in the start
area, they had just run the 10km so I thought I
would try running with them for as long
as I could. I lined up fairly near the front but behind loads of little kids. Bang and off we went up the hill, weaving
my through the piles of kids at my feet
after the first 30 seconds, I was scared I was going to knock some of them over. After a couple of minutes the pack
started to thin out but I was working
hard up the hill, still just about in contact with Steve and Pat but by 1/2 mile they were away. Kept going hard up the
hill, near the top I was really
regretting the hash run last night, through 1 mile in 6.16 then a sharp right turn into a steep descent. Still
passing the odd runner but by halfway my
position seemed to have come to some equilibrium. Down the hill and through a twisty bit before a long straight road.
Passed another runner at about 2 miles
and ran down the straight with someone on my shoulder. Pushing really hard to shake off my shadow until we made the
last turn, turned right and up the hill
and my pursuer passes me and goes into the non-competitive lane! All that work and he wasn't even racing it! Up
the hill and I could see the DRS flag so
I picked up the pace as I ran in past the cheering section,
the clock said 19.20 and I knew I was going to break 20, over the line in 19.38.
(Tony) Tired on finishing but nothing like as bad as saturday, pretty good run on a tough course like that, why couldn't we have had saturday's course today when I was awake and conditions were easier? I got a drink and then joined in the cheering section in time to see Shelley and Alejandro sprinting in. After we had all finished it was back to the hotel and then after a bagel stop (no bagels left after the 5k :-() down to Shaw Park for the closing picnic.
(Tony) More food and more deads, the fun kept
on coming. Loads of silly pictures taken
at the picnic, look out for these on Allan's CD. Troy Rondot was watching Indiana play basketball on TV, we were
heading to Indiana the day after the
conference. Lots of discussion about where to host the next world conference, whoever gets WC7 will have a hard act to
follow. People started to
drift away during the party, now for the hard part of saying goodbye to people who used to be text on a computer monitor but were now friends :-(
(Tony) Back the hotel later in the afternoon
to do a bit of packing but the fun still
hadn't ended. Adrienne Forsythe picked us up from the Radisson to take us to Dave Braun's house for the post-conference
party for whoever was left. More food and
fun, Peter the sprinter and Chuck the polevaulter entertained me with tales from the track until it was
time to go. We said our
last goodbyes, lots of hugs and handshakes. I must have hugged more people this weekend than in any other weekend of my life :-) Fellow Dead Romantics Chuck and Ruth drove us back to the hotel. End of a great weekend.
(Shelley) It was a really great weekend for
me too. I really enjoyed meeting all
these people who I had previously only known in print, and everyone was
really nice. I especially enjoyed meeting
certain people who I had spoken with a
lot offlist like Peter and Dennis. I also especially enjoyed meeting and
talking about running with women who like me are
not YET at the highest level,
but are quite competitive and interested in their training, like Theresa, Sally, Rita, Penny, and Barri. Theresa posted that she was envious of my speed, but she has been running a lot longer than me, and I couldn't yet touch her in a 10k. So we all had a lot to learn from each other. I only wish you ladies lived closer to me, so we could train together.
Milton, Cambridgeshire, England
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