Batman Runs BQ Pace

This is me trying to figure out how to see through the tiny eyeholes as we start running. How the hell does Batman fight crime in this thing?

Running as Batman

Wednesday night after work, Laura and I shot over to Morris Costumes to find some get-ups for the Thursday night Common Market Halloween run.  Our primary objective was to find something cheap we could run in without putting our lives in jeopardy.  While the pickings were slim, we managed to land Batman and Batgirl costumes within a few minutes of entering the store.

Thursday night after work, we rushed into our costumes and hoofed it over to the Common Market where much of the costumed crowd had already gathered.  It was quite the menagerie – I saw a monkey, a raven, and, of course, the ubiquitous Halloween bunny and/or cat.  All manner of warrior was gathered as well – there were Spartans, Vikings, and more.  As I spotted another Batman and another Batgirl, I turned to Laura and said, ‘We must beat them.’

When one of the organizers gave the go ahead to start, I gingerly began.  While my costume did little to impair running (from the waist down, it was practically running tights), it did a lot to impair vision.  I had virtually no peripheral vision as I peered through the tiny eyeholes of the Batman mask.  I could not see below or directly in front of me either, not without exaggerated head movements.  But after maybe a hundred yards or so, I figured out how to move my head around to avoid obstacles.  I settled into a comfortable 8:30/mile or so pace as a muscular guy in drag blew past me.

Moments into the run, Jordan trotted up.  As we casually talked about all things running, an interesting phenomenon occurred – I became the running equivalent of a lobster.  When a lobster is cooked, it gets dropped into a pot of water.  The cook very gradually turns up the temperature so the lobster won’t thrash about – it just relaxes, apparently thinking its hanging out in a jacuzzi.  Before it realizes what’s happening, its too late as the water is now boiling and the lobster is done for.

So it was with me.  While Jordan and I chatted, our pace ever so gradually increased.  By the time we reached the third mile,  as we climbed one of the tougher hills along the course, I was sucking wind.  I glanced down at my watch and discovered that we were dipping under 7:00/mile pace.  That’s hovering dangerously near my 10K race pace.  Oh well, ‘What the hell?’, I thought – it was only a 4 mile run and we were nearly done.  Unlike the lobster, I’d live.  And it was a fun run – along the course, random strangers kept calling out, “Hey Batman!”

We finished the 4 mile run in under 30 minutes, or sub-7:30/mile pace.  If I could keep that pace up for a marathon, I’d PR by a substantial margin and finally break that 3:20 barrier.  Maybe I should have worn the Batman costume at Towpath (and/or gotten Jordan to pace me).  I finished well ahead of the other Batman but, unfortunately, the other Batgirl somehow managed to beat my own flying rodent girlfriend to the finish.  But before I start patting myself on the back, I think I need to point out that the other Batman was of the Adam West variety and everybody knows he was a flabby, wussy poser that any non-cripple could outrun.  And in Laura’s defense, she was smart enough not to race anyone – we had a ‘real’ race to run on Saturday.

After the run, we headed over to the Philosopher’s Stone for the post-run party.  Laura and I drank beers and socialized with our friends Jenn and Scott.  We also mingled with hordes of others, like Kay Allen, Nelson May, and more.  I chatted with various costumed characters whose real names I didn’t know.  Captain America hit on my Batgirl and I briefly thought about starting some trouble, but he was a big dude and I couldn’t tell which muscles of his were fake and which ones were real, so I let it go.  Laura rebuffed his advances so he moved on to Tennille (no idea where the Captain was).

Scott (not quite sure why he didn't wear a costume), Jenn, and me

Laura with the Dork Knight (notice the glasses under the mask)

Captain America makes his move and Batman does nothing because, well, that's a big dude.

The night ended with the announcement of the costume winners.  Kay won ‘most difficult costume to run in’ – she had outfitted her children’s stroller as a Viking ship and she pushed it along the entire course and there are some tough hills to navigate on the Common Market course.  I’ve got to think the Raven costume was at least equally as tough to run in, but he won ‘scariest costume’ so it was all good.  All in all, it was a fun night.

Losing To A Taco

Saturday morning, we showed up at the Huntersville Fall Festival where I planned to run the 10k while Laura decided to do the 5k.  The website advertised cash prizes for the top 3 finishers and I had delusions of grandeur, thinking I might have a shot at a top 3 finish, especially with the big race, the Runway 5k, taking place the same morning.  I figured most of the area’s fastest runners would all go there.  I was wrong.

After warming up, I made my way to the starting line when I saw a fast couple warming up in Charlotte Running Club singlets – it was John Compton, recent winner of the Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure, and Caitlin Chrisman, who just a few weeks ago ran a 2:40 marathon and qualified for the US Olympic Trials.  Now the best I could possibly hope for in this particular 10k was third and as I noticed multiple fit, thin, and young folks warming up, my dreams of top-3 were very rapidly fading.  I called out to John and Caitlin, “Hey, you guys here to take our money?”  They just laughed and waved.

Lining up in the front, I chatted with Caitlin.  The starter fired the gun and we were off.  A crowd of about 15 bolted out in front of us.  Caitlin comfortably cruised at 5:45ish pace but I labored a little beside her.  As much as I hated to admit it, I knew I had to back off.  I tried to pick out the runners that would come back to me, but there were no obvious ‘definitely-not-a-real-runner-just-someone-temporarily-sprinting-to-the-front’ candidates.  Damn.  I spotted a guy in a taco outfit and a lady with a purple wig as possibilities, but they both looked fit, and ran with efficient strides, so they weren’t locks.

I was hoping for a solid 6:30 pace effort and I tried to lock in at that speed.  The first mile was all downhill and I cruised to a 6:12 pace.  John was already a tiny spot on the horizon and Caitlin had significantly gapped me.  And they had company.  The taco was gone.  I’m sorry, I don’t care how good a runner he is, its embarrassing to get your ass kicked by a taco.  The lady in the purple wig was pulling away, too.

I tried to maintain pace but when we entered the Huntersville Business Park, along came the hills.  As is usually the case, the pace was inversely  proportional to the grade of the terrain – the hillier the course, the slower the pace.  But my pace dropped more than I would have hoped.  I spotted a kid struggling about 100 meters ahead so I focused on trying to reel him in.  As he began fading, he would turn around to see how close I was.  I sent him a message via mental telepathy, “Yes, I’m gaining”.

I finally caught and passed the fading guy at about mile 4, out of the business park and on our way home.  Ahead, purple wig lady.  I increased speed in an attempt to catch her.  But while I gained, I had spotted her too much of a margin early on.  There would be no catching her.  I finished 17th overall and 2nd in my age group, in 42:01.  I was a little miffed at myself for not kicking a little harder towards the end so I could break 42:00.

John and Caitlin won the men’s and women’s races respectively.  But when they went to collect their cash, one of the organizers told them that the advertised cash was inadvertently put on the website – there was no cash prize.  Instead, they got, drumroll please, a blanket each.

Laura finished second in her age group and extended her streak of age group awards to 3 races in a row.  Ken won his age group.  And since I got second in mine, Team 2517  had a clean sweep.  After our race, we chowed down on brunch at The Egg at Davidson.

That night, I started feeling achy and my throat was scratchy.  When Laura woke me up to go for a long run, I opted out.  But a couple of hours later, I felt better and guilty simultaneously, so I headed over to McAlpine for a long run.  My ‘plan’ (the last 6 weeks of Coach Hadley’s plan for me for Towpath) called for 18-20 miles, but I was wiped and bailed after 14.  I spotted quite a few Charlotte runners along the way – Alejandro Arreola, Bob Heck, Megan Hovis, and Butch Holt.

It was another fun, eventful week of running.  Richmond, Dallas, and other running adventures loom on the horizon.  Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to “Batman Runs BQ Pace”

  1. caitlin Says:

    damn taco man. if this is any solace – someone referred to him as a soggy sandwich at mile 4…?

  2. Allen Strickland Says:

    I don’t know Caitlin. Losing to a soggy sandwich sounds even worse than losing to a taco.

  3. Sam Hale Says:

    Great post, I think you guys would be interested in a race I am training for the Spartan Race http://www.spartanrace.com

  4. Dirk Says:

    I heard at the Common Market last night that I (Captain America) was prominently mentioned in your blog so I had to find it to check it out. Nice post! LOL

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