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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ortho Monster Dash Half Marathon Race Report

Citizens, there's a few things in life that you can always count on with me.  I will always try to fit in at least one penis joke into my posts.  I will keep the pleats of my kilt good and pressed.  I will never stop searching for a recipe for paleo donuts (I miss donuts so much!).  I will remain dashingly handsome until the end of time (I...will never die!).  And I never miss a chance to run in costume.  So when my Team in Training group said they were signing up for the Ortho Monster Dash on October 30, 2010, I was in like Flint.  The Monster Dash is the largest Halloween running race in the Upper Midwest.  Granted, it's too fricken cold in the Upper Midwest to run in October, so that's not really an accomplishment.  But hey...however you want to sell it is fine with me.  This would be a great tune up run for my marathon in December.

I met up with my TNT peeps at around 7:30 a.m at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis; although the race didn't actually start until 8:30 a.m.  TNT runners are generally an inexperienced lot, and for many of the group this was their first race.  So the purpose of the meeting was to make sure we all knew where the bag drop, start line, and porto crappers were located.  What we really ended up doing for an hour was freezing our ever loving tails off.  It was 30 degrees at the start line that morning.  While that's a good temperature for a Coors Light, it's not good for waiting around.  So to keep warm we huddled together for some good pictures. 

Here's a group picture of our band of misfits. 

Here's two of my favorite costumes out of the group.  Can you guess what my friend Kim on the left is dressed as?  No, not the freezer in Rocky I.  No, not a human-sized version of everyone's favorite game, Pin the Meat on the Kimmy.  Kim is dressed as Lady Gaga in her meat dress.  Ruby, on the right, is a pint of lo mein.  I was taking the picture and holding Kim's "meat purse" (i.e. sweats bag). 

I was set to race as the "Swedish-looking Scotish guy", aka Sven Ryan O'Lutefisk McFjord.  I tried to put on as much of my costume ahead of time as I could, but it was too cold to stand around without warm-ups on.  In fact, it felt almost too cold to stay in costume.  I started to get nervous.  I tried to make sure, as William Wallace says in Braveheart, I didn't get "dressed up for nothing."  He probably didn't have to wear his kilt in Minnesota cold.  But every time I took the warm-ups off, I felt too much cold on the external organs.  With costume runs in the cold, I always say that you either commit to the costume or you commit to being warm.  I didn't want to commit, and then have to phone my wife and tell her we weren't having any more kids after the berries dropped off the tree.   

More importantly, I was going back and forth about whether to go barefoot for the race.  While standing around I was having trouble feeling my feet.  If I couldn't feel them in shoes now, I doubted I would be able to feel them barefoot.  But on the other hand, I had punked out on going barefoot in a lot of races at the start line because of terrain or what have you.  In the end, remembering all of those ugly pictures of foot frostbite on various running forums got the best of me, and I opted for my Vibram KSOs. 

Then I decided since I wasn't going to go barefoot I had to commit to the costume.  So I hiked up my skirt, nixed the pants and coat and made my way to the start line.  With all of the other weirdos in costume around me, I instantly felt a lot warmer.  So the decision to go all Braveheart didn't seem like a bad call after all.  Feeling saucy and ready to PR this bitch, I lined up in between the 1:55 and 1:50 pacer.

There's my costume in all it's glory.  The photo is courtesy of my new racing strategy.  What I have found is that striking a pose will increase your chance of being photographed significantly, and I try to do so whenever I see a race photographer.  The cheerleader stance is one of my favorites, and also very fitting considering my below-torso attire.  Also popular during the race was the two-handed wave, the mid-run skip, the cabbage patch, and all other sorts of dumb-assery.  The lengths I go to get attention.

Anyway, sorry about the picture size and quality.  I don't buy my race photos, and I refuse to do so.  MarathonFoto did the photography for the race, and they always manage to only snap shots of me looking like I'm about to die.  I will pay for their photography when they make me look strong and vibrant...maybe even airbrushed.  I'm also not paying $20 for something I can get for free, although small and fuzzy, by right-clicking. 

Shortly after I lined up to start we were off.  I took up a pace of around an 8:00 min/mile.  I was a little concerned because this isn't a pace I'm accustomed to keeping.  But it felt good so I went with it.  I ended up running for a majority of the run with these two guys:

The guy on the left was dressed as Captain Love, which essentially meant that he hooted at every hot girl on the course.  He also took a picture with a gal in a wedding dress.  Not sure how far he got with that one.  The guy on the right acted the part of caveman brilliantly, chasing every flock of birds, trying to catch people's dogs, pretending to club and carry off women, and the like.  Very nice.  They were very entertaining.  Of course, it would have made me feel better if they were doing all of that and having trouble maintaining our pace.  But they trotted along like it was a walk in the park.   

After starting, we came across the 3 mile marker flag within a minute.  A few jokes about how we were all going to PR aside, I was slightly confused.  A couple of minutes later, we came across the 1 mile marker.  A few yards away, we hit another 1 mile marker with a different color.  Now I was really confused.  A few feet after that, I ran across these two:

Now I thought I was in a Pink Floyd video.  These alternating color mile markers continued throughout the race.  Apparently I followed the ones for the 10 mile race instead of the half mile.  Not a huge deal, but when you think you're further along in a race than you actually are, it can be discouraging.  And it turns out they had mis-marked the 3rd mile.  It should have been on a side street several yards up the road. 

Other than my initial confusion, I had no complaints about the race course.  The race was a point to point around three different lakes in the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.  Minneapolis has an incredible trail system.  You can literally run from my house to Wisconsin on the same trail if you wanted to.  This course followed the streets next to this trail around Lake Nokomis, Calhoun, and Harriet.  We were treated to beautiful views of the lakes and the ridiculously expensive houses that border them as well as plenty of fall colors. 

After the three mile mark I had completely caught up with the 1:50 pacer.  I was also starting to feel the 8:00 min/mile pace.  I didn't want to slow down though and risk being passed by the people dressed as boobs.  When you get passed by a girl it's called being "chicked".  I can only imagine what it's called to be passed by a huge mammery.  Then I got passed by this guy:

After getting passed by a human fridge, I figured that there will always be someone who is faster and dressed weirder than me.  It was okay to slow down.  So I backed off to about an 8:15 min/mile pace, but kept the 1:50 pacer in my sight.  This was more of a pace I could manage.  I was still in pain, but hey...this was a race.  I tried to keep my spirits up by yelling quotes from the movie Braveheart into the crowd, and asking people to guess what I was wearing underneath.  I told one lady that I loved her...I always have.  Apparently she hasn't seen the movie because she just gave me a blank stare.  Here I am trucking along:

As in my other runs, the kilt felt incredible.  After I started running, cold cock and balls were no longer an issue.  But about 8 miles into the race, and ran into a full blown wardrobe malfunction.  In addition to my Sport Kilt, I had decided to run in a white cotton highland shirt.  The shirt was very comfortable at the beginning of the race, and I'm sure its great for things like yodeling, river dancing, and defeating the English, but it's not very good for running in.  In order to hold the shirt closed, it comes equip with a leather draw string.  At about mile 5 that string had come undone and was now hitting me in the face every couple of steps.  I would have pulled it off, but then people would have mistaken me for Jesse Scott (for those who don't know, Jesse is an awesome minimalist runner who usually wears a cotton dress shirt while running). 

The shirt also was not at all breathable.  I had rolled up the sleeves at around mile 4.  By mile 8 or so the weather had warmed up into the mid 50s.  With a thermal baselayer and a highland shirt I was roasting.  But at the same time I didn't want to take the shirt off and ruin the costume.  Without the shirt I was just a dude in a dress.

At around mile 12 I couldn't take it anymore and took everything off.  Then I hard charged for the finish line.  I aimed for the 1:50 pacer again and gave it all I had.  That wasn't very much, and I ended up falling back and losing sight of him.  The brisk pace at the beginning was biting me in the ass.  I somehow managed to lumber across the finish line at a pretty respectible time of 1:50:35.  Here's me looking hardcore at the finish.

No tickets required to this gun show!  Should have moved the medal to show off the six pack.  That would have been ab-taculor. 

Anyway, after a heavy week it was nice to have some fun.  Costume races are always my cup of tea because everyone takes themselves a little less seriously.  This is definitely a race I will be doing next year.  Tootles!


  1. Hahahaha! Love the titty people! Sorry to hear you blew your wad in the beginning by running with Captain Love and Caveman, but it sounds like you had a blast and still finished with a decent time. Glad you had fun!

  2. OMG, this is funny! Now when you said that at mile 12 you took everything off I took it quite literally. Or did you put your kilt on after you crossed the line?
    Stumbled on your barefoot blog and I think I will follow.
    Thanks for the laughs.

  3. Ewa, I left the kilt on. But I was still quite a sight with both a dress shirt and a wool baselayer tied around my waist. Not that I wasn't already a looker because of the kilt.


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  5. As in my other runs, the kilt felt incredible. After I started running, cold cock and balls were no longer an issue. But about 8 miles into the race, and ran into a full blown wardrobe malfunction. In addition to my Sport Kilt, I had decided to run in a white cotton highland shirt.



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