Friday, October 5, 2012

Prison Break Race Report

I still think that Superkate had the best race report for this event.  It can be found here.  I also thought I had taken more pictures than I did, but such as it is - here is my race report.  I went the night before the race and picked up my shirt.  They were pretty cute gray technical t's.  Check it out:
Slipped this on with my jeans and that weird bump in front is my belt buckle.  LOL
Oh, and when do children learn to take pictures in focus?  Oh well.
They weren't very organized and I had to kind of bug them to get my stuff.  They had grilled some hot dogs and were having kind of a gathering, but again - not very organized (ie. I was almost done eating my hot dog when someone realized that they hadn't handed out the chips.)  And while I got my shirt, they didn't hand out race numbers so I still had to get that in the morning.

This being the inaugeral running of this race, it was a pretty small event.  I heard 150 people registered.  Since I had already turned in my waiver and gotten my shirt, all I needed to do was pick up my number and get my "mug shot" taken.  I may or may not have butted in line.
They emailed these to us a couple weeks later.  Nice touch!
While we waited around in the prison yard of the historic (no longer in use) Missouri State Penitentiary, I visited with Eric and Bree (former co-worker and bike friends).  Before long, Superkate and her crew showed up after their early morning drive from the St. Louis area.  Later they told us to go down to one of the old housing units.  Some people got to put on old prisoner shirts, but there weren't enough to go around and it seemed like more hassle than it was worth.  And after corraling us there, it was time for us "maggots" to march with the fake correction officer down to the dungeon in housing unit 4.

We waited down in what must have been solitary confinement and we joked for quite a while about what sorts of things prisoners must have done in there to pass the time.  Let's just say that I am glad there were no black lights (though the strobe started driving a few of us a little bonkers).  After what seemed like forever in the stuffy dungeon, we saw folks start moving out.  Never did hear any kind of official starting "horn" or whatever.  And while this was, in theory, a "timed" event - there was no starting time mat so it was just your total time from whenever they "started" the clock.  Odd.

We ran past the old showers and up the steep dungeon stairs and through the housing unit.  It is hard to believe that people lived in here as little as a decade ago.  We ran out into the fresh air and around the end of Layfayette Ave.  Since Kate and a couple of her friends stopped to pee on the way out of the prison yard, I got ahead of her and snapped this pic after I hit the turnaround.  It was also the only time I was running with Bob and Luke (Kate's fellow Team Virtus members).  Luke ran with TP that had been thrown around the housing unit dangling behind him.
Front of the historic MSP with Superkate running down to the turnaround before heading out
We ran down Capitol Ave and back into the prison yard.  One big loop around what is now a big parking lot and then back out to head towards Riverside Park.  I started running with Kate's friend David in here somewhere and we walked the steep ass hill together, but I tried to get him to do some jogging along while we chatted.  Turned out that he works for an aerial mapping company that I am familiar with so we talked a few min of shop. 

Pretty soon we got to a water stop and what was supposed to also be a fence climb.  I wasn't broken up that they didn't make us do this.  Then we had to crawl through a 20' length of storm culvert (30" HDPE) and then another that was smaller (24" I think) that was running uphill.  Not quite big enough to crawl fully on your hands and knees.  These were TOUGH - and I had bruises on my knees from it.  Not fun on the kneelers at mass the next day!  Funny to admit that I've done this kind of obstacle MANY times in my actual job - just never in shorts!

As we ran around the park on the trail, there were a few poorly marked turns - seriously people, a couple pieces of chalk could have fixed this.  But I could see Bob and Kate and most of her crew ahead of us so I had an idea where to go and we didn't cut the course short like some people we saw.  We ran around the park, around the pool and up the ampitheatre stairs to the first slide.  It wasn't quite wide enough nor angled correctly and as you slid off the edge into the grass it hurt and was very muddy.  I snapped this shot of David heading down - didn't really intend it to be such a butt shot.  Oops.

Note the busy parking lot from the flag football families. 
Also note the big muddy area to the right of the bottom of the slide where you went off and got "grass burn". 
Not cool!

Then it was time for this bit of fun.  There were little strings you had to crawl under (had to kind of lift them).  Then at the far end, you dug out a map with the rest of the running directions.  I gave my camera to a lady who offered to take a pic of me crawling, but apparently a $10 disposable water/mudproof camera was too difficult for her to operate even with me coaching her.  Oh well - you get the idea.

Then we ran up a hill and had a chance to hose off a bit - I mostly just did my shoes that were caked with mud.  I figured less mud would be nice to run with.  But some people were trying to make it a finish line shower!  The final slide was even more of a disaster as far as width/angle.  You can kind of see it on the hill in the right of the above pic.  I rolled off and ran the last third of the hill.  Ouch on the "grass burn". 

But then we ran across the driveway (dodging the flag football families coming and going) through a patch of grass  in the background of the mud pit pic and headed out on the hilly run back to Prison Brews.  There were no other obstacles other than the steep roads.  This was just a lot of tough running.  Taylor Street was the worst hill, but I've run parts of some of the other streets and knew it wouldn't be too bad after that.  David and I walked and jogged and talked about how neither of us were really "runners" (guess he's more of a bike guy).  But before long we were at the final turn and could see the finish line.  David ran ahead of me and finished a few seconds in front of me, but it got me to run a little harder at the end.  Then we took some nice group pictures and talked with the Superkate/Virtus gang. 

My new race friend - David.  Glad Kate conned him into coming as he was the only one of her "group" that ran my pace.

Sarah, David, me, Bob (Virtus), Lukas (Virtus), Kate (Virtus) and Lindsay
Prison Brews pub outdoor patio/bocce ball area to the left of this pic where everyone stood around and froze post-race

When I got into the finish area, there was no water left in the jugs.  They got that fixed pretty quickly.  I heard that the "free appetizer" we were given a coupon for (and which I had left in my car) was actually just free pizza (and not much of that).  I got a couple small slices and ate with a guy I used to work with (Andy - survey tech).  Once standing still, it was pretty cold out so we hugged the outdoor heaters after the last few people came in.   They handed out the awards (growlers) and there was some confusion when the guy who they said got first said that another guy came in ahead of him.  No worries that I was jipped out of a prize with my slow five miles.  A bunch of us piled into the Team Virtus van (thanks Luke!) and got dropped off back at our cars.  He was very brave to let this bunch of dirty bodies into his family vehicle (though yes, his gaggle of kids obviously don't keep it spot free).  I tried to take a pic of my dirty leg, but the mud has dried a bit and its hard to see with the crappy camera (or was I trying to show off my wicked blister which is even harder to see):

Check out my sexy leg!

Later, after a bit of a bath in my garage mop sink (so nice when a race is literally like 5 min from your house), I changed clothes and arranged to meet Kate and some of the gang for lunch in Holts Summit at a mexican joint.  We had a nice visit and lunch (with one margarita).  It was a pretty great day with friends - definitely more of a "party than a race"! 

Kate, Lindsay, David and Sarah (forgot to do this before Bob left for work - doh)
If they do this next year and if all the fun people want to do it again, I'd be up for it.  I do hope they take some constructive criticism and put it to use.  But it was a solid first try.  And what a neat venue - lots of history at that prison!

Four days in row now.  I knocked out 1500 yards at the pool today at "lunch".  I struggle with counting especially when a wierd old guy stops to talk when I am stretching out a cramp in my foot.  But I was there 45 min or so and I got at least that many yards in.  Yay me!

Swim: 14,700 yds / 25,000
Bike: 637.3 mi / 1000
Run: 269.3 mi / 350

Now back to your regular boring blog posts without tons of pictures.  However, I've started looking hard for a waterproof digital camera because I fear film going the way of the dinosaurs and the pics I got were pretty crappy anyway.  Any suggestions?  I'd like to spend $150 give or take.  Are any at that level worth a damn?


  1. Lots of good cameras in that price range...check B&H photo online or Target. This looks SO fun! And I love old historic things...even prisons!

  2. Sounds like a fun race to do with friends. Great race report!

    Yep, you dropped back off my blog roll again too. Bizarre.

  3. That was such a fun race...I'm glad you were there! Those hills at the end were killing me. Definitely some walking going on.

    My camera is a Koday Playsport (5, I think). I takes still pictures and video, it's waterproof and shockproof (and I can attest to that on both counts! :D), and I think it runs around $130 or less at Target. Negatives: only a digital zoom, and no flash.

  4. That sounds like an awesome race, even if there were some glitches.

    I have an Olympus camera, TG-something. It's waterproof and shockproof and I've been happy with the pictures it takes. (It still has an optical zoom and a flash.)