May 25, 2013

Market to Market Relay

A couple weekends back, seven of us raced as team Brown Chicken Brown Cow in the first annual Iowa Market to Market Relay.  I jog with most of these ladies over lunch and weekends in Des Moines.  Alex and Louis I met for the first time that day.  Age 22 to 40 and all in similar shape, we had depth and some randy fitness on tap to give the other 200 teams side stitch.

Tube link:

73 miles of tag teaming from Jefferson, Iowa to Des Moines, 17 legs @2.5 to 5.5 miles each, all on blacktop bike trails.

Patrick, Riggs, Alex, Tank/Beard, Greg, Lou and Ryan

Morning broke early in downtown Des Moines, chucking our gear in the creepy 15 passenger van and pointing as Greg sprinted from the Farmers' Market kybo clutching a roll of Angel Soft and grinning.

The hour drive to Jefferson felt like a Mayflower throwback, bucking her timbers through an Atlantic tempest.  A 30 mph north breeze buffeted the van, Patrick at the helm kissed the rumble strips.  We thought maybe he had more than Red Bull and Shasta in his koozie.

We rolled into Jefferson at 8:00 am.  The 200 teams released in waves, slower teams departed at 6:00 am, quickies at 9:00 am.  I noticed each wave was led out by the M2M mascot, a pink gorilla honking a trombone a few strides in front of the runners.

A mostly naked Wolverine was doing hot laps in lycra underpants, later learned he was part of team Speedo Heroes.  They tucked it and booked a 6:15 per mile average.  In the wave before us, we didn't catch them until Ryan passed Thor carrying a hammer at the midway point in Redfield.

Ryan led the charge, a 5 miler from Jefferson to the 1915 Bull Head Farm out in the boonies.

Our team hurried to the van to scuttle to the next exchange point.  It was tight, Alex was on deck and only had 10 minutes to stretch and cook up a sweat before Ryan would be handing off.  Ryan arrived in 4th place, a built dude with sausage biceps and more wrestler than runner was ahead of us by 20 seconds.

Alex is fast, he's training to make the pro triathlon circuit and moving to Colorado Springs for altitude workouts this year.  He flipped the solid rocket booster switch and ran the first of 3 miles close to a 5 minute pace, 12 MPH.

Team BC/BC was in the lead when Alex handed off to me.  55 degrees and a 30 mph shove from the wind, I nuked 5+ miles at a 5:22 pace.

Greg next, I overheard the second place team mutter "maintain" when they saw him.  Yeah right, he knows how to lay skidmarks, clawing a 5:19 average for close to 5 miles.

Greg to Louis, an anesthesiologist by trade that we met the day of.  He kept the sweaty baton on boil, our team average was hovering at 5:25 per mile.  We didn't have enough time at exchange points to count the seconds to the next team behind, so we assumed the worst and kept at it to prevent a pass.

Patrick's another tri' guy, he put our team together and added me late to the game after another member dropped out from injury.

Riggs was last in our rotation of 7, he's on the come back tour after breaking a foot and hand last year from a ladder fall.  He was no worse for wear, improving our average and putting us ahead of Team Nebraska's record time from the 'braska version M2M.

Riggs to Ryan, the circle complete and repeat.  Each of us would run 2 or 3 legs, between 9 and 14 miles each, until we reached the finish in downtown Des Moines.

Our relay was like a midget version of Ragnar, but more hurried since we only had minutes of time between exchanges.  The van smelled the same:  butt sweat, Icy Hot and poop.  I feel bad for the next group that rents it, probably a church youth group.  "Did a cat crawl in and croak in the floorboards?"

I had the final leg, 3.5 miles to the finish.  Although we were in the lead, we had not yet caught the front team that departed three hours before us, at 6:00 am.  We watched them hand off at the final exchange 6 minutes in front of us.  Greg barked, "you can catch them Tank, get on it!"

Caught the front runner on the back side of Gray's Lake with a mile to go.  My teammates joined the last two blocks and we jogged through the finish together.

Cheers and a beer at El Bait Shop, we did it!

We averaged 5:32 per mile x 73, which snipped Team Nebraska's record and gives them something to chew on when they race M2M from Omaha to Lincoln this fall.



  1. You're right: Tank and Pigtails doesn't have quite the same ring. :P

    1. We experimented with several combos before settling on B&P: Mutton Chops and Mini-Me, Frowner 'Stache and Freckles...

  2. Well done all of you! I imagine if I was a runner that would be awesome fun.

  3. Trying to think of a non-sexist reason you'd call your male friends "ladies." If it's the mock-insult it appears to be, think about who you're really insulting, and stop. If there is some non-sexist reason, please enlighten me.

    1. I asked Curls if calling my running posse ladies is in any way offensive to ladies. She rolled her eyes and said "nope." Fake outrage over nothing.

  4. Impressively scientific polling there. Opinions can vary, but many, many women don't like anyone implying that just being a woman is an inferior state. Your words mean more than what you intend. Who is listening? Someone who is vulnerable enough to be affected by constant slighting messages? Someone who is looking for validation of their deeper misogynist feelings or actions?

    Please note, just in case, that I didn't call you sexist, just your words in that instance. Also, I wasn't outraged and wasn't going to unsubscribe...until you called me fake.

    1. Are you sure she isn't joking? I cannot believe people like that really exist. Nope, I think she is just playing you. And I am definitely with Curls.


    2. It all makes sense now, I got punked/candid camera.

      People are spoiled or in la-la land to the point where they don't discern what real problems are. P's mom has brain cancer and is waning. That is an example of a real, non-imaginary problem.

    3. DSMama5/29/2013

      I can't quit laughing. I agree with Beard, Curls and Christina. I don't take offense to that comment at all. What's the big deal? I must have a different definition of an insult. :) My 3 year old says "What's up, man" - is that sexist too? Answer: No.

  5. Oh gosh you guys. Everyone says it - even woman say it to each other and to men. I say it. I agree it's not a big deal. But you can't deny the truth in it. It's used as an insult. When a guy calls out to his buddies "Come on, Ladies" he's making fun of them and suggesting they are wimpy or slow or something else that isn't good. Let's not pretend we don't all know that. If you don't care and want to continue using it that way, fine, I probably will. I think the truthful reason isn't that it doesn't insult woman, but rather that we don't really care that it does.

    Okay, big wide internet. Let's change the subject! I'm curious, Beard, if you do any trail running. I just started running this past year (or putting along as I like to call it) and I've been doing 5ks at a slow and steady pace. I just came across a site that shows all the trail races in my area and I'm intrigued. Is trail running very different from regular pavement running that I'm used to?

    1. I've run the Living History Farms 7 mile trail race, it's a blast! I find running trails less boring than cement, but the ankles can take a beating if the footing is rocky or rutted. Trail shoes with a stiffer sole helps, bring a buddy on training runs if possible in case you slip, and go for it.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!