Monday, November 27, 2017

Hairy Bison 18K

The weekend before Thanksgiving every year, the Harbison Trail Runners put on a free 15 and 30K trail race. Yes free. Yes 30k for most runners. Oh except for the few that get up early and run a "warm-up" 15k before the race begins. The somewhat more normal racers do a 15k loop and then reverse course to get a total of 30k in for the day. You are handed a buffalo nickle at the half-way of each lap, supposedly to use as a raffle, but realistically moreso to see whose sweat drenched hands fumble for the little brown coin. There are always shenanigans, costumes, and great post-race chili. And don't forget the Hairy Bison, which for whatever reason graduated was shirtless this year. 
If all this doesn't make for a unique race experience, did I mention that the entire course isn't marked?  Not one single flag. 

Last year, I got lost so I promised myself that I won't this year. I did a "preview" run a few weeks before the race and I was as prepared for the 30k as I'd be. Which is to say, not too well. 

I took off at the start and was within minutes lost sight of the leaders. I fell in with 3 other guys and settled in. About four miles in, I was definitely feeling out of shape, by 7 I was thinking I might drop at the half. At the turn around, after a porta-potty break, I was told I was in 4th place so that gave me just enough motivation to leave the comforts of the post-race debacle. I kept up a decent pace for the next few miles, looking for Kenny who was doing the 15k on account of little baby Ferreira slowing her down. 

Around the bend, about 11.5 miles into the race(6.5 ish for her) I found her, walking and crying having just fallen on the course. The tears were purely out of fear of hurting the baby, but her motherly instincts have already kicked in and she rolled in such a way that her hip and shoulder took all the impact. I wisely gave up any inclination to continue to race and I walked the remainder of the race in with Kenny. A much more enjoyable pace and time just spent in the woods with my girls. 

Until next time,


Monday, November 6, 2017

The Krispy Kreme Dash

This past weekend, I went to Myrtle Beach with my brother Andrew and Kenny to compete in the 1st Annual Krispy Kreme Dash. I had always wanted to do one of these races and this was a good excuse to hang out with Drew. We spent the beautiful weekend hanging out in MB which is actually really nice out of season. Especially with temperatures in the 80's. And being out of season, some restaurants automatically gave a 10% discount off menu prices.

Back to the race. This race, officially called the Carolina Forest Rotary Krispy Kreme Dash, was modeled after the more famous one in Raleigh. It raised funds for the local Rotary Club and started/ended right behind a Krispy Kreme store. Kenny had never been to a Krispy Kreme before so prior to the race we went inside to see the whole donut(or I guess they spell it doughnut) making process. The aroma definitely made having a few appealing.
Danny before the race

12 however? I wasn't so sure about that. But only had about 9 minutes to think about it as the race started off steady but not too fast. We hit the first mile in exactly 6:00 and the guy next to me picked it up and only I kept up with him. We went got to the donuts(the halfway point) in slightly under 9 and went to work on the donuts.

A fellow Harbison Trail runner had suggested squishing down four donuts at a time to expedite the eating process. Heeding this advice, I got myself to a nice lead quickly consuming those first 800 or so calories. The next 4 definitely took a little longer. About halfway through them, I started having some serious self-doubt.
Danny at his low-point

Luckily for me, Andrew and Kenny were there to cajole me into eating through the pain.
I got through those and dove right into the last 4. More runners were now in transition and I was beginning to get concerned that someone might catch me during this time so I redoubled my efforts, finishing them off, rinsing off my hands and taking off.

I ran scared. So much so that I actually  ran a negative split for the second half of the 5k. I finished in first both for the race and for eating my donuts the fastest.

ADDENDUM: I just got results of the race back and I only won the eating contest by 2 seconds!!!! Wow that was tight!

Danny Ferreira
Lap1 9:38
Donut Time - 6:57
Lap2 - 9:33

Jimmy Papai
Lap1 9:52
Donut Time - 8:01
Lap2 - 10:16

Daniel Brass
Lap1 10:42
Donut Time - 6:59
Lap2 - 11:48

What did I get? More donuts! In fact a total of 14 dozen more. One a month for a year was the prize for fastest donut eater and 2 more dozen for fastest race(as well as a gift certificate to the local running shoe store, Black Dog Running). Definitely worth the time.

And it paid itself back even more because when we went out later for lunch, I was still full so only ate half of Kenny's sandwich instead of paying for another meal:)

All in all, it was a very fun weekend and I would definitely do this race again next year.

Until next time,


Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Race is Here!

It is finally race weekend! That's right, it is about time when I can finally combine my two talents: running fairly fast and eating copious amounts of food. My brother, Andrew, Kenny and I are heading over to Myrtle Beach this weekend so I can compete in the Carolina Forest Rotary Krispy Kreme Dash! Unlike the original in Raleigh, this one is a 1 1/2 mile run, consumption of 12 krispy kreme donuts and another 1 1/2 mile run back.

Image result for krispy kreme dash

It is right up my alley considering Donut Dan was one of my college nicknames. Just not terribly excited about the running portion. I have run a hard short race in several years and not sure I have the turn over I used to. Either way I think it will be a fun weekend and I will keep you posted.

Until next time,


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Getting Old

I heard through the grapevine about a cross-country race this past weekend and as Kenny and I didn't have anything planned, I decided to enter it. I think years back I may have done one once but it was a many years ago and I had forgotten the pace that these college kids start the race at. 

Well some of that could be the lack of fast running I've done in the past couple years. I used to do 5ks and track workouts fairly regularly but have slacked off big time. And some of it could be that I am older than I've ever been, and still getting older. Either way, I found myself at the first mile solidly in 40th or so place out of only 50 runners. Despite the above excuses that I listed, I don't like being in the bottom half of the runners, but I knew some of the kids ahead of me would fatigue, which they did. Over the next couple miles, I passed about 20 guys to finish in 21st place. Definitely not a great showing, but it was a fun race and nice to do a little speed work.

But the real reason I am writing about this otherwise unremarkable race! On 3! separate occasions, as I was passing one of the runners, their coaches yelled out "Don't let the old guy pass you!". Three Times! Geesh! I didn't realize I looked that old. Then I realized I was probably older than the coaches as well as over double the age of some of the runners. 

Definitely a funny experience but not quite as funny as when my friend's daughter asked me where Kenny was by saying: "Where'd your daughter go?" Yep. I looked that old.

Until next time,


Monday, August 28, 2017

Goodbye to Two Good Friends

This past weekend I was finally forced to say goodbye to two good friends. One I had known for 10 years and the other only five but boy were those five years packed with good memories!

I am, of course, talking about two of my favorite pairs of running shoes. The one was a pair of Nike XC shoes that I wore to every Winter Wild race I did as well as all trail races half-marathon distance or shorter. The other were my Nike Lunar Racers which I have run in every marathon since 2012 including the five I did in 8 weeks in 2014. That's the problem when you find a perfect pair of shoes. They become discontinued and you are stuck making a tough decision: trade them in for a newer(and often worse) model or wear them long beyond their manufacturers designed life.

These were not just any sneakers.They were durable and light, responsive and comfortable. Never once giving me trouble or as much as a blister. They held strong in good times and bad. Days with rain and others with snow. They bore the brunt of many a trip and fall and far more than the recommended mileage that any one shoe should bare.

And yet, just as recently as two weeks ago, my xc racers held strong when I raced the USNWC's River Jam 10k and the X-Terra Table Rock 15K the same weekend. So I postponed their retirement just a little longer. I decided to wear them to this Saturday's Grand Further 25k. This race outside of Boone, NC was 15 miles up and over(and back up and over again) Grand Father Mountain which happens to be the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The course description was one of steep cliffs, highly technical single track trails and fast descents. i.e. the perfect course for my nimble x-c racers.
View from our hotel of Grandfather Mountain
So I decided to race one more time in them. This appeared to be a good idea until about 3 miles into the race when I didn't pick up my foot quite high enough. My toe caught a rock and in doing so, I tore the tip of my sole back. At first it was just a slight annoyance, but over the course of the next mile or so, it went from a slight flapping to a more vigorous one akin to an over-sized albatross attempting to take off from a too short runway.

Shortly after I summited the mountain for the first time, the sole finally had enough and tore off completely. I was left with slipper of a shoe which did nothing to reduce the impact of the sharp rocks and jutting roots on the course. I quickly went from top ten to twenty as my run turned into a jog, which quickly turned into a hobble before finally ending in a walk. I walked the rest of the way to the turn around where I had a great group of volunteers try in vain to duct-tape my sole back on(I had been carrying it that whole time). I left the aid station re-invigorated as I finally could run again. This was short lived as, within a half mile, my sole slipped through the loosening tape and fell off again.

Now with over seven and a half miles left in the race, I ended up hiking/limping the whole way, in the process getting passed by over 50 other racers. And yet despite the disappointment that came with being unable to race and the sad loss of a good friend, I had a wonderful time partially due to how slowly I was going. I was able to interact with all the racers who passed me, really appreciate the beautiful views, and even got to see the wreckage of a 1970's airplane crushed which remains in the woods slightly down from the summit. This is definitely a race I will do again next year. This time with a newer(I won't say better) pair of shoes.

My Lunar Racers were retired in not such a dramatic fashion, but rather done premptively to avoid a similar fate. I was planning on wearing them to pace Kenny when she attempts to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Erie Marathon early September. Now instead, I will relegate them to trainers.

Until next time,


There should be a sole there.

Grandfather Mtn in the cloud cover

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life is Too Short to Live By Your Training Plan Alone

Nothing like a fun filled summer vacation to impede my blog writing. I apologize to you few dear readers for the nearly two months of silence. Please rest assured, I was sending you plenty of positive vibes.

I have been luxuriating in my first real summer vacation is my freshman year in college. A parent trip to Newfoundland, a solo trip to Finland, and a family trip to the Outer Banks were just the big trips but loads of fun weekends, a little marriage ceremony, and plenty of sleeping in. All that was missing was any consistent form of running.

But life is too short to live by your training plans. Cast it aside, open your eyes wide, and just get outside!

Sorry, I'm back in school now so getting my Dr Seussian back on.

Anyway, a little time off from anything regimented can be great because I'm returning back to the structure of a work day with a new drive to also rev back up my training. I am sure it will be derailed at some point, but isn't that what life is all about? I'm pretty confident I wouldn't really be living if I never had anything in my life that was worth skipping a few runs for:)

And like my training, I also plan to write a bit more so let's see how this all turns out.

Until next time,