Randy’s Racin’ Pics From 2023

It’s been a great year for me with regard to running. Because of my new, lighter frame, I’ve rediscovered the passion for running and have even run 2 half-marathons this year. Here’s a mini-album of pics from my races this year, including the Edward Jones 5k, Apple Blossom 10k, the Front Royal Kiwanis 5k, the Judges Give Back 5k, the Third Battle of Winchester Half-Marathon, and the Battlefield Half Marathon. See you in 2024 out on the roads!

RW

Back In The Race

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Greetings From The Booth!

So, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you re-seeded your NCAA brackets after arguably the craziest opening 2 rounds ever? There’s no shame in that–we did a Sweet Sixteen “re-do” in our friendly competition at work. Who saw not one, but two number-one seeds biting the dust. And there’s numver-4 seed Virginia, who fell to 13-seed Furman. Furman?!? It wasn’t quite UMBC, but still a one-and-done of major upset proportion. I still contend that the upsets happen early, but the cream always rises to the top, which is why I have Alabama playing Houston in the Championship Game.

If you listen to my morning radio show, you know that over the course of the last year, I’ve lost 48 pounds (thank you Brain & Body Health Center!). You also know that I recently ran a 5k race for the first time since 2018. Saturday’s Edward Jones Race For Education was the culmination of an almost year-long journey back to something I thought I would no longer be able to do.

That journey started right after the 2022 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. After looking at a pic of me and my buddies making merry at the “Bloom,” I realized that I was going in the wrong direction. At 210 pounds, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the photo. Sure, I had lost a few pounds on my own, but pictures don’t lie, and this pic was like a slap in the face.

Enter Dr. Evan Riggleman and his wonderful team at B&B. To make a long story short, they got me into some good habits and “reset” my metabolism in a healthy way. As for running, I started with some walks through the hills of my mountain neighborhood, gradually working in some short runs. By July, I was on my way to Deep Creek Lake minus 30 pounds, and ready for the challenging trails of DCL State Park. By late Fall, I was up to 20 miles per week and 48 pounds lighter. It was then that I targeted the Eddie Jones as my “comeback race.”

I navigated through the perils of the Holidays, managing to keep the weight off, and staying true to my running routine. At this point, Brain and Body started doing some amazing therapies on my arthritic knees, and shortly after the new year, the good doctor allowed me to play with some of his new toys which helped fight the nasty free radicals in my cells.  I was 63 going on 36!

Fast forward to race day. After a morning soak, I made my way to Warren County Middle School and the Edward Jones 5k. The butterflies were as big as 747s, not knowing how I was going to perform after 5 years of being away from running. The bar was low–finish, and enjoy the run. Period.

But, a funny thing happened. I got off to a nice early pace, running comfortably, even passing some runners in the first mile. The second mile, mostly downhill, was a bit faster, and as I started up the gradual slope of the final mile, I was faster still.  I paced myself behind a very nice lady who, with about a half mile to go, encouraged me to pass her and finish strong, which I was able to do with a nice kick to the line. How did I do? How about a top 20 finish overall, and winner of my age group with a time of 26:43. I had exceeded all expectations.

The journey continues in May with the Apple Blossom 10k…stay tuned.

RW

 

 

 

 

Basketball Flu

Greetings from The Booth!

Whew! Saved by the running gods and Old Man Winter. This past Saturday was to have been the running of the Edward Jones 5k Race For Education, and in last week’s VFB, I wrote about my commitment to running/walking the race. On Friday I received an email that the event was going to happen rain or shine. The weather forecast for race time Saturday wasn’t promising. Blizzard conditions were predicted for the Northern Shenandoah Valley, and Kemp Miller was right on the money, as I woke to blowing snow, and icy roads, not ideal conditions for running a 5k race. Reluctantly, race director Bret Hrbek had to pivot and make the race virtual instead of in-person. I felt like the kid who didn’t do his homework the night before and prayed for a snowstorm to cancel school. That being said, I will be running a 5k on my own and sending the time to Bret sometime in the next few weeks…

Well, there’s a pandemic sweeping through the nation this week, and I’m not talking about COVID or some mutated variant. It’s Basketball Flu. You know, the ailment that sends millions away from the office and into local watering holes all over the USA. March Madness is here as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins in earnest this Thursday and Friday with first round games (let’s not have the tired old debate as to whether the First Four is part of the tournament). From noon until midnight it’s wall-to-wall basketball, and a steady menu of buzzer-beaters and upsets (watch those 12 versus 5 games!) as the pupils in your eyes turn to roundballs. You’ll find the games on multiple channels these days, but back in the day, CBS was the sole network showing games, as they took you in rapid-fire succession around the tournament.

This year, I don’t have a horse in the race, as the only playing my WVU Mountaineers will be doing is foozeball in the student union. The Mounties started 13-2 and finished 16-17. Bob Huggins lobbied strongly for an NIT bid, but he was living in a fantasy world. West Virginia won’t even be playing in the iconic CBI, where they were waxed several years ago by Coastal Carolina. I begrudgingly have adopted rival Virginia Tech in this years dance, because of their improbable run in the ACC Tournament which took them from a bubble team to an 11-seed. This Hokie team could be this year’s Jimmy V NC State squad from ’83-’84,  My feelings for Tech have mellowed over the years, I guess.

That being said, I really really really don’t care much for Duke, but they are the team I have going all the way. Yes, they have flaws, but I think the NCAA wants a going-away title for Coach K, and until a potential matchup against Gonzaga in the regional finals, they don’t have the toughest road to the Final Four. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might think the NCAA is setting up the Blue Devils for the National Championship.

Unlike chicken wings and cheap gas, the truth is out there! (Cue the theme from the X-Files)

Enjoy the hoop, good luck with your bracket, and until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW

 

Getting Back In The Race

Greetings From The Booth!

Let’s start by putting a bow on Shenandoah University basketball. The Hornet women saw their season end last week in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament with a loss to Southern Virginia, but will look back on the most successful campaign in program history at 22-6. The core group of seniors were part of 58 wins, 2 ODAC titles, and 2 appearances in the “big dance.” Not to mention winners of 15 of their last 17 games this season. The Hornet women were a gritty bunch who didn’t always bring their “A” game, but found a way to win. They had that intangible called “chemistry” and were a joy to watch this past season.

As for the SU men, a sad farewell to Head Coach Adam Walsh, who resigned last week after a 5-year stint in his hometown. The James Wood grad compiled a 23-86 record while at Shenandoah, and yes, ultimately it’s about the “W’s” However, a look beyond the numbers will show you a class act, who, despite the defeats, was almost always positive in his outlook, cared about his players, and made sure they excelled in the classroom. In the end, Coach just couldn’t change the culture on the court, something that has to happen in order to fill seats at Wilkins Center. We wish Adam the very best in the next chapter of his life.

For area runners, it looks like it’s back to normal with full-fledged events this year, as opposed to the “virtual races” of the past several years. That includes Saturday’s Edward Jones 5k Race For Education in Front Royal. Always a great event, and benefits a number of worthy causes. If you’re reading this ahead of race day (March 12-8am), come on out, even if it’s just to cheer on the runners.

For me, it’ll be a return to area races for the first time since 2017. At the tail end of each year, we are asked to submit “wish lists” with professional as well as personal goals for the upcoming year. On my list was the goal of running a 5k in 2022, and I’m going to try to make that happen Saturday. At 62, the knees aren’t what they used to be, and I’m hoping there’s some truth to the phrase “slow and steady wins the race.”

At 62 and on bad wheels, I’m going to have to lower the bar a bit. I’m not 32, 42, even 52. I may be walking some of the EJ 5K on Saturday, but I’m slowly making peace with being that guy that 7 people cheer for as he struggles to the finish line as the race volunteers are tearing down (watch the movie “Brittany Runs A Marathon). I’m determined to finish.

If you want to know which runner is me on Saturday, I’m the guy waving bye-bye to Molasses, Christmas, and a Stop Light (all really slow things) as they blow by me on the Leach Run Parkway.

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW