RACE REPORT: Stalked by a Running Diva/Des Moines Red Flannel Run 2010

admin | April 12, 2010 in Endurance,Race Report,Running | Comments (12)

Katie McLenaghan is stalking me.

It is kind of flattering, really.  Rolling all over the country, eight boys living on a bus, it’s kinda cool to think of a hot little runner chick scouting my journey, tracking my moves.

Not that it’s that hard.  The schedule for the Tim McGraw “Southern Voice” tour is posted for public view at www.timmcgraw.com.  Anybody can find it.  I just didn’t know she was paying attention.

I get the call just a few days before the race.  The 21st Annual Red Flannel Run is scheduled for February 13, 2010, the same day our tour stops through Des Moines, and Katie, currently living in Chicago, is in town visiting family.  It’s snowing, it’s cold…and I am to serve as coach, runner, and escort in her attempt to set a personal record on the five-mile course.

But of course, fair maiden; it would be my honor.

The start of the 2010 Red Flannel Run in Des Moines, Iowa.

Katie.  She first popped onto my grid two years ago, a dedicated and longtime friend of Team McGraw’s running rock star and brain tumor survivor Jen McDevitt. Katie had elected, seemingly out of nowhere, to take on the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Jen’s honor.  It was her first time to bear the Team McGraw colors, and we were glad to have her.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Katie.  But running shoes, dirt in the face, and possibly puking at the finish line just doesn’t seem to match up with her daily diet of jewelry endeavors, fashion sense, and the pursuit of all things, well, glamorous.

I don’t really think she was even a runner back then; she was choosing to be…to support her friend.  Did she know what she was taking on?  Would she be like so many that climb this mountain…once…motivated by friendship…and then mark it off her bucket list?

(Left) Jen McDevitt and Kate McLenaghan at 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Absolutely not.  After months of training, she completed the 2008 Chicago Marathon in honor of Jen with style and sweat, grace and grit: two parts Runners World, one part Cosmopolitan magazine, and a pinch of “Sex in the City.”

In 2009, Katie returned to shatter her personal marathon time by almost 40 minutes, shod in the most chic of running shoes – covered in glitter, no less.

Carrie Bradshaw herself could not have been more proud if our running diva had covered the 26.2 miles in her favorite pair of Jimmy Choos.

In 2010, she is running the Chicago Marathon for the third time with Team McGraw, followed exactly four weeks later by her first ING New York City Marathon.  Awesome.

So, absolutely …I’m in for the five-miler with ya.  You bet.

I crawl out of my bunk on the bus while it is still dark.  We have rolled in from the previous night’s concert in Madison, Wisconsin…and the bus is cold and quietly parked outside of our hotel.  Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I drag me and my luggage up to my room to suit up, stretch out, and get the blood moving.

Katie calls; she’s in the lobby.  It’s been snowing, and I’m less than prepared, so she’s got a great green “Loras College” cap for me to wear during the race.  Both she and Jen attended Loras College together; I’m honorary for the day.

We grab some coffee and then do a quick radio interview with a local station.  I guess this race is a pretty big deal, and the folks there are happy to share our message of support for the Tug McGraw Foundation and quality of life research for brain tumor and brain trauma.  It was quick and easy…and much appreciated.

Then we head to the race course.  It’s really more of a fun run than a race; lots of folks have prepared well for the race with wigs, costumes, and various versions of flannel pajamas.  Katie takes special interest in one runner wearing long johns…with his seat flap…uh…flapping.

She says she has his back; well, I guess so!

We then run up on a few of our military that are using this race as training for an upcoming exercise that will require them to run distance heavily laden with gear.  As I recall, all three of these men are headed toward Officer Candidate School in the U.S. Army; jubilant but focused, they  are suited up in fatigues and 50-pound packs for a short practice run.  If Team McGraw doesn’t offer us enough inspiration…now we’ve got THESE guys!

Thanks for your service, fellas.  Really.  Thanks.

Katie is hoping to set a PR for five miles – anything under fifty minutes is good with her.  She tells me that she plans to do her first mile in 9:30 to get her started.  Uh…no.

Change of strategy.  Kicking off with 9:30 is a plan to hit 47:30…and we are just trying to get under 50:00.  I explain the benefits of running negative, leaving enough in the tank such that we might actually run the back half of the race faster than the first half.  We’ll run the first mile in ten minutes, see how it feels, get things rolling, negotiate the crowd swelling the streets…and then carefully crank it up.

Stick with me, Katie…and we’ll get your PR.

We had not run together before, so despite my frequent “How are ya doin’?” checkups, I’m not sure how she’s feeling throughout the race…but I know at the end she is still strong and sassy.  We stick to our strategy, sneak up our pace after the first mile…and ultimately snag her a 48:46…1:14 seconds under her goal!

A quick breakfast stop and back to the hotel.  I’ve got a show to play tonight, and Katie is anxious to wash off the run and don her best diva for the concert.

But for a few minutes yet…she’ll be relishing her runner.

And a darn fine runner you are; good job, girl.

12 Responses to “RACE REPORT: Stalked by a Running Diva/Des Moines Red Flannel Run 2010”

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  1. Comment by KevinApril 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    Oh… the Running Diva! Katie is awesome. She has turned herself into a tough-as-nails marathoner while maintaining a high-fashion-standard! That’s Diva-Cross Training!
    Great story and pics, RoadDog!

  2. Comment by Kate McLenaghanApril 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm  

    How very lucky I am to have a rock god as a good friend and running companion. Thanks for sharing Jen’s and my friendship/running story…as well as ours!!!
    You are the best!!!!!!
    LOTS OF PR’s in 2010!!!!

  3. Comment by Genvieve GoldsteinApril 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm  

    Way to go Kate! Love the dedication to running AND fashion!

  4. Comment by ChristineApril 13, 2010 at 1:39 am  

    Congratulations on your PR in Des Moines! From the pics, looks like that was a fun run! And a bit nippy too!

    Thanks for your dedication, support, and love for Jen, Team McGraw & the TMF. I know you’ll continue to do well in your training for the upcoming Marathons. I’ll be in Chicago to support & cheer you & the other Team McGraw runners on !

    Ya Gotta Believe!

  5. Comment by Jen — April 13, 2010 at 4:03 am  

    So ….it is going to be difficult to look THAT good next to Katie when I hit mile 22, but I’m gonna try! It’s amazing how 26 miles ( actually 78 miles, 3 Chicago marathons) of running together can do for a friendship. But with the grace of God, my natural facial color will be a pleasant flushed pink and not a pasty grey and life will good! I am proud to be running along side of Kate and even prouder to know she is doing it for me!

  6. Comment by Kate McLenaghanApril 13, 2010 at 8:43 am  

    All my Laura Mericer and Christian Dior pales in comparison to the beautiful glow you exude. You are the star of this show, gurl…….I owe YOU so much. You’ve made me a better person inside and out in going on this journey with you. All this runnin’………I tell ya, we are going to be some hot blondes runnin into our 40′s, 50′s…80′s…….

    As Ivers said to me the other day, “Keep on Truckin!”

  7. Comment by Phantom — April 14, 2010 at 6:27 am  

    Excellent report, Road Dog. Do you have a Diva in every city? Way to go Kate! A PR with room to spare!

  8. Comment by Andy McGlynn — April 14, 2010 at 10:14 am  

    Katie, I’m not ready for any marathons, but what do ya think about running our CPD “Run to Remember” for fallen police officers on May 1st? I think it’s only 3 miles and along the lakefront. This is for a good cause and falls this year on a pretty awesome day, so anyone else interested can stop for drinks in honor of my 37th afterwards. Sound good???

  9. Comment by Karen — April 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

    Wow! I don’t know who I’m more impressed with… Katie for getting her PR while looking perfect or Jeff for knowing who Jimmy Choo is. You both make me want to get out there and go for it… with lip gloss on! Thanks for inspiring.

  10. Comment by Planes, Trains, and Automobiles « Road Dog RunnerApril 25, 2010 at 9:42 am  

    [...] mode of transport.  Sometimes, though, there just is no option.  For example, we play a concert in Des Moines, Iowa the night of February 13; the morning of February 14, we open the Daytona 500 in [...]

  11. Comment by Run The MarathonFebruary 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm  

    Good info for a newbie like myself. Thanks!

  12. Comment by Mickey — June 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm  

    From your “millitary guys”. We all made it through OCS and since we ran with you have deployed and made it back home. Hope you’re still running.

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