Race Review: 2014 Flanigan’s Rockin’ Rib Run 10K (10/26/2014), or: “What will we touch there? We’ll touch the sky…”

blgflanrockrib10kThe 2014 Flanigan’s Rockin’ Rib Run was pretty much one of the best race events I’ve ever experienced, for a host of reasons that I’m about to dive into, but before I do that it behooves me to mention that this race occurred the morning after the 2014 Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon, which was also a very positive race experience. If you’ve never participated in two awesome races over the course of two consecutive mornings, I can attest that it’s pretty much as close to Runner Nirvana as you can get. I mean, other than PR’ing at Boston while high-fiving Jeff Galloway and Bart Yasso and Hal Higdon and the ghost of Steve Prefontaine as you cross the Finish Line, after which you’re immediately inundated with recovery beers and Krispy Kreme doughnuts while Hoka and CW-X and CEP and Garmin are offering your sponsorship deals like they’re going out of style. With Shakira and Yaya Han and Linda Lavin gazing at you adoringly from the grandstands.

Now that’s entertainment!

Speaking of entertainment, I have to talk a bit about bib pickup and the utterly buttkickin’ swag that came with it. Pick-up was held the day before at Runner’s Depot in Davie, and we were pretty wowed by what we received with our bibs. All of the swag was contained inside a fairly high-quality backpack, black and green with the race logo imprinted on it. The backpack itself was pretty impressive, but even more impressive was what came inside it: a race towel, race tech shirt, a drawstring bag, Powerade, Monster Energy Drink, water bottle, protein bars, the Big Green Flanigan’s Cup, Runner’s Depot coupons, plus a $10 Flanigan’s gift card and a complimentary drink token. Hokey smokes! That was quite the swell haul. The race registration cost me all of $30, and the gift card and drink token alone is worth half of that amount.

But let’s get back to the race review: the 10K was held at 7:00AM at Tree Tops Park in Davie, Florida, on the morning of 10/26/2014. Boots and I picked up running buddy Kristi and we made the awfully arduous trek from Sunrise to Davie in about 13 minutes. The horror. There was a little bit of traffic entering Tree Tops, but we were inside and parked by 6:30. Unfortunately it was still plenty dark and plenty crowded, which made it a wee bit difficult to determine (1) where we parked, (2) where we going, and (3) anything more than a few feet in front of our faces. I’m thinking a bit more temporary lighting in the future might be efficacious.

Still, it wasn’t that much of a big deal. We followed the herd to the Start Area, where there was plenty of early morning activity: food, music, and BEER. People were apparently slamming the brews before sunrise. I can’t even imagine! After a quick jaunt to the Men’s Room, we made our way over to the Start Line, where we bumped into our buddies Katarina, Jose, Richard, and Bruce, and posed for this most amazing group pic that I love to death.

Katarina, me, Jose, Rich, Bruce, and Kristi before the race.

Katarina, me, Jose, Rich, Bruce, and Kristi before the race.

As always, I’m still the Giant in every picture…

Afterward we met up with Mark, Jeanne, and Lisa, more of our racing buddies, and waited for the race to begin. To say that the weather was agreeable is something of an understatement; it was SENSATIONAL. It was, like the previous day, clear, cool, low-humidity, 66 degrees and very breezy. I was actually feeling almost a wee bit chilly, but then again I am utterly iguana-blooded.

I captured two not entirely impressive shots of the Start Line area…

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… and soon after we started up with the National Anthem (gamely sung by a woman with an incredible voice). With a countdown the race began and we were off in earnest!

Here’s a look at the course:

Courtesy of Garmin and Google Maps

Courtesy of Garmin and Google Maps

This was your simple out and back course: we left Tree Tops and headed north on Nob Hill, with a turnaround on 13th Street which took us back to the park. Kristi and I were still a little tired from the previous day’s Half Marathon, so we settled into an easy 5:1 interval. I won’t go into detail about the race itself, except to say that with around 930 runners it never felt cramped or obnoxious. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits; I think the amazing weather helped a lot.

Boots went to capture a picture of us as we passed her before leaving the park. Alas, some woman decided that would be THE opportune moment to step in front of a photographer’s camera. Grr!

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Kristi, myself, tact-less woman, and Katarina.

I will say that I did insult one of the elite runners. To his face. Out loud. And he deserved it. Since it was a two-way course, the elite runners were at Mile 4 by the time we got to Mile 2. Kristi and I had just started our walk interval when he yelled out to us, “Don’t give up now! Keep running! Keep moving!” I responded with, “We’re on our walk interval. Run your own damn race, A**HOLE!” Seriously. What an obnoxious twit. I think I heard some appreciative snickering around us, but that might have been my ego en fuego.

But never mind that incident… what a great run! There was a single hydration stop around Mile 2. It was in the center of the course, which serviced runners both coming and going. I do have to give a shout out to a pair of apple-cheeked runners, a man and a woman, with whom we kept leap-frogging throughout the race. The first time we passed them, I was giving Kristi some verbal encouragement. “You’re doing awesome!” or something along those lines. The woman turned and said, “Oh… I thought you were talking to me!” At which point I serenaded both of them with an impromptu cantata of their phenomenal running prowess. This seemed to get a big laugh. Which was good, because I did it three or four more times throughout the race. I didn’t know their names so during the third song I nicknamed them “Carmelita” and “Hector”, or something like that.

Kristi almost choked from either laughter or embarrassment each time. Running with me can be so unsettling…

After the turnaround made our way back to the park and headed towards the Finish Line. Boots was waiting there and managed to capture this awesome action snapshot:

"Who loves ya bebbe?"

“Who loves ya bebbe?”

A Caribbean band was performing right at the Finish Line, giving us a little swing for our swagger as the race ended. We finished in 1:03:58, which was certainly more than respectable for a pair of nuts who ran a Half the day before. Kristi even managed to PR — her second in two days! Katarina and Jeanne also PR’ed as well, meaning it was a pretty strong morning for all involved. I mean, this was my third fastest 10K out of five, so I was pretty gosh-darn pleased too.

Take a look at the race medals, featuring the smiling face of Joe Flanigan himself:

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What was cool about the medal was that it opened up, containing another prized complimentary drink token inside! What sorcery is this? Madness!

The Finish Area featured free, all you can eat/drink ribs and beer for everybody (alongside the standard water, bananas, bagels, and peanut butter). We helped ourselves to some of the deliciously prized grub and chilled at a nearby picnic table to celebrate our victory. After a good while we made our way back to for seconds, but alas! They were out of ribs and beer. I found out later than they went through almost 600 pounds of ribs that morning. Damn! Well we certainly got our share, so we grabbed another bagel and banana and made our way back to the car. Which we found. Eventually.

Here are a last look at the Finish Area:

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I don’t think I heard a single person badmouth this event at all. The 2014 Flanigan’s Rockin’ Rib Run 10K was an amazing time. Lots of PRs made, lots of great swag, and lots of good eatin’/drinkin’ at the Finish Line (for as long as it lasted, anyhow, but most runners seemed satisfied). Flanigan’s and Runner’s Depot put on a most amazing event, one I will easily and gladly return to next year. Here’s the video:

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