Five Fives

I’ve walked in a DAV 5K every year it has existed. It all started with a single event in Cincinnati in 2013. Six cities hosted events in 2017. Veterans Day fell on Saturday this year, and three of those cities, including Cincinnati, held their 5Ks on that day. The other three took place a week prior.

I cheated a bit when I signed up this time. The online registration form included a drop-down list for indicating how many previous Cincinnati DAV 5Ks you had participated in. The “Cincinnati” part is what made it tricky. Last year I was traveling and took part in the inaugural DAV 5K in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Apparently believing that someone misinterpreted an abbreviation was easier than believing someone had entered the event from 650 miles away. When I picked up my registration in Tulsa, someone had crossed out Ohio and written in Oklahoma. Somehow that eased my conscience when I clicked “4” on that list. The count was right; It was just off a few hundred miles.

The first official activity of the event is the motorcycle roll-by. I was more or less in position near the back of the pack when I heard them rumbling behind me and turned to snap a picture. Thanks to the magic of auto-focus, I have a rather crisp rendition of the sign post. Somewhat less crisp is the photo’s actual subject matter. I did a little better as they passed by where I stood.

The scene in this picture should be familiar to anyone who has followed my DAV 5K career. I’ve posted a photo of the crowd leading me under the start banner every year except the very first, and that year I included a shot of the banner from the other side as the cyclists were about to take off.

The temperature at the start was in the 20s and I believe that’s the coldest it has ever been for the event. I’m thinking that may explain the dearth of entertainment or maybe it’s just become old hat. Other than the faithful Saint Xavier Marching Band providing some pep from their usual spot. there was just one musician on the route. He jumped into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s  “GimmeThree Steps” as I approached and that was what I was still hearing as I moved out of range.

I don’t know whether the motorcycles follow the entire route or take a short cut but a long line of them are parked near the finish each year. The riders stand on the median offering hand slaps and encouragement to all the participants. Not everyone takes advantage of the hand slaps but there aren’t many who couldn’t use a little encouragement at this point.

Here is another familiar scene but, unlike the scene at the start banner, the crowd has gotten rather thin. Despite what you’re probably thinking, it’s not because I’ve left them in my dust. There are a few (141) behind me but much more than a few (2147) ahead of me. In an alarming difference from past finishes, my time did not improve over the previous year. This year’s 1:03:55 was a full 19 seconds higher than last year’s time. Although it’s possible that the Tulsa course is itself faster (I did beat my previous Cincinnati time.) I fear that my pace has peaked and the glory days are over.

Here are links to the previous DAV 5K blog entries: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

The Fourth Five

dav5ktulsaBecause the previous DAV 5K events have been covered in blog posts it seems only proper that the fourth one is covered, too. Plus I’ve decided to post it on election day when most folks could probably use a good chuckle. I trimmed fifty seconds off of last year’s time to finish in 1:03:36. I’m just not built for speed.

There were 390 finishers in Tulsa with a top time of 18:38. Apparently there are no awards for 373rd place.

ADDENDUM (6Nov17): There are a few more photos from the event on the trip journal page here

Sixty-Six and More

dav5k2013ddfAlthough it won’t be particularly intense or precise, I’ve just begun what will be my fourth end-to-end run of Historic Route 66. Once I decided to attend the Los Angeles International Route 66 Festival at one end of the highway, the decision to start the drive at the other was an easy one. Along the way I’ll take part in the DAV 5K which is something I will also be doing for the fourth time although the first three were in Cincinnati and this one will be in Tulsa. I invite folks to “sponsor” me with a contribution here. The picture is of my friend Dave and me finishing the inaugural event in 2013. Before heading home, I’ll visit my son in San Diego and take in a concert.

The journal for the trip is here. This entry is to let blog subscribers know of the trip and to provide a place for comments.

Three for Me and the DAV

dav5k2015_01A veteran buddy talked me into walking with him at the inaugural National 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Ride in 2013. We both signed up again last year but, when I called from near the start line to see why he was late, I learned he had forgotten and was half way across the state. This year he is living out of state so I knew when I registered that I would be doing it alone. Just me and more than 3,000 strangers.

dav5k2015_02dav5k2015_03Just before the hand-cycles lead off the timed entries, the motorcycle contingent rolls by the starting line. This large group, mostly veterans, will cruise the course then park near the end to greet and cheer every participant.

dav5k2015_05dav5k2015_04The picture at the top of this article is a capture from a video posted as part of the results. Participants can view a clip of their finish based on bib number. I finished in 1:04:26. That’s 4 minutes and 3 seconds faster than last year and a mere 47:31 behind the fastest runner. I’m obviously closing in.

In 2013 the only event was the one in the DAV’s home town of Cincinnati. In 2014 an event in Dan Diego was added and this year an Atlanta event joins the other two. With a perfect attendance record to maintain, I intend to be back next year. Blog posts on the previous events are here and here.

Did It Again

dav5k2014_01I have now participated in every one of the Cincinnati DAV 5K events. All two of them. Entries were up a little in the second 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Ride and it now has a companion event in San Diego. Cincinnati’s second DAV 5K took place yesterday, November 8. San Diego’s inaugural DAV 5K is scheduled for today, November 9.

dav5k2014_02dav5k2014_03This year, a long line of motorcycles roared past the waiting runners and walkers a few minutes before the starting gun was fired. Most, if not all, were ridden by veterans most of who would park their bikes and stand near the end of the course to cheer and thank those on foot.

dav5k2014_05dav5k2014_04As I did last year, I started (and finished) near the back of the pack. This year, however, I was alone. Dave, who had sort of recruited me for the first event, was on his way to Akron. A couple of weeks ago, when we last spoke, Dave told me he would be dashing off to something as soon as the walk was over and that it would be best if we drove separately. I sent a text when I left home to start coordinating a starting-line hook-up only to learn that he had forgotten the walk and had started his dashing early. I was left all alone except for the couple of thousand runners and walkers surrounding me.

dav5k2014_06As expected, those bike riding veterans were lined up near the finish encouraging and thanking everyone that passed by. As I explained last year, I walk similar distances often enough that I didn’t really need the encouragement but I still appreciated it and, even more so, the shouted “Thank you”s. I exchanged hand slaps and thanks with many of those standing by the road. But there were several people, especially in the trailing part of the herd I traveled with, who no doubt welcomed and benefited from the words of encouragement as well as the cheers. Quite a few people were pushing wheelchairs or strollers or walking with a cane and for them a 5K outing was far from easy. Those people were not, incidentally, all behind me.

dav5k2014_07There were 2147 people who crossed the finish line this year compared to last year’s 2035. A fellow in a hand-cycle covered the course in 14:01. The fastest runner did it in 17:14. I did it in 1:08:29. That’s a little quicker than last year’s 1:12:41 but I can explain. Part of the difference is that it was noticeably colder than last year and I was probably moving a little faster. But I have little doubt that the main reason for the more than four minute difference was that Dave wasn’t there setting the pace and giving me the proper motivation. There were almost forty people behind me this year. I can do better.

dav5k2014_09dav5k2014_08The brief closing ceremonies included a few awards and some words from DAV National Commander Ronald Hope. Bigger — and no doubt warmer — post-race celebrations immediately followed with different Banks area bars set aside for “reunions” of the various branches of the military. This draft dodger slipped away feeling a little better about myself and with a deep appreciation for our veterans.

5K: The Ventures Way

DAV 5K The Disabled American Veterans organization held a race Saturday. It was the inaugural running of what they called the National 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Ride. I first heard of it a few weeks ago when my friend, Dave, announced that he had signed up. Some people ran, some walked, some rolled on hand-cycles, and some rode motorcycles. Dave walked. So did I.

When the event came up in a conversation, Dave said something like “You ought to do it, too”. Then I said something like “Yeah, maybe” without really meaning it but the seed was planted. l’m a firm believer in the only-if-chased concept of running. There is absolutely no way I would ever consider running any farther than the last lane of a street crossing to avoid an approaching SUV on auto-pilot. But walking is a different story. I walk quite a bit. I’ve always done it on road trips where I will park the car and walk around a town or park or other attraction. This summer I’ve been doing more of it at home and even think I feel a little deprived on days when I don’t walk.

Five kilometers is about three miles; 3.106855961 to be be precise. I might walk that far a few times each week although there is usually a restaurant or bar somewhere near midpoint. I started to somewhat seriously consider doing the walk about the same time that another friend and I picked that day to take an underground Cincinnati tour we had been talking about for awhile. I assumed I couldn’t do both until a week or two later when I looked at the details. Start time for the “race” was 9:00; for the tour 1:00. That was plenty of time for even sluggish old me to finish the walk, which had awards scheduled for 10:45, and get to the tour.

DAV 5KSo I signed on. Dave and I were a little surprised by the size of the crowd when we arrived about a half hour before the start time. We later learned that the event had more than two thousand entrants. I registered late and in person and had picked up my stuff when I did. Dave had registered very early on line and was picking up his stuff today. An entrant’s stuff consisted of a long sleeve shirt, a “bib”, and four safety pins. The pins were to attach the numbered “bib”, with its attached timing chip, to the shirt. Shirts were black for veterans and white for civilians. Dave’s a Navy vet. I’m a civilian.

DAV 5KDAV 5KWe did not have long to wait until the starting gun went off and, presumably, the serious runners up front went dashing away. Eventually the more casual crowd near us started moving and we were off. We started fairly close to the back and by the first turn had managed to work our way even closer.

DAV 5KDAV 5KDAV 5KThere were several bands performing along the way and we were given water at strategic spots just like real runners. Near the end, we were even cheered and encouraged just like real runners. Dave was the target of extra cheering when some in the crowd recognized him as the model for a widely used street sign of which an example can be seen to his right.

DAV 5KWe crossed the finish line to the sound of bells and cheers from an enthusiastic group who had probably come near to dozing off during the lull that preceded us. Two bicycles had been the first to cross the line with times of 14:44 and 15:07. The first place runner had a time of 16:26. Dave and I finished 2019th & 2020th in an hour and twelve minutes. There were 2033 finishers so we were denied last place but we were close. On the other hand, we were only about 56 minutes out of first.

The cheering and applause even for old guys finishing in the 99th percentile is intended to make you feel like you accomplished something and it did. Both Dave and I have walked 5 kilometers many times so neither of us felt any great affirmation but we did feel good and it sure was fun. In years past I’ve attended parades and concerts and other events associated with Veterans Day (I even remember Armistice Day.) but this is the first time since being in the high school band that I have participated. Maybe I really did accomplish something after all.

dav5k2013ddfADDENDUM 07-Nov-15: Here is a picture from the DAV website of Dave and I crossing the finish line.



The “Ventures Way” is, of course, walking rather than running. The Ventures first drummer had left the band and was on his way to becoming a veteran before Walk Don’t Run was released but did get to perform it with them again a few years later as captured here.

Queen City Underground TourQueen City Underground TourQueen City Underground TourI made it to the tour in plenty of time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the “Queen City Underground Tour” from American Legacy Tours. Having done other tours of Cincinnati’s underground, I thought this might be something of a repeat but that was not so at all. Only the very last of the tour was familiar and by then we had been inside a 19th century tenement and an underground crypt and had been entertained and educated by a pair of knowledgeable guides. Plus, the familiar part led to the Christian Moerlein Tap Room which is hardly a bad thing.