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Feet, Don't Fail Me Now: Whether it's running a race or running errands 

Ted and Joan Winchel, who both won the 70-74 age group at the Dirty Half.Are you a runner or are you someone who runs? Does

click to enlarge Ted and Joan Winchel, who both won the 70-74 age group at the Dirty Half.
  • Ted and Joan Winchel, who both won the 70-74 age group at the Dirty Half.
Ted and Joan Winchel, who both won the 70-74 age group at the Dirty Half.Are you a runner or are you someone who runs? Does running define you or is it just something you do? When I used to develop running shoes for Nike, we would actually segment the market based on that distinction. A non-ectomorph with three knee surgeries and one foot surgery in my medical records, I am definitely not a runner. Mostly I do it to keep my dog sane. Which is why I didn't sign up for the Dirty Half and wasn't even thinking about it. The super popular event filled up weeks ago. But somehow, after a beer at the Sisters Rodeo on Saturday night with a friend who had an entry that she couldn't use, I ended up at the start line at Phil's Trail at 8am on Sunday morning with 682 other runners (or people who run) and 13.1 miles of trail looming in front of me.


In the eight years the race has been held, the Footzone Dirty Half Marathon has become a premier running event. This year, Race Director Super Dave could not have ordered better running weather as the recent rains made for perfect trail conditions and the thunderstorms didn't move in until the awards ceremony concluded. It wasn't dusty or muddy or even dirty.

Basically, it's all uphill for the first half of the Half and all downhill for the second half of the Half. After the adrenaline rush of the start, I tried to settle into my "go forever" pace. A nice surprise in the woods at Mile 1.5 was the bluegrass band Blackstrap playing an acoustic set on the side of the trail as we transitioned from dirt road to serene singletrack. By Mile 6, going uphill was getting really old, but the aid stations were a boost in the middle of the race and I felt like I had it made when I started going downhill. Really was an illusion, though, because my legs began to feel like sacks of concrete around Mile 10. That's when I turned to Todd Rundgren and started humming my favorite running tune:

Feet, don't fail me now

Begging please don't make a fool of me

Feet, don't fail me now

Please don't keep me where I should not be

Feet, don't fail me now

Stop pretending that you've gone to sleep

Feet, don't fail me

Begging please don't make a fool of me!

Todd gave me a second wind, and I caught a pack of runners at Mile 12, then I spied some friends ahead and then it was down a steep hill and the finish line was in sight!

Congratulations to the real runners, like Katie and Jeff Caba, who took home the prizes. Katie won for the women in an impressive 1:25:27 while her husband Jeff placed second to Santi Ocariz who won the men's race in 1:17:08. Also, special congratulations go to Massimo Larsen, Steve Larsen's son, in his first half marathon, who won the male 10-14 age group in a blazing 1:54:02. I think he's gonna be a runner!


Racing is all fine and good, but why not use your feet to get you somewhere you need to be? Like work. This is Commute Options Week which runs from Monday June 15 through Sunday June 21. Join in the 19th annual Commute Options Week and do your part in keeping Central Oregon the livable place we all love by leaving your car at home and getting to work under human power. It saves you money, reduces traffic congestion, helps fight global warming and keeps you healthy. I live near downtown and always walk there to go to the library, do all my banking and literally run my errands. It's easier than finding a parking spot. Plus, this week you can win all sorts of goodies like flashing lights, tire levers and even a Schwinn Cruiser by getting places on foot or bike. Visit to see the calendar of events.

Footzone will be hosting a "Get Out & Walk" clinic on Wed. June 17 at 6pm designed to get more people to incorporate more walking into their daily life. The Footzone team and experts from the Bend Fit Walking Program will explore walking basics, safety, distance & time before putting their tips into practice during a 20 minute walk in Drake Park that ends with free coffee at Bellatazza.

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