Tuesday, September 25, 2007

09/22/07: Tour de Fleurs 20K

2206 people - 1084 in the 20K and 1122 in the 10K - toured the fleurs around the Dallas Arboretum, White Rock Lake, and Lakewood on Saturday. Allegedly a race, I think it's really more like a bicycle ride or rally, whatever term they use for something like Hotter'N'Hell. The people up front really are racing but for most everyone else it is, or at least should be, an opportunity to get in a timed, well-supported long run while also scoring a new technical shirt and running cap. But I wouldn't come here looking to PR because it's going to be crowded and that crowd is going to include a plethora of novices, including many walkers, and those novices haven't the first clue about lining up appropriately and don't seem to be getting much instruction in that subject, either.

I lined up towards the back because I wasn't planning on pushing it and it was warm enough and I'm claustrophobic enough that I would have felt ill standing immersed in a crowd for more than a few minutes. Hanging out towards the back and towards the side, I had no problems. It did take me nearly six minutes (5:58.95 according to the results) to cross the starting line but the race was chip-timed so that wasn't a serious issue. I ran the first 10K in 53:15 and the second 10K, with two short walking breaks, in 57:29 for a total of 1:50:44, good for 393 overall, 264 out of 530 males, and 32 out of 69 in my age group. In short, pretty mediocre, but better than average for me for a warm-weather long run.

The first walking break was just before the ten-mile mark; I walked about a tenth of a mile, maybe a little longer, and then started running again at the marker. The second was at 11.3 miles or so and was across the bouncey pedestrian bridge at Garland Road. I hate that bridge and dread any White Rock Lake race that forces me to use it, which is virtually any long one. This race had a double whammy in that earlier we crossed the new pedestrian bridge just south of Mockingbird Lane, which may actually be worse for bouncing when a herd of runners crosses on it. Not only do these bouncing bridges make me feel ill, they also throw off my stride slightly as it seems like my foot is always coming into contact with the ground just before I expect it to.

The after party was on the grounds of the Arboretum, which I don't think I've ever been to before, and featured Emerald City Band, who were entertaining, especially the horn line who kept on wandering all over the place, and featured a female singer who reminded me of one the Team America puppets for some reason. They had a lot of stuff and people were leaving with boxes of goodies - bagels, fruit, iced-tea drinks and the like - but there wasn't a whole that appealed to me so I just drank a water and took an iced-tea for later.