For the past few years I've wanted to run in TCU's (actually, the TCU chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority's) Fall Breakaway 5K; this year I finally made it down there and I won't be in that much of a rush to hurry back. Or maybe I will, as long as I'm not intent on running a fast time. The race was held on a warm late-September Saturday and has a 9:00 am start time, by which time the temperature had already risen into the lower seventies. The course, which goes through TCU and the neighborhood north of campus, is consistently hilly - there are no individual killer hills, although I think the worst two are the last two on the course, but it constantly goes up and down. Except for starting and finishing in the parking lot between the baseball stadium and the soccer field, I don't remember very much in the way of flat ground.
The hills and heat wore me down and I staggered home in 22:51, 8th out of 16 in my age group, 40th out of about 120 men, and 43rd out of 194 total runners. My splits were 6:54 for a mostly downhill first mile, 7:20 for a moderately up hill second mile, and 7:46 for a more uphill third mile, and :50 for the last tenth. A couple of years ago I would have been happy with this race but now I expect to be more down closer to, and on either side of, 22 minutes. So I was disappointed with this race, but I think I've pretty much gotten over it.
The race was well-organized in some respects - despite a large number of race-day registrants, they started on time - and not so much in others. A lot of those race-day registrants didn't get their chips and bib numbers tied together so at the finish there were many unidentified runners. Apparently they had a way of correcting this but it was time-consuming - the race started at 9:00 and when I left at about 10:45, they still hadn't produced any results. I'm thinking there weren't too many people left by the time they did get the results done, but they did have them up on-line by mid-afternoon. They also ran out of water at the finish area, although they did come up with a few more cases after none had been available for maybe fifteen minutes.
I think they used to start over by the football stadium which I think would be much better - I think it would push more uphills into the earlier portions of the race and let you finish downhill. It would also create for a better parking situation, although as far as I could tell the parking situation worked out better than I would have anticipated, given that the lot they used isn't that big and they were using part of for the start/finish line. Then again, I don't think they got nearly the thousand runners that the girl who took my registration at Luke's on Friday said they anticipated.