Saturday, May 10, 2008

05/03/08: White Rock'N'Roll Five Mile

I thought the White Rock’n’Roll Five-Mile race used to be a bigger deal but some cursory research indicated that this may not have been as true as I thought. There were 541 finishers this year as opposed to 828 last year and 636 in 2006, but I didn’t run the race in either of those years. The last time I ran it, in 2005, there were 403 finishers. However, I thought there used to be a five-mile and a 5K; in 2003 I have personal results for something I called the White Rock Road Race 5K which was held the first weekend in May and I’m pretty sure it was the same race only I opted for the 5K over the five-mile. At any rate, given the restrictions of Winfrey Point, where the race is staged, I'm totally in favor of them downsizing.

There were definitely some differences between this year and the last two years, at least: no packet pick-up and late registration at Luke’s and while entrants still received a technical t-shirt, it was now a generic Dallas Running Club shirt and not a race-specific t-shirt. One beneficial difference was the weather: where race day 2007 was 73 degrees and 88% humidity and 2006 was 66 degrees and 87%, this year it was 52 and 59%. Maybe not absolutely perfect running weather (there was also a pretty good wind), but about as good as you can hope for in Dallas on the first weekend of May. Hell, I don’t know that I’ve ever worn a long-sleeved t-shirt during a May race around here before, although had the wind been calmer I probably wouldn’t have bothered. It wound up soaked with sweat by the end although I never felt like I was overheating.

Oops, just found (and remembered) another difference: the course used to go north along the lake to the Bath House, then go up Northcliff and run around that neighborhood before returning to the lake. Apparently they did that through last year; this year we ran out and back on East Lawther Drive. I thought maybe that change was due to homeowner complaints but I guess it’s just another example of them scaling back the race.

I ran acceptably well until I found the results a few days later; my self-timed 38:32 turned into a 39:04 officially as the race wasn’t chip-timed (which is probably another difference from past years) and I started well back of the starting line, with some friends who weren’t going to be running that fast. Making matters worse, I finished fourth in my age group, eight seconds behind the third place guy. Although he could have started as far back as me; I have no idea about that. At any rate, I spent the early part of the race picking my way through the crowd and ran the first mile in about 8:00, then ran the second in about 7:30. I hit the strongest head wind in the first half of the third mile and that slowed me down, I think. But I finished with two more miles at about 7:30 pace, so even though I felt like I was struggling, I didn’t really slow down. On the other hand a couple of guys passed me with sprints at the end – speeding up was not a viable option for me at that moment.

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