Monday, September 22, 2008

09/20/08: Oktoberfest 5K

If you travel north on Midway Road from Beltline Road in Dallas, you’ll go under a modestly cool-looking bridge that wasn’t designed by Santiago Calatrava. I used to be ignorant of which road took you over that bridge but now I know – it’s Arapahoe Road and I ran over that bridge, both going out and coming back, while running Addison’s Oktoberfest 5K. Some – me, for instance – would say that the bridge is the only interesting thing about this race while others might make a case for the free beer afterwards. To my mind free beer is more good than interesting.

I don’t want to slag this race; it’s a fun, well-organized event and the bib number gets you into the more traditional Oktoberfestivities later in the day. I wouldn’t choose to run here if I was looking to run fast, though – it’s too large (900 chippie finishers plus however many who couldn’t be bothered to pick up their chip) and there’s no effort made to give the more competitive, or at least time-conscious, runners room to maneuver. I didn’t see much in the way of mile markers, either, just a chalk mark scrawled on the ground at mile one. For all of that, though, I wasn’t dodging many walkers early on. Despite starting slow (first mile at nine-minute pace), I was weaving in and out of traffic a lot but the vast majority of that traffic was at least jogging.

We started facing west on the side street to the north of Addison Circle Park, turned south on Addison Road and then back west on Arapahoe. There’s a hairpin turn maybe a half-mile past the bridge, which is the only hill on the course except you have to go over it going out and coming back so I guess it’s the only two hills on the course; after the hairpin turn the course doubles back on itself – the start is also the finish, and doesn’t that sound zen. They had people handing out water bottles just before the finish which I thought was strange, but I took one anyway because I thought maybe there wouldn’t be any available on the other side of the timing mat. There were.

Besides the beer and more usual postrace food like bagels and bread, they had soft pretzels. So I guess that would be another unique feature of this race, and another one of which I approve. I like soft pretzels.

It had been slightly cooler than usual for this time of year but today the temperature was closer to normal. I felt uncomfortably warm over the last half of the race although that was probably also due to having picked up the pace: according to my Garmin, which I believe when it’s in my favor, I ran the last two miles and change at 7:30 pace. I finished in 25:34, which was acceptable given my conservative strategy and current condition; if I’m still running this slow in about a month, then I’ve got a problem. I finished 13 out of 44 in my age group, 152 out of 463 in my gender, and 190 or 191 out of 891 overall. The age group listings and the overall listing give different results.

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