Sunday, October 5, 2008
I finished second in my age group at the Vineyard Run 5K in Grapevine, which was surprising on the one hand and embarrassing on the other. I thought I could sniff out hardware possibilities pretty well and my trophydar was decidedly inactive for this event; in fact, I thought third place in my age group would require a sub-twenty. Turned out it was 24:15 and my 23:44 (okay, 23:47 by their clock) was good enough for silver.
If I was going to cherry-pick a race, I’d start with a day that had a full schedule of races to choose from and then I’d look for a smaller race that hadn’t been around very long. The word ‘inaugural’ carries some weight here. If the race had multiple events, like a 5K and a 10K, then it moves up on the scale and I’d plan on doing the shorter race because the more serious runners will gravitate towards the longer run, but if they encourage doubling up in the races or if it’s put on by a running club then it moves back down the scale. The Saturday Dallas Morning News had six races listed for this day; the Sickle Cell Walk / Runathon in River Legacy Park (Arlington) would have been my choice if I was primarily interested in winning a trinket. The main caveat with this race is that events that emphasize walk over run don’t always do age-group awards. The SFI 5K in the Trinity Commons Shopping Center (Ft. Worth) or the Trinity Bright Halloween 5K in Trinity Park (Ft. Worth) would have been my second choice; on the one hand I haven’t heard of either of these races before but on the other they were being held in high-profile locales. The Fall Breakaway 5K (TCU) or the Vineyard Run 5K are a toss-up after those two races; I ran the Fall Breakaway last year and didn’t place then but I think the Vineyard Run is bigger. The least likely candidate was The Loop 15K and 5K put on by the Dallas Running Club at White Rock Lake. I don’t think I’ve ever placed in a DRC (or its precursor, the Cross Country Club of Dallas) race even when I’ve run well.
Viewing the results, turns out I could have run virtually anywhere and placed except for The Loop 15K, where I would have had to break 1:02 when I figure I'd be struggling to break 1:20. But my 23:47 would have gotten me third at the 5K there, second at the Trinity Bright 5K, and second (actually, probably third - second was 23:51 and that's the one course that I think was probably more difficult than the Vineyard course) at the Fall Breakaway 5K. I couldn't find results for the Sickle Cell Runathon or the SCI 5K; the first probably because it was untimed and the second because it may not have actually existed. A race with that name was run on August 2nd (I would have won my age group) and I'm wondering if maybe somebody was misinformed about the date.
The embarrassment was because I dogged it some in the third mile. In a just world, you’d have to put out an honest effort to place but in reality, all you have to do is run faster than whoever shows up. At about 2.5 miles I came through a connector path between back-to-back cul-de-sacs and there was a short, pain-in-the-ass hill in front of me. I was tired of running hills and I wasn’t going to break 23 minutes, and I was feeling a little warm, so I walked it. No big deal, I’ve walked in races before; I just don’t know that I’ve ever won an award despite walking. Actually, I take that back - I’m pretty sure I did one time before but I ran 20:30 in that race. I probably needed to walk then; today I didn’t. I was just lazy and now I’ve got a fancy-schmancy wine glass to show for it. Yes, I recovered from my embarrassment long enough to claim it.
The race was entirely on the road, unlike the Run Through The Vines down near Bryan where part of the course actually does go through the vineyards.