Tuesday, January 13, 2009

01/10/09: Bold in the Cold 15K

Some boldness was required to run the Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers (LGRAW) Bold in the Cold races, whose flavors included 5K and 15K. I did the 15K because I needed to get the mileage in and because I’m still living in the (distant) past, when I could run nine miles in the morning and play Ultimate all afternoon with no ill effects. Besides, it’s not like I knew in advance we were only going to have three guy subs. Oh, well. They say pain is temporary but the medal is forever; of course, I’d actually had to have won a medal to know the truth of that cliché.

The hardest part of just running in the cold is actually stepping outside; the toughest part of racing in the cold is the standing around waiting for the stupid race to start. Once you get started and warmed up in either case it usually isn’t that bad although there was a stretch in this race – from about the second half of the third mile through maybe the first quarter of the fourth – where we were running north towards Lake Grapevine in the open and straight into the wind. The 25 mile-per-hour wind. That kind of sucked. Because as ‘it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity’ is to summer – a lasting cliché because it’s essentially true – so is ‘it’s not the cold, it’s the wind’ to winter. We were running in the epitome of that cliché with the 36 degree temperature not helping matters much, even if it did feel almost reasonable in the rare moments when the wind ceased its abuse for a second or two. To someone (i.e., me) wearing two long-sleeve shirts, at least.

I had to swallow a certain amount of pride to run this race because I’ve been a member of LGRAW for maybe three years now and it’s embarrassing to race in front of friends when you’re so far off your game – especially when the main reason for being so well-rounded is too much TV time and not enough training. This lack of training will likely make itself more apparent over nine miles rather than three but like I said, I needed the mileage – it’s not like I got much the last two weeks of 2008. And LGRAW is my club – in the sense that I’m a member, not that I own it or anything – and I want to support it and besides, it’s not like I’m going to get back into reasonable shape by hibernating for the winter, however few days it should choose to actually make an appearance in north Texas. I trust these guys to be too polite to comment on my turtle-like pace, which in this instance carried me to the finish line in 1:23:50 or so – a 9:01 pace which if I had known I was that close to a nine-minute pace, I’d have kicked from slightly further out to see if I could get it down to at least 8:59. It just sounds better. I finished 9th out of 18 in my age group, 65th out of 100 men, and 95th out of 212 overall, which just goes to show that I shouldn't expect to make any money from this sport.

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