Monday, February 16, 2009

02/14/09: Haltom Stampede 5K

7:09. Hopefully there will be a time later this year when running a 7:09 mile at the start of a 5K won't feel like a tragic mistake; it'll feel like either I'm right on schedule or perhaps dawdling a bit. Right now, however, a 7:09 opening mile means I've started too fast and there's a terrible price to be paid in the near future. In the case of this year's Haltom Stampede, that bill came due late in the second mile when we turned a corner and headed up an inauspicious hill that shouldn't cause me any trouble but in this instance humbled me and slowed me to a walk. My mile splits for this 5K were 7:09, 8:34, and 7:34 , and it's not like I was running according to some shrewd plan I had devised. I should have known better; I spent most of the first mile on the heels of one of DFW's better female masters runners, who normally finishes a 5K a couple of minutes before I do. Today? She bettered my 24:04 by about two minutes.

I seriously considered blowing this race off, even though I had registered the day before. Had the race started at 8:00 rather than 9:30 or if it had been windier, I probably would have written it off as too cold and raw. Unfortunately weather would be the only justification for bagging but conditions weren't unpleasant enough; it was just mediocre crappy - cold but not frigid, breezy but not blustery. So I ran, except for when I walked.

All things being equal, I like the idea of the 9:30 start at this time of year, but all things aren't equal - I have ultimate at noon in Las Colinas and the late start brings my less-than-stellar time management skills into play. I went straight from the finish line to my car which was in one respect unfortunate; according to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, my mediocre performance got me third place in my age group, entitling me to one of the unique and prestigious Haltom Stampede ceramic buffaloes. I'd like to thank the Academy, of course, but even more I'd like to thank all the better runners who found something better to do this particular morning.

I would have liked to have had more time to hang out afterwards, and not just to pick up my buffalo. The people running this event do one thing that's very important for a potentially cold-weather race: they have, in the Haltom City Recreation Center, a comfortable indoor staging area. They also seemed to have a good amount of postrace food, including animal crackers which I think I could probably eat my weight in animal crackers. So maybe there's an upside to me having to leave immediately after finishing - more animal crackers for everyone else. Anyway, I had to get to Irving in time to help my team lose both our games Saturday afternoon. I don't know if they could have done it without me.

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