Sunday, May 17, 2009

05/14 & 05/16: Katy Trail 5K and Sean May Memorial Run

I spent a good part of this weekend committing at least one of the Seven Deadly Sins: I flew into Denver for a trail race in Brighton and did a training run the day before on a trail south of Boulder; I would kill to have trail options like this around Dallas. For the record, Envy, not murder, is the Deadly Sin I committed. Murder, per se, is not a Deadly Sin so if you do kill someone, do it for reasons other than Anger, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Pride, or Lust.

Before coming to Denver I ran the Katy Trail 5K in Dallas Thursday evening and then pigged out in the VIP tent at the picnic on shrimp, salmon cakes, steakettes, and chicken quesadillas, washed down with Fire Rock Pale Ale. They had vegetarian options as well but I didn’t want to add Gluttony to my list of transgressions so I passed on them, hoping to exhibit some restraint. I think it worked until I went back for seconds on the shrimp and salmon. And the beer.

The VIP tent was new this year, the deal being that for a hundred bucks (as opposed to the regular race fee of $30 or whatever) you received, in addition to the normal entry, a Friend of the Katy Trail membership, a running cap, and a pass for the VIP tent. I wouldn’t pay the money expecting a material return of approximately equal value but I’ve been giving them $100 for the past few years anyway - I consider it my annual user fee. So if they want to throw some perks my way for the money, I’m cool with that.

I don’t know if the VIP tent will be back next year; it didn’t look like many people signed up for the deluxe package. Although I suppose many of them could have done what I did - load up on food and good beer, then head over to mingle in the main picnic area. Still, I think next year I may be back to swilling Michelob Ultra with the common folk.

I heart the Katy Trail, I really do. It runs 3.5 miles from Airline Drive down to the American Airlines Center and while the main trail is paved with concrete, there’s maybe 2.5 miles of adjacent soft-surface trail. Over 2.5 miles, from Knox Street to the AAC, is free of street crossings. By Dallas standards, it’s an incredibly great place to run, or walk, or roller-blade, which makes it a great place to people-watch (which could lead to another Deadly Sin) in spring and autumn. In Boulder, though, and northern Colorado in general, it would probably be just another pedestrian walkway.

I was driving down South Foothills Highway looking for the South Boulder Creek West trailhead. It came up sooner than I expected which meant that I went flying past it; I figured I’d turn around at the next traffic light and come back to it. The Marshall Mesa trailhead was at that particular light, though, so I ran there instead - four miles or so along the Marshall Mesa, Community Ditch, and Cowdrey Draw trails. I thought these were great but I’m guessing that, to locals, there just some random trails.

Saturday I ran in the Sean May Memorial Run, a nine-mile race around Barr Lake, on a packed-dirt trail that we could really use in north Texas. Sean May was an Adams County Deputy District Attorney who was shot and killed in August, 2008; this was the first annual run and proceeds will support Access to Justice programs. The organizers put together a helluva goodie bag; in addition to a blue technical running shirt it included a water bottle, a star-shaped squeeze ball, a small pad and pen in a cloth folder, another pen, a post-it pad, lip balm, sunscreen, and body lotion. Hauling all this stuff back to DFW, I may wind paying an overweight luggage fee.

Being as it was the inaugural running, there were some glitches. Runners in both the nine-mile (referred to at times as a 15K but I think it was probably nine miles) and 5K were directed to the start, where the 5K people found out that they were actually supposed to start back by the bridge we crossed walking to the start. They recovered quickly; they told the 5Kers to hang out behind the nine-milers until we had started, then they walked them back to the bridge and started them from the proper location. I guess - that was their plan but I was gone by then.

Gone on my way around Barr Lake, that is. We ran and ran and ran some more, except for a couple of walking bits I threw into the last couple of miles, but mostly we ran. In my case, for 1:17:43, give or take a walking break or two or three, which left me satisfied and in need of a nap. It’s amazing what an escape from warm temperatures and high humidity can do for your running. Or my running, at least.

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