Monday, August 24, 2009

08/22: Just Cause 5K

I was driving along New Circle Road in Lexington, Kentucky, after running in the Just Cause 5K. I was on an endorphin high, I guess; at any rate I was too relaxed to be driving. I looked to the left and saw a sign with blue neon tubes, looked back to the road, and did a double take. Was that a Zaxby’s? I think that was a Zaxby’s! I looked back and it was! it was! a Zaxby’s! I continued looking for another couple of beats, then looked back at the road and CONSTRUCTION AREA! STOPPED TRAFFIC! PICK-UP TRUCK BRAKE LIGHTS! Rental car - declined insurance - no wrecks allowed! Squealing tires (me - love those anti-lock brakes)! Swerving red Subaru Impreza (me again)! As Maxwell Smart would say, missed it by THAT much - both the collision and the heart attack. I’m probably the only person who needs a designated driver for running.

I think I was in a Zaxby’s once; I don’t remember being too impressed. I like the sign, though I don’t know that I like it enough to justify totaling a rental car.

The Just Cause 5K was put on by the Harmony Christian Church in Georgetown, Kentucky. They referred to it as the first annual which earlier in the week, concerning some other event, I heard was incorrect usage. Either it’s the first (or inaugural) whatever or it’s the (more than one)th annual whatever but you shouldn’t refer to the first instance as an annual event. Then again, I read this on the internet and another rule of thumb is never believe anything you read on the internet. This last bastion of accuracy excepted, of course.

The race started at 8:00 in the evening which meant a lot of walkers were finishing after it got dark, which caught the organizers by surprise - “who knew?” said the announcer dude and I was thinking probably those Farmer’s Almanac people, for one. It’s not like sunsets are random occurrences. But it’s their first annual so I suppose I should cut them some slack. He said they’ll start a half hour earlier next year; I’d recommend they move the start up a full hour, to 7:00.

The course was also problematic, although they did a reasonable job given their geographic limitations. They had major roads to the north and west, so limited opportunity in those directions, nothing they can use to the south, and a small, isolated subdivision to the east. So we started in the church parking lot and ran west, down a hill and around the parking lot of a small shopping center, then back up the hill and around the back of the church, going cross-country as we came around the other side and returned to the parking lot in front of the church. We ran through the parking lot to the minor road in front of the church, where we turned east and ran down into and around the isolated subdivision. We came back up on the road in front of the church and turned back into the parking lot; we continued our circuit in a counter-clockwise direction and finished up back at the starting line. I didn’t like the course - it was too haphazard and not very interesting - but I don’t really see what else they could do. I wouldn’t recommend adding a 10K next year, though.

Monday, August 17, 2009

08/15: Life Without Limits 5K

I ran this race, I don’t even know what it’s called - Larger than Life 5K, Lust for Life 5K, something like that. Okay - it’s the Life Without Limits 5K (so that's where the Elvis Run went!); I may not have the name of the race sitting on the tip of my tongue but I do know where to look it up. It’s a pretty large race which makes its anonymity strange (until you find out it used to be the Elvis Run), but then again it is the middle of summer and we are in Texas; it’s not like it’s strangled by competition. It is essentially the Katy Trail 5K only in August instead of May, on Saturday instead of Thursday, in the morning instead of the evening, and with much less postrace food. In other words, they basically just have the course in common.

Which isn’t all that surprising as it’s becoming one of the most popular courses in Dallas. It’s the third race I think I’ve run on it and the Butterfly Boogie, which I’ve registered for two or three times but never actually run, also uses it. What with the city of Dallas discouraging use of Winfrey Point for running events, I could see it getting even more use.

I lined up early, right about the time they started pumping the live band, whoever the hell they were, through the speakers near the start, which didn’t initially please me since I had already turned on my mp3 player. Then I realized they were covering “Is Anybody Going To San Antone” by Doug Sahm, and doing a credible job, so I conceded their tunes were at least momentarily better than mine and turned off my player. They played another song after that and then deejayed music returned; the only song I remember hearing before the race started was “I Ran” by A Flock of Haircuts. I mean, Seagulls.

The race started and I turned my tunes back on. Early on, like before we hit Turtle Creek Boulevard proper, I heard Liz Phair start singing “South Dakota” which reminded me of racing in South Dakota a couple of months ago; my Pavlovian response in this race was to run faster than prudence dictated. The first mile is pretty flat anyway, and possibly a slight net downhill; my first split was 7:12 which was good in that I didn’t feel like I was pushing that hard but bad because it’s still August in Dallas and I’m just getting over a cold. There’s probably going to be a bill to be paid.

The second mile has most of the uphill, mostly running up Blackburn to Cole and then again on the anonymous side street up to the Katy Trail. I ran it in 7:49, which I was also pleasantly surprised by, even though I knew it was going to be a struggle to hold that pace to the finish. A struggle I lost - about three-quarters through the third mile a coughing spell hit that slowed me to a walk. My split for that mile was 8:57 and I ran the last tenth in 44 seconds; my total time was 24:43. Which I think is faster than I ran the Katy Trail 5K back in May, so I have that going for me. Which is nice.