Tuesday, September 29, 2009
09/19: Oktoberfest 5K
Turning north on Addison Circle Drive or whatever (okay, Addison Road, it looks like) from Arapaho Road, I must have looked like hell. I felt pretty good considering I had spent the last ten minutes or so running east into the sun on unshaded, baked concrete, but I was running Addison's Oktoberfest 5K and I knew going in what to expect - a mundane course, free postrace beer, and free admission to Oktoberfest (a five-dollar value!) that evening. Which, given that a cadre of friends were running the 5K as well as returning to Oktoberfest at night, was an acceptable trade-off. As I made the turn north, some kid - maybe fourteen years old - said to me, "Almost there, sir; you can make it!" In a very concerned voice. Good to know, although personally I had no doubts that I could make it. I was more than willing for the race to be over by that point but it wasn't yet a necessity. I said, "Or, I could hand my chip to you and you could finish for both of us." He laughed and introduced himself so I ran maybe a half-dozen steps while shaking hand with the unknown teenager. He should be the known teenager given that he introduced himself but to be honest, I wasn't paying attention.
I left my Garmin in an Albuquerque hotel room back in whatever month I ran the Albuquerque Zoo 10K and this is the first time since then that I genuinely missed not having it. The mile markers were at least modestly inaccurate; I thought I ran the first mile faster than 7:39, but then again, I'm still surprised every June when the Yankees pass on me in the MLB draft. I usually project myself to go in the first five rounds; since I've never been drafted in any round in any sport (professionally) ever, I'm guessing there must be some confusion over my college eligibility. But the point - remember the point? - is that while I have my doubts about that 7:39, it's at least within the realm of possibility. The 6:30 second mile and the 8:27 third mile, not so much although that discrepancy could be the result of just one misplaced marker. If the second mile had been 7:20 and the third 7:37, I'd be a little bummed but also a lot less skeptical. Make one glaring screw-up, though, and you cast doubt even on the stuff you may have done correctly.
Eventually the race - whatever distance it may have actually been - ended and eventually we got to the beer tent and eventually we got a beer. And a pretzel. Which is another upside to this event - if you want that traditional runner's grub, they've got it but they also have big, soft pretzels. And a guy dancing on a stage with a bunch of little kids to some weird polka/rap hybrid but we were far enough away to be mostly out of range of that spectacle. If it even existed - it could have been just the beer talking.