Monday, October 5, 2009
10/03: The Loop 15K
Run for enough years and you'll probably become a weather connoisseur, especially if you race on a regular (i.e., every weekend, at least during the spring and fall) basis. So when a dude whose running career stretches back to when my only running was from the law because of youthful shenanigans told me today was a perfect day for running, I could count on him to know what he was talking about. Because here's the thing - when the announcer dude's wearing shorts and a t-shirt and saying it's a great day to run, he's probably tragically mistaken. It's probably a great day to spectate and the runners are most likely screwed.
The DRC took a step back in terms of crowd control; we were all over the trail a good ten to fifteen minutes before the race began. I feel kind of bad about it now but to be honest, I didn’t even think about it until a day and a half after the race. When we finally did start, we ran north on East Lawther Drive and crossed on Mockingbird over to West Lawther where we ran down the trail. I think we run mostly on the road on the east side partially because it’s flatter and partially because the road has enough sections closed to cars that it’s not like it’s a through street anyway. West Lawther has no closed sections and the trail is probably flatter than the road, and we’re pretty well spread out by that point, so running on the trail is probably better for everyone.
A concrete wall between the spillway and Garland road collapsed in the Great Flood of 2007, so they currently have an extended area around there closed off while they do repairs and enhancements. Because of this, I think, they sent us down the newer trail they built a few years ago rather than sending us up the ramp by the Pump House and across the dam, the way they used to. The construction also altered the tough hill on Garland Road; the sidewalk is closed so we ran in the street there and it seemed easier. It didn’t seem to rise as steeply at the top. I’d like to think that when they redo the sidewalk there, they’ll be able to have it more closely match the rise along the street but I’m not holding my breath.
After that last hill I’m usually gassed and reduced to walking at some point between there and the finish, which from the top of the hill I still have maybe a mile and a half to go. I did feel gassed but I never walked, probably due to the favorable weather, and didn’t even slow down very much. I finished in 1:11:11, a 15K PR by 1:34, which was surprising on the one hand but maybe shouldn’t have been on the other. My longer distance PRs, except for the half, are soft, mostly because when I was almost fast, I’d always jump in the 5K any time the weather was conducive to running fast. This is probably the best weather I’ve ever had for running a 15K.