Friday, February 26, 2010

02/06: Tal Morrison 15K

Sometimes you have to challenge yourself. Other times, you inadvertently challenge yourself by, oh say, going out to the Flying Saucer in Addison the night before a 15K (the Dallas Running Club’s Tal Morrison 15K, to be specific), staying out way past your estimated time of departure (10:00pm), and telling yourself it was all going to be okay because you had downshifted to Michelob Ultra from the high-test brews you were drinking earlier.

It was 12:30 by the time I left the Saucer; I was home and asleep by 1:30. And awake by 5:30, thanks to my stupid alarm. I stumbled out of bed even though I really wanted to go back to sleep – not only was I tired as hell, but my head hurt and my stomach was queasy and if I slept some more maybe they’d both feel better when I woke up again. But some of the people who were at the Saucer were also supposed to be at the race, although they were doing the 5K (well, that was their plan, but they wound up bagging anyway) rather than circumnavigating White Rock Lake, and I really needed to get the miles in, so blowing the race off wasn’t an option. Well, it wasn’t an option I spent a lot of time considering, at any rate.

So, I showered and felt a little better, got my stuff together, and headed out. I also took a couple of swigs of Gatorade and they didn’t feel like they were going to make a reappearance, so that was a good sign. Good enough that I stopped by Starbucks for a sixteen-ounce coffee, which I mostly drank while driving out to Winfrey Point, which I reached early enough to get an okay parking spot. The DRC races keep getting bigger and I'm pretty sure people are having to park out in Mesquite and walk in. After registering and stretching and talking to various people, I finally got to run, which presented its own challenges – I don’t think I’ve ever had so much trouble finding a comfortable pace. I spent most of this race speeding up to a point where I’d start to feel ill, then I’d back off and inevitably start to speed up again. This went on pretty much the entire race although by the end the speed at which I’d start to feel ill was noticeably slower than it had been at the start.

Based on previous experience I expected to feel better after running – so long as I was actually able to finish the race, which I did in an acceptable (for being hungover) 1:16:44. In fact, this turned out to be true – my head didn’t hurt nearly as much and while I wasn’t hungry, I felt like hunger, not nausea, was in my immediate future. Assuming I didn’t succumb to hypothermia, first; I worked up a healthy – some would probably say excessive – sweat running around the lake and hanging out a damp t-shirt in 40 degree temperatures wasn’t feeling too comfortable. So I went to my car and changed into warmer duds, went back to Winfrey Point until the hunger pangs started kicking in, then went to Whattaburger.

Monday, February 8, 2010

01/23: Bold In The Cold 15K

My split for the last mile of the the Bold In The Cold 15K was 9:44, which was surprising because usually I can feel myself slowing down; this mile didn't feel any different from the last few despite being over a minute slower. Turned out, I wasn't slowing down - that mile was about 1.14 miles long because we ran a short out-and-back that's actually part of the race organization's (Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers) 10K course. So my pace was more like 8:30, which would be in line with what I ran over the last three or four miles.

In a perfect world course mistakes would never occur but then again, in a perfect world presidential elections would never be decided by the Supreme Court. When they do happen, it's best to just roll with them if you're a runner, or figure out the discrepancy and get the word out if you're the organizer - which, to their credit, LGRAW did. and I should probably mention that I've run maybe somewhere between ten and fifteen of their races (full disclosure: I'm also a member) and this is the first time that the course was inaccurate. They put on good events, really. Anyway, they did figure out the difference and adjusted the pace in the results - I didn't come up with that .14 figure on my own.

I don't think course accuracy for Bold In The Cold is as crucial as it is for other races - although of course you want as accurate a course as possible - because for most people it's not going to be a PR waiting to happen. First of all, it's in January, obviously, and most people (for example, me) are just starting to resume training. It's also run over a hilly course, especially compared to White Rock Lake - where most of the other area 15Ks are held.

I didn’t hang around for long after the race - there was ultimate to be played that afternoon and I needed to prepare accordingly - so I don’t know if much bitching about the course ensued or if people were even aware of the extra distance. I found out the next day, via the LGRAW Forum. I didn’t see an angry mob surrounding the race director with torches and pitchforks, saying ‘you made us run 9.46 miles, you lousy so-and-so,’ but maybe that happened later. Most runners aren’t going to care too much, so long as for the most part the event went smoothly, but there will be some who get bent out of shape. I ran the Ft. Worth Turkey Trot in 2000; the course wound up being a half mile or so long because we missed an out-and-back down a dead end that we were supposed to run. I finished just ahead of some old guy who was pissed - he paid all this money, the least they could do was have an accurate course! I couldn't relate at all. I wasn't in very good shape at the time and I didn't miss the extra half mile at all; if they had cut off another half mile or so, I'd have been even happier.