Wednesday, June 23, 2010

05/01: White Rock'N'Roll Ten-Mile

God, what the hell do I even remember about this race? We had reasonable running weather – 63 degrees and 58% humidity – not that I actually remember that; I just remember how to look these things up. And that the weather wasn’t extremely extreme in either direction; in fact the high and low both matched the May 1 average for Dallas. The course was kind of meandering; normally a length of this distance would involve circling the lake but in this case we started to the north from Winfrey Point, turned up Northcliff Drive and ran around the Peninsula neighborhood a little bit before coming back down Northcliff Drive and continuing north on East Lawther Driver, along the shore of White Rock Lake. We crossed over the north end of the lake on the new shaky bridge (which isn’t that new, except in comparison to the old shaky bridge over the spillway – which is unfortunately open again although it didn’t matter in this race since we never went near it. And it might not have been open then anyway.) and turned north onto West Lawther, which we took to the north side of Mockingbird. We ran along Mockingbird to the east side of the lake, although at this juncture we’re really on the east side of White Rock Creek; the lake is to the south, and –this I actually I remember, most of this I’m augmenting sketchy memories with the course as laid out on – where some stupid course marshal on a bicycle was kind of in my way at this point as there were two people I was sort of in the process of passing but didn’t really want to pass yet, but the bicycle dork kind of forced my hand. But I digress. Anyway, we came off of Mockingbird and looped down back onto East Lawther Drive, where we continued north for maybe another half mile before we finally turned around and ran back to Winfrey Point, except for when I walked in the last mile. Which wasn’t bad – I didn’t feel particularly trained for the distance but I didn’t walk until the last mile and overall my time was 1:26:45 except those bastards have it as 1:26:46.58 because they’re always screwing me out of a second here or a second there. Or even a fraction of a second; it’s all the same to them. Them in this case being the Dallas Running Club who used to be the Cross Country Club of Dallas until they realized that they didn’t really do much cross-country, well, one race a year but is that really enough to name a club after? I think not and eventually they agreed. Anyway, they put on this race and it’s kind of a big one for them – proceeds go to support the lake, which needs all the help it can get what with the Richardson ISD dumping toxic waste into it, which I’m pretty sure that’s not official Richardson ISD policy but still. So I suppose that’ll drive up the entry fees for next year which isn’t to say that I’m definitely going to do the race again next year. But I probably will.

04/03: April Fools Four-Mile Road Race

Ten Notes From A Race I Barely Remember (And That There Wasn’t That Much To Say About In The First Place, Which Is Why It Took So Long To Say Anything):

1. The average high for Salisbury (well, Lawrence, actually), Massachusetts, on April 4 is 51 degrees. This year it was 66 at 11:00 in the morning (it peaked at 79 in the afternoon) but with only 48% humidity, so while it wasn’t ideal running weather, it really wasn’t that bad, either. If they had started the race at 9:00, the temperature would have still been in the mid-fifties. I would have had to wake up earlier, though – there’s always a trade-off.

2. The course had its good points and its bad points – it was an out-and-back that was mostly flat and well-shaded, but kind of boring in a scenic, suburban sort of way. The one noticeable uphill came sans shade, so that wasn’t very nice, but it was near the end so you just had to suck it up and get over it.

3. The race was staged from the Winner’s Circle, a bar in, or at least on the outskirts of, Salisbury, Massachusetts. Massachusetts, and I think New England in general, has something we could use a lot more of here in Texas – running-centric bars. Because even down here, most runners I know don’t mind the idea of a beer or two dozen after a long, hard run.

4. Celebrity of the day was Sara Hall, U.S. womens road 5K champion in 2006 and wife of Olympic marathoner Ryan. She was the first female finisher in 21:34 which means that when she was crossing the finish line, I was starting to wonder if maybe they had forgotten to put out a marker for the third mile.

5. After the race I thought, man, I could go for a beer right now – which worked out well because they had some from Harpoon Brewery.

6. There was an older gentleman running around with a neatly-trimmed beard on exactly one-half his face. I’m not sure what was up with that but going on three months later it’s still memorable. In a creepy sort of way.

7. For all the ubiquity of Starbucks, I had a tough time finding coffee before this race. Partially because I’m too much of a control freak to patronize Dunkin Donuts, where they have kind of a heavy hand with the milk.

8. My plan was to run the first two miles as hard as I could and struggle through the last two as best I could. The results overall were better than I expected – 30:50 with splits of about 7:15, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:05 – but I was hoping the first two miles would each be about fifteen seconds faster.

9. Coincidentally, I think it also took me 30:50 to finish my postrace beer. I’m pacing myself, sergeant.

10. The biggest disappointment was not getting a shirt; you had to preregister to get one. At the time I though they looked pretty cool but now I can’t remember what they looked like so, in retrospect, I guess I’m not that disappointed.