December 19, 2010
Yesterday, I flew to Dallas for Christmas with my family. On most occasions, I have to fly out almost a week before Christmas or the price gets really expensive. I always try to look for a race in the area, because they are fun to do, and the Dallas area races almost always have Clydesdale categories (usually 190 pounds plus) in addition to age groups. This is where my real opportunity lies.
Usually, I participate in a few Christmas time races with Plano Pacers and the New Year’s Day 5M. I think the Plano Pacers race is next weekend, so I check out this Carrollton Runners’ event. Carrollton is about 10 miles from my folks’ place, and they do their races in a soccer/baseball park. When you enter the park, it looks like there are about 25 separate ball fields. It’s really quite nice, though we are running on the roads before most groups get here (and I don’t think they play a lot of youth baseball in the mid-winter!).
The first race is a mile race and it is cold (by my standards) – about 47 degrees. This makes it difficult for me to breathe… and the road surface is not conducive to great running – it’s concrete or granite or something. Doing a 7:24 makes me pretty happy.
I should mention a little something about the timing system, because it is similar (actually identical) to the Plano Pacers’ timing… because the same person is the timer. I signed up for this race online – I think it was $5 – but I didn’t have to pay online… I just needed to give them my information and let them know that I was participating. When I arrived, there was already a number assigned to me. My number is the size of an index card, laminated and has a UPC code on it. After I grab my number, they scan the bar code to put me into the system. The number has a hole punch where you can hook a safety pin to attach to your shirt. Also part of the number is a RFID tag which can be read by the timing system. So, we run by a card reader and then by it again when we finish. Once everyone finishes running, the award ceremony can start immediately because they have all of the results right there.
About 10 minutes after the last finisher in the Mile is done, the 5K starts. It is basically the re-running of the Mile, and then an additional 1.1 mile (.55 out, .55 back) loop, which takes us by another card reader. Then we re-run the Mile course backward to the finish line. When I finish, I’m told that I positive splitted by about a minute (which means I went out too fast). My overall time is 24:17, which is good enough for second in my division and 8th overall (out of maybe 25 runners). Not bad for a fish out of water.