Holiday Hustle 8K – 2014

December 27, 2014

I’m back in Dallas, TX, for a Christmastime family visit.  There seem to be races every weekend (and inexpensive, too), so I am taking advantage of whatever I am able to run.  The only (minor) issue is that I don’t have my own car here, so I am borrowing my parents’ car and it is important to get the car back by a reasonable hour so they can make appointed rounds if necessary.

I have run this race previously a few times.  Last year, in 40:42.  I would like to do better than last year, but the reality is that most years I am getting slower, so I will just deal with it.

The weather is pretty cold (not wet, though) and it is very windy.  I have forgotten to pack my Buff, but I wear a long-sleeved shirt, my “ultra” shorts (which have the bicycle-short-like lining), hat and gloves.  Registration is pretty easy (no line) and a mere $10.  I go and sit in the car pending the start of the race, because it is really too cold to hang around outside.

There are 200 competitors (exactly, according to the website) and the race starts just a slight bit late as a local TV station is doing interviews and positioning their cameras.

The first part of the race is the length of the parking lot (and back) and halfway around the lake.  The shorter race (the 3K) turns off from us and goes off to their turnaround.  My first mile is 7:40 (if I am to improve on my time from last year, I am making a good start of it).

The race continues through a wooded area, mostly flat.  I keep trading off between a number of people, including a kid who is much shorter than me.  Every time I make contact, he accelerates.  In my mind, it’s “whatever,” because I am maintaining an even pace, and he is tiring himself out (also, he’s probably 2 feet shorter!).  Towards the end of the second mile is a loping uphill, so I slow down my pace a little bit to survive it and manage a 8:06.

To the turnaround, there continues to be some uphill and then a flattening out of the course.  It is nice to see approximately what place I am in (maybe top 30?) and if there is anyone I might catch (Probably not.).  Despite Mile 3 being a bit down a hill, I pull out another over-8:00 mile (8:11).  I have dropped almost all of my 20 second advantage garnered from my first quick mile.

Once back on the flat, I can accelerate a bit more (since there are really no more uphills) and pull out a 4th mile in 7:38.

The last stretch is coming in from the opposite side of the lake, but then retracing steps around the lake and finishing at the front of the lake (previously, the race ended up a slight hill by the park pavilion, but this is better because that path was narrow and cracked).  I put on a bit of a sprint at the end and pass a couple of folks (including a guy who passed me, but I couldn’t “let him go”).  My last mile is 7:11 and I finish in 38:45.

I hang around a while to find out if I may have won an award (I’ve run in the Clydesdale category to give me a better chance than in the 40-44 category.), and I eat a cinnamon raisin bagel and grab a couple of tangerines.

The guy who used to do the results doesn’t do them any more, so it is taking forever.  I had said that I would probably be back by 10:30 (and I still have to drive back) and even at 10am (more than an hour AFTER I finished), they are still not doing the results.  I can’t even try to pick up my award early because they haven’t processed them yet.  (Even on Sunday, they are not posted to the Plano Pacers website, but someone at another race tells me about where the results are mysteriously posted BEFORE their own website.)

When I finally am able to see the results, I won the Clydesdale category (more than a minute faster than the 22-year old in 2nd place).  I guess I don’t really need another medal, but it is cool that I improved my time (from last year) and won my weight category.

Postscript:  Someone left their nice running gloves in the door handle of my car.  They either thought it was their car or meant to get them later, but 75 minutes after the race ended, they became mine.  I like coming home with something nice after a race, so I got gloves and tangerines.


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