January 1, 2015
My most expensive race in Texas (this year!). This was a $38 race that I have done many of the Christmas seasons I have spent in Dallas. It is ideal for a New Year’s Day race because it starts at 10am and they have alcohol at the finish line (in years past – spiked eggnog, beer and mimosas).
Mom said to me last night that she wondered if the race would be cancelled. Thinking back to past years, I can remember running through ankle deep water on the path, so I am assuming, short of lightning strikes (and yes, I have started an 100-mile race in a thunderstorm as well as the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon). The weather on New Year’s Eve was crappy, and it was possible that the bad weather would continue through New Year’s Day. Since the race was just 5M, I didn’t really care about the cold and rain as long as it wasn’t mortally dangerous.
I went to bed fairly late; I was kept up by the heavy downpour on the roof… and when I got up around 8am, it had receded a bit, but I didn’t know how bad it would be at the location of the race. I was game.
The drive out (about 20 minutes) wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely raining. The car temperature said 33 degrees… so just short of freezing.
I was able to park pretty close to the start and quickly went down to pick up my bib and shirt (technical blue this year) and then race back to the car and read (Julie and Julia) until the race starts. For extra warmth, I am also wearing my sleeves (some people call them “arm warmers”) under my long sleeves.
When I hear announcements for ‘5 minutes to the start,’ only then do I make my way as I do not want to stand any longer than need be in these conditions.
Just as the race was underway, the rain began coming down… HARD. Fortunately, the course wasn’t particularly muddy or slippery as in the past, but some of the metal connectors to the bridges were slippery, and there were beaucoup puddles. At first, I was trying to avoid the puddles (to do so, one had to run onto the grass lining the trail… which was muddy), but after a while, it was easier to take a more direct pathway.
For the first two miles (7:25 and 7:49), I was just behind the first woman, but faded a bit to the turnaround. I tried to take advantage of the couple of undercrossings, because in the direct rain, I couldn’t see that well through my glasses.
For miles 3 and 4 (7:59, 7:54), I was passed by a few more females. And on the final stretch (which is a series of little bridges paralleling Northwest Highway), I managed a 7:42, to finish in 38:46, just one second slower than the 8K a few days ago (though to be honest, an 8K is slightly shorter (0.04M) and the conditions were crazy here).
I grabbed a cup of mimosa, but wanted to change into something dry (it wasn’t raining as hard at this point) and slowly pulled my shirt, sleeves, and shoes off. My hands were so cold, I wasn’t able to untie my shoes, but I could tie my dry ones decently.
While I was doing so, I got into a conversation with a runner who was wearing a sweatshirt that said “Ultracentric” something. She turned out to be the Masters winner, Candace George. Really nice gal… especially when she helped me button my shorts (the outer shorts OVER the running shorts), because I didn’t have enough feeling in my fingers to do it myself. While embarrassing, it is indicative of how helpful runners will be to each other on ‘gross’ things.
We walked down to await the awards. It seemed like everyone was winning an award because only 100 people showed up; I was the only Clydesdale in my weight class. I was even the 9th overall master; that NEVER happens.
The award, as usual, was a champagne flute with some of the race details etched on it. (The glass made it safely in my carry-on, only to have the stem break when I put it on display.)