When I’d originally lined up my “six races in six weeks,” this race wasn’t even on my radar. Somewhere, I heard about it, and thought long and hard about whether I wanted to do a back-to-back on this final weekend of racing for me. Would I have enough fuel in the tank? Would my legs hold out?
Today, I found the answer to those questions and others.
First things first… Why does the shirt and medal say “2014”? Delorean with a flux capacitor? Time capsule? Nah, nothing quite that dramatic.
This race was originally slated to be run last fall. But when the Grand Jury decision came down for the Ferguson events, the race committee didn’t feel that it made sense to pull resources from the crisis in North County just to provide safety for a race. After looking for a date, they landed on today, and just used the shirts and medals they had in hand from last fall.
I’ve mentioned this before — I’m not a big fan of running downtown. The roads that the courses travel are pretty rough with uneven pavements, patches and potholes, and typically it takes a lot of extra time to travel back and forth from the race site.
Typically, I’d just drive to the MetroLink station in Brentwood, and take the train downtown. That means an early start, but I don’t have to worry about driving or parking downtown. However, just a couple of days ago, there was a brutal beating of a MetroLink passenger on the train by a gang of thugs. I know the odds are way, way against me having to deal with that, but I also knew that if I drove downtown, I’d avoid it altogether.
See, there were only about 500 folks registered for this race. For the big downtown races, the train cars are full of runners, and with that “safety in numbers” going for me, riding the train isn’t that big a deal. But with a really small race, I know the trains would be pretty empty.
As it ends up, I found “rock star” parking, just about three parking spaces from the race start/finish line. Excellent!
The home base for the race was the downtown Hooters, and even at 6:30am, they had it open, serving coffee and water. No chicken wings, however. 🙁 But, it was warm inside, had plenty of seating, and even featured real bathrooms instead of porta-potties. That was nice!
And with this race benefitting Backstoppers, it only made sense that there would be a color guard from the police. I love that most races begin with the National Anthem, and spinning up a few flags just adds to the experience!
And that warmth was well-needed. It was cold… really cold. I think the temp was around 30, but the buildings kept the sun off much of the course, and were great for channeling the wind down the streets. It was probably the coldest race I’ve run this year. Now, when we got to the long straightaway where the turnaround was, the sun was blazing down, and it was a nice warmup mid-race.
Speaking of that straightaway, once again, this race had a single water table that served water to both sides, just like the Undy. In this race, that was about 2.5km into the race on the outbound side, and about 3.25 km into the race on the return side. Before yesterday, I’d never seen that configuration, and I really, really like it.
I knew I was near the back, and on the straightaway, I saw how close I was to the back. From the return side, I could see the tail end of the runners, with a support truck following along to keep them safe. As the recent GoDaddy commercial says, every train needs a caboose, and that was me!
Things we going well… and then it happened. The real world intruded into my race. About 3.5km into the race, my phone went off, alerting me to a power outage at one of our facilities. Ugh. So I slowed, trying to manage dialing into a bridge call, keeping my team updated on what I was hearing, and trying not to fall in a pothole or walk into a light pole. As it ends up, they didn’t need me on the call, so I dropped, but I was slowed across about ten-fifteen minutes of my race.
After a few more turns, I came to the finish line, and found that I finished three seconds faster than yesterday. Woot! The last time I did a back-to-back weekend (last year’s Rock and Roll Remix), I had a ten minute difference between the races. Having consistent results this go around is a really pleasant surprise.
So, the last race of these six weekends of races is complete. I have some reflections on these races, but I’ll save that for another day!