Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cold and blustery day. . . must be spring! April 5K

Fools 5k put on by the fabulous Trekman Racing crew --he has great races, great organization, great after race goodies (food, awards, music, massages, and MORE!)  If you haven't heard of Trekman, maybe you've read of Park to Park in Runner's World magazine?  

This was Trekman's first event with his new combined chip timing/bib process.  When we picked up our bibs the day before, we weren't assigned a number until we logged onto the system. Then the volunteers [awesome volunteers] scanned the bib we would be assigned.  A disposable chip was on the back of the bib--to remain there.  I normally wear the bibs on my pant leg, so it doesn't crinkle and my thumbs won't attack it during a run.  However, Trekman said we needed to wear the bibs front and center on our shirts [though now i wonder what those guys who race shirtless did, hmm].  

Pic of logo on my bib
The weather had been beautiful, though a bit chilly and I decided to ride my bike over the race as a great warmup. It was a fairly uneventful ride in terms fo interruptions (no trains, no cars, etc).  I managed to scare up a doe and her fawn in the first mile, along with a bluebird.    The only problems I encountered were with the glaciers left from the previous snow fall.  I completely forgot about the layers of snow compacting as a result of the bridges above being cleaned.  I'm neither good enough of a rider, nor brave enough, to attempt to cross the ice patch.  As I came to the entrance to the state park, I came across two larger glacier fields, one with a bright red cardinal sitting atop showing off his splendid colors.  I managed to scare up a few more deer as well--surprising they were out so late but realizing they had probably been nestled down in the last days of cold weather.

The first glacier to cross on my ol' Voodoo  
 The energy from a thousand plus people was amazing.  Everyone was standing around in the sun, and trying to stay out of the breeze, and enjoying the beautiful day for a run. The parking lot where the finish festivities were staged was not the start line.  We had to walk a half mile or so to the start line.  Many races I've been to --other than Trekman's-- have signs for those who are under ten minute/mile runners and only speakers near the front.  Not Trekman!  He places speakers all along the participant lineup area, along with signage for runners of all abilities and walkers.  The Fools, taking place at a state park, is relatively flat. I don't mean in the "there's a rise of X and a descent of X so it's considered flat".  I mean in the "there are only a few inclines along the way with a gentle grade and maybe a foot increase is elevation. 

Before we started, Trekman's crew played America's song  and then we were off. . . Now, if you've never raced before you'll learn quite quickly that everyone goes off faster than what their normal pace is.  This is part of the excitement, energy, and adrenaline that racers feel. 

The gun went off, people started a slow run and then we came to a stop. . . one must love that aspect of races ;-)   I tried to stay on the edge, in case I decided to take a walk break. Since I'm just getting into running again after a few months off I figured this would be wise--and then I leave the middle for those folks who want to go really fast and zip here and there, this way and that way.   There was the woman I nicknamed the Gazelle. She was in a high-stepping run, and then she turned around and ran backward to cheer on other people in her group!  Then there was the mother/daughter combo, so cute to see the mom and daughter (about 8) running hand in hand along the course.  There were those dressed in costumes--it IS a FOOLS race after all! There was Thing 1 and Thing 2, bathing suit runners, those with tutus and a cowboy complete with hat, checkered shirt and jeggings!  (I'm still not sure where he found ones long enough for his legs!).  I've never dressed up for this race, but it's fun to see people who get completely into--and who can get their friends and families to get in on the action.  The favorite for me was the Mad Hatter--part of the Alice in Wonderland crew.  He ran with a gigantic hat upon his top! 

There I was, running along near the edge so I could maneuver around people if the occasion arose. All of a sudden a preteen who was walking in the center of roadway decided to start running and moved over the shoulder and then just stopped right in front of me!  This is one of the reasons I never let myself get "so in the zone" of running--always be  on the lookout for people who don't quite obey the rules of the roadway.  I did get around the young girl, although I almost plowed into her.  :-(   

We ran an out and back course with a side lollypop portion.  It was fun doing the lollypop, as then we were able to see the lead runners on their way back, then finishing the out and back let us see the rest of the racing community who was out there.  On the way to the finish line and around the small curves I just ran a straight line, or "ran the tangent" if you want to get all technical on the geometry names.  Plenty of racers think they need to run the complete curves and stay to the outside, but that's only true when you're training and don't want to get run over by a car.  In races, the course is certified, which means that you can run the shortest tangents and still end up doing the total race mileage. It's the reason that you run a half marathon and come up with running 14 miles on your GPS device.  

I finished in a respectable time, though my GPS thought I had gone further than I had, probably because it couldn't tell what I did on the lollypop area. 

After the finish with my "mardi gras'" beads
Here I am after the finish and after my face became slightly less red.  My time did improve from the March 5K, which is expected since there were no hills on this course, nor any street corner turns. 
Larger glacier field
If you want a fabulous race atmosphere and have time in September, think of joining Iowa for Trekman Racing's  Park to Park Half-marathon, 10K or 5K event! 

No comments:

Post a Comment