Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Pumpkin Run

Today was one of the days I've been training for! The 22nd annual Pumpkin Run. (According to the lovely shirt I'm now wearing!) I was hoping to break my previous blazing speed of 1:07:45 from the Dublin 10-2-4K we ran last June. My training times have been in the 1:04 range in our White Rock runs. (That is real time which includes water stops). I felt pretty confident I could do it this time! I was hoping that the horrible cold I picked up from the kids at school wouldn't affect me too much - The Nyquil and Dayquil I had been taking had seemed to help my breathing some and I wasn't coughing as much as I had been over the course of the past week.

We got off to a bad start when we were driving over to Joe Pool. Who would think you would run into dead stopped traffic at 7:30 on a Saturday morning? Well, if you live in the Dallas area I suppose it SHOULD come as no surprise. Yep, there we were, STUCK! We finally decided to go around the city instead of through it and found out there had been a traffic accident where a minivan had flipped over a guard rail...I sure hope no one was seriously hurt!

We finally got to the park where the race was to be run and missed the turn because the sign was right at the turn - no warning ahead of we made a U-eeee and came back. Then it was bumper to bumper from the entrance all the way to where you parked! We picked up our packets and our timing chips, got our bibs and chips situated where they belong and walked to put the stuff back into the car. Stopped at the porta-potty on our way back to the start to find out that it had been delayed for about 15 minutes, which meant we wouldn't start until 9:15...not a big deal in most places, but in Texas 15 minutes could mean an extra 10 degrees of heat!

Now this is a big run for the schools around the area - didn't know that ahead of time! The schools compete to see who can get the most runners to sign up and run. (Most enter the 5K). The winning school get $550.00. Sooooooo ... the begining of the race was a bit packed to say the least. The top 3 schools alone had over 400 runners with them! And as usual, the walkers did NOT go to the back of the starting area as requested NUMEROUS times! I don't know why they can't just do that - it isn't like their time starts before they cross the mat or anything and it is such a PAIN to go around them!

Once the gun went off Rick and I started working our way through the maze of kids, moms and dads, and strollers in front of us. I looked at my Garmin and we were going at about a 9:00 mile...oops, a little fast for me - so I slowed my pace a bit. The first mile felt great - even fighting the cold. My pace was still a little faster than I wanted at 9:30, but it felt really good. Mile two was good as well...there was a small hill, but I took it like a pro and shortened my steps, straightened my back and I was up it before I knew it was there - well, may not before I knew it was there, but it didn't pose much of a problem! Mile 3 is where I started feeling the run. We were out of the shade provided by the trees the first two miles, the temperature was rising and I looked up and saw a fairly decent hill in front of me. I was sure I could do this. It wasn't as bad as the hill at White Rock - I've hit that one at the 5 mile mark and kept my pace pretty steady, so I should be able to do this too, right? I could still see Rick up ahead of me, so I was feeling pretty good about myself, even though my pace had slowed to about 10:30 miles. At the top of the hill I thought I was going to die! I couldn't catch my breath and I felt like my legs were made of lead. I kept plodding along though watching my pace get slower and slower. Rick hit the turn-around ahead of me (of course) and I got to give him a thumbs-up as he went by going the other direction. I kept going - walked through the water stop which was the plan, and went on for the turn around. I was hoping to pick the pace back up at the hill - and I did for a very short time. Mile 4 was decent - under 11:00 - although I really wanted to keep them all below 10:30 - I've done that before! Still no trees and the temperature was still climbing. It would be in the low 80's before we were finished - which is still much better than the 90's we experienced in Dubllin!!!

I turned the corner at the bottom of the hill and figured I was headed for home and should be turning at the road we started on fairly soon...but it was not to be. When we got there we had to keep going out to the lake, around a small loop, and back in again. This was all into a headwind. Even though I felt like I had picked up the pace it sure wasn't showing! I passed Rick here again with only about a mile to go in the race (so he had about 1/2 a mile at this point). We high-fived each other as we passed and he shouted some words of encouragement to me. I just kept plodding along. After the loop I headed for the last water station. Guess what...they were out of water! I guess all the 1 mile and 5K runners wiped them out. Oh yeah...the beginning of this loop is where the 5K and 10K joined back up, so you were back dodging the walking 5K people wasn't quite as bad because it was the end of the race and it wasn't as bunched up, but still a little frustrating.

I made the turn and there were a few people that had finished the races that were walking back to their cars, but they were polite and were pretty much staying out of the running lanes. I finally made it to where I could see the finish line and there was Rick, walking across the parking lot to cheer me on. He shouted for me to "kick it to the finish", so I gave it all I had. (So did the guy in front of me - but I passed him anyway....should Imention he was probably in his 70's?)!

I crossed the finish line and Rick took me to the banana and water stations to fuel up. It felt good! We waited for the results and I was happily surprised to see that I now had a new PR - 1:06:03. A great 1:42 better than my previous time - but a disappointing 2 minutes slower than my goal time of 1:04. I was also surprised to learn I had taken 2nd place in my age group - I guess I should mention here that there were only 2 runners in my age group! I had to laugh at that!!!! The first place runner only beat me by 15 seconds!

Rick had an amazing race. Despite having problems with the ball of his foot he ran a fantastic 58:42...breaking the one hour barrier. He just keeps getting better and better. Despite being that good he placed 5th in his age group...but only a couple minutes out of a medal...I'm sure it won't be long before he will be picking up some bling!

All in all it ended up being a pretty good race. I hope we get a chance to do it again next year - but without the cold and the bad foot!

1 comment:

RVingGrams said...


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