Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drumstick Dash 10K Race Review

Before I get to the race report, let me give you a little background first.  The Wife has been down in Florida all week visiting her dad, so I've been home alone.  How does that affect my race?  Well, when I'm home alone, I tend to stay up too late and eat, well, let's just say that I eat irresponsibly (hamburgers and Oreos anyone?  I've also been filling in some late shifts at work, so last night I didn't head home until after 9pm, and didn't get to bed until well after 11pm.

As a result, I wasn't particularly enthused to get out of bed this morning to tackle a 10K.  It's funny how your bed can feel its most comfortable after you're done using it.  In any event, I got up, hopped in the shower to warm up a bit, and then headed to the kitchen to get some breakfast.  That was when I saw the current temperature.

You have GOT to be kidding me.
Single digits.  Yay.

When I told my dad I would be running on Thanksgiving, he said, 'Oooh.  Make sure to keep your junk warm'.  Good call Dad.  I started by putting on two layers of compression shorts and then my running tights.  For good luck, I put my green Covenant Pines shorts - the same one's from the Monster Dash a month ago. Remember....?

On top, I went with a long-sleeve base layer and a running t-shirt over that.  For a shell, I used the same jacket from the Monster Dash.  It's not too heavy, but really keeps the wind out.  For my noggin, I went with a plain old winter cap.  I have a skullcap, but it can't soak up too much sweat, so if I got overheated, things could get messy.

I learned my lesson at the Monster Dash that there's no point in getting to a fun race waaaay ahead of schedule, so when I got to the Lake Harriet area, I just sat in the car until there were about 20 minutes to go.   I walked/jogged about a half a mile to get to get to the band shell, and did a few pick-ups to get my blood flowing.  The band shell provided some protection from the wind, so I could do some light stretching without getting blown around.

With a few minutes to go before the start, all of the racers shuffled over to the course.  Most of us hopped in place or did some high-knee kicks to keep warm.  At 8:01 on the nose, the race started.  There was no gun, no horn and certainly no Ironman cannon.  It was just a nice, casual 'Okay....GO!' from one of the race officials.

My goal pace for this race was a sub-9:30 mile.  Okay, it really wasn't a goal, but more of a prediction.  I haven't been as motivated lately to bust my rump for a good time, plus, I had no idea how my asthma would be impacted by the cold.

Mile 1 - 9:44   As with most races, the 1st mile was the slowest.  The road was at it's most crowded and everyone's legs were still warming up.  I hopped onto the running trail to get a little more room to maneuver, but only stayed on for about 1/4 mile.  My Minnesota High School Geometry education told me that staying on the path would mean running a shorter race (Circumference=Pi x D, and all that).  In other words, I didn't want to be a cheater.

Mile 2 - 9:09   There were a couple steep hills on the back side of the lake.  Sure, they weren't fun to get up.  They weren't long, but they were steep.  The downhills on the other side though, well, they were long and shallow, which probably aided in speeding me up.

Mile 3 - 9:12   As we finished our first loop around the lake, the road conditions got worse.  Basically, you had two options.  You could run on the firm ground and risk hitting an ice patch.  Or, you could run on the snowy ground where, you wouldn't slip, but each footstep would sink down an inch or two.  Either way, it was hard to run efficiently.  Lots of effort was wasted on slipping or sinking feet.

On a side note, there was a water station at the 1/2 way point, but all of the water was freezing in the cups.  I've never had to chew my water during a race before.  Sweet.

Mile 4 - 9:13  At this point, I thought, "cool, only a few more miles to go".  This chunk of the race was fairly uneventful.  Although, I did have to take off my shades.  They were so fogged up that everything was a big gray blur.  I guess I must have been generating a little heat.
Mile 5 - 8:48  I was still feeling pretty good and could keep a faster pace, so I decided to push the last couple of miles.  Surprisingly, the asthma was behaving itself too.  I was a little warm, and probably could have done without the short-sleeved t-shirt, but it never got to the point where I was uncomfortable.

Mile 6 - 8:46   I kept pushing through the last mile.  The footing was a little wonky from time to time.  My lungs were really starting to burn from the cold air, and my quads were barking too. 

Mile 6.25 - 1:54   As with most races, the last little bit is fueled purely by adrenaline.  Having a downhill finish helped a bunch too.  I hit the line and stopped my watch - 56:45.  That meant I averaged 9:05 per mile.  Not too shabby for being under-motivated.

I didn't stick around long after finishing, and neither did many other people.  Once my heart slowed down a bit, I knew that all my sweat was going to start to give me the chills, so I headed for the car.  That's cool though.  Not every race has to have a party afterward. 

When I got back to the car, I snapped this photo.  Behold, the season's first beard-cicle:
Also included: the season's first eyelash-cicle, sideburns-cicle and 'stache-cicle.
I felt good about the race.  No, that's not quite it.  I feel good about the RUN. It was nice to get in a good winter workout that wasn't on the treadmill at the gym.  Hopefully, I can stay motivated to run more outside, regardless of temperature.  With some changes to my work schedule, I'll have the opportunity to do some morning runs every Wednesday, at least for a little while.

For tonight, I'll be tackling the late shift at the office, so that everyone else can snarf down some bird.  Don't worry about me though.  I've got a family dinner with my name on it on Saturday.  I'll even have a new 'Fun in the Kitchen' post tomorrow as I prepare my portion of the meal.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Oh, and Dad - my junk is just fine.

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