Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Race Report(s): Halloween Weekend

(Note: I've been trying to upload pictures to this thing all day, but stupid Blogger is being stupid again. Honestly Google, figure it out. I'll get pics up on this post whenever I can, I guess, so check back later!)

Wow, well that was a crazy weekend of a lot of exercise offset by a lot of eating. And there was a beer or two in the mix. Some pumpkin pie too. And apple pie. Good times.

Saturday broke bright and cool for the 10k trail run in Lake Elmo, a tiny community just East of the Twin Cities. I realized while driving there that these were the same roads I rode on some of my long rides this summer, so that was kind of fun. There were just over 200 people running the 10k, but it didn't feel like that many.

The trail run was a lot of fun. Some pretty steep climbs, a lot of grassy trails, a lot of dirt trails, and a few that were almost sandy, the dirt was so fine. I was bundled up in thermal running gear, going sans costume because I'm no fun, I guess, but I think the majority of us were sans costume. I spent most of the race chasing Bumblebee girl and Phantom lady, and see-sawing with Nike Chick.

I'm pretty inexperienced with trail running, so while I tried to look around and enjoy the late October morning in the stupid beautiful park reserve we were in, I was also watching the ground a lot for my next footfall, lest my delicate ankles (from years of high school football and basketball injuries) find themselves unprepared for the terrain. It was a great workout, and having to use so many stabilizing muscles can, I think, only be good for when one returns to road running. The course was in great shape - we haven't had any major rain lately so there was no mud or unwelcome obstacles. The atmosphere, with costume contests and shorter races for families and children, was appropriately friendly, and while some runners were there to race and others there just to enjoy the morning, I think everybody was able to find what they were looking for.

Sidenote: How much do I love - LOVE - seeing little Superman kid or Little Witch girl trapsing around with their parents with numbers pinned to their chests? In this era of childhood obesity and McDonald's birthday parties - nevermind parents who just don't give a damn - I think joining your kids on a short race like that is one of the best demonstrations of Things That Are Right With The World. Huzzah and kudos to you parents involving your kids early and often in a healthy lifestyle. Excellent work.

I had no ambition for the race - just have a solid workout and enjoy myself. I finished in 55:17, so just over a 9:00 minute pace for each mile. I went out too fast and faded in the last mile and a half or so, but that's okay. A 9:00 minute pace is just about as fast as I think I could run a trail run right now, so I feel good about that. It was also fun to actually race - that's something I hope to do more of this year. Ironman, and the races preparing for it, were much more about me and discerning my personal performance relative to what will be required to finish 140.6 miles in 17 hours. It's a different kind of fun to go out there and want to catch people, or chase a certain time. I enjoy that part of competition. So I followed Bumblebee Girl and Phantom Lady within the first mile, and we passed Nike Chick somewhere in mile 2. Bumblebee and Phantom were keeping a pretty brisk pace, so I thought if I could just stay with them into the last mile, I could make a push to pass them in the last half mile. Nike Chick stayed with me all day, finally passing me for good at mile 4 when I stopped to walk through a water station. I started fading after that and couldn't make up the lost time on the three of them, and I think they finished 15 seconds or so ahead of me. Anyway, I had a blast and worked hard, and that's all a person could want in life.

I drove right home, had time to get changed into some fresh thermal gear, and then our friends started coming over to head to the next race, a 5k that's part of a Halloween festival here. We had quite a crew - Mike (as a jailbird), Amy (as a fairy), Susan (as Blueberry Muffin), Patric (in Leisure suit), and Randy (as Uncle Fester) all did the 1 mile run as Todd (as a goofy 70's athlete), Ben (who went as me), Sara (who went as herself, only taller), and I (who went as Ben) ran the 5k. This race was insane. Almost everybody was in costume, and some were hilarious and elaborate. Things you don't see everyday - a fat dude in full-on Spiderman regalia go clomping by. There were pirates, pimps and whores, superheroes, Austin Powers, dogs in Dracula capes - on and on. And there were a TON of people doing the run. The run/walk leads the way for the Halloween parade, which who knew was so huge, but I guess, like, 30,000 people line the streets for this thing and the parade lasted almost 3 hours. That's nuts. Anyway, I hung out and ran with Sara while Ben and Todd stayed ahead of us a bit, and we took it easy and enjoyed ourselves. We had a great time.

We all headed back to our place after the race and feasted on chili, chips & dip, cornbread, veggies, beer - a little bit of everything. It was awesome.

Sunday my buddies came over and we played the 9th Annual Weener Bowl - a Halloween weekend football game that gotten more fun as we've gotten older, even as we've all slowed a step or three. We had a great time, my team won (thanks in part to my FIVE interceptions, two run back for touchdowns, canagettahellyeah), and nobody was injured, which is always good. Afterwards we loaded up on pizza and more beer while we watched some (horribly lopsided and boring) football on TV and amused ourselves with the sudden onslaught of babies my friends have all had lately, crawling about my floors.

All tolled I'm pretty sure I took in more calories than I burned, but it was good times with good friends, and that's the stuff of life. So says I.


jbmmommy said...

Food eaten while having that much fun has no calories! Or at least that's the way it should be. Glad you enjoyed your weekend.

Todd said...

Amen to that brotha!

Thanks again for hosting the post race festivites Deion.

Pharmie said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Any more races on the horizen yet this year?

qcmier said...

Glad you made it out of your football game without injuries. Five picks!?! Dude you can play on my team any day.