Sunday, November 24, 2013

Race report: Boerne Turkey Trot 10K

Turkey Trot success!  Let me tell you some tales of this chilly and fantastic event.
Imagine first a grassy, pre-dawn town square, with a costumed turkey and a group of runners doing YMCA instructor-led aerobics to warm up before a race, unfettered by the mist and wind and cold.  It was silly and fun and reminds me that the YMCA has a wonderful approach to community health.  

stepping it wide
 Is this what Japanese company workers feel like every morning?  If so, they are a lucky bunch!  Army PT could take a lesson! 

A gazebo shelters the coffee service, the race registration table and swag bags.  Actual restrooms (and port-a-potties) sit at the far end of the square, right by the start/finish line (how convenient!).  The course immediately turns out of the city and right into neighborhoods and the "Greenway No. 9" paths. 

it just looks cold
I love a small autumn race in a tight-knit Texas town where JROTC presents the colors, local students sing the National Anthem, high school cross-country runners show up with their non-running parents to sweep the 5K, and begins with a heartfelt prayer by the aforementioned aerobics instructor.

Fall racing reminds me of my high school cross-country meets in northeastern Ohio--early Saturday mornings, icicles in my hair, and all extremities freezing in those wee shorts and jerseys.  And the fallen damp leaves on the muddy grass and paths.  I definitely miss these signals of fall!

I miss them so much that I've forgotten how to dress for running in cold, wet weather.
Friday night I bought running tights- so far so good.  Since moving from Alaska, I've lived in Georgia, various place in the Middle East, Miami, San Antonio and El Paso.  These are not places where you ever need running tights nor do you see them very often, so I was glad to find any pair at all on such short notice.  I am not a fan of tight pants or skinny jeans but for the sake of my core temperature, I wore the tights in their full thigh-highlighting glory.

ugh tights.  no reason to smile.
 Combined with 3 x long-sleeve shirts and an earwarmer/headband (which nicely tamed the Seagulls as well), I was ok.  Not comfortable.  Not cozy warm, even by the end of the race, but good enough to survive.  And pretty good for someone who's been living out of a suitcase since July!

Y'all I was disheartened!
I couldn't hold an 8:00 pace yesterday.
This does not bode well for my 1:45 half marathon goal in TWO WEEKS!!
Yes, I intentionally dressed as much like a snowman as possible.  And I forgot to eat my morning snack or have my morning coffee.

And I'd stood shivering in the misty, blustery 36F for an hour before running
But it took me 4 miles to feel at all warm, and to even get a sub-8:00 pace going.  
Now I know how it feels to be that turtle in a peanut butter pond.

I can see myself shivering in this pic!
 Yes, I did see one guy in shorts and short sleeves at the race start.  I think he won the 10K, and I think it's because he was running as quickly as possible to get back to warm clothes.

I was on my own at the race, imagine that, I couldn't convince anyone to stand around the cold with me at 0600.  I had to leave my warmups in the car and then I took the YMCA-provided shuttle to the race start.  If anything, I would re-do this process.  I was shivering for about 45 minutes until the race started.  I don't like that.  Next time I'll park at the City Square instead, so I can leave my warm clothes on longer as well as retrieve them right away.

Lies!!  There was no "45F" on Saturday!  The race ended with 36F!
 I think the sudden cold front is a Turkey Trot tradition in Boerne.  Some participants commented that last year, the inaugural TT, was sunny but 29F at the start.  Sheesh, Hill Country, I almost miss your 106F, 70% humidity summers!

I hate to be the sort of person I was at the awards presentation yesterday.
Usually, if able, I like to stick around for the awards, especially if I know I'm getting one.  In my mind it's bad form to be too cool to pick up your age-group medal.  C'mon now, it's only a few minutes extra at the end of a small race and it's nice to applaud everyone as well as be appreciative of any recognition.  This might be someone's first award and it's nice to support their hard work, even if you scoff at their pace.  It's just that, it's their pace.  I'm 100% not a scoffer, but I digress...

Ahh, back in the warmth of my car!!
Yesterday the 10K awards were at the very end-- even after the 5K.  Now that I'm in the 30-39 age group, I was announced near the end, but even so I just waited for my name, accepted the medal, and I ran.  

Yes, I ran away.  Didn't wait for the last few age categories.  Didn't wait for the shuttle.  I had to keep moving to prevent the now air-chilled sweat on my skin cooling me further with every slight breeze.  

In my defense, most people had re-obtained their warm clothes at this point, but I was still an unwarmed sweaty mess, so I ran the extra mile or two to my car and I'm glad I did, for more than just avoiding hypothermia.   I saw more of the absolute adorable-ness that is Boerne.  I ran past families brunching in tiny cafes.  I ran past dogs and their mindful owners, enjoying the cool air.  I ran over the Guadalupe River and saw some funny-looking mutt swans (or geese?) oblivious to the freezing temperatures as they paddled under the bridge on Main.  

There are parks and restaurants and antique shops and a Sotheby's Realty and lots of Lexi and Porsches, so you know what sort of people are moving into the area.   A Walmart and a strip mall and some fast-food places (and yes, of course, a YMCA hosting Turkey Trots too) all are part of Main Street now.  I would love for such a picturesque town to maintain its baby-sized quaintness, but there's no future in that, how many antiques and slices of pie can a city sell among its own residents?  So as in many places, the very survival of the town is also what's destroying some of its charm.  I just hope the happy balance continues in Boerne. 

4.9 miles until I meet my goal of 100 miles in November!

Today, I'm going to the gym.  To run in shorts.  My thighs refused two days of tights in a row.