Sunday, March 15, 2009

Run for the Oaks

Many races, all gone by without comment. Why? Just did not get to it in time. A quick summary of a few that stick in my mind:

City of Oaks Marathon Rex Healthcare half marathon November 2008. 6 a.m. Early morning. Cold, barely light. Me in my black plastic bag, shed before the uphill race start. I tried to maintain a slow steady pace. Slow, because that is how I must jog if I want to keep breathing! I noticed right at the start people shedding clothes. This year, the course differed in its start location and maybe that is why when I reached Hillsborough near the I-64 overpass, I wasn't dying to the extent I was the year before. Nonetheless, I was mighty happy to reach the turn around on Blue Ridge Road. I dragged myself to the end in spurts. Happy to finish.

Frozen 5K Cross Country January 2009. 11 degrees. In two shirts (one tech and one cotton) and a vest, plus gloves, hat, and a cloth thing to cover mouth and nose, I almost became a frozen figure while waiting for the start of the race. I pitied the Panther Creek HS volunteers who were out manning the course. How much worse it would be for them. We ran and they stood. Ugh. Cruel. Once the race got started, the thing around the mouth and nose came down to my neck (the breath fogged my sunglasses) and I was oblivious to the cold. Only my huffing and puffing mattered. Keeping an eye out for roots, I followed the course which just about mirrored the December Jolly Elf 5K. This was good because I had an idea of how much longer the torture would last. On the last bit, with the finish in sight, I actually slowed so that a young boy would cross the line before me. Youth before Crone. This was the first year of this race and the students at Panther Creek had presciently named it, despite the fact that under 20 degrees here is unusual!

Wake Med Distance 5k (as opposed to the 10K) March 7, 2009. I dreaded this run. It starts uphill (for a short distance) then winds around downtown before returning for a long uphill stretch and the final downhill. Previous years it has been a killer for me. The weather was decent: somewhere around 65 (prior years it has been much colder). I managed to hang onto a slow jog without slowing to a walk for about half way. But, just like in prior years, I died on that last uphill. Right after the beginning of the incline and at least two or more times I dropped down to a leaning walk. Still, the whole race did not seem as bad to me as in prior years.

St Patty's Green Run 8K, March 8, 2009. Originally, I had wanted to run this one instead of the Wake Med Distance 5K , but I had a conflict. The conflict went away, so I signed up for this Sunday run, despite having done the 5K the day before. I am glad I did. There were about 800-1000 who participated, of those, 676 who had signed up for a timed (competitive) run finished. At the Start line, there were two women in green and white striped leggings and huge Moppet type hats running with a fellow who had the hat but not the leggings. It was hot, 84 degrees or so, so the hats came off pretty quickly! That is one thing about some of these races: the costumes! Such fun to observe. The race took off up Person St, eventually winding around Oakwood Cemetery and back to a finish on Blount St. I had just enough left at the end to sprint in a race with a young woman to the Finish line. Many runners and fans ate and drank at tables outside of Tir Na Nog after the race. This added to the party atmosphere. I have added this to the list of races I might do next year if still alive and stirring the pot.

On Thursday, March 12, I ran a fun non competitive Cross Country.5K Afraid of getting lost, I made sure this old crone kept a faster runner in sight. We passed an old hulk of a car in the woods which reminded me of when I was eleven and in Connecticut. Out in the woods was an old car, once belonging to some member of the family, that I would oft go and visit and look over. A friend now tells me I was lucky not to encounter any snakes there. She is right, for, once when riding a horse in those woods we did encounter a snake. Being slow in a cross country is certainly an advantage: any snakes will have long been frightened away by the time I get to where they were.

And finally, Race for the Oaks, March 14, 2009. 40 degrees. Dreary. Wet. This usually well attended race had fewer participants this year, the weather probably the primary factor. A few folks had St Patrick's Day regalia on, but most had jackets and hats, though I did spot two young guys at the award presentation who were still in their skimpy shorts, bare, muscled, legs shaking in the cold, and by now, heaver rain. The race took off up Person St (again) and followed much of the route the preceding Sunday's 8K had, except there was no circling of the cemetery. I managed to jog the entire way, a first for me, I think, and so was happy with my results. At least three or four times the temptation to drop to a walk was almost overwhelming, especially on the uphill inclines. But I forced myself to jog, no matter how slowly. I decided to stay near two guys just in front of me, one wearing a jacket with Raleigh Fire Dept. embroidered on the back. At the finish, I wasn't up to a full out sprint, but the half sprint turned out to be just the thing to edge out another competitor. One nice thing about the event is that the City of Raleigh gives out oak saplings to attendees to perpetrate the Oak heritage of the area.

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