Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blues Capital of 5K (Navasota) Race Report

My summer running tour of Texas - I guess you could call it - continued this morning in the county seat of Grimes County, Navasota, for the Blues Capital of Texas 5K.

For the second consecutive year, my good friend Leanne Rosser and I made the short drive west across Highway 105 to participate in what is really a nice, simple and well-run community race.

It is produced by the Navasota Kiwanis in conjunction with the Blues Festival that is hosted each year by the city.  It is the third year for the race and it is a shame that they don't get more people to turn out than they do.

There's both a 5K and a 1-mile Fitness Challenge for some of the kids, although there seemed to be a lot of youngsters who were doing the longer race this morning.

The course is pretty flat and it is just west of downtown out 105 in August Horst Recreation Park.  It starts on the north side of 105 in a yet-to-be-developed residential and/or business park (not sure which it is completely expected to be).

Therefore, you have wide open streets to run on for the first 2.5 miles before you cross back across 105 - with law enforcement support to slow traffic as it is coming in to and leaving from town.  Once across the road, you run the top part of the letter "P" in reverse to the finish line.

Just one thing you need to know, though, about the course:  both years that we've run it it hasn't been accurate.  (Last year, it seemed a bit short.)

This year even had an upgrade:  half-mile mile markers that seemed to be accurately placed.

However, there was just one thing wrong:  whoever gave the instruction to setup the water stop on the out-and-back stretch of the course went too far, causing everyone to run approximately 3.5 miles.

Two runners' Garmins measured 3.49 and 3.52 miles.  While there weren't a lot of turns or trees to misestimate the measurement that much, the wide streets could on a winding first three quarters of a mile could have caused people to not run the tangent properly.

First .5 mile -- 4:34.08
Second .5 mile -- 4:49.31 (9:23.39)
Third .5 mile -- 8:26.66 (this is where the course was "long")
Fourth .5 mile -- 5:23.61 (23:13.66)
Fifth .5 mile -- 5:13.26 (28:26.92)
Last .6 mile -- 6:28.80 (34:55.72)

Even though it was still in the 10-minute per mile (or just under range), I actually ran more consistent than I have most all summer long, despite not running at the track on Wednesday nights like I had last summer.

One thing that is also guaranteed with this race:  it is either hot, humid or both.  Humid was a given and it got hot towards the end with the 8 a.m. on-time start.  Additionally, you receive a nice technical shirt (although Leanne was quick to point out that the ladies didn't have a women's cut top) as well as a nice drawstring bag.  Plenty of water, Gatorade, bananas and it is chip-timed by the good guys at Run Houston Timing.

We saw a friend that we both made last year in Becky Nesbit, who lives nearby and runs with - and is coached by - Finish Line Sports' Andy Stewart in Sugar Land.  She finished second overall this year after winning it all last year.

I also got the opportunity to visit with a woman from Montgomery County, Tanci Foster, who is a frequent participant of Robby Sabban's Running Alliance Sport races.  Her teenage son will be running his first half marathon in mid-November at the La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon.  I told her online on Facebook to remind me on race morning and that I would look out for him and proudly announce that great accomplishment.

Even bigger RAS supporters, Monica Montoya and Keith Cotropia, also made the long drive from the League City area.  They had just got back from running the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon in Washington state.

The running funny from last year is that this is where Leanne borrowed $100 from me to buy a pair of shoes that she saw that she liked from the Brazos Running Company.  I think I had just come off of vacation and still had the money on me (as I usually don't carry that much on me at any one given time.)

So, of course, we stayed to make sure that neither one of our names weren't called during the drawing for door prizes.  One number got close to Leanne's #43, but no winners - or chicken dinners.

Leanne and her husband, Jim, have turned out over the last few years to be some of my very best friends.  Jim's not a runner, but he supports Leanne's pastime rather well - even signing her up for a marathon (Napa Valley next March) without even asking.

She had done her long run the day before - in her buildup for the Chicago Marathon - and decided to run easy back in my part of the race and still came away with a third-place age group finish.  I really appreciated that.  Not too many people have - over the years - sacrificed their race to run with me.

We had talked that it was the third race that we had run together - the other two were Angie's Half Crazy Half Marathon and the Panhandle Half Marathon in Lubbock last September when she went out to visit her son who was (and is) a student at Texas Tech University.  I was also partly responible for getting her interested in the Philadelphia Marathon where last November she ran her personal best at that distance.

A great morning all-in-all as I made the drive home to Spring where I had bags that were primarily packed to head out on vacation that included a six-state tour of minor league ballparks, including the most important part of the visit - seeing my daughter, Waverly, off at college in Lynchburg, Virginia at Liberty University.

And for those who follow along, no, it was not a new Texas city or town for me.  It was a year ago, however, as it was #74 on the road to 100!

Hope to run a bit this week in a couple of different states before next weekend's fun racing events.  Stay tuned and, as always, thanks for reading!

No comments: