Saturday, August 3, 2013

Midnight Madness Down Main 5K (Salado) Race Report

The alarm goes off.  It is ... 10 p.m.!  What is this?

The last time I remembered being rustled out of my sleep in the dark to get up and run, I was in a van somewhere between Columbus and Katy at leg 23 during the Texas Independence Relay.

(No, Bill, not THAT year!  The next one!)

This time was consensual, I guess, as I got out the door from the Spring Hill Suites here in Round Rock to head to Salado to run a race in my 85th Texas city or town.

It would be the third annual Midnight Madness Down Main 5K that would start at midnight from the Brookshire Brothers parking lot, just off of Interstate 35.

I got there by 11 p.m. and this was a race in need of an announcer - just to get people moving in the right direction - and a little bit more of an experienced volunteer team.  (That didn't say that they weren't willing and helpful.  It is just that there were long lines for most folks who had pre-registered.)

There probably weren't more than four to five hundred, which was a great crowd actually.  Especially for a community the size of Salado.

And speaking of community, it very much appeared to be a community event, which was sponsored by the local Anytime Fitness franchise.

From my race director's point of view, the timing company, Race Day Event Services, out of Gustine, could have provided a bit more help simply in dividing their chips into three (3) groupings and employing two more volunteers with easier lists.

THAT was the major drawback in the flow of people.

The course went out of the Brookshire Brothers parking lot, out to Main Street where you took a left (heading south towards Austin) until you got to Royal where runners took another left and then retraced your steps - with the exception of a shortened dog-leg through the grocery store parking lot.

The crowd seemed to be more of a "color run" or "electric run" crowd as opposed to a group of racers.  Code word:  Move up in the queue of people.

I got around a handful of walkers and as I got on to Main street, my headlamp allowed me to keep an eye on the road that was semi-dark (with some lamplights from local business along the route).

I was feeling really good, especially on the downhill, as we crossed a creek that runs through town and on to the left-hand turn before we ran into a slight incline.  Felt like I ran pretty strong to the turn-around and then the start-and-stop seemed to return, but I didn't feel as "destroyed" as I have been recently.

I think the situation has been that I had four solid workouts since Sunday; therefore, it is still just trying to find a comfortable long-distance pace.

There was a gentleman that I noticed in the parking lot who had been at the Race to Read 5K in Harker Heights earlier this summer.

At that race, he was a couple of minutes ahead of me, but tonight we were kind of trading back and forth on the return to the finish line.  He was wheezing pretty heavily.  At one point I asked if he was OK and he said that he was recovering from pneumonia!  Yikes!

Mine - not pneumonia - was, ah, a little weight-induced perhaps.

As we turned off Main on to a side road and before we entered the parking lot, I got ahead of him and finish strong.  With the 17-second offset at the start, my watch would reveal a 29:34.15 finish.  Wow!

However, in talking with him and another woman who both had Garmins, the course might have been a little short.  He had 2.98.  She had 3.02.  Let's just call it a tenth of a mile short and if you do the conversion back to a 5K, it is a 9:51 per minute pace which figures to be 30:37.

I'll take that for midnight and 84 degrees!

There was a 3K marker that I passed in 16:53.31, which would have been a 9:03 pace.

The remaining 2K was in 12:40.84, which would be 10:12 per mile pace (if it was accurate).

My guess is that the 3K distance might have been off.  Who knows for sure.

With races in my smaller towns, you just don't know what you're going to get.  Although, it really shouldn't make any difference.  There are enough of the "right" people in running communities all over the state that can make sure a course is not only measured properly, but is put out according to those measurements.

Since I needed to get back, grab a late night bite to eat and get a little sleep for Saturday morning's 5K in Texas city or town #86, I didn't stick around for the awards.

If you're not concerned about time and want to enjoy a race with a good small-town vibe and feel with great people, put this midnight Saturday morning run on your calendar next year!

No comments: