Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boerne, Seguin and Kyle Make 92!

Don’t you always love when a plan comes together – even when it changes?

Last weekend, I was scheduled to do the following:

Saturday morning – Announce a race.
Saturday evening – Run a race.
Sunday morning – Run a race.
Sunday afternoon – Have lunch with a friend.

During the week, some extraordinary circumstances caused me to make a decision not to announce the Saturday race that I had done since its inception.

And the friend that I was to have lunch with needed to postpone because her mother was coming in to watch her son compete in a UIL band competition Saturday evening.

With some additional time on my hands, I went looking for opportunities.  [My first choice, of course, would have been to do something with my daughter, but she’s in Lynchburg, Virginia going to college.]

I’ve had a goal, as stated many times here, of running a race in 100 different Texas cities or towns.

So off to the Internet I went surfing and to my delight – and other people’s thought of acute psychosis – found a race Friday night and Saturday morning that fit my other logistical plans.

I left my office between the Texas Medical Center and Reliant Stadium at about 12:30 p.m.  In the middle of rush hour traffic, I checked into my hotel near the Airport on I-410 in San Antonio.

Unpacking, I realized that the shorts I had stacked on the bed never made it into the travel bag.  The pair that I traveled in I could race in, but it wasn’t my preference.

However, getting on the road (and fighting the I-10 West traffic to Boerne) was foremost on my mind.

Once I arrived in Boerne, a little more than an hour before the race started, I found a Wal-Mart and bought the only pair of running shorts that they had and off I was to the elementary school – near downtown – that was hosting the race.

It was the Fabra Elementary School Howl at the Moon 5K and the school was hopping in full fall festival mode.  People everywhere.  An awesome sight, actually.

I registered, went back to the car to swap shorts and made my way back to the track on the grounds from where the race would start from.  (Things are nice in Boerne as the track was really soft – a mix between crushed granite and the rubbery material a regular track is made from.)

Even though it clearly was a community race, it was being chip-timed.  Worked for me, even though I’m always prepared to measure my time without.

We probably went a 100 meters before exiting the track and onto the street.  It was cool and my goal was just to run strong and steady the whole way given that my plan was to run a 10K the next morning followed by a 5K Saturday evening and then on Sunday morning.

During the race, which was all on the streets close to the school, I started to deal with a little stomach discomfort that kept me from going as hard as I wanted to at times.

Nonetheless, I finished in 29:47.86.  (The timer’s chip time was 29:46.)

And city #90 was in the books.  (I had checked with a fast high school runner towards the front to see if he thought the distance was spot on, but he had been misdirected at the front and got to run extra.  I measured it on later and it seemed accurate.)

The next morning, I headed to Schertz and the Blue Bonnet Palace, the site of Purnell Racing’s Texas Rocks and Shines 10K and 5K.  I hadn’t pre-registered and that was a good thing.

It was 52 degrees and windy, but I had no “cold weather” gear with me.  I didn’t want to pay $30 to run a 5K and I just didn’t think that I was going to be able to push myself through a 40-degrees wind chill for an hour.

I headed back to the hotel to get a little bit more rest before driving north on I-35 to Georgetown to catch the Trinity Tigers and the Southwestern Pirates in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) NCAA Division III football action.

I checked into the hotel in Round Rock and planned my drive down to Seguin.  (I’m sure people are wondering that I spent two night’s money for hotels to run a handful of 5K’s.  Not exactly.  I picked up these nights on Marriott Rewards points.)

I was able to find Max Starcke Park relatively easily, got my packet and went back to my car to warm up as the temperature started to dip.

The race was the Seguin Police Department’s Moonlight 5K Run and it was a fundraiser for the Department’s Cops & Kids Picnic in the spring.

It was a loop in Riverview Park, which was on the east side of Hwy. 123, to get things started before running towards and crossing under a bridge that was part of the Highway.

There the route went along the Guadalupe River, which you couldn’t see at all, and by the outskirts of a golf course.

Again my focus was to run solid and steady.  I was doing so and I had clicked my watch at the first orange cone (which they told us were the mile markers) and – it was for the last .1 mile to turn back into the finish.

I knew I had been running well, but not a first mile time of 8-something.

When we finally crossed it, it read 10:31.94.  I knew that I wasn’t going that slow.

So we crossed under the bridge and ran on River Drive, which was closed to vehicular traffic.  Honestly, I thought it was a golf cart path, but looking at the satellite image of the Park it is an open road!

We got to the turnaround and as we made our way back towards Riverview Park, mile 2 showed up as 11:00.53.  I was disappointed because I felt like I was really, really running solid.

I had also passed a few people who now were in hot pursuit, and that pushed me on.

I bypassed the water station near the Bridge on the return and ran every tangent that I could legally (and logically) run.  (Turns out that part of the course was the same as the Hallo-Weiner 5K, which was certified three years ago by San Marcos’ Moe Johnson.)

Nonetheless, I resolved myself to running strong, holding off other runners and dealing with whatever the time was when I crossed the finish line.

I passed by the three-mile cone, which signaled a left down the finish stretch that led to a finish adjacent to the Pavillion.  Once I could see Athlete Guild’s clock display monitor, I was in for a surprise – the distance was right, but the cones were off!

I had covered the last tenth of a mile in 53.30 for a finishing time of 29:42.37.  (Timer had me at 29:41.)

Needless to say, I was pretty happy as I punched my entry on the #91 spot of the 100-race Texas city or town dance card.

Back to the hotel and a good night’s rest before running the Kyle-O-Meter 5K in Kyle, which is a neat little community just south of Austin along Interstate 35.

I left in time to put me at the race site about an hour before the event’s 8:30 a.m. start, but got routed to the feeder road at one spot where the Interstate had been closed down.

I still arrived in plenty of time for the event that was produced by Kyle’s Chamber of Commerce.

It was another similarly-sized crowd as well as its makeup – community-minded as opposed to a race for the fastest runners in the area.

On these types of races, though, I never look ahead at the course map.  I take whatever is doled out to me.  Makes it more of a challenge to me, I suppose.

We exited the Wallace Middle School parking lot, turned to the right on a smoothly-paved street before we crossed a street on to a roughly-paved country road.

My legs felt a bit heavy and I made it to the first mile marker in 9:54.09.

The rest of the way to the turnaround was more downhill than uphill, although I wouldn’t say that the course had full scale rollers (maybe like Flintridge for those who live in The Woodlands).

I was at the turnaround in 14:41.59, which slightly gave me some hope for another 29-minute time but knew that I had some uphill ground to cover.

I passed the mile 2 mark in 9:41.39 and a cumulative time of 19:35.48.

I pushed as much as I could, but the last 1.1 mile took 10:36.93 for a finishing “chip” time of 30:12.41.  (The timer had the same.)

And with that, I now sit with eight (8) Texas cities or towns to go to run a race in to meet one of my many goals!

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