Sunday, January 22, 2017

Miracle Match Marathon 10K Race Report

Race #4 to finish in 2017
Race #6 to be in attendance for in 2017 (4 finish, 1 announce, 1 media)

This morning's Miracle Match Marathon 10K in Waco was not a new city or county in Texas for me to race in, nor was it a new race to me.

I ran (or maybe battled is a better term) the half marathon two years ago.

The race director, Nancy Goodnight, bills this as the toughest marathon in Texas and I can't say, given my knowledge of the state's races, that it is an unfair assessment at all.

It might even qualify for the half marathon as well.

The 10K?  Maybe not.  The first two miles of this race are fairly flat as you depart from the side of the Hilton Hotel and Waco Convention Center, near the banks of the Brazos River, and you head east - under Interstate 35 - over and onto the Baylor University campus.

You exit the campus, cross a foot bridge that has a little life to it and run around Mc Lane Stadium, where you pass the mile 3 marker on the north side of the stadium.

Right after the return pass of the bridge, you pass the mile 4 marker, make a left hand turn and then make a sweeping upside down U-turn that brings you back in the westerly direction.

You run on a path the parallels the Brazos River where you pass mile 5.

The last 1.2 miles is definitely the most tough part of the course.

You know that you're going to finish coming across the famous Waco Suspension Bridge.

So, if you haven't run it before, you're thinking:  "How are we going to get back up there?"

Well, it was either three or five ramps up to the ground level, near where we started.

You then head west, where the half marathoners go straight towards Cameron Park (lucky them!) while the 10K'ers (that was me today) made a right-hand turn over a flat, paved bridge that took you to the north side of the Brazos.

Off the bridge to the left you went, a slight downhill, to the right for a short out-and-back, back under the bridge, and then up another ramp (not as difficult as those on the south side of Brazos, but a ramp nonetheless) before making the left-hand turn to come across the Suspension Bridge.

Always seems to be an added degree of difficulty with this race.

Today, it was some pretty ferocious high winds that blew from west to east.

And most of the time today, they simply sucked the wind out of me.

As given the description above, you can tell it is definitely not a PR course.  The bottom line is that your legs will know it if the rest of your body happens to sleep through it.

Speaking of sleep, I didn't sleep too well last night, but I don't think it affected my racing.

If anything, the hard 15K yesterday might have.  But, all in all, a good test, especially since I've got a couple of half marathons that I want do to this spring.

Offset - 27.52
Mile 1 - 9:39.50
Mile 2 - 9:53.30
Mile 3 - 10:06.63
Mile 4 - 10:14.75
Mile 5 - 10:09.65
Mile 6 - 9:28.47 (Mile marker was slightly misplaced.)
Last .2 - 3:14.57 (10:35/mile the last 1.2, but I slowed to set up crossing the finish too!)

Total - 1:02:46.87 (10:06/mile)

There's no way I would have broked 10 minutes/mile.  Fresh legs, cool temperatures and no wind.  Probably, but not by much.

It was in the low to mid 50s today.  I thought for a minute to wear a top, but opted for my short sleeved Liberty Flames technical shirt with thin gloves.

Couple of things of note:

1.  The medals are fire service-inspired.  Thin pieces of metal that are hand cut by a Waco fireman who has personally donated stem cells through the Be The Match program.

1a.  Race shirt was great:  "Thrashing quads since 2004".  I can't speak about post-race food and festivities, etc. as I needed to leave (see below), although I'm sure they were excellent.

2.  One of the things, besides extremely efficient race day packet pickup, that I don't recall being highly touted is the proximity of the Waco Convention Center to the start line -- and it being open the morning of the race.  Case in point:  If I my bowels get out of sync and I didn't go before I left my home or hotel, I will figure out a way to hold it (as I'm just not a fan of port-a-potties for that function).  Today I did and the WCC was more than perfect for a clean, non-congested environment.

2a.  I stayed either inside or close to the building to protect myself from the cool temperatures and winds until about a minute before the start of the race.  #winning

Those who I encountered along the way on the 10K course (volunteers, law enforcement, etc.) do an incredibly great job for Nancy, but she does a great job - with a team - of doing right by them and showcasing the area and community incredibly.

Speaking of being on the course, I noted the following:

1.  Saw Houston's Andrew Rennie, who was running the marathon today, somewhere around the mile 1 marker.  I had jumped out to a quick 9:40 first mile and he went with me around the mile marker to talk, but I talked him into letting go because a.) I speed up when I engage in conversation and b.) he needed to slow down to pace himself for the remaining 25.2.

1a.)   Also saw a gentleman with a Space City USA 10-Miler technical race shirt and ABB 5K gloves.  He didn't engage.  Why?  Headphones.  :-)

2.  I circled McLane Stadium with a few "Go Flames!"  Baylor will likely beat Liberty pretty badly in September, but one can pray and dream, right?

3.  Just after passing mile 4, a gentleman said to me (can't make this stuff up), "I hope you're not in my age group."  I told him that I had raced a 15K hard yesterday so that I'd probably crash before we made it to the finish.  (I beat him, but a.) I figure there were others ahead of us if we were in the same division and b.) I saw him on the out-and-back on the north side of the Brazos River.)

4.  I won't put this because I don't know that I want to manage the incoming fire, but let me say this:  Sometimes during a race I get a target and today, I beat mine.  (It had something to do with what they were wearing.  It was out-of-place for the race today.)

I made it to Waco late yesterday afternoon as I didn't go to my planned second college basketball game of the day.  The game at the University of Texas-Dallas (against Louisiana College) was over around 2:45 p.m. and I just couldn't see hanging around the Dallas area until the game at Paul Quinn College started at 5:30 p.m.

I was tired to begin with and if I had, I would not have made it into Waco until about 10 p.m.
And what I paid for a hotel in Waco, I wanted to use it -- as I went to bed early (around 9:30'ish), but I woke up around 4:30 a.m. being unable to go back to sleep.

After the race, getting a bite to eat and making it back to the hotel to shower, I was able to enjoy services near downtown at the First Baptist Church Waco.

It is a historic Texas church and had a marker outside of the building, although I didn't take a picture.

Here, though, is the text on that marker:

Organized in 1851 by the Rev. Noah Byars and charter members, the First Baptist Church of Waco worshiped in the meetinghouse of the First Methodist Church until their own sanctuary was built at fourth and Mary Streets in 1857. It was destroyed by fire in 1877 and was replaced by a larger building. The present house of worship was erected on this site in 1907. Historic figures affiliated with First Baptist Church have included five generals of the Confederacy, former Governor of Texas Pat M. Neff, and Dr. B.H. Carroll, pastor from 1871 to 1899 and later founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Dr. J.M. Dawson, pastor from 1915 to 1946, resigned to become the first executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. From 1886, when Baylor University moved to Waco from Independence, Texas, the university and First Baptist Church have enjoyed close association. Every Baylor president since 1886 has maintained active membership here. Many of the faculty, administration, and student body of Baylor University traditionally have provided vital links in the fellowship. Several Baptist churches in Waco owe their origins to former members of this congregation. 

Great message about patience and kindness by Pastor Matt Snowden.

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