Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clute Mosquito Chase 5K

This is sort of an odd local race. The race directors aren't runners and it often shows. Many local runners skip this race but of all of the local races this race draws the most runners from up in Houston.
Several years ago the roads were re-paved and all of the mile markers were lost. Last year I remeasured the mile splits from the certification maps and painted mile markers. I planned to re-paint the mile markers during my track work on Wednesday, but I was running late from work and didn't have time to buy another can of spray paint. I used what was left from the spray paint can I used on the Firecracker 4 course, but there wasn't nearly enough paint. I really wanted to paint a 2-mile on the other side of the street, because the course is usually coned to direct everyone to the right side and my marker is on the left side.
There were some good sized rain clouds this morning that helped hold the temperature down some. I started the race too fast, slowing down some after the first half mile but still hitting the first mile in 5:41. They had the cones set out in the middle of the road and the lead police car had everyone running on the outside of the curves. They didn't have anyone calling splits and they didn't add any signs, so all there was at mile 1 was my weakly re-painted mark. The sun came out in the second mile and despite some hopes to keep pushing and get a pretty decent time for the middle of summer, I slowed way down to a 6:17 second mile (11:59). They had water set out at about the mile and a half point but no-one there to pass out cups (duh). There's a short section that runs down a four lane road that's usually coned so that the race takes the inside line facing traffic. This year they put the cones in the median and the lead police car went across the two oncoming lanes and led people to the opposite side of the street. That was too much for me; I stuck to the inside lane (I think everyone behind me did this too). There were a couple girls calling out splits, but they were 11 seconds before the 2-mile mark (duh). The third mile of this course is tough psychologically because you can see the finish after the second mile but then have to turn off and run about a 2/3 mile diversion. I slowed down even more and ran a 6:25 third mile (18:23) (uggh). I ended up at about 19:00 for the 5K. Not bad for the summer, but nothing to be really happy about. I weigh about 185 pounds now, ten pounds over what I weighed during the winter. That can't help.
The temperature at Clute from 7AM to 8AM was 81 degrees F with a wind out of the West at 4.9 mph. After the race, there were some stronger gusts out of some storm clouds that cooled things down a little.
There were several Houston runners down here today that I haven't seen for months. I haven't done a Houston race since the HARRA Spring Series. There were several Tornados and it was great to get a chance to talk with them.
I'm going to Florida tomorrow morning for a week of heat exchanger maintenance training and a meeting of Nuclear-Safety Service Water Engineers. This industry meeting and training is held once a year. I'm on the steering committee and always push for holding it in cooler places up North or along the Pacific Coast. We've had the meeting in San Diego (nice cool mornings near 60, Portsmouth NH and Montréal (even cooler with mornings in the upper 50s). I lost this year and it's being held in Orlando (yuck). At least I'll have much more time to run in the morning.

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