Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Repeat at the Gobble Wobble 5K

Thanksgiving was our third year running the Shenango Conservancy Wobble Gobble 5K.  This is a great race through Buhl Park and always kicks off our Thanksgiving festivities.  The course is challenging, but we have done well there the past two years.  The weather was extremely cold and very snowy on race morning.  JD and I had done a short shakeout run on Wednesday after our drive up to PA to get used to the colder temperatures, but it was even colder on race morning with a high of 9 (felt like 3). 

The park was gorgeous, but the path was completely snow covered with ice underneath.

After picking up our bibs, chips, and shirts, I headed out to do a mile warm up and check out the roads.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to run hard enough to try to age group place again.  After the warm up, I decided that it wasn't worth risking an injury on the slippery terrain for an age group award.  JD and I settled in near the middle of the pack and got ready to race.  I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a bit of a tempo run with this and try to negative split the race with a vague time goal of sub-30 so nothing overly ambitious for me.  Mistake #1 was settling into the middle of the pack.  The middle of the pack should be running at the start of the race, but there were tons of walkers as well as a bunch of people who ran a 1/4 mile and then started walking so we spent a lot of time weaving and dodging people.  We still finished the first mile in 9:02.  I still felt pretty good, but my legs were a little stiff from the cold.  The second mile of this race is the hardest because there is a false flat and a decent hill in this section.  JD was pushing the pace a little here while I was complaining about not wanting to run this fast.  He slowed a little for me, but he continued to talk and crack jokes including at one point singing "What does the fox say?"  In my head I was thinking the fox says shut the fxxk up because I'm busting my butt trying to get up this hill while my feet are sliding backwards on the ice and get under a 9 minute mile.  I successfully made it through mile 2 without killing him at an 8:55 pace.  At this point, I knew there was one more short hill and then the big downhill finish.  I started to set my sights on some female runners that were dying after mile 2 and just started picking them off.  When we finally hit the downhill section, I really wanted to take off, but my shoes were sliding everywhere.  I was terrified of falling or sliding down the hill so I kept the pace in check until we hit the final flat straightaway.  I must have passed at least 20 people on the final stretch and ended with an  8:44 pace for the last 1.1 miles.  Just as I was coming into the chute (which is way too narrow for a race with 1500 people) this other woman comes charging in and elbows me causing me to slide on the ice and almost fall down as we cross over the timing mat.  I guess she thought we were in contention for the last spot in the Olympics or something.  Seriously, I have a bruise on my arm from where she elbowed me, and I can't even figure out why since she was a lot younger than me so not an age group contender.  Final time was 27:58 so an OK finish time, but I was happy with the negative split pace and the fact that I ran so strong at the end.  Without the icy conditions, I could have easily pushed harder. 

It was freezing so JD and I hopped back in the car and headed to Starbucks to warm up.

 Once I got home, I looked up the results just to see how I had done in my age group.  Surprisingly, I found that I had placed third again even though my time was about 2:30 slower than last year's time.  I guess the ice slowed everyone down.

Special thanks to JD for hanging with me and pushing me a little near the end.  I would not have pushed as hard had I not been running with him.  After the fact, the fox says, "Thanks for the age group award."
In case anyone is wondering about what to wear in those conditions, I went with Underarmor base layer, UnderArmor coldgear mockneck, and then a long sleeve tech tee on top.  I had Smartwool socks, regular Target C9 thick weight running tights, Underarmor gloves, and Underarmor fleece beanie.  I also put on mittens over the gloves.  I was actually too hot by the end with the mittens and the hat because I almost never run with a hat.  We were mostly moving while we were outside and weren't outside for more than 45 minutes.

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