Monday, February 7, 2011

Winterläufe Weekend

Another first time race is in the bag. I actually think I liked the Winterläufe better that the Volksläufe, but the circumstances for that last year weren't ideal enough to enjoy it fully. There is a lot more fanfare for the Volksläufe with the tents, the bbq, the music, pancake breakfast, the crowd, and everything else. That's for sure, but there are some things that it's missing that are pluses. First off, you don't have a big crowd to wade through. Outside of the first half mile, everyone was spread out enough for me not to be impeded in any way. The other thing is that it's the dead of winter, so the majority of the people there mean business and/or have done a few of these races before. Other than a small group of people that are still hanging on to that New Year's resolution, there won't be any newbie walkers going 5 or 6 wide to go around at the start of the race. To be honest, by the turn-around, there was a huge bubble between the people ahead of me and those behind for me to run in. Maybe it was lucky, or maybe I just smell. Also, the Winterläufe had better shirts. Dark blue and long-sleeved? I love you, Winterläufe.

The race itself was challenging and potentially hazardous at times. The hills were definitely both, and starting out with a few of those early caused a lot of premature runner mortality for some of the participants. It's one of the most predictable things you see as a runner. Every race, a hill or two is going to steal someone's will. If you're just starting out and a race has hills early, it can really beat you up mentally, and you start thinking, "I can't run a full race of this." Then, just like Fozzy Bear, you're a Wakka Wakka Walker and you don't know why. I just pushed through them like usual. I just can't justify stopping anymore unless I actually get hurt. I didn't see too many people out there that looked like they got hurt or had any really bad pulls. That's pretty good for a winter race. I hate seeing that.

There was still a slight glaze of snow and ice in places, but not enough to wear my new snow slippy-on-thingies (official name). The only place they would have been really needed were the bridge and just after it, and possibly some of the hills going down. I made a pretty big point of getting to as much solid ground as possible for the downhill portions and keeping my feet under me. It was pretty reminiscent of the Howell Nature Run, only with snow, slush, and ice instead of loose gravel. I also didn't see anyone fall. I'm sure someone did at some point, but not seeing it happen a few times, at some parts in particular, was pretty miraculous.

Amidst all this, I posted a personal best for my 8K, a 53:24 on the clock and 52:45 chip. I wasn't expecting that to happen, so I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that maybe I am still improving. I was also fighting off a tight back with a huge knot in the upper left side. It was bad enough to keep me from the first half of work Friday, and it did act up a bit at the end of the race. It was still less of a bother than a side cramp at the bridge on the return trip. I did benefit in part from an mp3 player that knew what to play at what times to push me along, though. Thanks for that extra shot of Andrew WK my little Coby com-padre. Twenty dollars and 3 years ago, and it's been with me through this entire running adventure. It just may be the best $20 I've ever spent. This run was also Jason's first 8K, and of course he beat me, but now he has a good time to work from.

After the run, Jason and I grabbed some sandwiches at T-Dubs. It was pretty decent, and ridiculously filling. It wasn't even that big of a sandwich, I didn't get fries, and only had a small bowl of chili, but that corned beef sandwich knocked out my hunger for the rest of the day.

I wish I could say the same for the Super Bowl. I ate too much, drank too much, and I'll stop myself there before it turns into a Dave Matthews song ( I the only one that thinks he looks like a ventriloquist's dummy?). Anyway, much of the calories were lost in the double vomit tsunami that came after sailing to sea on Barbarossa's ship. Tradition for the big game dictates that we do a drinking game with some questionable, untested, cheap rum, and so far all non-Morgan substitutes have proven to be a very bad voyage for this crew. Still though, I put in a full, very productive day at work, and even got up early. I already need a weekend, though. Admiral Nelson (2010) and Barbarossa (2011) are butt hash.

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