Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brent vs.The Irish Double

I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking attempting a March double race, especially this year.  Did I not remember that this was a thing I should only be doing in June and July?  You know, the only two months where I'm bold enough to fit two races in a day (see: Double TimeDouble Time Again!, & Double Crim...).

Apparently I forgot about that.  I also forgot about the winter we've been having and how it will not yield to the spring.  Apparently, according to my wife, there is some sort of scientific, Rainbow Brite-related reason for all this (like her belt got stolen or something?). Anyway, I didn't really think how, this year especially, mid-March had the potential to be incredibly cold.

Sunday morning, I got dressed in what I thought I'd probably run in.  Also, I grabbed about as many potential running and St. Patrick's Day shirt that would fit in my arms and threw them in the passenger seat of my car (later to be bagged in my trusty Talmer Bank market bag from the Detroit Marathon).  I was bound and determined to have all the layers I needed, and have all of them be green.

I had a pleasant drive up to Bay City and an easy time parking my car right on the street over from the finish line.  I wanted easy access to trade out clothes after the first race.  I got out of my car and started to walk toward The Scottish Rites Masonic Center for packet pick-up.  

You know you love my socks (they're supposed to be for girls)

I immediately loved the shirt this year.  Two reasons for that:  First, it was the same color scheme as my new shoes.  Second, it said "Irish Double" right on the sleeves.  It's nice to get a little special extras here and there, especially when you've been coming back for the past five years.

After getting my bib and shirt, I went straight back to the car to sit until about 20 minutes before race time.  By the 8K Race's 9:30 start, I think we got all the way up to 9 or 10 degrees (Fahrenheit not Celsius, people).  Everyone was trying to move around to get warmed up.  The race organizer had to remind us that just 2 years ago, it was 70 degrees for the race.  Ah, 2012, so warm.

Before the 8K
There weren't a lot of people in the 8K (a little south of 1,000).  So there was plenty of room to run your race out there.  The ice and snow were pretty much cleared out, but I did manage to find one icy spot on a right turn, just after the first mile, where I almost bit it.  Other than that, I didn't worry about any sliding around too much.

Some of the 8K crowd.

I didn't wear the Garmin this time.  In fact, I've kind of abandoned it in general lately.  Maybe later, when I actually WANT to know my times and I'm pressing for something in particular I'll strap it back on.  For this race, I was just going to run my best the old-fashioned way, and that worked out just fine.

I put up a 46:04 (9:16 min/mile) pace for the 8K, which is a course record (though far from a PR) for me.  The best I've put up at this time of the year, and, especially considering the cold, I'll call this a win.  As I crossed the finish, I was handed a medal for the race.  I didn't know if I was supposed to get one, or if there was one for the Irish Double people waiting for us after the 5K.  I looked around for my fellow blue bibbers and it seemed like they all had one, so I didn't fight it.  Honestly at this point I just knew we got a "special gift" for doing both.  I assumed medal, but it could have been anything, I guess.

After realizing very quickly that I was cold and wet, I kicked up through the alley to my car.  I changed into some dry clothes, threw on the heater, and put my hat up on the dash to warm up for about a half hour.  I traded out the bow tie for a scarf, and headed back to the race start for the 5K.  I gave myself a little extra time to hit the portas (where I almost dropped by keys in), and lined up with a much larger 5K crowd for the 11:30 start.

Wardrobe change for the 5K
The 5K crowd
The 5K was much harder to navigate in, and, as always, I stayed too far back.  I had to cut through a lot of people, which slowed me down a bit, but I do have to admit, especially with the cold, that my legs were just kind of spent anyway.  I wanted to run a nice sprint 5K, but I just couldn't kick it in any more than I was.  It would have been really nice to course record both races, but I put up a 28:50 (9:17 min/mile), which was 18 seconds slower than the best 5K I had in this race (28:32 in 2013).

Irish Double Medal and Regular Medal

Once more with lanyards
You can say one thing for me, though.  I was consistent.  My 8K half split was 22:59, and both race paces were within a second of each other.  I think it's a good foundation to build the rest of the year one, and I think all the work I've been putting in over this extremely harsh winter has added up.  I don't think I could have tackled this double any better any other year so far.  Maybe, just maybe, you're going to see me step things up this year.

 Afterwards, I hit up the trusty Stein Haus for some beer and corned beef and cabbage.

Called "Stein Haus" for a reason
 Both hit the spot, but not enough for me to skip visiting Tri-City Brewing.  Last year they were closed on (actual) St. Patrick's Day, which I considered an abomination.  Also, I've never been a fan of their stuff I've gotten in stores.  So, really, I shouldn't have bothered, but they did put out a flyer saying they'd be open and would have $2.50 pints for runners, so I took that as an olive branch.

I'm glad I did.  I made some quick friends there and had a pretty good time.  The beer at the actual brewery was leaps and bounds superior to anything I've gotten off the shelf.  So, if you're in the Bay City area, check it out.  It is worth the trip.


  1. Nice job! The shirts and medals are awesome. And nothing tastes better than a post-race beer. :)

  2. Excellent pace sir! Love that shirt and especially, the socks.

    We froze our asses off down in Corktown. When will this cursed winter ever end?


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