A Guns and Hoses 5K Race Report
This was Dee Dee's and my third time running the Guns and Hoses 5K. The venue is right down the street from my house and actually runs on the road in my neighborhood. It doesn't get any more local than that! I had been watching the weather all week, hoping that the temperatures would be warm. I intended to run this race in my Vibrams, and the thought of cold hard asphalt was not a pleasant one! Predictably, Mr. Murphy shows up and gives us a race time temperature of 39 degrees. Brrrrrrr! Now that that's settled, nothing left to do but get our race on!
I set the alarm for 6:20 AM, which is the usual time I get up to take my son to school. On race day, getting up at 6:20 AM is a luxury. Still, Dee Dee and I didn't drag out butts out of bed until sometime after quarter till seven, just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat, take care of the pre-race formalities, and get out the door in a most unhurried like manner.
We arrived at the park later than normal, as expected, and it was packed. We scored a parking spot next to the van carrying Dee Dee's co-workers from Cobb County. Like a lot of people, they were sitting in the van, staying warm, until it was time to start the race. Dee Dee had picked up our race packets the day before, so we too stayed in the car until 10 minutes before race time.
The air was every bit of 39 degrees cold. I had on tights, a thermal long sleeve shirt, and my long sleeve race shirt. I had also decided to go with the Vibrams after all. Dee Dee and I jogged around a bit before joining back up with her friends. It seemed like the race got started a little late. We were all still chatting when the horn sounded, and the crowd began to move. Since I wasn't trying to PR this race, I was OK with starting the back. I went ahead and start on my Garmin and joined the crowd.
The first couple of minutes, I spent a lot of time dodging walkers and slower runners, looking for my own space. A quarter of a mile later, I found myself on the outside edge with plenty of room to run. The race starts out on a long gentle down hill till it meets the road that runs into my neighborhood. I felt the spot on my left foot start to complain. I think there's something that goes on in there with the nerve between my tarsals (?). It usually acts up when I get my mileage over thirty or so. In a few more minutes, it had calmed down, and my feet felt fine and snug in the Vibrams.
Once the course hits my neighborhood, its a flat out and back to the water treatment plant. The race course had changed this year, due to new construction on the park, and the Garmin beeped for the first mile, shortly after turning down the road towards the plant.
In order to get to the required 3.11 miles, the race course went up the hill and behind the school before coming back down the hill and rejoining the old route. That first sharp little climb was quite a tester. The real struggle, however, began as we made our way back up the road towards the park. The nice smooth downhill on the way out turned in to a gradually increasing climb on the way back. Even after crossing into the parking lot, we had to go slightly uphill to the top of the baseball fields, before making a right then a left on to the walking path.
The good news at this point: there was only half a mile to go, and it was almost all downhill. At the back of the baseball fields, we deviated off the walking path down by the amphitheater and behind the tennis courts. As we passed the tennis courts on our left, we emerged onto the lower parking lot, and there to our left was the finish line. I kicked it in and crossed the line in 25:49 for an 8:13 over all pace.
I was pretty happy with that. I pushed myself pretty hard, and my heart rate data corroborated this nicely. My miles came in at 7:51, 8:26, and 8:29, with a 7:10 pace for the final 0.11. That was a pretty even effort. I grabbed a banana and walked up past the amphitheater to wait on Dee Dee. While I was watching the runners come in, I saw the cutest little girl, all of 6 or 7 running with her dad. As they get next to me, I hear the dad say: "There's 200 meters left to go, what do you want to do?" The little girl answers: "I want to go fast!" It was just so cute, and appropriate. Watch out for that future champion!
Dee Dee finished the race four minutes faster than last year. Due to the cold, we didn't hang around very long! Warm coffee and breakfast was but two miles away! Over all, I was pleased with my race results, and pleased that my Vibrams went so well. I don't know if I'm ready to go all out in them yet, but I'm thinking about it!