Friday, June 1, 2012

Race Preview- Back to the River Ramble

Triathlon season is now upon us. This means that I get to stop doing all of those stupid, boring running events and focus on multisport. Or, so I thought...

See, when you coach the school's track team, there are certain unwritten rules. One of those rules is about to smack me in the face.

I have to race a 5k this weekend.

No, not a 5k at the concluding end of a 800 meter swim and a 13 mile bike ride. (This is known as a Sprint Distance Triathlon, just in case you didn't know.) I mean that I have to run a real 5k.

My school, AKA my workplace, AKA the cesspool provider of my income is hosting one of those 5k races/ fundraisers they call the River Ramble. When I was younger, I did one of these a weekend. Now, not so much. I focus my energies towards a niche sport with minimal participation. The problem is that my school absolutely refuses to host a charity triathlon (okay, I don't know that for a fact but it's a pretty darn good guess that I am right).

In the past when I have done this race, I had a knee injury. Plus, I have used the Wife as a scapegoat for allowing all of the kids to beat me. I ran with her, step by step, side by side for the entire course. It was incredibly fun for me as I love running with the Wife. Adding to the joy, we'd get our picture taken together for free. That's much better than going to a studio in dress-ups and fake smiles.  Here we are at last year's race.

The Wife will not be running tomorrow. She is taking the race off for a couple of reasons. First, she is still nursing a nagging, stubborn, and incredibly uncomfortable knee injury of her own. Second, she is bringing the dogs on campus for some fun and activities.

Without the Wife, that brings me back to my original statement: I have to race a 5k this weekend. The runners on the track team, most of which have significantly higher levels of talent than me, want nothing more than to beat me to the line. Listen up kids- I'm not going down without a fight!

The course is new this year and actually pretty nice. And, it is USATF Certified.

One thing that peaks my interest about the USATF people is that they seem to be amazing artists. This map is highly accurate. I believe the guy drew it free hand, from memory. No need to use Google maps when you've got crazy good drawing skills.

There are a couple of sweet aspects about this course that make it a rather great 5k (seriously, I'm not saying this because of the paycheck thing). First, it does not cross any roads. There is no opportunity for traffic interference, assuming that the locals stay off the sidewalks and the trail (this may or may not be a good assumption). Second, the race finishes with a rather pleasant downhill. Yes, you have to run up this slope at the beginning. But, that's the best time. Your meat is still fresh. Third, the race doesn't start until 9:00. Triathlon's are notoriously anal about starting early. Maybe the rest of the tri world doesn't like sleeping in.  Fourth, I get to shower off in the dunking booth. Not only did I have to pay money for my students to beat me in a race, but I also get the added humiliation of sitting on a stick in the cold while these same kids drop me in a tank like a suspected witch in Salem. I might bring my wetsuit.

In case any of you remember my race goals for the season, I'd like to go under 20 minutes for a 5k. That's an average of 6:26 per mile. I have not ran those speeds since I, myself, was in high school. Nor have I done so in practice this year. Doesn't matter. I am hoping that the River Ramble 5k will be my goal achieving race. Getting a 19:59 or faster time will have a 2nd pleasant consequence... I won't have to sign up for another 5k later this year.

Wish me luck.

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