Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A very slow bloomer

Very slow indeed - but still improving! I won my age group - 50 to 59 - in a 5K for the first time last Saturday. My time was just barely under 22 minutes. Admittedly, the competition wasn't fierce, as this (The Tortoise and the Hair) was a new run and all the fast guys were either cross town running in Deer Park or in Colorado because of the heat. Yes it was hot. Starting a race in Houston at 8:30am is never a good idea, especially not in late June during a heatwave of epic proportions. So it was probably close to 85F by the time we all sprinted out from underneath the Wortham Center, racing up the bridge over Interstate 45, along Memorial Drive.

Which brings me to a pet peeve. What is it with bridges, overpasses and viaducts in 5K races? I am baffled as to why local 5K races (such as the Astros 'Race for the Pennant' 5K and now this one) opt to make their course more difficult (slower) than it could otherwise be. What is the benefit to the race? So that runners can complain about how tough it was? Surely not. Trust me people, if anybody really wants to run hills in Houston's summer heat, he or she will find them - without your help. So quit including inclines of any kind in your 5K course. Runners do not sign up for 5K's to get a hill workout. They do that in the days and weeks before the race. Many people run a 5K just for the heck of it (because they can), but most 'real' runners are out to compete with others in their age group or to improve on their personal best time. So give them the fastest (i.e. flattest) course possible with the least number of turns, and they'll be back.

Other Striders there on the day did very well too: Ryan Dimarco won the entire thing - first place overall! John Dimarco snagged 2nd in his age group as did Azita Dimarco. What a family. Unfortunately Kathleen couldn't make it due to some IT band issue: too bad because she might have won her age group too!


Billy Burger said...

Ugh - weather sounds like it was suffocating, but hey - you got the elusive AG win...congrats Bert!

Minken said...

That Ryan is a manimal!!

And I fully agree on the course and hills. But, I guess if they really wanted to make a PR course they would hold the event in Jan or Feb?

Congratulations on your age group win!

Amy said...

Congratulations on taking first place in your age group! It's too bad about all the hills, when you are all geared up to run a fast 5K. Hang in there with the heat!

johnking said...

my only guess is for scenery purposes so people can describe the race and then say we ran over such and such bridge...sounds better than say we ran over flat streets...although I like the latter along a river front for a race. Congrats on the AG award!

Bert said...

Tks everybody for stopping by - hopefully I can repeat the AG win one of these days in a more hotly contested run. I definitely liked the feeling of being ahead of the pack. As for the hills, yes if these guys really want to put on a fast 5K in Houston, it should be from Oct thru maybe April. Problem is the race calendar then is very crowded. I just wish they wouldn't make these summer runs even MORE difficult by picking hilly routes.


Hi Thanks for stopping by! I love all of your pictures and running times - very fast! I'm with you on the hills - no thanks, esp with the Texas HEAT!! They should know better!

Good luck with future races - and I look forward to reading more :)