Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 Racing Season: Freezin' for a Reason 10K, March 7, Garrison, IA

As I planned out my racing schedule for 2015, one conundrum I found was that the race I have started the season with each of the last two years had been changed again in the calendar and this time to the same day as the 17 miler I was signed up to run at Zumbro.  Since the plans were already made to race Zumbro, (which was my first choice anyway), I needed a race to start the season in order to check on how my fitness was and to get the first race of the season jitters out of my system. Enter the Freezin' for a Reason 10K.

The start line of the Freezin' for a Reason 10K, Garrison, IA
This race is sponsored by Pizza Hut with the purpose of raising funds for the World Hunger Program in order to help feed children who need a meal.  It starts and finishes in a small farm town called Garrison and is run on the Old Creamery Trail, a converted rail track line.  While originally about three dozen people had signed up for this race, only two dozen showed up to compete on race day. This race definitely had a small town, simple feel.  I love these races.

Before the start of the Freezin' for a Reason 10K.
I drove down that morning, my Runner's Tea ready, one bottle of the awesome Ginger Berry for beforehand and one bottle of the new recovery blend for the way home.  I was also able to get out my new BibRave Pro jersey and use it as a top layer over a heavier weight shirt for warmth.  It was a sunny day with the temps set to get into the high 30's, but with a stiff, cool wind that we would face on the second half of the race after the turnaround.

At registration, we had the choice of which type of personal pan pizza we wanted or chicken wings. I chose the wings, gathered my bib and pins, and got a nice long sleeve t-shirt as well. The RD was a nice guy in a crazy hat and pointed the way to the bathrooms in the newly built library.

We started the race right at 10am and headed east toward Vinton, IA.  Since the trail had a few inches of snowpack on it, I wanted to be able to see more clearly where my footplants would be, so after being stuck behind a couple of people, I put in a little surge to pass them.  (Uneven footplants caused me a slight injury to my right quad one year in New Hampshire after a snow covered 5K turkey trot.) That may or may not have been the best idea, as I probably took the initial mile or two out faster than I would have liked.

Sign near the start of the race on the Old Creamery Trail
The first couple of miles were very nice as the trail in this stretch slowly went up a slight grade through woods and over a stream. At one point, I saw what appeared to be something on the course up ahead of me.  As I got closer I thought it was a raccoon, probably dead, but always something to be wary about if still alive as it could have rabies---not unheard of in Iowa. As I got even closer, I realized it was a skunk, a dead one, or at least it appeared so. There was no real stench, so that was a relief at least!  I made sure to give it a wide berth just in case there was any sign of life.

As the course flattened and the trees thinned out, the course started to have less snow where the sun could get to it, but the melting was also causing the trail to be squishy and muddy in places.  It actually became smarter to find snow along the edges to run on as it was firmer.  Somewhere just before this, the first place runner, (wearing what most of us would consider clothes only to be worn at a track meet in the middle of May, plus a hat and gloves), passed me and I started the count to see where I was placed overall by the turnaround at halfway.

Heading east on the Old Creamery Trail towards Vinton.  I am the fourth from the left.  Lots of orange that day!
The turnaround was just 3.1 miles up from the start right in the middle of the trail, marked in bright spray paint with a pick-up behind it blocking us from going any further.  I turned around in 12th place.  I would have loved to have made the top 10, but I knew I was pushing myself and 11th seemed to continue to stay just enough in front of me that that might be hard, and 13th was inching closer. That runner did pass me around the aid station on the way back.  The wind wasn't too bad, but it could definitely be felt as we made our way back to town.  I kept up my pace as best as I could, and while I didn't get passed by anyone else, I also couldn't reel anyone in either.  The downhill came and I saw the skunk again on the trail.  It's belly looked like if you stepped on it, it would explode like a whoopie cushion someone left laying around the house for an unsuspecting victim, perhaps at Chrsitmas dinner.  (Yeah, we runners have weird thoughts going through our brains during races...)

I pushed hard in the final stretch and came home at a reasonable time considering the conditions in 13th/24 at 59:48.  (Freezin' for a Reason 10K 2015 Results.)  Though I do a lot of runs right around 10K during the year in training, I haven't raced a 10K in several years.  It seems like most things I have done in the last several years have all been 8K or less, or 15K and more.  This 10K was a great "B" race.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This small town race raised $700 for World Hunger.  A job well done by the RD and his volunteers.

I hung around afterwards talking with a couple of the runners, eating wonderful chocolate brownies, and shooting the breeze about trails and races.  Even met a guy who will be running the 100 miler at Zumbro.  Having grabbed my food, eventually I made my way back to the car and headed home.

During the first half of the race, as we headed east through the tree lined trails.
Mile Splits:
1: 9:24.93
2: 9:43.47
3: 9:43.78
4: 9:48.95
5: 10:07.43
6: 9:33.64
Final .16: 1:25.97 (8:56/mi.)

Total: 6.16 miles in 59:48, average 9:43.  Snow pack and/or squishy, muddy trails.  Slight grade and flat on way out, flat and then slight grade down on the way back to the finish.

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