|The new boardwalk|
Today’s run (Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot): 6.2 miles – 1:00:53 (clock time)
Dear Long Beach Turkey Trot,
There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll just say it. I don’t think I should run you anymore. I know we’ve had great times together, including a few 10K PR’s, but your behavior today was unforgivable. It’s not your fault – blame climate change – but it just isn’t working. You’ve come back strong since hurricane Sandy and I admire you for that. And this doesn’t mean we can’t still hang out. I still plan to run the Long Beach Snowflake race in February. But for now, I think it’s best that I do other races. It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it is you.
The Emerging Runner
Okay, that might be a little over dramatic, but today’s Long Beach 10K was the definition of difficult. The weather people were reporting temperatures in the high 20’s with 25-29 MPH winds resulting in conditions that felt like 11°. I wore a base layer with a heavier half-zip and compression pants with track pants over them. I double layered my socks, wore mitten-gloves and a warm hat. This, with a winter coat, kept me comfortable enough in the five minutes it took to pick up my number and race shirt.
|2013 Race shirt|
I saw The Petite Pacer when I arrived and we hung out in my car to stay warm and free of the sand that was being thrown around by the heavy winds. We headed to the boardwalk about five minutes before the the start of the race and tried to keep warm as we found our way to the starting line. The start itself was loosely organized but we were sent off right on time.
The race started east to west and I naively wondered if it was intended to minimize how much exposure we’d have to the fierce winds. I figured they were running the old course backward which would have provided a mile or so into the headwinds with the balance of the race with the wind at our backs. Not quite, but it was nice to hope that was the case, rather than know what laid ahead.
The winds we encountered were so powerful that they played havoc with our balance. The noise of hundreds of fluttering, safety-pinned race bibs was deafening. I kept checking that my own bib was intact from the violent force of the wind. I reminded myself that once we were off the boardwalk, we’d have the wind to our backs. I came off the ramp onto West Broadway heading east and the difference in comfort was palpable.
The wind worked to our favor as we continued east. I was maintaining about a 9:15 pace and felt like I was on track for a decent time. I was expecting them to divert us north on Magnolia and then over and down Washington, so I was surprised that they had us continue straight. If we didn’t do that loop and instead had followed the old course backward, we would have come up a mile short.
Soon after passing mile three, which I reached in 27:50, I saw that they were wrapping us around and sending us west on W. Broadway. I thought, “Those bastards!” Suddenly I was facing a wall of frozen air that hit so hard that it looked like I was running, but it felt as slow as walking. I was hating the run at this point, but determined to make it through. I got passed a lot between miles 3 and 4. I couldn’t understand how these people were able cut through the wind resistance.
Although I knew I was losing time, I decided not to give up. As miserable as I felt, I kept telling myself all races end and this one will too. I was freezing and becoming increasingly exhausted. Surprisingly enough, my heart rate was locked in at around 87% of max, indicating that I had another gear to call on. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it.
I was thrilled when I finally reached New York Ave. and ran up the ramp back to the boardwalk. I knew from prior races that just because I reached the final stage it didn’t mean I was all that close to the end. The wind was mostly to our backs at least, save for some unwelcome blasts that hit head-on in some sections. I put myself into autopilot and checked my Garmin to see that 9/10ths of a mile remained.
I recovered enough to step up the pace. My only goal at this point, besides reaching the line, was to finish with a pace under 10 min a mile (actual pace = 9:48). Happily the finish gate came within sight, but it seemed to take a very long time to get to it. About 100 feet before the line I saw the Petite Pacer in vivid neon and she ran the final 50 feet with me as I crossed the line. She’d finished about six minutes before me and was probably freezing waiting for me to come in.
|The new course|
|Despite the wind, my cadence averaged 172 SPM|
It was so great to finally stop. My face was so frozen that I literally couldn’t speak correctly. It took almost 15 minutes warming up in my car before I could speak clearly. After Petite Pacer left, I downed some more Gatorade and a banana and took off for home.
|It’s hard to smile in a sandstorm|
Later in the day, my family and I went to a food pantry where we volunteer on behalf of Island Harvest. My job was to carry boxes filled with canned goods to people’s cars. I’d done it a few times before but the combination of race exhaustion and the number of boxes I carried caught up with me. I reached a point where I could not carry another set of 30+ lb. boxes.
|Those boxes are heavy, especially after a 10K|
I certainly got a full body workout today and I’m really looking forward to my rest day tomorrow. Sorry Long Beach Turkey Trot. I think I’m going check out Garden City next year. I hope you’ll understand.