Cactus Classic, 2017 version

I’ve only attempted this race once before. That time I signed up for the marathon and bailed/DNFed half way; I did take a 15 mile version for the first 13.4 mile loop.

This time, I wasn’t even tempted to sign up for the marathon; I did not have the long run/walk background necessary for success. But when I saw the potential for dry conditions, I thought “why not; it is a pretty course and will get me about a 3 hour run/walk” …and that is what happened.

The day could not have been much better; a few degrees below freezing at the start and to freezing at the end (of my half), dry …just a pretty day.

And there were old trail friends here, many who I have not seen in a long time. My knees just do not permit comfortable trail running in bad conditions, hence I have become more of a road person. But today: great.

And, Mamma T (and her (new?) friend) and Jennifer (who suffers next to me in exercise class) was there too. Oh hell, though I like a good run/hike in most circumstances, there are times when I’ll do a race that I am not really prepared for because I am in the mood to socialize. And that is a good thing.

Oh, the race. I started back in the pack and, as things settled, I moved in a very loose group of 5 runners or so, one of who was to finish the marathon (and Julie’s second loop was only 30 minutes or so slower than the first…great pacing for this course).

I let Mary go..she was moving swiftly and she too did very well in the full marathon.

I was figuring on a 15 minute per mile average pace as the sand was dry and quite deep for much of the course (about ankle deep, and soft). I tried, as did others, to run on the part with grass. I seemed to be averaging about a 13 minute pace for the first few parts (1:06 for the 5 mile aid station, 2 hours for for the 9 mile, 2:30 for the 11 mile station.

But I never really knew where I was on the course; it was well marked but I didn’t have a good feel of when to start a “finishing kick”; so I mostly tried to keep within sight of Jason and a couple of ladies (one tall and close to my age, one shorter and younger).

I lost to Jason about 5 minutes and finished 1-2 minutes ahead of the ladies in 3:02 (40 out of 55 finishers; winning time was 1:34, which is my old road PR).

Though I wanted to finish 3 minutes faster, well, I didn’t completely embarrass myself and never got grouchy; the race ended while it was still fun.


March 12, 2017 - Posted by | Friends, running

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