On Sunday, for the first time in three years, I ran a race longer than 5K. This hiatus was caused by a series of bizarre non-running injuries. The worst was two summers ago, when I pulled a groin muscle while trying to pick a hard-to-reach squash. More recently, I tore an intercostal muscle when I fell to the floor while sleeping.
Waking at 5:00am to begin race prep, I was greeted with this local weather alert:
Fortunately, I always try to keep a low profile.
As I started to leave for the race, something felt amiss in the shoe department. Glancing down, I uttered my first obscenity of the day.
I had put a Clifton racing shoe on my left foot, a Bondi walker on my right. Next stop: THE HOME 😳 !
The following pic shows me at the starting line, 41 minutes before race time. At this point the temp was 45, which was fine, but the wind gusts were in the 20-30 mph zone. I hunkered down in the stairwell of an open building until race time.
The first 9 miles went pretty much as planned. Using a 5:1 run/walk strategy, I was averaging exactly 12 minute miles. But I had used a lot of energy fighting the wind on the river bridges and in the skyscraper canyons of downtown Des Moines. I was tired, and resorted to more frequent walks. This pic, taken late in the race, fails to reflect how miserable I really felt!
I ended up at 2:44:30 for a 12:34 pace, but was pleased to learn that I had won my age group. (Whether or not two constitutes a "group" is a semantic issue that I refuse to discuss.)
On Saturday there had been a brief flurry of Loopster excitement. Mrs. SR told me she had seen an "Awesome Sauce" sign in one of the hotel elevators and wondered if that was a Loopster name. I said it was, though I didn't know the person's real name.
Earlier that day I had seen a sign in the lobby welcoming "Jerry and his 'runbuds' on his 50th," so I assumed someone could be welcoming Awesome Sauce. My APB on Facebook quickly identified her as a young woman who had been a star collegiate runner in southeast Nebraska. Sadly, a check at the front desk failed to show that this person was staying there.
When I finally located the right elevator, I found the following:
Turns out to be an ad for various sauces offered in the hotel restaurant.
I guess sauces are haute cuisine at the Des Moines Hampton Inns!