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11:55 a.m. - 2007-12-03
the 10 miler
The Frostbite Festival 10 Mile run
Dec. 2nd, 2007
Weather conditions:partly sunny, mid 50's
Surface:concrete and asphalt

The old Frostbite Festival didn't have much frost in her this year. We caught a real break in the weather. Everybody got to run in shorts and T-shirts. Saturday brought several hours of freezing rain which closed local airports and littered sidewalks with falling bodies. Today, Monday, the temps are back down to the lower 20s with wind chills of single digits. But for a few glorious hours Sunday, we got some really balmy gulf breezes.
I needed all the help I could get so it was good with me.

The course started out at The Fit Club on the west side of Springfield and prodeded into the countryside west and north of town. 5 miles out to a turn around then retacing our steps. The first and second miles were very hilly but gradually descending. I made mental note of that so I could torture myself for several miles with my impending doom at the finish. The third mile brought us to the edge of town. Miles 4 and 5 took us north onto country roads. The open farmland allowed the southerly winds to push us along to the turn around.

The first mile was spent mostly trying to find out where I belonged in the pack. Somewhere near the end, not running over the really slow runners but not being run over by the moderately slow runners. By the second mile everyone had found their own pace. Most people were from the Springfield Road Runners Club. Those of similar speeds were carrying on conversations amongst themselves. Since we at the back of the pack were all of questionable ability, alot of the conversation was lighthearted and encouraging. I think they were trying to convince each other it was going to be alright. I wasn't too sure it was going to be alright, but I was accepting the abuse I was putting myself through. Those with a little more experience were instructing the less experienced on how to run up and down hills. Mile one took just over 10 minutes. Mile two was at about 20 minutes and 35 seconds. Mile 3 came at just over 30 minutes. It was somewhere at about 3.5 miles where the real runners started meeting us coming back. That put the leaders about 3 miles ahead of me at that point. The leaders were being shadowed by race moniitors on mountain bikes. One of them called out to us to enjoy that tailwind. I knew that was right! Mile 4 was at just over 40 minutes and the 5 mile turn around came at 50 minutes and 30 seconds. I'd paced myself pretty well and felt fine, but my knees were beginning to feel just a little creaky.

So, then we go back... into the wind.
I had myself in a really good but slow rhythm. My knees were creaky and the wind was howling, but as long as I kept putting one foot in front of the other, I knew I'd be OK. Well, I hoped I'd be OK. Mile 6 came at about 1 hour and 2 minutes. The next mile would take us back to the edge of town. Since we were on country roads still, people would call out when there was traffic coming from behind. It was at this point, upon hearing "car back!", I realized all conversation had stopped. The talkers were taking their beating now. Mile 7 and the edge of town came at One hour, 12 minutes. The knees weren't creaky anymore, they were just numb. It was at the 7th mile marker I was sure I was going to make it. I was back in town, out of the wind and I was tired but somehow invigorated. Mile 8 came at 1 hour 24 minutes. The real runners were coming back at us again at this point. They were either getting a warm down or just rubbing it in. One thing was certain, when I finished, I was going to get something to eat and sit my ass down. There wasn't going to be any post race running for me. Mile 9 came at 1 hour 35 minutes. Somewhere in the last mile, I heard someone yell "Camera!". I looked in their direction and put on my best Cheshire Cat smile. She seemed to hold the camera forever so I don't know if she got the picture or not. If I find it online somewhere in the coming weeks, I'll post it. As I rounded the corner to the last quarter mile back up Lawrence Ave, I felt surprisingly good. I could see the finish line with the clock at 1:44 and change and I think I may have managed to scoot in at just under 1:45. The last 5 miles were only about 5 minutes slower than the first 5. I thought it was going to be worse than that. I'm pretty satisfied with the time. It's slow but it's as good as I could do. I accepted my finishers medal...


...and after a quick visit to the men's room (I'd been holding that one for about 5 miles) I hit the snack table for a couple muffins and a banana. As I walked back out to the truck I noticed the clouds had rolled in overhead and the first few sprinkles had begun to fall. The temp had risen to 60 degrees. It was amazing for the first weekend of December. After I stretched and got into the truck the sprinkle had turn into a drizzle. By the time I got out of Springfield, the drizzle had turned into a rain. From there it was either hard rain or monsoon-like all the way back to Champaign. By 5pm the temp had dropped back down to the 30s. The race weather window had closed as suddenly as it appeared.
So it was a successful sojourn, but I'll need to put in a few more miles before I can advance the distance much farther. I just didn't feel like I was really prepared for this. The important thing was that I finished it without a blister, broken bone, torn cartilage or scorched nipple. I will live to trudge another day.



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