chasing tail 5k this morning -- a fundraiser for therapy animals of utah. "friendly dogs on a leash" are encouraged to participate with their owners. the course loops 2.25 times around wheeler farm and finishes in front of the big barn.
i woke up to heavy snowfall, which continued to fall off and on throughout the morning. most of the course runs along the dirt and/or gravel path through the farm, so the snow was accumulating nicely with no way of clearing it. the snow actually ended up being a good thing as far as footing goes, as there was more traction on the snow than there was on the slick and slushy road sections and in the mud puddle traps. i wanted to run around 18:20 and beat my time from last year, but knew i had to throw that out the window and just treat the race as a hard (and messy) workout.
the first loop: decent. i kept the effort honest even though i was running in the high 6:50s. i took all the corners wide, slowing significantly and taking small, choppy steps so as not to fall in the goose dung mud (it was an eerie yellow-green color and slippery and thick -- reminiscent of split pea soup). i was running completely alone -- james and two other guys were ahead of me and there was no one close behind. it was very quiet and all i could hear was the sound of my breathing, the schlopping of my feet through the snow soup, and the occasional "thud" of a snow clod falling from a burdened tree branch.
the second loop: i lost focus and fell out of racing mode completely. i started catching up to the dog walkers about a quarter mile into the second loop. this is expected in this race (it's part of the fun!) and the dog owners are very good about moving to the side when other runners start coming through. however, i had to slow down almost to a walk at one point, as there was a doggy delay in a narrow and uneven section of the course (big rocks sticking out of the snow). i even paused briefly to give a head pat to a beautiful (and huge) german shepherd.
i got myself going again but it wasn't much faster than a jog. my breathing had stabilized (not a good sign in a 5k), and i was feeling comfortable with a half mile to go (also not good). i surged a bit to remind my legs that they were in the middle of a 5k, but i didn't get much response. the final turn was on a cobblestone path and it was super slick. i took it very gingerly, heeding the "don't fall!" warning from a course volunteer. at this point i could see the finish clock and it said 20:xx. wah. wah. i finished in 20:22 with mud-splashed legs (although not as dramatic as i'd hoped) and pink-purple skin (to match my singlet).
i wasn't thrilled with the time, but i can't be too disappointed or take it too seriously. i knew i wasn't going to run very well given the conditions, but i did feel like i got a good workout in, which is the main reason for the weekend 5ks.
cooled down with james with four more loops around the farm. thanks to TAU for putting on a great race.