Last week was a difficult week for my wife and I and my running definitely took a back seat. We had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Riley and I was pretty broken up over it. I was on the fence whether I would still run Saturday's Festivus 50k or not because my other runs hadn’t gone so well all week. Usually being alone with your thoughts is one of the great things about a run, not so much this week. My Wednesday workout was the only run I was able to complete because I had a friend to chat with to get my mind off everything.
I decided to give it a go on Saturday and I think I made the right decision. I had a hard time focusing and digging deep after a tough week and because of that I made the decision early on to just run relaxed and see how the day unfolded. Even without going in with a racing mindset I ended up with a 50k PR of 3:58 on the day, which ain’t too shabby. This is about as fast a course you could ask for and I think I could achieve a 3:40-3:50 finish in future years. The only challenge for this run is that it’s a self-supported FA event, meaning you carry your own aid.
A couple brief notes about the run itself:
I made a few big errors with the race prep. #1, I forgot my wristwatch. I ran the entire race based on how I felt, not based on my pace. I think it worked out ok in the end. I had no clue whether I would come in with a time of 3:50 or 4:50. I checked my time on my car clock after the run and conferred with Amanda who finished just ahead of me to determine my time. #2, I wore a CamelBak on a day where the temperatures were below freezing. The line froze up and I was without water for the first half of the run. I ended up putting the line under my shirt to let my body heat defrost it. This also ended up not being too big of a problem in the end, I was able to rehydrate on the 2nd half.
There was a bit of confusion, on my end at least, because I made it to the turn-around without seeing anyone on their way back. I knew Amanda was ahead of me but assumed she had either gotten lost or decided to call it a day at some point. I ran the majority of the second half of the race under the impression that I was in the lead. That wasn’t the case, she did make the turn-around and we somehow missed each other downtown. With all the construction downtown and the option to stay high at street level or low along the river we must have run right by each other but not even known it. After chatting with her after the run I have no doubt that she made the turnaround and covered the distance, and is therefore the winner of the Festivus run.
I joked with a friend afterwards that if I knew she was still ahead of me at the turn-around that I probably would have pushed myself too hard on the return trip and crashed and burned (my competitiveness sometimes gets the best of me :). I think it was best that I just ran my own pace and let the chips fall where they may.
After the run I stuck around and chatted with Amanda and her family, Ted, Greg, and David. I always enjoy catching up with fellow runners after a race; picking their brains about training and races they’ve done. Greg, David and myself even went over to Rusty Bucket for an adult beverage – a hell of a way to cap off a great run.
Thanks to Dan D. for organizing another great event. I’ll be back next year.