Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fort Rucker Chili 5k Run

Since moving to Fort Rucker at the beginning of the year I have been trying to work out regularly but not building any mileage. I run a couple times a week on the Beaver Lake Trail (paved) for one or two miles. Alternatively, I'll walk the dog there for up to three miles. Three days a week I go to a spinning class at the gym on Post. The instructor is a cyclist and runs the group sessions as if we were really outside. She's great at giving visual imagery and challenging us to challenge ourselves.
Today I ran in the 17th Annual Fort Rucker Chili 5k Run & Cook off at Howze Field, Fort Rucker, Alabama. I had pre-registered at the gym but needed to pick up my race bib and t-shirt prior to the race - along with everybody else. There was a chili cooking contest going on simultaneously, so I parked near the crowd and planned to walk around and find the race registration table. A funny note about the chili cook off: there were multiple awards, one being 'worst tasting!!" lol.
Anyhow, so I walked and walked and asked people where the heck it was and followed every piece of advice to no avail. Finally after walking around for 20 minutes and getting too close to the race start I finally got back in my car to drive the gym (someone said registration was held there one year). I arrive at the gym and ask the person at the front desk about the race and she says she had no clue what I'm talking about. Ooookay.
I go back out and get in my car driving around the entire other side of the parade field (which you can't see from the opposing side) and run into some people directing traffic. Turns out I'm talking to the race director himself! I'm finally pointed to the registration table but, I'm not allowed to park near the parking area where they are set up. ARRRRGH.
Finally, I temporarily park, get my bib and get back into the car to drive somewhere else to find parking while I'm in the run. I had to go over to the entire other side again to park and then get out and walk all the way back to the registration area where the start is located.
I felt like I'd already done my 5K!
Standing at the start line I made sure to position myself at the back. A lot of the runners were soldiers and their units so I assumed they would be in it to run it hard. The race is off on time and we wind through the single soldiers 1950's orange brick housing mostly. Pretty much the most uninteresting part of the base. Wow, they really could have chosen better views of the Post but I assume these streets were easy to shut down traffic-wise.
I didn't have a great race and walked a lot. My energy this year has been low. Every workout feels like a great effort and I never seem to be able to improve much but yet have to recover a lot.
Doing a race gave me a feel for participating in the running community again, but I'm just so far away in endurance that it is bittersweet.