Running race 32:00  4.19 mi (7:38 / mi) vdot: 41.5
weight:174lbs shoes: Asics Gel Kahana 10-07 - screw
Webster Thanksgiving day "4.4" mile race, starting and ending in Webster Park. I always strongly suspected the course was way short, and this year I had my Forerunner on so I got a measurement of it that way. The Forerunner says the course is 4.19 miles; the Forerunner may not give the precise distance, but the course is clearly not 4.4 miles.
The size of the field has gotten out of hand, in my opinion, and maybe some sort of cap should be put on it in future years. Parking was a real mess, although we (Anne and I) got there an hour ahead of the race start so we got a decent spot in the lot at Holt and Lake, which quickly filled up. In the end, people were parking along Lake Rd, east of Holt, quite a ways from the start/finish, and way south on Holt Rd, on both sides of the road.
We thought we had an appropriate position in the crowd at the start, but when the race actually started, we found ourselves behind a ton of people, most of whom were slower than us. After about 0.5 miles, I was averaging 9:30 a mile. It was when the course turned south on 250, just short of the 1 mile mark, when I could first run the pace I wanted to without being held back by the mass of people.
Weather was absolutely terrible, almost as bad as it could be for a race. Low 30's, windy, rain ranging from fairly heavy to medium-light.
My time was around 32:10, starting my watch when I crossed the start line. I believe my official time will be more like 32:25 or so. That's 3 minutes faster than last year when I was in much worse shape, so considering the bad weather and the crowd in the first mile of the race, I was fairly satisfied with my time. Anne ran an official 37:00, which was way faster than the 40:14 she ran last year. So she was also pleased with her time.
Update: The chip timing system bit the dust after around 10% of the finishers had crossed the line. The Yellowjacket web site says it was because of the extremely wet, muddy conditions, which caused a connection to come loose at the finish. They had partial results posted; the results went up to 32:08 which missed getting my time recorded by 10-20 seconds. Of the results that they had, there were already 4 people from my age group ahead of me, so I didn't place in my group. I think Anne had a good chance of placing in her group, but we may never know ... The site said they had a video of the finishers, and from that they will try to piece together as many of the results as they can. It won't help me, because my number wasn't visible as I was coming in to the finish line.
Also, the Yellowjacket site said they had 1500 entrants between the "4.4" and the 2.5 mile races. In my opinion, that's way too many for the "infrastructure" there (limited shelter, parking, bathroom facilities, and narrow 2-lane road to start that many people on). But if people still come, in spite of the problems, the voice of the customer must be saying that they'll put up with those things, to compete on a course that is advertised as the incorrect distance. Although maybe that's the appeal, if people assume it's 4.4 miles, they'll be very happy with their pace per mile!