Saturday, May 1, 2010

2010 Tempe Arbor Day 5K

 Don't hug this scary-ass tree! Have you never watched a Harry Potter movie?

31:18, 3.25 miles.

I ran in this inaugural race last night. I had no idea how many people would be in the race (neither did the event organizers), but expected about 200 or so. Five Hundred people showed up and clearly overwhelmed the event staff. Pretty soon after joining the 30 minute line to pick up bib and chip, I realized that this was going in the books as a fun run, and I would not likely compete. The number of racers combined with the narrow track made it really difficult to navigate at pace while pushing HJG in the BOB stroller. I had to start the race in a fast walk because I was all the way in the back of the pack and there were so many people walking and blocking the path.

I spent the first 1.5 miles in a slalom and start stop mode. There were also two unexpected river rock sections that did not allow me to push the stroller except at a walking pace. The course led us around Tempe Town lake, a very nice city lake that is beautiful this time of year. Somewhere just into mile three, there was a soul-crushing uphill, but thankfully it was followed by a nice downhill glide pretty much to the finish. Harrison was enjoying the race but was royally pissed off at Mayor Hugh Hallman.
Hugh, unfortunately, was handed a microphone while we were all waiting to register and he spent the next 20 minutes yelling at us. Hugh! you had a microphone and were connected to an electronically amplified public address system. We could hear you!! Mayor Hallman led the kids 1 mile fun run off and gave us play by play, and then the microphone was handed back to some other challenged announcer. Once the race was underway, HJG settled in and relaxed to sounds of his dad's labored breathing and snot-rocketing. There were water stations, but I didn't utilize them. I watched my Garmin and felt pretty good about my times despite the human obstacles.

My splits were 9:43, 9:19, 9:58(river rocks, sharp turns and a HILL), and 9:06. Total distance was 3.25 miles. Lot's of others racers were reporting similar distances. One really boring runner reported almost 3.5 miles, but he took some wrong turns at the end and did some doubling back (beer obviously trumps orange cones and race volunteers frantically waving their arms). I think he ended up in 16th place overall. Adam was standing with my wife after he finished and they spotted me from across the lake, which only means that Adam is twice as fast as me.
I finished the race but didn't have time to spend with friends because the boy had been through enough Tempe BS, and was hungry. That leads me to announce my new all-time favorite post-race meal: Pita Jungle's Spicy Mango Shrimp. That hit the spot!

Not to complain too much, because it was a pretty fun event with lots of food, drink, and lively atmosphere, but the traffic was busy, the course was not the normal Phoenix metro flat and fast, and the 5K was measured out seemingly by two teenagers who have never heard of a kilometer.

"We measure, measure, measure and check our book for metric conversions. We'll give them an extra K for their 5K!"
My bet is that next year, they will have the course smoothed out and will be ready for a bigger crowd. I like evening races, love running near water, and since there aren't too many races that have both in Phoenix, I will most likely work the Tempe Arbor Day 5+K into my annual rotation.