|"Snoopy", a big 13-year-old gelding, sticks his white-blazed head out of the stall and eyes me as he munches a mouthful of hay for breakfast. Hopeful sparrows hop about below, gleaning bits of what he drops. At Meadowbrook Stables I nervously visit the loo after a two-mile warmup jog from home. Windshields are covered with frost. A just-past-full moon sets in the west. Golden leaves rain down from the aspens along Rock Creek Trail.|
"Twelve minute pace my butt!" a fellow runner exclaims when I pass him about 2 miles into today's 3.1 mile race. I'm wearing my Parks Half Marathon "12:00+" bright orange singlet to provide some amusement to those who have enough energy to read it during the race. Barry Smith lines up with me at the start, after his 2 mile run from downtown Bethesda, and says he'll be right behind me. I chat with Jim Rich and cheer his wife Patti Rich when I see her on the course.
The Candy Cane 5k is an event I've done many times. For the past two years I've tried to push "hard" by my pitiful standards, which means going as fast as I can without falling down. In both 2010 and 2011 the result is virtually identical, a ~7.2 min/mi pace. Does my ~10 pound weight loss this year make up for the aging and lack of proper training? (I'm in the mid-to-upper 140 lbs. zone at the moment.) The GPS record suggests my pacing is relatively level this time: 7:14, 7:16, 7:08, and a final kick of ~6:30.
After the race I grab my knees and breathe, eat half a banana, drink a couple of small cups of water, cheer Don Libes, Michele Price, and all the "ARMY" t-shirt wearers I spot. At the finish one of them, Greg Ervin, chats with me. He came here from Ohio. After I discover he's five years my senior, and thus not in my age group, I tell him we can be friends instead of rivals. I take the long way home and add a hook around the block at the end to make the GPS exceed 3 miles for the cooldown/recovery.
Official 2011 results: 71st place of 278 finishers — 63rd of 147 men — 8th of 17 males age 55-59.
Past Candy Cane 5k data:
|2004||24:59||first time on this course, 84th place overall, 12/14 males 50-54|
|2005||30:41||with Ken Swab|
|2006||28:53||taking photos of friends along the way|
|2007||33:43||with Christina Caravoulias|
|2010||22:28||weight ~155 lbs.|
|2011||22:25||weight ~145 lbs.|
(GPS records of today's three run segments: , , ; for past Candy Cane 5k reports see 2004-10-23 - Candy Cane 5k, 2005-10-22 - Candy Cane Puddle-hop, 2006-10-14 - Candy Cane 5k Plus, 2007-11-10 - Candy Cane 5k, 2010-11-13 - Candy Cane 5k, ...) - ^z - 2011-11-25