Sunday was Run for the Zoo, a local fundraiser for the ABQ Biopark Society. It is I think the second biggest fund-raiser for the Zoo and one of the biggest running events in the city. Throngs of runners hit the streets around the zoo for a Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k (timed) a fun 5K and a 1 mile family fun run.
That’s a lot of runners.
Not to mention the family, spectators and armies of volunteers on-site as well. I’m not a fan of crowds, which is why I rarely went to the Minnesota State Fair so this is not my favorite running gig. I prefer the smaller, grass-roots feel of the Ultra’s where we gather up in the pre-dawn dark and take off in the cold, only to regroup and have some food and hang out afterwards.
I do love the zoo though and I make a point to make this my road race every year. I’m happy to support the animals and staff that care for them. It doesn’t hurt that my kiddos like the zoo and like to play on the nearby playground while I’m pounding the pavement.
I got up at 5, had a couple cups of coffee with breakfast (granola with banana, chia seeds and almond/coconut milk) then dressed up to brave the cold on the way to the race.
For the second year in a row I am biking the 13 miles to the zoo so I can make the start while Lisa and the girls sleep in. It’s not a bad way to warm up pre-race as I’m plenty limbered and warm before I get there.
This year though it was about 40º out and 25mph winds meant as I was biking in it felt like it was about 30º. Fuck that. Getting to the start wasn’t any better. All the other runners and peoples were shivering and huddled into corners hiding from the wind*.
*Note-you can’t hide from the wind in New Mexico. It’s fucking everywhere at all times and it fucking hates you and your face.
Resigning my self to the cold I was settling into my next dilemma: What shoes will I run in? I’ve been running in the Salomon Speedcross 3 lately and I love them, but they are rugged trail shoes that are not right for the road. I wore my Icebugs for the ride and could run in them but they started out as trail cleats and I’ve worn them down to slippers. I also brought my Vibram Five-fingers, which have not consistently run in since getting other shoes.
Ah hell, the Vibram’s were the safest bet and best fit for the road running. Never mind they are over a year old.
It was a cold start (did I say that already) and I took off plenty slow (I think). I barely remembered to turn off the alerts on my Garmin so it wouldn’t bitch at me the entire way for being a fat walrus pretending to be a healthy runner. It’s a good thing I did too because I apparently ran the entire half beyond my aerobic HR zone.
Seriously? WTF? I felt like I was pushing it a little bit but at no point did I feel like I was struggling or on the verge of collapse.
The cold and the wind were definitely factors everyone was feeling. I did my very best to just run and enjoy the time on my feet. The sun was out and it felt good, trying to warm my face despite the winds frosty caress.
After checking my Garmin a few times and seeing how high it said my HR was (I had it set to display HR only) I switched the display to the time and left it at that. I didn’t want to worry about what it was saying when I was feeling as good as I was.
I drank water when I was thirsty, I popped a GU at the turn around and just kept going. Looking at my stats I’m impressed to see how consistent I was:
Fastest Mile: Mile 6 7:51/mi
Slowest Mile: Mile Mile 12 8:06/mi
I never strayed from that 15 second range which I am really surprised by. I didn’t struggle with it. I passed people when they were slower and I was passed when they were faster.
Official time for the Half: 1:44:44.
This nets me over all place 48th of 433 and 3rd for my age category. I walked away with not only a finishers medal but a 3rd place one as well! I was shocked to hear them announce my name as I was walking back from the bathroom.
When Snookums asked why they said my name I told her they gave me a medal for being the third fastest old guy. She laughed out loud, so it was worth it.
But that’s not all….
Animal had volunteered to run the 1 Mile with me. We waited in the cold and now intermittent rain for our turn. She was a great sport but perhaps not so great a sport as Lisa and Snookums who were sharing our rainy, gloomy day but not running. They got ice cream instead.
Animal and I ran as much as we could seeing how crowded it was. She ran the entire mile and then we were able to meet up with Lisa and Snookums and head home. Normally we might stay and play at the zoo, but….BRRRRRR.
All in all it was cold and rough but lots of fun. I saw a few folks I know unexpectedly. No one I wished I hadn’t run into so that’s good. ABQ is a smaller town than it thinks it is. Just saying.
I’ll leave you with a view of the mountains in the afternoon, clouds still clinging to it’s peaks.