Saturday, April 4, 2009

Race #26 – Black Mountain Greenway Challenge 10k/5k – Black Mountain, NC – April 4, 2009


I never met a hill I didn’t like — to walk up, that is. My thanks once again goes out to Jeff Galloway, thinker-upper of the Run-Walk-Run method that allows people like me who may not feel like running all the time to finish the race without feeling guilty about doing some walking. Matter of fact, it occurred to me during this race that maybe I should have left my running shoes at home and just wore my old walking shoes instead. As you can see in the graph below where each spike represents a slow-down walking pace, I walked ten times during the race.
Some refer to it as “Gallowalking,” and those of us who do it are sometimes labeled as “Galloweenies,” but as advertised, it not only doesn’t slow you down a lot in the end, it might also actually result in a better time than if you run the whole time. My time of 49:47 in the 10k was good enough for second place in my age division and is probably about as fast as I can run a flat 10k, so bring on them hills and hand me down my walkin’ cane!
But I digress. One of the first things that struck me about the Black Mountain Greenway Challenge is that there was no sign of the Black Mountain Greenway. We didn’t run on it, I looked around and didn’t see it anywhere, and I didn’t even see any signs pointing to it. That little oddity aside, the hills were alive with the sound of runners.
There were big hills, little hills, steep hills, crooked hills, and luckily for me, what goes up must come down, so there was plenty of downhill as well to even things out some. I’m not complaining about the hills — I expect them anytime I’m running in this area and, hey, it gives me some hill work, which I’m kind of too lazy to do otherwise. I mentioned to somebody the other day that I started running seven months ago and this would be my 26th race during that time, to which they noted that that’s too much racing. Could be I guess, but racing every week also gives me some speed work (such as it is), which I also probably wouldn’t do otherwise, so it seems to be working okay so far.
Despite not being on the greenway, the race route was one of the most scenic that I’ve run. The Black Mountain area is one of the most scenic areas of the North Carolina mountains and it’s a great place to run. The weather was perfect as well, with no clouds and a racetime temperature of about 65 degrees.
After the race there was free beer from the race host and sponsor, the Pisgah Brewing Company. I don’t drink alcohol at all so that’s not much of a plus for me but it seemed like pretty much everybody else enjoyed it. I do drink water, however, and was a little bummed that there was no bottled water anywhere at the finish of the race. There was some Gatorade in some of those big orange coolers like construction guys drink out of, and there was a water spigot (with no sink underneath it) that magically came right out of the wall inside the brewery.
After the race there was pizza, which is always a plus for after-race fare, unless it costs extra, which it did in this case, so I went the free route with the free fruit (bananas & apples), cookies, chips, and pretzels, which were fine but not pizza-level stuff.
Being an old folkie myself, I enjoyed the music of the old-time band, “The Pitch Slickers,” who played right up until the awards ceremony.
Oy! Don’t remind me of the awards! Once again the awards were glasses, which I guess is to be expected from a brewery, but please, I’m beggin’ you race directors, knock it off with the glasses for awards! Honestly, if I want another glass, instead of running 6.2 miles to try to win one it’ll be much easier for me to go to the grocery store and buy me some jelly, then when the jar’s empty I’ll drink out of it. At least I know that’s what it’s for. I’m never sure what to do when I win a glass. Am I supposed to drink out of it, or put it on a shelf, or what? Geez… Am I going to have to buy a new shelf? I don’t have room on any of my existing shelves. Furthermore, I don’t like the looks of a shelf full of glasses regardless of whether I’ve won them or eaten jelly from them.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 86