Monday, March 03, 2008

The Dam Run! - 5 Mile & 5 K

Greetings Readers

"What!? You didn't get enough?"

That was asked of me after doing the "That Dam Run! 5k/5Mile" at Cherry Creek Reservoir when I was getting ready to ride home on my bike. I think I responded to her "never" with a smile.

Returning to the scene of the crime I was in a much better state - physically. Since last week I decided to go drinking the night before the 20 mile run in Cherry Creek Reservoir. Though, I now enjoying telling that adventure.

Now - "That Dam Run". I knew that the temperature was going to drop down to 40 degrees on Sunday, but that was as of Friday morning's FoxNews report. Saturday was going to be a beautiful day - and it was. Denver broke a record 74 degrees. Very nice.


Sunday, I woke up and looked out the window and I see snow. Not just snow, but blowing snow. Blowing snow on the ground and in the sky. And not only was the snow blowing it was falling heavy. Visibility was not very far. I quickly turned the TV channel to get a weather report and it was not what I wanted to hear.

Gusting winds in the Denver area from about 30 to 40 miles per hour with the temperature dropping throughout the day. I was indifferent, but not very happy. I decided that I was going to bundle up for the run due to the winds I could hear outside my window and the angle of the snow falling to Earth.

I grabbed my long, tight biking shorts, then added my short biking shorts and ending up with my warm up pants (jogging suit pants). I elected to go with long pair of white tube socks. No little sock booties. Then, I put on my Nautica jersey, then a bicycling jersey with my green Adidas jacket on top. Around my neck I put two bandannas. Finishing up my running wardrobe, I elected to stay with my Thinsulate gloves and Natalie Merchant Stocking Cap.

I grabbed the winter bike and headed out the door. Urgh. Flat back tire. And this was the only winter bike I had since I had to throw away the Mountain bike last month. Urgh. Time was getting away from me. I couldn't fuck with repairing a flat tire (patching, gluing, pressing, etc) nor grabbing another bike was an option. Instead I grabbed a new tube and installed that tube in 4 minutes, I think. The tire held and I was once more out the door.

The weather was actually nice, but I was also in an area that was protected from the wind that was/is blowing. I turned the corner and my front tire slid in the snow. The wet, slushy snow. Oh gosh. I was fucked. 9 am - the starting time - was getting closer and closer and I was still 5 miles away from Cherry Creek Reservoir, which I still had to ride to.

I got on the bike and started to pedal. All was going great, except for riding North, straight into the blowing snow. 50 yards later I did "Kiss the Earth" that morning. Fuck me. I was laying on the ground amid the snow and snow bank. The side walk that I was taking has a lot of curves and corners and I somehow forgot that there was slushy snow, which means that my brakes will ice up. With that, I forgot and well that is the reason why I fell. Oh I braked for the oncoming corner, but the brakes had iced up and that was that. Fucking A - I tried staying up for a second, but then I when down like a clown, Charlie Brown. I laughed at myself because I simply forgot, but I was also riding faster than I should be for the conditions. But I had to move since 9 AM was quickly approaching.

At one point, through the DTC area, I was riding about 4 feet into the road from the curb. No sidewalks and slush/snow was in the gutter. There was no way to ride in the gutter. Thankfully, the morning was early enough for me to avoid any traffic. There were a few hills so I had to do the "Fred Flintstone" braking since my brakes were iced up solid. A - I could have pissed on the brakes or not to piss. Well, I elected not to. Mainly, since I still had to ride to the starting line, then run, then ride back home on the bike. For the sakes of argument, my pissing on the gears could even freeze my gears, cogs, whatnot even more than it is. I did not want that to happen since I did not want to walk my bike home nor try waiting for a bus (I estimate that I had a quarter inch ice around each of my spokes. My spoke are silver, but as you can see from the photo they are black with muck).

Finally, I made it to the starting line at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Whew. I saw that there was a police car and the Dam was closed to traffic. I also had about 5 minutes or so to spare. Yet, what I also, or not saw, was that there were hardly any runners. Boo Yah! My kind of race. The less runners there are the better that I will place overall. I took a picture of the starting area, got registered and locked up my bike near the Dayton/Dam intersection at Cherry Creek High School.

Boy oh boy, my socks were soaked to the skin. My feet were soaking wet and cold. My jogging pants were also soaked due to the slushy snow splashing from the tires of my bike. I was soaking wet, but not miserable. Unbelievable. And I think I owe that to the fact that there were hardly any runners present when I got to Cherry Creek Reservoir.

My number was # 355. Visibility was about 400 meters (1/4 mile) and even less when looking to the North. Which by the way was the way that we runners were going to run. With that in mind I had to keep my Oakleys on so my eyes (eyeballs) would not get pelted by the snow that was blowing in from the North.

Go. We 5 mile runners took off first. Those first running steps were ugly. The plows did not go on the Dam since the Dam road was closed to traffic. Therefore, slushy snow was all over the road about 1 to 2 inches thick all over the road. Some of the road had more some had less, but overall the road was slippery to run in. I could not do any long running strides since I feared that I could easily slip and perhaps "tear"/injury my body.

I did bring the Ipod, but elected not to wear/listen to since I wanted to hear the runners and other people around me.

Mile 1 - oh how I hated running into the 30 mile gusty winds, with that hard snow (well it seemed hard) into my face. My Oakleys were starting to fog up and ice was forming on the inside of the lens, but I could not do a thing about it. I would rather protect my eyes until I get to the turnaround point.

A few runners did pass me, but overall I was able to hold my position that I was comfortable running in the slushy snow. I was in a hurry, but not that in a hurry. Again, it came down to that I wanted to add the event to my athletic resume. "That Dam Run!"

A few more runners past me, but they were doing the 5k run so that did not bother me.

After a little over 2 miles I saw the lead bike and runner. He said "good job" and running like Forrest Gump. I also started to keep a count of runner so I know how many people are in front of me.

Visibility got worse over the Damn so you could never really see very far in front of you.

I then saw the turnaround point materialize out of the blowing snow. Very cool. I was about to have the wind at my back and more importantly take off my Oakleys.

As I turned the corner I saw that there was a crowd of 7 to 10 runners all bunched up and I estimate about 30 yards behind me. Not good. Before I turned the turnaround point I counted 8 runners in front of me. I was ninth and I did not want to lose that position. I really wanted to say Monday morning that I got in the top 10 overall. I did not look back. I increased the length of my stride and found the strength to kick it up a notch.

With the wind at my back, the Oakleys off my face and two runners that I kept in view I knew I had a chance to keep a pace that would keep me in the top 10. Mile 3 the snow was accumulating on the Dam road, which made the road a bit less slushy. I could literally feel the difference in my contact with the road. With that, I kicked it up another notch and ran in the heavier snow I saw on the road. Meanwhile, the two other runners in front of me elected to run in the vehicle's tracks that were made earlier.

I saw the 5k turnaround point and knew the end was getting near, but not in sight since visibility was still down to 400 meters, though it seemed better since we runners were running with the wind and blowing snow.

4 mile mark - I kicked it up another notch. One runner was crumbling (losing his stride) in front of me and I knew it. The other runner,a woman, I was catching up, but did not quite have the pace to close the distance faster that I would like to.

The Finish line materialize out of the blowing snow and I saw that one runner who I was catching up to and I had him - I got 9th place - Woo Hoo! The woman runner I was not going to be able to catch, but I will still give it all I can before I finish.

I crossed the finish line at 44:08 (at a pace 8:50 per mile). Really not bad for the conditions of the road and what we runners had weather wise. I am fucking proud that I showed up and did my part to benefit "Kipture Primary Kenya School Foundation"

I got a few more pictures at the finish line and I of course took a few photos at the same places that I have been for the past month.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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