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This morning was Fort Worth's Hope 8k River Run held at Hope Church, benefitting children in poverty. Since it was my first year to run this, I had no idea it would be so well-attended--seems like all the active runners in Fort Worth were there.<br><br>
Special honored guest was Gilbert Tuhobonye, an elite runner from Burundi, Africa who was the only member of his family to survive the civil war there. He gave a running clinic at Hope Church last night which I was unable to attend.<br><br>
I woke up this morning with No. 7 Chorus from Handel's Messiah ("And He Shall Purify"<img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"> playing over and over in my head. It's not unusual for me to have a song playing in my head, though I must say THAT one is not common.<br><br>
(May I confess something? I've often fantasized what it would sound like if Looney Tunes characters sang the famous choruses from Handel's Messiah--like Tweety Pie on soprano, Bugs Bunny as a countertenor singing the alto parts, Elmer Fudd on tenor, and Sylvester the Cat on bass. Yeah, I know that's a bit bizarre; but hey! Isaiah 11 speaks of wolves & lambs and cows & lions dwelling together peaceably. How much of a stretch is it to have Putty-tats & canaries and bald hunters & Wabbits singing Messiah choruses?)<br><br>
But I'm getting distracted...<br><br>
Anyway, I arrived at the race site and got my timing chip. This race was well-organized! They had coffee, bagels and bananas available BEFORE--as well as after--the race, plus INDOOR bathrooms besides the usual platoon of outdoor portapotties.<br><br>
There was a kids 1k event at 8:00, then the 8k event at 8:30. As a warmup, I did a 15 minute jog down the trail lto the low water crossing east of Beach Street. The river glistened in the morning sun, and fog rose like steam from the water surface. It was inspiring.<br><br>
I wanted to PR today; this distance (~5 miles) is one I don't race very often, and I've not performed as well on it as on 5- or 10k. (Either I've gone out too fast and choked up at the end, or just lollygagged the whole way.) Today I wanted to do it RIGHT! A PR would need to be ~39 minutes--definitely doable.<br><br>
But when the starting horn sounded, I saw right away what my challenge was going to be: There were SO MANY PEOPLE and the trail was so narrow I couldn't get up to my target speed until into the 2nd mile. The first half of the trail (past the Beach Street low water crossing) was all crushed limestone and only about a car-width across, with tall weeds on either side.<br><br>
But I managed to get up to pace by mile 2 and pretty much kept it there. I kept telling myself "relax and focus." Another low water crossing past the 4th Street bridge, and then we were on loose gravel until we got back on pavement around mile 3 from there to the finish line. A few tense moments were when the gravel trail went steeply downhill and I felt like I was airborne; but somehow my feet kept striking the ground solidly under me and I stayed upright.<br><br>
In some ways this was more of a cross-country than a road race. It was fun, though! Unfortunately I fell short of a PR by about 30 seconds. I'd be tempted to blame the crowding at the start, but really I think I would've run out of gas had I gone out faster...because I didn't have anything left for a big push when the finish line finally came in sight. I did about as good as I was going to do today.<br><br>
The after-race food was incredibly good: Pancakes and bacon, turkey club sandwiches, fruit pieces, bagels of all sorts and flavors, coffee, bottled water.<br><br>
It was all good. Today was good.<br><br>
("...and He shall purify..."<img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">
 

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Ray, don't beat yourself up, 30 seconds is probably due to a combination of things, the crowding AND the footing. The PR is in reach.<br><br>
And no, you're not strange, well, not THAT strange for picturing Loony Tunes characters singing Messiah. After all, they did Puccini didn't they?
 
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