It was an interesting week. After my voyage to Missoula and back last weekend, I was hoping to get back on the high mileage bandwagon. But, I was also hoping to break a year old 5K PR, so I ended up sacrificing miles toward the end of the week to rest my legs for the Halloween Sock Hop 5K in Rapid City on Sunday.
Well, as she is prone to due, Mother Nature decided to screw with my plans. The wind was blowing yesterday. I'm not talking like 10-20 mph, I'm talking more like 35-45, with occasional gusts to 60. Nowhere near ideal conditions for running a 5K, but run it I did. We drove to Rapid and arrived at the park where the race was to be held to find.....nothing. The park gates were locked up and no sign-up area was to be found. Finally, after a half hour or so, some people started showing up and registration got under way. It wasn't terribly cold, mid 40s, but with the wind it was pretty damn uncomfortable. The local running club puts this race on and starts the festivities off with a kids 1K, which both of my kids ran in their Halloween costumes, a Seahawks player for Caiden (I have taught him well.....or really badly....not sure yet) and a monkey for Chloe (it should be noted that Chloe's real costume is Sleeping Beauty, but since it was so cold we put her in the much warmer monkey suit instead). The kids did great, considering they were the two youngest ones running. They each got a bag of candy when they were done.
Soon after the kids race was done, it was time to line up for the 5K, which my wife and I were both running. Despite the ungodly wind, I still toed the line with the goal of running something faster than 19:45. When the race started, I took off and found myself smack dab in middle of the lead pack with 7 or 8 high school cross country runners. At one point, I got sick of trying not to step on people and tried to break free, but the wind quickly convinced me to tuck myself back into the pack. I stuck with them for about a kilometer before they lost me on the windiest stretch of the course. We were running along a reservoir, totally exposed and going into the wind, which was blowing so damn hard that snot was coming out one nostril and the other was just being pushed shut, which means I couldn't breath very well. I knew then that a PR was probably out the question and I started trying to keep up with a local guy (the dad of one of the cross country runners) whom I have yet to beat at a race. When I hit the turnaround, I was already at over 11 minutes and knew for sure that I wasn't going to PR. I was expecting to see my wife as I headed back for the second half, but never did, which made me wonder if I had just missed her or what. For the entire second half, I kept that guy in my sights, but could never gain any ground....every time I put the hammer down, so did he and maintained the gap. I ended up finishing in 21:34, good enough for 7th overall and 1st in my age group. The wind definitely affected me, but my Garmin also showed that I ran 3.31 miles, not 3.1 like a 5K should be, so maybe the course was off too (although it could just as easily be my Garmin that was off, considering it took it forever to locate satellites when I turned it on before the race).
As soon as I finished, my sister in law told me that Shannon had twisted her ankle. At one point, we had to run on the grass around one of the locked gates and when she planted her left foot, it rolled and down she went, so ended up having to DNF, which explains why I never saw her. So, between the wind beating me up and Shannon's sprained ankle, we took quite a bit of abuse for $10 each. But, hey, at least we got a free pair of running socks out of the deal.
Okay, now on to football. It was a good week overall for my teams. On Thursday night, we went to Belle Fourche High's final regular season game against their archrival, St. Thomas More. Belle hadn't beaten More since 2001 and hadn't won an outright conference championship since 1998. Since both teams were undefeated in conference play (although More had lost 2 non-conference games), the Black Hills Conference title was on the line. Belle dominated from the start and racked up 523 yards of offense and 23 first downs compared to 26 yards and 2 first downs for More, winning the game 37-3 to finish the regular season 8-0. So, now they head to the playoffs, which began on Tuesday for some stupid reason (I could rant for a lllllooonnnnggg time on South Dakota's screwed up football classification and playoff system). Their first round game is against Custer, a team they beat 41-20 two weeks ago despite 9 (yes, 9) turnovers. Assuming Belle wins that game, which they should, they will most likely play More again in the quarterfinals. Assuming they dominate More again, which they should, it will be on to the semis, where they might play yet another team they've already beaten this year. In any case, they have a decent shot at playing in the State Championship, but once they get there they will likely face West Central, who has won 10 of the last 14 state titles (beating Belle for two of those). But, there's a reason they play the games, so we'll see how it all shakes out.
Montana also won easily over Northern Colorado and Seattle, in a shocker, doubled their win total by beating up on the apparently even more hapless 49ers.
This week: miles, miles, miles....