Sunday, November 2, 2014

Deployed Racing and the October Race Report

Like many aspects of being deployed, I try not to linger too long on the differences in running back at home and running on a base in Kuwait. While I occasionally dream about running up Skunk Canyon or the South Boulder Creek Path, there are some things that I find enjoyable and special about running and racing overseas.

The races on our camp are a bit rougher and less polished than even your small state-side 5k. Most of this stems from the fact that races here are run by awesome volunteers who are not necessarily runners by background. The course markings are a bit sparser. At our camp there are no age group awards – or even results (although some deployed races do have results and age groups). Some races have shirts; others don’t. Some have top three awards; others don’t. While all of these features are nice, their occasional absence does make me realize that I do not really run races for any of these perks. A race stripped of these things almost feels more pure – probably like street basketball feels to someone who plays a lot in more refereed leagues. If you are running here it is because you truly enjoy the comradery that comes with being in the midst of several hundred fellow runners who are trying to push themselves to go a little faster.

Pre-dawn start of the 10-Miler
The races are free and plentiful. I have run four in October alone (Three 5ks and a 10-miler). Rarely does a week pass without a 5k. They find some cause or event to pin to each one. They mostly tend to be of the 5k distance since this is a popular distance for getting good participation and the course is fairly easy logistically.

Ascending the hill at the start of mile 2
Even on a reasonably big base like the one I am at, you end up getting to know the running routes very well. While I did make a somewhat comical wrong turn on my first 5k, once I learned the “usual” 5k course, I really got to know it. Somewhat like a baseball player who learns all the intricacies of their unique home field, I am learning every inch of the 5k course – where to push, where flagging attention can cause my pace to drift and where to pay attention to tangents.

The October Race Report:

Fire Prevention Week 5k
Army 10-Miler
Breast Cancer Awareness 5k
Operational Energy 5k

The Fire Prevention Week 5k was my first run in-country. At 6 AM the temperature was a rather merciful 75 °F. I found myself in the lead which while fun was problematic because there was no lead vehicle and the course was not overly well marked. I made a wrong turn but still managed to get to the finish line in the lead and run less than a tenth of a mile beyond the correct distance.

The Army 10-Miler had great participation. The course had a nice mix of the paved and gravel roads on base. The eventually winner was in his own race. Some people you can tell just do not know how to pace themselves and you can feel a smug assurance that you will see them again as they sprint off in the first mile. This fellow was not one of them. He finished in just under 52 minutes. I took second with a time of 58:55. My goal had been to run sub-6 minute miles and so I was happy.

Feeling fresh early in the Army 10-Miler

The Breast Cancer 5k was put on by the USO in a different part of the camp and at 7 PM instead of the usual 6 AM start. My friend from the 10-miler was there but I think this was more of a training run in his schedule. He ran with me and another captain for the first half of the race before turning on the switch and pulling away. I managed to shake the captain and pass under the spray of water from the fire truck to finish second in the dark amongst the pink glow sticks.

Start of the Breast Cancer Awareness 5k
Nice cooling off to finish the 5k

I finished out the month with the Operation Energy 5k. The training and acclimatization seemed to come together and I dipped below 17 minutes for the first time in a year or so. My friend (the ringer) was not around allowing me to finish the month with a deployed PR and the win.

Finishing the Operational Energy 5k

No comments:

Post a Comment