Saturday, October 8

Running Oktoberfest

The race is billed as "one of the most exciting 5K routes in the country"--starting beneath the Tennessee State Capitol in the Bicentennial Mall, crossing into beautiful and historic Germantown, through the Nashville Farmers Market, and then finishing in the middle of the Germantown Oktoberfest street festival. And as if all that were not enough, every finisher of the 26th annual Oktoberfest 5K is promised a free mug of Paulaner Bier (not that a mug of Munich's best is exactly what I usually have a hankering for at 8:00 in the morning--and especially not after running just over 3 miles).

The weather has just turned fall-like here in Tennessee. So with temperatures in the fifties and a brisk autumn wind cutting across our path, several hundred runners set out this morning. It was not as flat a course as the organizers had promised--and that combined with the wind meant that times were just a tad slower than usual. Nevertheless, the beauty and uniqueness of the course more than made up for the extra effort needed to trudge up the hills. There were even good crowds loudly cheering all along the route (very unusual for an early morning 5K).

I've had really slow and difficult races ever since the Country Music Marathon last April. So, my strategy was to start near the back of the pack, pace myself slower than usual for the first mile, and then try to bring it home strong. What with the cool temperature and the festive atmosphere, I actually had a hard time holding myself back. But, I'm glad I did. I maintained a good even pace throughout the race, and finished at my goal time--with plenty of energy left to spare. And sure enough, there were the good folks from Paulaner at the finish line, handing out mugs of a wonderful Oktoberfest amber (of which, alas, I was actually able to get down only one swallow--it was, after all, still awfully early in the morning).

I hopped in the truck and was able to make it home in time for the first cup of coffee out of the pot and a long, leisurely talk with Karen in the library.

What a great way to start a Saturday!

I am going to be traveling this next week so I won't be able to do the Cricket Zoo 5K this year. I will be speaking at the King's Meadow Film Conference on the last weekend in October so I won't be able to do the Jackolantern Jog 5-Miler either. So, it looks as if my next race is going to be the Team Nashville Half Marathon, on November 5.