2008 Steamboat Classic (Part 1)

Steamboat Classic TThis Saturday Peoria will again host The Steamboat Classic, which is a 4 mile road race through the streets of downtown Peoria.  This event is a pretty big deal for the city, as it draws about 4000 runners including elite athletes from around the world.  In 1997, Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco set a world record for 4 miles, finishing in 17:42 (that equates to an unbelievable 4:26 pace). And of course with this large of a draw there are lots of activities and ancillary special events which get people downtown and do well for the city’s coffers.

I’ve run the race twice, and Angela ran it once.  We’ll both take part again this year, and the first phase of the event has just finished, as evidenced above-left.  The Illinois Valley Striders began a novel 12-week program many years ago called Building Steam to prepare people of all abilities for Steamboat.  It is nothing more than a well organized running club, but it is hugely popular, useful, and really fun.  Angela and I are not runners, and we hardly run except during the 3 months leading up to the race, so the program is very effective at getting us off our slack winter butts in April and burning a few calories. And you get a T-shirt.

There is really no comparison between running in a group and running alone. On Wednesdays during the group run, I just keep going, chatting a little bit, and don’t think twice about how I feel because I’m simply not going to drop out of the group mid-run.  Then comes Sunday morning…  lazy, feeling guilty about not running since Wednesday, reluctant, but I go out anyway.  Sort of.  1/2 mile in I’m hating it and contemplating walking for a bit (which I make good on too often).  Even if I do stick to the pace and run the distance, I don’t like it.  Hence after Steamboat my running tapers right off to zero, despite the adrenaline high and delusions of running other races during the summer.  But the moral of the story is: if you really want to run, but never can find the motivation, do try some sort of group running because it’s entirely different.

In 2003 I ran 4 miles in 35:28, and in 2005 fell off to 37:42. Though I did run the Buller Gorge while in NZ, overall I’m in much worse shape than 2003, so merely besting 2005 will be a success.

See you post race.

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