Cross Country Nationals 2012: Race Recap

Dear USA Track and Field:

Let me start off by saying how much I appreciate your continued support of Masters running (although something has to be done about the age-grading crap). Staging championship events at multiple disciplines allows for competitive fields all year round and gives people an opportunity to excel at their best/favorite events. Particularly, placing the Masters cross country championships in conjunction with the Open and Junior championships, provides a full day of fun for racers and spectators.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Cross Country championships in St. Louis. Kudos to the organizing committee, they staged an excellent race.

The host hotel was convenient to the race site. The staff was accommodating. We really enjoyed the free breakfast.

Nothing like a gigantic sign to make you feel welcome.
The staff: don’t they look like they stepped out of the movie “My Fair Lady”?

I realize the weather is beyond the control of mere humans, but… It was deplorable! When I woke up race morning and walked outside, I saw that it snowed over night.

Race morning this year.
Race morning last year.

In the mid-West, there is no such thing as absolute temperature. In the winter, they go by “wind-chill factor” and in the summer the “heat index”. I found this really cool Java script calculator that computed the wind chill factor on Saturday as 0 degrees (16 degree air temperature with 20 mph wind). That is mighty cold! I am sure you felt the nip in the air while attending the race. Did you notice that there weren’t very many spectators? They were at home drinking hot coffee.

The flags are blowing in the wind

My teammates and I had a lot of discussion about what to wear during the race. Shorts? Tights? Gloves?  I opted for tights over shorts, a heavy long sleeved shirt with my singlet over it, two pairs of gloves, wool socks and a hat. I was still cold! My crazy teammates wore much less clothing.

Pre Race: Lydia,
please put some clothes on!
After,  bundled up!

I am very psyched that I won the race. But even better, my teammates Mary Alico (4th) and Lydia Dissly (8th) kicked butt and we won the team competition.

I could barely lift my arms with those heavy boxing gloves.
We stuck around to watch the Masters men run. It was unpleasantly cold! While waiting for the men to pass by, we huddled around this tiny heater. I actually tried to crawl into it, but I couldn’t fit.
Four hours after the race, my toes were still thawing out. We finally ventured out mid-afternoon to do some sightseeing.
The famous St. Louis arch.
USATF, if you insist on keeping the cross championships in February, I formally request that it be moved somewhere warm. Most of the country is blanketed in snow this time of year. A warm weather respite in a family friendly venue would do a lot to boost your participation and spectator numbers. Might I suggest moving the race to San Diego again? Or, Florida? If you do, I will send you this commemorative snow globe.
Ok, so I didn’t actually buy this because I only had carry-on.


Joanna Zeiger

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4 Responses

  1. So was it cold? Other than the cold, was there wind?

  2. Christi says:

    Wow, it looks very cold. Congrats to you and your team!

  3. This was funny.
    Good job gutting out the cold conditions…. if I know anything about you, you're still shivering today. 🙂

  4. GZ says:

    The San Diego climate last year was incredible. And yeah, the age graded results are just stupid. Every time I bring that up though, some sixty something old dog tell me how I will feel differently in 20 years.