The race report for the Reindeer Ramble has been brought to you by the letter R.
Hey, did you catlickers know I was running a 5K on Sunday?
Neither did I, until about 10:00 on Saturday night.
Steve and I were relaxing at Stately Wasser Manor, thinking about our plans for the next day, particularly the Grand Fiesta for Jack's birthday. Steve asked me if I was going to go running the next day, and I said, "Yeah, I'd like to. There's actually a 5K I could run if we have time." Steve showed once again that he is a fabulous husband by pointing out that I can crank out a 5K in no time, so I might as well.
So, I set the alarm and got up early, but not too early, so I'd have plenty of time for breakfast and coffee before registering at the race. It was really, really cold out, so I bundled up: tights, long sleeved shirt (with nifty thumb holes so the sleeve covered part of my hand), vest, jacket, buff, gloves, hat, ankle-length socks, and my trail shoes.
I drove to the race, and the turnout was not huge, but was perfectly decent, especially for a small race on a nasty cold day. I got my bib and my sweatshirt (with cute reindeer on it), then proceeded to circle the place looking for women who appeared to be between the ages of 30 and 34. I wanted an idea of who my competition was, just for added motivation. Does anyone else do this?
The race director gave us his instructions while we were indoors, which was nice. He gave a very simple description of the course, then said that the faster people already knew the course, so we should just follow the person in front of us!
Outside, we quickly gathered, and on "go," took off. I settled into a pace that was comfortable, but still challenging, and kept my eyes peeled for any slippery parts of the road. That was not a problem - there were a few slick spots, but they were easy to avoid. What was more of an issue was that I was really, really cold. My gloves were doing nothing to keep my fingertips warm, so I shoved all of my fingers into the palm of my gloves and tried to just wiggle them. My toes were cold too, since The Quest for the perfect winter running socks is still ongoing. My eyes watered from the cold, which meant that my mascara was running just as hard as I was. I noticed that some runners had frost on their hats - the moisture from the sweat had frozen. Yowza!
At the 1 mile mark, my pace was just under 8 minutes, which is excellent for me. At a mile and a half, a woman passed me who looked like she might be in my age group. I opted to stay just behind her. I rubbed my hands together (both to be evil and to keep them warm) and thought, "I have you right where I want you. You lead, and then I'll outkick you later." Alas, that plan never quite came to fruition; she grabbed a cup of water just before the 2 mile marker, I passed her, and she never came near me again.
Incidentally, I have a feeling that the volunteer stationed at that water stop didn't get many customers. You can definitely run a 5K without water, and the idea of drinking a cold cup of water was incredibly unappealing at that time.)
With black jacket girl safely behind me, I concentrated on passing the guys ahead. So long, red shorts over tights guy. Gotcha, ridiculously blond dude. I found myself keeping pace with a kid who was about 9 years old... and kicked past him to the finish line. Hey, it's a race! The kid's gotta learn to respect his elders, am I right?
I was happy and surprised to see my finishing time of 25:02 (thereabouts; it wasn't chip-timed, and I wasn't at the front) - which was a PR of 11 seconds. I have to wonder if my time was as good as it was because it was so catlicking cold that I wanted to be done as soon as possible!
I hurried inside to turn in my popsicle stick (41st place) and to warm up. The post-race party featured an impressive spread of food - sloppy joes, fruit, cookies, potato salad, and even slices of pumpkin pie. I felt warm again soon, but then started shivering from sitting around in my sweaty clothes - a cup of hot chocolate fixed that, and I was fine once again. I met a really nice group of people, and we compared notes about our favorite races, distances, and so on.
The awards ceremony began, and the race director worked backwards from what many would do - he gave the awards to the walkers first, then did the age groups from oldest to youngest. I thought that was a nice change of pace... and of course enjoyed the ceremony even more when I found out that I'd won my age group. I got a very cool wooden plaque with reindeer carved on it. Yay for me! The race director also told us that we could get a $10 discount off the entry fee for next week's Jingle Bell Run. Looks like I have plans for next Saturday morning!