Monday, February 13, 2017

Red Flannel Run - a Race I LOVE


Ever have a race that keeps you coming back, despite the (usual) adverse weather conditions? Well, I'm guilty (many times over).

Let me elaborate...

The Red Flannel Run, now in its 28th year, happens annually around Valentine's Day, in Des Moines, Iowa. For those who may be unaware, it gets pretty cold in Iowa in mid-February. 

I ran this for the first time, with a few co-workers, in 2011. The temps were wonderful, somewhere in the mid-30's and we had plenty of sunshine. 
2011 - Michele, myself, Kristin, Ashley, and Mary
A few of us returned in 2012, but the temps were not quite as friendly. I don't recall the specifics, but it was very cold (I think in the low teens?) and extremely windy.
2012 - Myself with Ashley, Kristin, and Roxanna
In 2013, the temps were cold, again. The route had changed, so it was fun running on some different streets...including the hill that encircles the Iowa Capitol (recap HERE).
2013 - Kristin, myself, and Ashley
After a brief sabbatical in 2014 (due to a scheduling conflict on my part), I returned in 2015. The course had undergone another change, this time taking us on an out-and-back on MLK Parkway. Again, cold (seasonal) temps, but plenty of sunshine.
2015 - Barb, Chuck, myself, Dave, and Eric
The route was similar in 2016, but with a few tweaks. The temps were in the single digits, but with all the buildings surrounding much of the course, it wasn't as cold as I predicted because we were sheltered from much of the wind. That's right...I actually was over-dressed with a full winter jacket, and was a miserable sweaty mess under wraps (recap HERE). 
2016 - Myself, Eric, Dave, and Barb
This past weekend, Momma N really threw us for a loop...we had temps in the 50's by race time, and nonstop sunshine. I ran the race in shorts, WITHOUT the usual flannel-lined tights underneath. 
2017 - Myself with Dave and Barb
As typical, I went outta the gate a bit too fast. I had a few issues with my Garmin (total user error), but my splits showed an 8:00 pace for the first mile (I know...#GULP #OOPS). We started at the downtown YMCA, and headed towards MLK Parkway. At MLK, we turned west and ventured out a ways, doing a turn-around approximately one mile into the route. 

Somehow, I hit a foreign button on the Garmin and was not able to access my running time, although I did see the constant GPS distance. This was totally out of my comfort zone. I'm not a big gadget-addicted runner, but I do like knowing my elapsed time. In retrospect, the constant distance stats (via the Garmin) were helpful because there weren't any mile markers on the route.

My pace felt good, though! I could tell I was pushing my pace a bit, but I tried to keep it steady. It was frustrating not knowing my running time! I guess ignorance is bliss, because when I crossed the finish line (earlier than predicted, at 4.29 miles), my finish time reflected an average pace of 8:33. That's a pretty fast pace for me, especially considering I have done ZERO speed work since my marathon in November and I had a pretty light month of running in January. 

I should also mention that for the first time, in a very long time, I am enjoying an injury-free status quo. Sure, I have some achy muscles post-run, but everything seems to subside by the next day. I'm not constantly wincing as I walk nor am I gimping in between my running days. Life is (currently) quite good!

My splits showed the first mile at 8:00, then 8:49, 8:49. 8:39, and 2;26 for the final .29 before the finish line (apparently, I was slowing down in that final stretch). I was pleasantly surprised to see I landed a 4th place AG spot (but, as we all know, a 4th place finish comes with nothing other than the satisfaction of a race well-run LOL).  

And, since the race course was a bit short, when Barb and I returned back to town, we headed out and ran a couple more miles...ending the day with seven total miles. Problem solved, mischief managed. All was well.

Even though the weather is always cold (duh, Iowa in winter!), this race has a lot of charm, fun, and a lot of participants (this year, the 5K had 549 participants and the 5-mile had 286!). I have always run the 5-mile route, but there's also a 5K option. The majority of participants are dressed in red flannel in some capacity, which  always makes for a festive atmosphere. Also, most importantly, this race benefits the local YMCA. 

And, the race shirts (in the years I have run) are tech fabric, long-sleeved, and have colorful graphics. What's not to love?

Isn't the shirt pretty?
What about you? Do you have a winter race that draws you back, year after year? Have you ever done a race that had a shortened course? If so, did you feel "compelled" to run a little more afterwards?

I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for the Tuesdays on the Run...

and also with Nicole and Jen and AnnMarie and for Wild Workout Wednesday...

and with Susie and Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.

49 comments:

  1. Congrats on a race well run! For a second there I thought they gave out the red flannel pj pants. Wouldn't that be fun swag!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red Flannel pj's would be awesome swag!! This year (and also last year), there was a guy in a red plaid suit...and even had a red plaid tie LOL One of the colder years (2012,I think) there was a group of guys wearing nothing but red plaid kilts...and it was a windy day...

      Delete
  2. Congrats on your race and how nice that you were able to run in shorts for a change. This winter has had some crazy weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Currently, we're entertaining 50's for most of the week...and it's supposed to be int he 60's on Saturday

      Delete
  3. This looks like such a fun race. I love theme races but we don't have too many in my area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to be a bit of a wet blanket about themed races (you know...back in the day when I actually had to work to run an entire 5K),but now I think they're a lot of fun! Every race cannot be (nor should be) all about racing.

      Delete
  4. I have done races that ran short -- always a pain. Most of the time I was scheduled to get in more miles afterwards anyway. But it's still annoying.

    50s. I wish. Serious FOMO about weather here! It's going to be a damn cold run out there today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As much as I'm enjoying the 50-degree temps, I know it's all gonna come to a crashing halt, and we'll be shivering again

      Delete
  5. Congrats - that is a great pace.

    I have run a 5k that was very short - I was pissed.

    We have a race through the lights in the park in Dec that I always run...no matter what the weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The shortened courses are frustrating, no doubt. For a race like this, though, I just let it go. This is a race that is just plain fun, regardless.

      Delete
  6. Congrats on a great finish time and 4th place! So glad you're injury-free!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The injury-free thing is really nice. Now, I just gotta remember to respect that and not over-do anything.

      Delete
  7. Congrats on a strong race! It's frustrating when the watch acts up on those shorter races since you have less time to sort out the kinks. When I ran the Broad Street 10 Miler for the first time, the course was about a 0.5 mile short because of an accident on the road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I've only had this watch since Christmas, and I don't wear it often...so I don't know all the bells & whistles (and appropriate buttons LOL) yet. I figured all the info would get saved and I'd be able see my mile splits when I finished (and I was correct).

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Thanks!!! It was fun being able to run so "fast" for that distance.

      Delete
  9. I did a new race for the first time this past weekend. I hadn't run one since NYC marathon, I was very happy to be at it again. Another 5K this weekend.
    Glad to read you are injury free and no hip niggles.
    Hope all is well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. knock on wood, I'm feeling good! Good luck with your race!

      Delete
  10. Sounds like a really fun race. And what a great finish time!! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! I still need to play with the Garmin a bit LOL

      Delete
  11. How crazy that you ran in shorts this year! Ive never been big on winter races, but Ive done a couple holiday themed races a few years back. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't resist the temptation to run in shorts! That will probably never happen again for this race.

      Delete
  12. Great job on managing that mischief! And yes, I do have a race that brings me back...the one we are running next month!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ok. I love the flannel pajama pants. That's adorable.

    I can't believe how much the temperature jumped over the years! To go from full pants and fleece tights to just a skirt! That's crazy!

    Congratulations on such a great run! You did so amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! I was happy with how it played out ;-)

      Delete
  14. Yay for being injury free, feeling great, warm weather and crushing your race!! Great feeling all around. It's going to be crazy warm here this weekend hope it is for you too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's supposed to be in the 50's tomorrow and 60 on Saturday!

      Delete
  15. yay for running nearly injury free! That really makes a big difference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally respecting the injury-free thing and not over-doing anything...

      Delete
  16. Wow great job and look at that overall pace!! I'm sorry the course was so short! I've run several 5k's that didn't measure 5k! Lol! It took me two years to PR my 5k for that very reason. I didn't feel like it was a true PR unless the course measured 3.1 lol! Have a great rest of the week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's frustrating the course was short, but still a great event

      Delete
  17. This looks like such a fun race- great job on the AG win! Bummer about the Garmin - I've done that in a few races and it's super aggravating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm such a tech idiot...and I don't use the Garmin for every run, so I sometimes have to re-educate myself on the buttons LOL

      Delete
  18. I love running little local races like this every year. It's a great tradition. Congrats on the AG placing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I absolutely love running repeat races. If I like the course, and the atmosphere, then its easy to be drawn back in year after year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This race seems different each year, not just because the course changes but the weather is always a factor

      Delete
  20. Love that you added the pics of this race from the previous years. Congrats on an awesome race and AG win!! All this without really training for speed!! Very awesome!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was a pleasant surprise how well my pace maintained itself considering Ihad done ZERO training for it

      Delete
  21. Congrats on a strong race! The weather saga sounds a lot like our valentines race here every year. Usually single digit temps... until this year, it was low 30's! We take the mild weather in February any time we can get it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No kidding! We're supposeded to have 50-degree temps tomorrow...and 60 by Sataurday

      Delete
  22. Replies
    1. Ha! Well....4th place doesn't really come with anything tangible, but still feels good ;-)

      Delete
  23. Three cheers for injury free! I'm a cold weather pansy (that's why I moved to SC), so I don't think I have a regular winter race. I prefer to hibernate, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sounds like a fun race! I haven't found any races that are MUST do every year in H-town yet... but I had a few that I came back to year after year when I lived in KC. My last 5 mile race was short, I had to run a little extra to make up for it #runnersproblems :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. nice! that race does sound like a lot of fun! I love that people don their red flannel for the race; I can imagine it really makes the atmosphere. Well done your time as well! and to be injury-free! My kingdom for nothing more than a little muscle pain!

    There is a race I've done about 5 times now, I skipped it this year, but it's always the 2nd week of january, and it's on the coast of the north sea. It is COLD. And WINDY. And yet I find myself there year after year (either for the quarter-marathon or the half) dealing with wind and freezing temps and 7KM of beach and 7KM of dunes... but yeah, after I finish it's always like "wow, I can't believe what a badass I am!" There is another race, a month later (we missed it this year!) ALSO on the coast, cold, windy, dunes... 10K, Half or 30KM (people use it as a training for Rotterrdam) that we've done several times which has similar scenery but not as treacherous - that one you don't get a medal, but you get a towel... hahaha! It's a special towel and most of our "workout" towels are from this race! My husband said to me Sunday "Hey! I am missing my towel today!" We totally missed the ball on signing up for it this year. Next year, we'll go back for the towel ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. This looks like a fun race! Running is better temps than you're used to in February makes for a great race.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nice work in your race. The warmer temps must have been very welcome. I hate it when you push the worng button on the watch and end up not being able to see your splits.

    ReplyDelete