Monday, December 4, 2017

Jingle Bell Run 5K




It was a fun day of bountiful beauty.

How does that grab you?

On Saturday, December 2nd, I ran my first-ever Jingle Bell Run, and it was a grand time!  Living in Iowa, there are not many options for holiday-themed running events. Up until a couple of years ago, there were two favorite holiday-themed races I had done every December, but ((poof)) both are now gone. Fortunately, I found the Jingle Bell Run in a last ditch effort for some holiday racing fun...and it was more than just a fun morning in colorful Christmas attire.


The Jingle Bell Run is actually a national event with numerous local venues across the United States. Affiliated with the Arthritis Foundation, all proceeds from the various events benefit those afflicted with arthritis as well as providing funds to enhance research efforts. For more information, you can check out the Arthritis Foundation website HERE to find a race near you or to make a donation.
One last rally in the car before hitting the start line
Anyways, it wasn't too hard to convince my running friend, Barb, to join me. We had the car loaded and pulled out of town around 7:15 to make the trek to Des Moines (about an hour away). Packet pick-up began at 8:00 with the race start at 9:00.

On the fence on what to wear, I posted this pic on my Facebook and Instagram pages...and the response was an overwhelming amount of love for the Obnoxious Santa Leggings (OSL's).
Santa Shorts or Obnoxious Santa Leggings?
So, I went with the OSL's. Besides, the temps were a bit chilly for bare legs in Iowa.
OSL's for the win
Saturday was such a beautiful day! Even with the chilly temps (in the mid 30's at the start time), the sunshine was blindingly bright and the air was calm. Hands down, the weather could not have been more ideal for a festive holiday-inspired run.

We snagged our packets and headed back to the car for a bit. After a quick porta-potty run, we headed back to the check-in tents to line up.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing
Santa was there!
Then we walked.

Having not done this race before, Barb and I just followed the crowd. I think we only walked 3-4 blocks, but there was such a herd of people, it took quite awhile for all of us to get to the actual start line.

I didn't notice an actual timing mat, but there was an arch to run under (that acted as a start line). We were given the command to GO! and we were off. Immediately, on Westown Parkway, there was a walking bridge for us to cross. This bridge was pretty steep and it was long. Already, I was second-guessing my wardrobe choice (namely the red puffer vest that looked so cute with those Santa leggings). The sun was bright, and I was feeling warm (already), and I could tell I had started out too fast because I was breathing pretty hard.

Once I'd cleared the bridge and was back on a fairly flat surface (headed south on 50th Street), I felt much better. Only, I saw another bridge a short ways up ahead (close to the halfway mark). The second bridge wasn't as treacherous as the first, but still a challenge none the less.

I had pulled ahead of Barb, but she caught up with me right before the third bridge (near the start of the third mile). She edged her way a little bit ahead of me, and I continued to follow her. The route veered into a residential area, with a long, gradual curve as we made our way back towards 60th Street.

The final mile went smooth, and before long, I was back on the 60th Street for the final jaunt to the finish line. Barb finished right ahead of me (maybe 10 seconds?), and I was able to give myself a little surge of mojo for that last little stretch.

I was pleasantly surprised to be given a medal upon crossing under the finish line canopy. I had not seen anything in the event information about finisher medals. We don't see a lot of finisher medals for 5K's in Iowa, especially for events such as this that are touted more as a fundraiser than a competitive endeavor.
Isn't it cute? The silver "snow" even sparkles
My finish time was decent, though not quite back to where my "usual" 5K time would be. Granted, the course did have three bridges, the first of which was right outta the gate, and I really have not been training for a 5K (ummm...ZERO speed work as my knee continues to heal). Oh well.
My Garmin showed my splits as 9:02, 9:04, 9:03...how's that for consistency?
Ironically, when they announced awards, the age groups were in 10-year increments...until they got to mine, and it jumped to 15- year increments (what the WHAT???). Barb (who is seven years older) actually got 3rd place in our "extended" age group....which meant I got 4th place (there were no other gals in between us at the finish). And that's just my luck. There have been countless times I have placed 4th in races and have nothing to show for it (LOL). Again, oh well.

I thought this race was a lot of fun. It's always great to see so many participants (runners and walkers) dressed in holiday attire and having fun while supporting a great cause. Unique to this event was that it was run entirely on sidewalks. There were course volunteers (and police officers) monitoring the few actual streets we had to cross, and the crowd of runners/walkers seeded themselves appropriately. Also, everyone spread out quickly, so there never seemed to be any crowding or unnecessary dodging in the first mile.

Although my finish time reflects a good two minutes slower than typical, I'm happy with it. I felt like I ran the entire race strong. Although the first mile was tough due to that big bridge, it didn't deter me. I honestly felt like I was running much faster than my finish time indicates, but that just goes to show my body is not quite 100% back to where it was pre-surgery. No big whoop....5K's are not my specialty anyways.

This is definitely a race I'm gonna keep on my radar for next year. Since I know more about it now, I also hope to do some fundraising for it as well. Care to join me?

Have you ever done a Jingle Bell Run for the Arthritis Foundation? Ever dressed in festive attire for a holiday-themed race? How do you feel about finisher medals for a 5K?

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**I'm linking this with Deb for the Wednesday Word...today's word is beauty (and there was plenty of that happening with the weather, the Santa leggings, and the fundraising efforts of the race)

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.

34 comments:

  1. I don't think I have ever heard of 15 year increments for age groups! 4th is still awesome. We have a a few Jingle Bell races around Baltimore and I've done 2 of the courses. One of them I actually got first female (there was technically another girl who won but for some reason she was disqualified, and it was a really small race) and that was the course where I set my PR (which may have measured a bit short...)
    Great job! As you know 5ks frustrate me and it can take a long time to get that kind of speed back.

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    1. Yes, the 15-year AG really caught us off guard. I had never seen that before.

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  2. I absolutely love your race day outfit! I love that the holiday themed races allow for fun and festive race outfits :) I'm hoping to find a jingle bell jog to do this month. There is one about 15 minutes from my house but its on December 23rd and I'm not sure I can commit to a race that close to Christmas!

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    1. It is fun dressing for the holiday (or theme-inspired race). Yes, you should do the race...it'll be fun ;-)

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  3. It's fun to get dressed up for the Holiday races isn't it? Looks like a fun one. We have our jingle bell run this weekend just in time for the freezing temps

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    1. I am SO glad our race was last weekend...it's gonna be chilly from here on out...

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  4. Running strong, a great run buddy, cute leggings, santa hat and a medal! Sounds like a wonderful run time :) Well done!!

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  5. Your finish time was awesome and congrats to your friend and you! I love the medal! It is so cute! My girls and I received a medal at our 5k two weeks ago and I was over the moon. It’s very rare to get one at a 5k unless you win! Congratulations!!

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    1. It's really race to get a 5K medal here unless it's an AG award.

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  6. I think it stinks to have 15 year age groups! I don't even like 10 year age groups..a 40 year old is a much different runner than a 49 year old. Anyway, congrats on your finish and your obnoxious santa pants. They definitely brightened up my Day!

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    1. ha ha ha...the Santa leggings made a lot of people laugh ;-)

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  7. Way to go girl!! Those jingle bell races are just too much fun!! Love your outfit too!!

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    1. Thanks! It was a lot of fun getting dressed for the occasion and supporting the cause.

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  8. I hadn't heard about the Jingle Bell Run but I love that it supports such a great cause. Congrats on your race! I will NEVER win or place in an AG so top 5 in anything is a real treat to me!

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    1. I'm hit/miss on AG awards....it truly is a matter of who ELSE shows up on race day.

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  9. You did great! The Jingle Bell Run is here this coming weekend. I won't be doing it this year because I'm kind of "all raced out." I need a break. But next year I'll be there with bells on. (I'm funny.)

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  10. Mine is this Saturday--you could always link to my fundraising page! (It's on the sidebar of my blog). I've already passed my goal, and I got a free pair of socks!

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    1. I'll be curious to hear how your race goes. I think I remember seeing the Des Moines race last year, but I had a conflict with the date or something. Glad I found it this year ;-)

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  11. Your leggings are adorable! Bridges can be so tough, so you did a great job on the race. I love your attitude. I'm sure you'll get back to your pre-surgery speeds before too long, but if not, that's cool, too. :)

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    1. That first bridge, right outta the gate was tough. I'm no stranger to hills, but immediately after the start line is cruel LOL

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  12. This race seems like so much fun and I fell in love with your outfit, Kim! So perfect. Excellent job! ;)

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    1. Awhhhhh, thank you! It's always fun getting dressed up for a fun run ;-)

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  13. This sounds like such a fun race! I love your outfit so much, I need a pair of tights like yours :-)

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    1. Technically, they're not really tights LOL They're inexpensive leggings from Walmart ;-)

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  14. Nice job and great festive outfit! Our local Jingle Bell was my very first 5k. The years I participated, they had 5 year age groups and great age group trophies (but no participation medal)! But, I haven't done it years...

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    1. The medal really surprised me....I had not seen anything about finisher medals in any of their event info (and did not expect one from a fundraiser-type event as this).

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  15. Nice work! I always like reading your posts to see what fun new outfit you have. So stylin'!

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    1. Thanks! It's no secret I love my bright colors ;-)

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  16. Ah, I hate when they change the age groups, it happens in the older age groups in skating when there are not enough competitors. You really have no chance if you are one of the older ones within a 20 year span (which is what they do sometimes). Aside from that, you look cute and it was a worthy cause.

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    1. Well, in my case, I'm at the young end of this "extended" age group LOL Not a big deal...though it was odd ours was the only group that had such a range of ages...probably (like you said) due to the limited number of "old gals" there

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  17. 15 year increments for AG awards is very odd. I've heard of jumping from 10 years to 20 years, but not 15. I wonder how the person who organized the awards thought that one up.

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  18. Interesting race! I've never heard of one entirely on sidewalks before. I'm glad it worked out well :)

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