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?