What can I say? I'm a sucker for a holiday-inspired race.
The thing is, there are not many of them to choose from in my area. There were a couple races that I used to do every year, but both of them disbanded a few years ago.
My main running friend, Barb was joyfully basking in a day of grandma-duty, so I was on my own (which is not a bad thing, just saying). I really didn't feel like driving an hour to Des Moines for a short (and solo) 5K.
Enter the Jingle for a Cure 5K!
All week, the forecast had shown sunny race day conditions. As the race day drew nearer, though, the temps started inching downward. The onsite registration ($30) was the same as the online registration, so I wouldn't be saving any money by registering prior to race day anyways.
With a start time of 9:00, we arrived at the race site shortly after 8:00. I found the registration table with ease, and took the bag of swag goodies back out to the car, and the hubby headed to the coffee shop.
I did a few dynamic stretches and then ran a quick 1/2-mile warm-up run. I got back to the staging area in time for a potty break before lining up.
The race started right outside of the Ross Medical Arts Building (alongside the Skiff Medical Center). The first part of the route had us going due east for several blocks. The 1-milers split off and went right (south) and the 5K racers turned left (going north). We passed the 1-mile mark a few blocks later.
I didn't have any specific goals for this race. Honestly, when the temps are cold, and there's wind, it's a gamble what you're capable of doing. I do always have a goal of running strong without over-exerting myself, especially in that first mile. When I glanced at my watch, though, I saw that I'd run that first split in 8:13... not a dead sprint, but a tad bit faster than ideal. Oops.
A few blocks later, the course turned left (now going west on 11th), and we were on a cement bike trail, which led us into Woodland Park for a few curves and some slight hills.
Just before the 2-mile mark, I could hear someone approaching from behind. I had noticed a few guys ahead of me, but hadn't seen any gals....but one was catching up with me as we were going through the park. We hung together for a short while, then she merged ahead of me. I was able to get around her, though, her as we exited the park.
There was a big hill right after the park, maybe a 1/2-mile or so in distance. What goes up (usually) comes back down, so there was a nice downhill stretch which took us to the 2.75 mile mark. A short, curved path through another park brought us back to 5th Avenue (almost to where we'd started). There was another brief climb to the the 3-mile mark, then a sharp right to the finish line in the parking lot....and done!
There were a lot of walkers, so it took awhile before they got to the awards ceremony. I talked with a husband and wife for awhile while waiting. The husband was the second place finisher of everyone, and he ran the entire race in elf shoes!
Instead of medals for awards, the first place overall male and female received gift cards to Culvers. The first place age group winners received travel coffee mugs. There was a lot of swag for a small race...long-sleeved cotton event shirts, a couple of lip balms, hot chocolate, candy canes and a water bottle.
Have you run any holiday-inspired races recently? If so, did you dress for the occasion? Ever registered onsite for a race...then surprised yourself with a better-than-expected finish?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
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