I looked at the Jingle Bell 5k, but ultimately decided against it, mainly because a) I was tired and b) they made it really hard to find the sign up!
In my weight watchers meeting on Thursday, though, I was chatting with my friend. She mentioned she’d thought about it. She’s a sometimes runner — she likes to race occasionally, but she’s not very self motivated and doesn’t train a lot (although she works out a lot).
I could sense she was looking for a buddy to go with so I said let’s do it.
There were several packet pickup opportunities, but because I’d signed up so late and my friend had missed the cutoff for online signup, we just drove up and picked up our packets the day of the race.
I’d like to say it was easy, but despite a door greeter, there were no signs and none of the volunteers seemed to know where anything was.
We found the registration for my friend. When I asked about people already registered, they waved vaguely to the front. And it was at the front, just not well marked.
Next order of business: find a bathroom. Again, we asked. Again, waved vaguely towards the back right of the store. We walked over there, but couldn’t find a bathroom.
Another volunteer said they were outside. We went out, but we hadn’t seen anything when we arrived and we still didn’t see anything. There were no signs.
Oh wait, there were signs — behind a column to the side of the door. Well, we found the portapotties (which had hand sanitizer, always a plus), and came back into the store to chill (or warm) for a while. It’s a furniture store, and as we sat on the deep sofa, I snapped this photo, because my feet didn’t even reach the floor and it amused us (my friend is much taller).
Plan — what plan?
I didn’t have any big plans for this race, obviously. I was so encouraged by my running this week, as I mentioned in my Weekly Wrap, that I thought maybe my new 2 minute run, 30 second walk intervals would lead me towards a PR.
Despite having looked at the hilly course.
I didn’t watch my pace and was just hoping for below 10 mm the whole race.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 10:15. Pretty much all downhill.
- Miles 2: 10:38. Well, you turnaround and obviously you’re coming back uphill.
- Miles 3: 11. I seriously thought I was running way faster than that, but the watch doesn’t lie. Damn you, hills!
- Last .08: 9:02. Yes, the course was a little short. Or so I think; it was chip timed, but there was no starting mat.
The weather & dressing
It was supposed to be a beautiful day. Sunny with a high of 50.
No so much. It still was relatively warm for here, for this time of year. 45, cloudy, and mildly windy. Some people thought it was very windy, but I know better from my Green Mountain Half.
I wore a light quarter zip, windbreaker, and light tights. I was a little warm, but not too bad.
What I Saw/Felt
I didn’t line up with my friend, as she’s slower, and she was okay with me doing my own thing. I felt like I was the only runner not in costume (although my friend wasn’t either).
I have never run in costume, if you don’t count my sparkleskirts.
My friend had “run” into a friend of hers before the race and we really clicked. She’s about my age, about my pace, and into tris. She is signed up for the next race I’m doing, too, which happens to be her birthday, but it’s a large race so “running” into people can be iffy.
As I mentioned, the first mile is pretty much downhill. It’s back roads, and somewhat pretty, but nothing to write home about. And it was very gray.
It’s an out and back, so you turn around and then it’s uphill almost all the way. It’s only 65 ft elevation gain, which really shouldn’t have bothered me; Darlene & I have been doing that for far longer on the rail trail.
Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe it’s all the racing. Maybe the 2/30 didn’t work for me so well after all. We’ll never know.
Was the race well run?
One of the most disorganized races I’ve run, sorry to say. I’ve already talked about the difficulty finding online registration, packet pickup, and the volunteers lack of knowledge (not their fault, obviously).
No one was quite sure where the starting line was. It wasn’t marked. There was no mat. There was a finish line, and we lined up facing it, only to be turned around because we started facing the other way (shades of some of the winter series for locals). I’d been trying to make my closer to the front and then had to do that all over again.
The volunteers on the course seemed much better organized, but then again, they don’t actually have to direct you anywhere. There was water at the turnaround — in fact, an 8 oz bottle of it! So I didn’t take it. Who wants to carry an 8 oz bottle for 1 1/2 miles while trying to race?
If there are online results, I haven’t found them. They do have printed results up by the end of the race. I was 10th in my AG, and my friend’s friend pointed out there were at least 40 in our AG (she placed last year, and came in 12th this year). So I didn’t realize I needed to write down my official time, but I do remember that my Garmin was pretty close.
After I wrote that paragraph above, I did, indeed, get an email with a link to some online results.
The race shirt is cotton, which is a shame because it’s actually really cute. Post race refreshments were bars, hot chocolate, I guess there was coffee, but you know me, I don’t look for that. As usual, I just had the snack I brought with me because my friend and I were going out for high tea.
Will I run it again next year? Maybe. Totally depends on what’s going on in my life (a half, maybe?), the weather, if I know anyone doing it.