It’s still O-Dark-Thirty (go figure) and the wind is blowing. Last night’s coffee (with OODLES of peppermint creamer) is my closest (4 inches from my elbow) friend. The lights (Hue was the BEST investment, I think, ever) are turned way low and are dancing like a Christmas Tree this morning. I’m wrapped in my hoody and enjoying listening to the world around me. The more I spend time this time of day, the more I love this time of day.
Race day (yesterday) dawned gorgeous. It was 23 degrees. The sunrise was beautiful, but the wind left MUCH to be desired. It wasn’t bad at the start of the race, but by the half way point, it was really playing its part in the timing.
Hung out in the car where it was warm until about 12 minutes before the start. It was time to head over and wait in the paddock with the rest of the herd doing the half. There has to be a reason they call them corrals. Bear and Squirrel were chatting up the race. I was people watching. I loved the Darth and Stormtrooper outfits, but I don’t think you could have paid me enough to run in the kilt. It’s funny… we never saw the kilt guy after the start of the race…
There weren’t as many, I think, doing the half this year. It sure seemed like the corral was thin, anyway.
It is really neat ‘running’ through the park this time of year. All of the cars are off of the rides and it is just skeletal. I was impressed, this year, they had a couple interesting decorations in the park to keep it a little more interesting and they actually had Christmas music playing over the PA system. THAT was a really nice change. I felt bad for the cookie and candy people manning their stations. no one seemed to want to stop to partake this year. I hope the 5K runners did. I remember last year and all the M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies did was to gum up my mouth and make me need water worse… There seemed to be more water stations this year, or maybe it was the way they were positioned that made it seem so. More porta-potties, too.
A lot of people started the race with the free Santa hat and beard on (I think to keep warm) but like last year, those soon started to end up hung on things or just discarded along the route. Mine never left home.
I LOVED seeing the ship across the bay! I even STOPPED to take a couple pictures of her over there. It felt like a good omen. Also, I loved the change (due to construction of Valravn and other things) in the race course. It was great to get to go the back side of the park, along the lake. The lake is the BEST part of this race for me (I think Presque isle is my next race… in July). I realized that the wind was really going to play a part in the race when I saw the sand across the sidewalk next to the lake (especially since there were straw bales being used as sand fence/ snow fence).
There were some interesting costumes this year. A few elves, Olaf, and the firefighter in his full gear.
Passing the signs cemented into the roadside saying “Please Keep Moving” was a good pick-me-up, too.
After about mile 6, speed slowed from the 15 minute mile we were maintaining, and we finished 15 minutes behind where we should have finished. BUT we all three finished. The wind got REALLY bad and walking got just a bit (bullshit… it got REALLY REALLY) difficult in places. It’s sad, but the hardest part of the whole race wasn’t the hill up the causeway, it was going across the dead flat parking lot because the wind was in your face and it was hard to breathe let alone keep pushing into it.
My knee, the one that was threatening to be not happy for the past several days, was indeed not happy. It slowed me down. It ached. The cold didn’t help. I think if I hadn’t had the prednisone in my system it would have been way worse. I did finish without my hips feeling like there was ground glass in them though, so that was a big win over the races in Austin.
BUT… the photographers stayed till the very end. The people handing out the medals stayed till the very end. The water stations stayed manned with water available till the very end. There were no bagels or bananas by the time we finished, but there were Cliff bars and water bottles still for us.
We finished with a time of 3 hours 31 minutes. Not too shabby. Bear and I walked the last three miles in talking and laughing… me keeping him going, him keeping me going. It was a wonderful way to finish the race. I’ve never finished WITH anyone before. I let Squirrel finish the Run For The Water ahead of me… and we didn’t really talk that race, we bitched about how being at the end meant no water because they already emptied it at the last three water stops all out on the ground.
If I could make one more suggestion to the race people for this race… if the course stays the same as this year (and I REALLY hope it does, the lake was a nice addition), please please PLEASE mark the last mile better for those of us who are not the elite or the middle of the pack. Being one of the last 10 runners meant that there was NO traffic to contend with but it also meant that the last mile was very confusing with the cones through the parking lot… it was nauseatingly well marked the rest of the course… but we had a hard time figuring out which way to go without a pack to follow and the man who was behind us was standing in the middle of the parking lot confused and frustrated by the lack of direction. I get that we are not cheered on by the crowd, but we shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out how to finish the race without inadvertently cheating because the course is poorly marked.
And just two last parting thoughts on the race…
- if you are on your way back on a turn around and you are passing people going the other way… STAY ON YOUR OWN DAMN SIDE OF THE course. No one shoved you out of the way when you were on the outward side, if you don’t stay the hell out of my way, I will run head long into you. I’m walking, I don’t have the momentum to fall on my ass and make a spectacle of myself. I have as much right to be where I am as you have to be on MY side of the road. NOT running five across for ten feet isn’t going to kill you.
- I hope my fingers and toes soon start to warm up. A hot shower, a hot bath and wool socks are not helping… Next year, I plan just a little better.
And there WILL be a next year!!!
Author: April Wells
Updated December 21, 2015