Two things I realized running the Jingle Bell 5K: I really love this distance and I really love racing in cooler weather.
Let’s back up for just a minute to packet pickup. It was held at the Westin in the Domain. No frills, quick and painless. Parked, asked the front desk for directions, picked up the packet, and was back in the car in less than five minutes.
The race bag included a cotton long-sleeved tee, bib, course map, and jingle bells. Let it be noted I did NOT attach the bells to my shoes for the race, although everyone else seemed to have done so. Nothing a cranked up iPod couldn’t fix…
Austin hasn’t been blessed with a solid bout of rain since May.
Until last weekend.
I was up most of the night prior to the race listening to the wind howl and rain pound against my bedroom window. From 3-5am the thunder and lightning were pretty intense. Part of me hoped it would carry on through the morning and cancel the race since I hadn’t had much sleep at all.
Event is rain or shine. Cancellation will only occur if conditions are deemed a safety hazard. At that time, all registrations will be considered a donation. Thank you.
But part of me REALLY wanted to rock these socks for 3.1 miles.
After lounging around in bed until 7am, I began pulling myself together. Before the rain entered the forecast, I had planned on running in a Santa hat. The thought of wearing it soaked with rain was less than appealing.
The game plan was to avoid cotton at all costs (too heavy when wet) and dress warmly, in festive colors.
I made my way down to the Domain around 7:20. I stayed warm and cozy in my car until finishing my Nuun a little after 8. My stomach was killing me and I would have loved nothing more than to go home and get back in bed. Of course, this wasn’t an option since I was already there. The only option was to suck it up and deal. Surely I could power through 30 minutes of running.
The race was chip-timed, but not with the usual disposable B or D Tag. It was a Velcro neoprene strap you claimed at the start line, wrapped around your ankle, and returned after crossing the finish.
Picking up my chip took a few seconds and afterwards we were herded to the starting. There were probably 5 people in between myself and the start, which is easily the closest I’ve ever been in a race.
I turned on my Garmin, and it proceeded to try its damndest to locate satellites. The high-rise buildings and apartments apparently were making it difficult so I hopped out of my coveted starting position to find a more open area.
No such luck.
Runners had officially taken off and I decided to ditch the Garmin.
Once I crossed the starting mat I immediately regretted stepping out of my original spot. While this was a super small race (less than 200 runners) it was incredibly congested and I was bobbing and weaving my way around walkers for a majority of the first mile.
I was thankful for my hat which shielded most of the rain from my face. I was also thankful for the arm warmers I grabbed at the last minute before leaving the house. I would have been FREEZING without them. The wind was miserable.
The course was pretty basic (two out-and-backs) and luckily I had it memorized because there wasn’t a mile marker until mile 3. I had no idea how fast I was going or how far I had ran until the race was nearly over.
My previous 5K PR was 36:13. I wanted to beat that time and/or go sub-30. Considering the weather and the way my stomach was making me hate life, I would have settled for ANY time as long as I crossed that finish line.
30:08, 9:43 pace
Carly and I have the Reindeer Run 5K on December 18th and I WILL break that 30 minute mark!