This race consists of a half marathon and a 5k which start just before the Christmas parade in Mt. Juliet. This appealed to me when I was signing up, as it meant there would possibly be spectators along some of the route from the people who were waiting for the parade to start; I like spectators.
As I’ve mentioned, I initially signed up for the half, but as it got closer and closer, there were increasing signs that I shouldn’t run it. My training had not gone great. While I had made it up to an 11 mile long run, it was painful and hard and not fun. And after that long run, I started getting weird aches up and down my left leg (sometimes in my knee, sometimes in my calf, sometimes my ankle…it moves from day to day). In the week before the race, I considered dropping the run altogether and transferring my bib to someone else. Then Jonathan said he would run the 5k with me if I switched to it, so I decided to go that route and made the change three days before the race.
The 5k didn’t start until 10:55am, so it wasn’t too early of a morning. We got up, Jonathan ate some eggs, and took our time getting ready.
We arrived at the school where the start and finish is around 10:30. We went inside for a final bathroom break and then came back out to cheer on the half marathoners as they started at 10:45. I felt some pangs of disappointment that I wasn’t running the half, but I knew it was for the best.
Soon it was time for us to start. This wasn’t a huge race; the half and the 5k had maybe 200 people each. We placed ourselves in the middle of the crowd and soon we were off.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this race. I definitely didn’t have any time goals. I hadn’t run three miles straight through since the beginning of November (right before that 11 miler), so I mainly just wanted to complete the thing without walking, but that was going to be dependent on how my leg felt.
Mile 1: 10:54
At the start, Jonathan kept trying to urge me to speed up, but I was insistent that I not go out too fast. Even though he never runs, he is a lot speedier than me, so he’s not used to getting passed in races. We were doing a pretty steady 11 min/mi pace, and I told him to deal with it, hehe.
This mile was all along the parade route. We heard lots of kids yelling, “Look, elves!” as we ran by and I gave out a few high fives. Definitely the best mile of the race.
Mile 2: 11:21
On mile 2, we turned onto a residential road so the spectators were gone. A very hilly residential road. This mile was almost completely uphill, hence my slow down.
Jonathan ran ahead of me most of the time, but I was still determined not to push too hard and have to walk.
There was a water stop around the halfway point, which I was desperately thankful for.
Mile 3: 10:06
I began to push a little bit more, knowing this was the last mile. My leg was killing me and I was starting to have some GI discomfort, but I just tried to hang with it. Jonathan told me we should run this entire mile at his pace (7-8 minute miles), and I just looked at him. Crazy man. I told him I would when we got to the last tenth of a mile.
Last 0.1 (0.15 to my Garmin): 1:13 (8:09 pace)
As soon as we came out of the residential area, I began to really push with a final surge of a 7:20-7:30 pace. Jonathan still managed to eke by me at the finish though. 😛
Official Time: 33:32
Not too shabby. Even though it’s nowhere near my 5k PR, I was happy with this time considering how much discomfort I was in by the finish. I don’t think I could have pushed any more.
This was a pretty good smallish race. I liked the spectator support on the first mile, though I wish it would have continued throughout the whole race.
Packet pick-up the day before was no problem. The email they sent out said IDs would be needed and you couldn’t pick up other people’s packets, but when we got there, they didn’t check IDs and people were getting packets for their friends.
The shirts were unisex, which I didn’t realize when I signed up or I would have gotten an XS instead of a S. The goody bags had a couple nice little extras, like Chapstick and some plastic sunglasses.
The medals for the half looked nice; I’m sad about not having it!
The post-race food was good. There were bananas, chips, cookies, granola bars, and chili.
The awards ceremony seemed a bit disorganized. We missed the door prizes at the beginning because we didn’t realize where the ceremony was going on (it was in the school gym). There was supposed to be a costume contest, but we must have missed it. I don’t know if they did it before or after the age group awards, which is all we saw.
Overall, however, it was a holly jolly good time!