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Monday, December 08, 2014

Race Recap: The Santa Race 5K

Photo by In My Life Photography (www.inmylifephotography.com/)
Last race of 2014! 
The Santa Race 5k took place Saturday, December 6 in Gahanna, Ohio.

Pre Race
Pre-race posing in the garage.
Saturday was rainy and chilly. I'm thankful it was at least 40 degrees and the rain slowed down. I wore a tank top base-layer, two long sleeve tees (including the race shirt), running tights, knee-high socks, gloves, a Buff, a baseball hat (to deflect the rain from my face), and a Santa hat. The Santa hat was included in the race packet for the first 200 registrants. I overdressed and had to push up my sleeves and remove my gloves, but I felt a-ok while waiting in the rain.

I was happy to see so many people participate in the race. I was afraid the rainy and gray climate may keep people away. (The race only cost $20 for us; so a relatively low loss if people didn't want to be outside.)  The field consisted of many families and a mix of runners and walkers.

The race began at Creekside, which is a little shopping / restaurant / fountain area in Gahanna. There's a large parking garage with plenty of free spots steps away from the race start line. We sat in the car for a bit, posed for photos, and braved the cold to watch the kid's races then get lined up. There were two kid's runs before the 5K start (100 and 200 meter... or foot? ... dashes). Adorable.

(I'm the red person on the right.)
The Race
We ran the same course in February for the Valentine's Day 5k, so besides being familiar with the route, I knew I wanted to beat my previous best 5K time of 28:09. (After mapping and reading that the route was short on Facebook, maybe I can't count this as an official 5K PR? I don't know who to believe!)

Anywho, Alex went to the front. Even though we had chip timers, they were doing the "first one in wins" method (technical name, obviously) and since he placed 5th in February, he figured he'd probably do just as well on Saturday. Because this blog isn't about him, let me spoil it for you: he placed 2nd. He did not win his age group because Mr. Winner was also 20-29 (and finished almost 40 seconds before. Speedy!). Alex received a plaque and free admission to COSI (he got an award for the Valentine's Run, too).  He improved his time by :14 (without training. At all.), but he felt pretty terrible after.

I went about 50 people back. I stood next to a kid (12?) that looked like Harry Potter and had on a sweet pair of purple Nikes. I complemented his shoes. He was proud. (Harry Potter finished at least 10 people ahead of me.)

The race began and I kept a speedy pace. Not too long into it, I latched on to a tall couple. I feel kind of bad because I think I ruined a few of their course photos. I also felt bad because I was like rightbehindthem for 2 miles and they probably thought I was a weird. Maybe a little creepy. Sorry, guys. I hope you read this.

Creepin' // Photo by In My Life Photography
The first mile felt long, but my watch said 8:11. Whoops, rein it in Elizabeth.

I was feeling ok, but I know that's not a sustainable pace for me. Yet. (Dude, I think it might be in 2015!) I kept myself glued to the tall couple as we crossed over some bridges. Just before the second bridge, the leaders were headed back from the turn around near 1.5. Alex was probably in 2nd or 3rd place by that point. I waved.

I kept moving forward to the turn around. I was tired, but my main goal was to keep up with the tall couple. Just before the turn around two old guys caught up and passed me. The tall couple was slowed down by another couple with reindeer antlers. At the turn around, the old guys gunned it, the tall couple passed the reindeer, and I was just thinking, "I'm thirsty, but I can drink when I'm dead" (I mean, done). It was kind of fun after the turn around to see how many people there were in the race.

Back on the straightaway I could see tall couple up ahead, but I gave up on them. I passed slowing reindeer couple and eventually joined a 13 year old boy and his dad. (I have no idea if they were related and that kid could have been 18 for all I know.) 13 year old was having a pretty standard race for a teen: alternating periods of running really fast, followed by grumbles about wanting to walk, mixed in with dad saying something about almost being done. This is pretty much the exact scenario I saw throughout the Turkey Trot.

I stayed with dad and 13 year old until the end. At the second to last straightaway I looked at my watch. 24 minutes and change. Welp, I wasn't going to smash my Maria's Miles time, but I'd definitely beat my February time. I started to pick up the pace, but I was tired. When we turned toward the finish, dad peeled off and 13 year old and I were left panting. I decided to sprint (my slow version) in, using him as a beacon. I figured he'd sprint in, too. He didn't. So I beat him, but guess what? I ended up ruining the tall couple's finish line photos! I was totally creeping behind them. In fact, I caught up with them and crossed the finish between them (Time wise. I didn't stand between them. I'm not that weird.).

"Hey guys, can I be in all of your photos??" // Photo by In My Life Photography
My timing chip was clipped off my shoe, I got my medal, and looked at my watch: 26:31. My exact Maria's Miles time (another course who's distance I cannot trust)! C'est la vie. Perhaps my next 5K will be on a "verified" course. (Hey wait, the race packet says the Santa Race is verified. I don't know who verified it (Santa?), but that's good enough for me.)

Anywho, after I grabbed water, a banana, and some Cheetos I felt pretty good. Not tired, so I'm sure I could go faster next time. The next day I wasn't sore, while Alex was feeling the burn. He still thinks I need to work on sprinting in, but in the moment I'm going as fast as I feel I can without gasping. And after seeing his aches and pains, I think I'm good with my method.

This medal is awesome.
My Stats
I didn't use Map My Run because I didn't want to hold my phone. I used my little Timex and know my second mile was around 17... something. I received my Garmin Forerunner 10 in the mail today, so next race will be precisely accounted for!

Final time: 26:31
My previous time on this course was 28:09.

Overall: 40 / 229 (17%)
Age group: 10 / 51 (19.6%)*
Gender: 15 / 157 (9.5%)

*I'm learning that women in the 30-39 age group tend to be the fastest females. Grumble grumble. 

Woo! Not too shabby. I like to look at these stats because it is pretty disheartening to finish 40th when you feel like you're going pretty fast. Especially when you're going home with the 2nd place finisher and you finished 10th in your age group. It's reassuring to see that my age group was filled with fast women and I was the 15th female across the line. I'll take it!

This year has been pretty wild. I should write up a misty-eyed summary at some point, but the above stats go to show what less than a year of middle-distance running will get you.

Next up: Maybe the First on the First? We keep putting off sign up, but it's such a good way to start the year! (With tacos and Snowville chocolate milk.)

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