I love this race. And I loved this year even more because we were participating as a family. Granted, I was running the 15K and Tim and Jaden were doing the 5K, but it was still great that we all got to enjoy the event.
I was prepared for a very cold run. I had my layers on and I made sure to bring along gloves, mittens and hand warmers to keep my fingers from turning into icicles. As it turns out, I was actually warm enough!
We stayed at my cousin’s house on Saturday. We got there late, so there wasn’t nearly enough time to hang out before we had to get some sleep.
We got up around 5:30 Sunday morning…which is later than I sleep on a normal day! I took a quick shower, ate my normal bowl of white rice, and helped Jaden get ready. We headed over to De Pere, about a 30 minute drive, a little early because we still had to pick up our packets.
Unfortunately, when we got there, they were out of shirts in Jaden’s size. There are A LOT of kids who do this event. There are schools that bus in their entire running club. It is awesome! But, it means that they are going to have to mail us Jaden’s shirt.
Prior to the race, I was having all sorts of problems with my Garmin. I couldn’t get a satellite, and even when I did, I still couldn’t get the watch to register my pace. Eventually, I had to restart it (twice). I was literally standing in the starting corral about a minute before the starting gun, when it finally started working. I was so excited that I actually jumped up and down. I had a goal in mind for the race and I knew I would need the feedback from my Garmin.
The 15K race starts before the 5K, but I’m going to show you Jaden’s race first. I know Tim ran it with him, but it really is all about Jaden!
This picture is before the race started. He wasn’t nervous at all. I think the fact that there were so many kids there made it easier for him. And that he was getting to run it with his dad!
Tim said that they pretty much ran the whole thing. There were a couple deep spikes on the graph because Jaden had to stop twice! to tie his shoes.
His splits were really consistent. Tim obviously motivates him better than I do!
I wish there was a finish photo where both of them were in the same shot. Oh well. Jaden got his PR by a few seconds, finishing in 35:17! They headed into the school to warm up and get some food…and wait for me to finish.
The 15K starts and ends at the same spot as the 5K. The split happens in the first mile and a half or so. My plan was to keep each mile under 9:00. I knew that would give me a nice cushion if my pace started to suffer toward the end.
There is one spot on the course where you double back and you can see the winners as they are heading toward the finish line (at least, at my pace I could). I saw the leader (wearing those super short shorts that only really fast people can wear) at least 3 or 4 minutes ahead of the 2nd place guy. Then, just before I was about to cross the ditch and away from the shared section of the course, I heard someone say “Hi Heather!” It was a facebook friend (whom I’ve never met in real life). He’s one of those super-fast people, so I thought I might see him on that section of the course. He ended up finishing 11th overall and 2nd in his age group. Way to go Ryan! It was really cool that he was able to pick me out of the crowd of runners and it put a smile on my face!
I’m floating! I never have a race picture like that. You’ll notice that the big mittens are in my pockets and that I actually unzipped the jacket a bit. I think the fact that I was able to stay nice and warm before the race, and having the hand warmers in my mittens before the race started, helped me stay warm. I was very surprised when I found myself warm enough to take the mittens off.
This might be my favorite race picture of all time. Granted, it doesn’t take much, since most of them are terrible. But, I’m looking right at the camera, smiling, and you can tell I’m having a blast!!
During the race, I would check my Garmin periodically to make sure I was keeping my sub-9:00 minute pace. And at each mile, I would keep track of how far ahead of pace I was. The mental math kept my mind occupied.
I tried to push it the last mile or so, but I was pretty tanked. Even still, there is something about knowing that the finish line is close that makes it act like a magnet and pull me in.
I still have a smile on my face at the end. And…I was even able to take the gloves off for the last couple miles of the race. I certainly didn’t expect that. Of course, as soon as I stopped running, I was freezing!
I was thrilled with my time of 1:21:36. I had a few people telling me that I should be able to run it in sub 1:20. I know that I can do that, but I really wasn’t sure I would be able to do it on race day. I don’t respond well to cold weather!
I was bummed that I had that one mile above a 9:00 pace. I actually grimaced when I saw it on my Garmin. Grrr! Other than that, the splits were fairly consistent.
After I finished, I ran into a friend who had finished a few minutes ahead of me and we walked into the school together. I got in line to grab some food and was really bummed that the good stuff was already gone. I found Tim and Jaden at a table and listened to them talk about their race. We didn’t stay long, because we had a busy day ahead of us.
*West De Pere High School. I love that there is a warm place to wait pre-and-post race, with real bathrooms!
*Volunteers. The volunteers and law enforcement at the water stations and the intersections were amazing. They were really encouraging and cheered for all the runners. I can only imagine that they were probably freezing!
*Flat. This course has one or two pseudo-hills. It is pretty much flat the entire time.
*Shirt. Even though Jaden is bummed that he has to wait for his shirt, I am pretty happy with the design. And a long-sleeve tech shirt is a bonus.
*Cheese. The last few years, part of the swag has included a turkey-shaped block of cheese. This year, they handed out snack-pack-type things. It was three packages that each contained a couple small pieces of cheese and either raisins (yuck) or almonds. Not nearly as cool as the turkey cheese.
*The Ditch. There is one part of the course where the 15K runners take a little detour off road and traverse a bit of grass and over a small ditch. In the summer, this would not be a problem at all. Last year it was snowy and slippery. This year, the ground was frozen and the footing was very uneven, even before getting to the ditch. I slowed down considerably, in an effort to protect myself from turning an ankle.
*Food. They always run out of rice krispies treats for the 15K runners. All I wanted was a rice krispie treat. I should have thought ahead and had Tim or Jaden grab one for me. Instead, I had a piece of a chocolate chip cookie and half a banana.
Overall Grade: A-
I’ll certainly do this race again. I love the atmosphere and I’ve always had such a good time. And now Jaden wants to put it on his calendar for next year too!
It has been quite a race season for me. This is my last race of 2013 and I’m not planning on another race until April 13th…my birthday! I’ll use the first part of the winter as an ‘off-season’ of sorts to allow my body a chance to rest from the stress I’ve put on it the last 9 or 10 months. Then I will regroup and get started on my half marathon training plan. I am hoping to PR at the race in April-what better way to celebrate turning a year older!?!