Jingle Bell 5K Race Recap
I can sum up yesterday’s race in three words:
OMG The Hills.
I had heard this race was hilly, so I dialed back my expectations for time on this one, even in light of my happy time two weeks ago at what was also considered a hilly race. Throw in overnight and right up until the start rain, which I worried would make for sliptastic conditions, plus a party the night before which included drinking, and I already wasn’t planning on any speed records for yesterday.
The mood was festive as we arrived at the race site. Lots of Santa hats, red and green attire. The race shirts even had a Christmas tree made from the 25 years of the race on it. They gave you bells to put on with your pins. We met up with our fellow CMAK Birthday to Birthday challengers and got cute elf hats with Race4Chase on them and light up necklaces. We were all in a good mood. The rain had stopped, the temperature was perfect, it was go time.
We headed out to the start line and off we went. Right away I could tell I was not keeping my usual pace even though it felt like I was working hard. I tried to keep pace with my one girl friend, keeping her in my sight for just a while before I instead focused on just trying to not hate this run. I honestly thought I was killing it on pace until the five minute RunKeeper update told me I wasn’t even holding a 12 minute mile. WTF?
And right about the time I was just starting to feel like I’d warmed up and got in my groove, killer hill #1 happened. It wasn’t just that it was super steep, because it was, but it was at the end of what had been a slow incline throughout the first mile. I slowed to a walk and caught my breath as I crested it.
After that, I felt better. A bit of a downhill let me catch my breath, and I was cruising on. Finally feeling like I was getting into a groove and hoping to pick up some speed when I turned the corner.
Yep. Killer hill #2. Pretty much everyone around me at this point was saying some form of “You have to be kidding me” or “WTF” as we saw it. The second one was actually bigger than the first. At this point my motivation simply disappeared. This race was not going to be a confidence builder. The hill was too long and too steep. Not a single person in my sight view was running it. I slowed to a walk and just chalked the entire race up to a wash.
From there it pretty much just sucked for the last mile and change. The big hill didn’t even give me a great reward on the other side because the road was too wet and slippery; I had to slow myself down on the downhill for fear of slipping and falling.
I skipped the water stop hoping for a few extra seconds and kept going. More slight hills, more walk breaks as I kissed any worries about time goodbye. Once I “gave up”, I actually started enjoying the race a bit more since I didn’t feel like death. I was catching my breath on the walk breaks and feeling better on my runs.
I passed the church we’d seen on the way in and I knew the misery would be over soon. One last hill and then I could see down to the finish line. Since I had walked the hills, I had enough steam to really plow that downhill and sprint towards the finish.
I was absolutely astonished to see how poorly I’d done. The clock was in the high 38:xx when I spotted it and my official time was 39:07. The time shows exactly how hard and how miserable the race was for me. What a contrast to my race two weeks ago, still some hills (although this course was much worse) and I finished it 3:23 faster than this one. Ugh. A very deflating experience for what will most certainly be my last race this year. My only consolation was that everyone was off their usual times by a few minutes. Mulling it over, it has to have been one of, if not the most challenging 5K course I have ever done.
Still, it was fun to be out for the holiday themed race, and it was great to support the Birthday to Birthday challenge. Even with such a lousy time, I still was grateful to be able to run in support of a wonderful cause. I am healthy, I am uninjured, and while I wasn’t fast, I still was out there, with a lot of wonderful people that I am grateful to know. And sometimes that’s the thing you have to focus on.