Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reindeer Run 5k Race Report

So, just a week or so ago, on a spur-of-the-moment kind of whim, I signed up for the Reindeer Run 5k at Town of Tioga, outside of Gainesville. It was a night run, which I'd never done and it came with a medal. Gotta do it!

I quickly put together a costume, which included fun Nub Caps™ (ponytail holders to wrap around the bun(s) on my head), a green tee from JCP, socks, and tinsel garland!

Really cute knee socks that didn't fit
Nub Caps™
Red Christmas Tree Garland
Sadly, it was also going to include battery-powered LED Christmas lights, but it rained.  I'm not a fan of electrocution, even for the sake of a cool costume...

Battery-Powered LED Lights - unsused and lonely
I took my old silver Team Sparkle (Sparkle Athletic, whatever) and lined the bottom with the red garland, pinning it with safety pins (all runners have a plethora of those!), and then attached the skirt to my Purple Haze Sparkle Skirt with more safety pins, sitting it right at the hip seam of the Sparkle Skirt.

How I pinned the Team Sparkle to my Sparkle Skirt
And here is the finished project!  In reality, you couldn't see that there was purple under the skirt like you can in the photo - it just looked like a red and silver skirt.

The full costume (complete with other Christmas socks)
Hubby took a photo for me and said that my Nub Caps™ made me look like Chun Li from Street Fighter.

I headed towards Town of Tioga, and sure enough it started POURING as soon as I found a parking spot. I ended up putting on my green raincoat to hop out and go get my packet.

Christmas Tree in the Town Center
So much bling
The packet pick-up was fairly organized. One table for bibs, one for tees, one for glow necklaces and maps, and a final table for bling (this was only for wussies who wanted to skip the run because of the rain! Everyone else got bling afterwards)

Cutie kiddies handing out race maps and glow necklaces
I headed back to my car to drop off the tee and the map, and do my pre-race load up (pockets, inhaler, etc).  

I was able to get a photo of the digital weather temperature sign.  It sure felt a lot chillier than 68!  

Stop laughing, this is cold for Florida!
While everyone waited around for the start, people were huddled up under walkways and tents, trying to stay dry, and I was all like, whatever, and walked across the Town Center to the line of port-a-potties across the way. You're gonna get wet when you run anyway, might as well acclimate now!  So, the upside was NO LINE for the potties :)

Still raining...
Finally, though, it was time to line up. Well, bunch at the start line. There really was NO "Start Line" and no lines... 

However, that enabled me to become Start Line Buddies with... crap, what was her name?  It started with "J".  Well, it enabled me to become buddies with J.  This was her second-ever 5k and she just wanted to finish, basically. I think she mentioned a time (like, under 60 minutes), but I can't remember - this was a weird race.

Waiting at the starting line
We took off and she and I paced each other for a while, and eventually we settled in together, at the back of the pack - as usual. 

We were so back of the pack that the Bring Up the Rear car was right behind us. It was an Alachua County Sheriff's car who kept his lights on the entire time. THAT wasn't annoying at all......

I missed the signage for Mile 1, but J and I were doing intervals (very sad, more Walk than Run intervals), and chatting up a storm, so I'm not surprised that we missed it. 

We got to Mile 2 very quickly, and we were so upbeat about our progress!  Neither of us though to check our watch or app to see what our pace was. 

Mile 2
We kept up our intervals (slowing down for her) by way of "let's run to this fence" and then we'd reach the fence and I'd say "let's keep going to the corner." I think she hated me for that...

Not many people were out to cheer us on, and there was a glaringly obvious lack of volunteers out (only 1 or 2 people at turning points).

Just before Mile 3, we had lots (well, "lots") of people out, since it was closer to the finish, and they were telling us that we were almost done, yada yada yada.

Mile 3, almost done!
J and I decided to put on the speed and pass the few folks in front of us so that we wouldn't be last (though, I'm not proud - it was a 3 year old, an 80 year old and a dude who looked like he got dragged in to this)

When we came in to the Finish, the clock said 34:37! Holy shit!  Did I do a 5k in under 35 minutes? WTF?  I told J to run ahead of me so she could finish before me, then I came in after. I didn't take a photo, though, of the finish clock, and I'm so bummed!

We got our medals and took a cute photo in front of the huge Christmas tree, then J looked at her app and said, "Why does my app only say we did 2.3 miles?"  I was still so elated at my time that I told her it must be wonky GPS because of the rain - my Garmin was off too!

We hugged each other and I congratulated her on her great finish, then we headed our respective ways.  Passing the packet pick-up area, where they were packing up, I asked where the results would be posted, and she told me that the results were unofficial - meaning no PROOF that I did a 5k this quickly.  Seriously?

Me and my new friend, um.... Starts with a J....
On the walk back to the car, I saw that there was a Santa Claus spot, and he would be back in a few minutes.  I decided to move my car, and go see Santa! I don't think they knew quite what to do with me, but I had fun and even got a candy cane!

I've been a very good girl this year....
I stopped on the way home at Publix to pick up dinner. I had the forethought to pack a dress that I could throw on quickly, but not shoes, so I ended up wearing a blue, flowery dress with sneakers. I felt so conspicuous! But I grabbed my fried chicken and potato chips quickly and headed home.

Cute tee-shirt

A great pen, a stick pen and jingle bells

Cute bling
The next day, after I took photos of the swag and bling, I pulled up the map from Garmin and compared it to the map we got at packet pickup, and sure enough - the course had been shortened by three-quarters of a mile!  I was so ticked off that I found their Facebook page and asked about it. The response?  They were understaffed (under-volunteered?) due to the weather, and they decided to shorten the route for safety. Okay, I get that, but it would've been nice to know that BEFORE the race began!  J is out there somewhere thinking that she ran a 35 minute 5k, when in actuality, with the average pace we had, it would've been over 55 minutes!

In the long run, you just gotta say, Oh Well. Running in the rain makes you 100% more Badass, and it was fun to do an evening run, and the bling was worth it.

Will I do it next year? Maybe.  I love any race with bling!