Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smashing Pumpkins - Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10 Miler Race Report


I was so psyched to finally be able to register for this run!  It's always on a Sunday, which, in the past, had been a bad time for me to do races, since Hubby had to work on those days.  Well, this year, he still worked on Sunday, but he went in much earlier, so I was able to run!

However, I made the amateur mistake of signing up before reading all the fine print...  The course time limit (when they'd start breaking down) was 2:30!! Even on my fastest day, I would finish until 2:51! Last year's last finisher came in at 2:55... Well, fuck...

I decided to do it anyway, and if I came in last, whatever.

This is to the left of my monitor at work; whatever race I'm doing next is posted here
This race was awesome (and the reasons I'd wanted to do it for so long) because 1) you get to run through Jacksonville's "oldest and most prestigious operating cemetery" and 2) costumes are encouraged! I've never done a race (outside of Disney) where costumes were a must, so I was so happy! I spent a good two months trying to figure out what I was going to be.  The costume had to be easy to make, inexpensive and runner-oriented (easy to run in).  I wanted to use my black SparkleSkirt as a base, since that would cut out part of the costume pieces to make. I settled on a ladybug, and purchased the pieces needed.

The top is a Sport-Tek Women's Sleeveless PosiCharge Competitor Tee. It is light as a feather and doesn't cling to my big ol' rolls either!

don't we all have some old computer CDs lying around?
I also purchased some Fabric Creations fabric paint in Black (obvs) for the lady bug dots. I am in a running costume facebook group and they suggested this type, over regular (inexpensive) fabric paint, because it wouldn't be stiff.

$2.99 at Hobby Lobby
I decided to go with big dots to make it more visually striking and to cut down on painting time. At first, I used a small foam brush, but it was hard to get the edges right, so I first outlined with a small artist's paint brush.

Paint and cheapie foam brush (these suck, don't use them)
I will say that this paint was easy to work with and didn't dry stiff. I will also say that this paint just got SUCKED into the fabric! I went through the majority of the bottle for just the front dots (7!).  And thanks to hubby bugging me (pun not intended), I ended up doing dots on the back too.  For those, I used regular fabric paint (yeah, the $1 kind).  After that dried, and I could compare the two types of paint, I understood why the fancier paint was recommended - the cheap paint was stiff, and since I'd left the cardboard in the shirt while the paint dried overnight, the shirt was literally stuck to the cardboard, and when I pulled the shirt off, cardboard stayed stuck to the dots!  I had to take a huge leap of faith and try to soak the cardboard off, but I didn't know if the other fabric paint would run!

Luckily, all the dots remained dots and my shirt was done (ETA, I've since washed the shirt, and all the dots are still there!). I'd also purchased a red visor to attach antennae to (no pic of that - see photos further down). And, because I'm a procrastinator, I was making antenna last night!

I did NOT paint my visor because I wanted to be able to re-use it

After taking Hubby to work and driving to Jax, I got a great parking spot, near the exit of the cemetery.  It was still very dark when I got there, and I had to make my way across the whole front of the cemetery to get to packet pickup!  Glad I'm not an easily-spooked or superstitious girl!
I headed back to my car to eat breakfast and wait for run time.
No worries, we aren't parking on graves
Maybe I shouldn't have waited so long, because as I got near the front, my body decided it needed to pee...

Yeah, as you can imagine, lines weren't short.

She's so skinny I can see her bones... oh.
Everyone needed to pee, apparently
Plenty of time for a selfie! (Antennae are pipe cleaners and sparkly pompoms, also from Hobby Lobby)
It was almost "pee? or run?" decision-making time, but I was able to tinkle about 5 minutes before the race started.  They had pace flags set up, but since we were all walking to the Start Line at that point, it didn't really matter where I lined up. 

I wish I got the cool ombre shirt, like the people above, but ombre doesn't come in XXL I guess
Off we go!  I was really impressed with this cemetery.  Beautiful grounds, lots of different burial options (graves, family plots, mausoleums, crypts and cremation urn niches).  Beautiful oaks draped with Spanish Moss. All the trees kept the route pretty cool, too, so it wasn't horribly hot.

I didn't see any mummies, so we're good
Another draw for people (not me) is that the entire course is lined with pumpkins, and you are allowed to take home a pumpkin when the race is over.  While it's a nice touch, I saw too many people tripping over pumpkins when trying to pass around people. 

I wonder how many total pumpkins they used for the 10 mile course?
I was sad to see that not nearly many people as I expected dressed up. Come on, people! It's a race the day before Halloween, and a race a few weeks before a big Disney race - where are the costumes!?!

Check me out, I'm a ladybug (notice a dearth of costumes in the background?)
I don't know what she was, but that was a lot of satin
Don't know who she was supposed to be either, I'm guessing something candy-related
Am I really ONLY at Mile 1?

Well, fuck. It's gonna be a long race.
Pumpkin fatality.

This is what happens when people try to pass on the left and hit a pumpkin
This guy got the costume memo!

I vant... to suck... your PowerAde
By Mile 2, I was realizing that this race, well, it's BORING! The grounds are beautiful, but it's just boring! Eight more miles of this is really gonna suck.

20% done with this very boring race
Mile 2 also took us around the Garden Cloister Mausoleum - I think this is where people are "buried" above ground. So, there's skeletons in there right now? Cool. 

It's like dead-people condos
Apparently I missed the Mile 3 mile marker, but since it's a boring race, you didn't miss much either.

Mile 4 was going out of the cemetery along some sort of walking or biking trail.

My pace is meh
Hey look, there's like 2 people up there
Dare I say, it's even MORE boring out here.  And yeah, I'm now LAST.  I'm surprised it took this long. 

Hello, PoPo. You don't need to really follow me on a walking trail, do you?
Back inside the cemetery, I passed some runners who had already finished and were taking their pumpkin.  Hey, jackwad, what part of at the end of THE race do you not understand?  Some of us are still running and want to see the damn pumpkins!

Put. The pumpkin. DOWN!
And here we have the Mile 7 sign.

I can hear you... Hey, Lazy, where's Mile 5 and Mile 6?

Well, apparently I missed them.  I think I cut the course!  On the walking trail on the way back, I was trying to catch up to the lady in front of me and get in front of her, so she was all I was paying attention to.  When she got to the head of the trail, she should have turned to the right, but she turned to the left. Did SHE cut the course on purpose, or did she screw up too? I don't know, but because I wasn't paying attention, I missed two miles of this race!  Let that be a lesson kids - pay attention to race signs!

That is the fastest 2 miles EVAH!
A close-up of the map, badly annotated with Sharpies (and I'm pretty sure the arrows are going the wrong direction...)
That purple-circled area? Yeah, those are my two missing miles
Once I realized what had happened, though, I was kind of glad. I was hating this race, pissed that I'd not been training well, and just really wanted to be done.

Seriously? You didn't even RUN the damn race! Put it DOWN!
Of course, even at Mile 8, I was still in the back of the damn pack. How sad for me.

Lone-leeeee. I'm Mr. Lone-leeeee.
I got passed by a full-blown Sally.

Her running partner dressed as Jack, of course (though I don't know where he is)
Hello, Mile 9 (which is really my mile 7)! I'm so glad I'm almost done.

Thank God. I'm so done.
Wow, I feel so cheered on.  Literally, NO ONE cheered when I came by.  Usually there are at least some volunteers that cheer, but I might as well have been invisible. Very upsetting, and adding to the list of why I don't want to do this race again. 

Dude. When someone comes to a finish line, you CHEER. Whether you know me or not
My Official Time was 2:28:32. And sure, I did finish in that time. But I didn't finish a ten-mile race in that time. I finished 7.9 miles in that time. Using stats from my Garmin, I would have finished around 3:05 (pace 17:35).  Ironically, I would have beat ONE person (she finished 3:10:26!).  I came in before 64 other people, but I felt bad, since technically I cut in front of them...

I got my medal and found a volunteer to take my photo. 

I wish my antennae were bigger
I wandered around for a few minutes (they were doing the awards ceremony), but there was no post-race food or beverages (that I could see anyway; they were probably all gone since I'm so damn slow), so I said fuck it and went back to the car.

I sat in the car in the AC for a while, waiting for the traffic jam to clear, and took some photos of my medal. (It glows in the dark, too!)

Sharpies were used to make my ladybug dots on my nails (most of them survived!)
Looks awesome with my black skirt as a backdrop
Once traffic seemed to calm down a bit, I was able to exit my parking area, and exit the cemetery by way of a back gate (thanks, parking volunteer!) and a red light. I was on a mission.

My family loves chicken.  I make boneless, skinless chicken breasts a lot. I'd say 75% of the time, they get marinated or breaded.  I've been using an old set of Ziploc rectangular containers as my breading station, or to hold my Ziploc'd bags of marinating chicken.  Hubby hates them because when I wash them, water gets trapped in the rolled edge, and I have him trained by now (hehehe) not to put wet dishes away. So, they usually never get put away!

Anyway, I want to find something about the same size, but without a rolled edge. I tried using pie plates (like they do on all those fancy cooking channel shows), but they were too big and too shallow for how I like to work.  And so far, I've not been able to find anything suitable in stores nearby (like Walmart or Big Lots).  I was hoping that Old Time Pottery had something (they have everything!).

After changing clothes there, I headed to the kitchen section.  I found a great set of ceramic bake ware that looked to be perfect.



I was able to score two of the ovals in a dusty blue, which match my kitchen, for about $8.50 after tax.  (ETA - these are PERFECT!!!  Deep enough to contain the breading, enough wiggle room to bread the chicken, cleans up wonderfully because nothing sticks!).

After OTP, I was starving, so I just cruised until something looked good. Whataburger looked good. I've not been to a WaB for probably a decade! I got a bacon cheeseburger combo for $7. 


Bacon Cheeseburger (only mayo) with fries
The burger and fries were good, but I wasn't impressed with the sriracha ketchup.


I do love how condiment cups fit in my door caddy though!
 I ended up just eating while I drove; I was ready to go home.

Boring, all-white tee
Hey, it's Sport-Tek too!
Location: Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville FL
Host: (Who put on the race) Evergreen Cemetery Association / 1st Place Sports
Packet Pickup: Easy (I was 1 ½ hours early)
Parking: Easy, since I was so early. Hassle to get out (I sat in the car while I watched people wait in crazy-long lines at red light). Nice guy pointed me to drive wrong way on one way road to get to a different gate to exit. MUCH easier to exit. (And this was TWO HOURS after the speedy runners were already done!)
Support: (on-course) Almost non-existent. I remember 2, maybe 3 water stops.  No fuel like Gu for the long runners. Some signage was non-existent or hard to see (like at the finish line for the 10m folks).
After Party: WHAT after-party? By the time I finished, they were doing awards, but all I saw food wise was water (given at the finish line, at least it was cold) and a small stack of bananas. I didn’t stay at all.