Hank and I ran it last year and had a good time, but I thought it was too crowded for the course and decided to find another Thanksgiving Day race for 2010. I also don't prefer the 5K distance because I'm not a fast runner so for me it's a 3 mile sprint which is harder than this old body likes to work.
I found a nice 5 mile race in Emmitsburg that was reasonably priced and was mentally all set for that one. Then I met 2 moms from Hank's cross country team who just started running and my friend from church who is training for a 1/2 marathon in January, and they all three wanted to run the Frederick race. I figured why not. I'd be hanging out and running with friends which is always fun (and I'll just try to rope them into the Emmitsburg race next year).
I woke up around 5am to the sound of a torrential downpour. ugh. When I woke up again at 6 it was still raining but not as heavily. We still weren't sure if we were going to let Hank run the 1K because he'd have to stand around with Jake while I ran, and we didn't want him hanging out in the rain. I woke Hank and asked him what he wanted to do and he wanted to run. So I layered him in running clothes and polar expedition gear so he'd be warm and dry.
We picked up my friend Erika and arrived at the race at 7:30. Hank's race was at 8 so we had some time to stand around, and it alternated between slight rain to misting. So far so good.
Me and my favorite 8 y/o
There were tons of people running the 1K so I wanted to put Hank in front so he wouldn't get trampled.
Toeing the line of the 1K
He finished about 8th or 9th overall and each finisher was given a medal which made Hank's morning.
After Hank's race, we moseyed over to the 5K start area, and decided to hop in line for the potty. While standing there something happened that's never happened to me at a race before. My stomach turned sideways and I HAD to use the potty. The race actually started while I was in the loo cursing the pasta I had for dinner the night before. Thankfully it was chip timed so it didn't matter how long I was in there, but I felt bad for Erika who was standing outside wondering if I had fallen in.
I have to add that there were 2 potties for an estimated 2,000 runners (not including family, volunteers, etc). While math really isn't my thing, I think this was 2 few potties 2 have at a race that size.
I hopped out, tossed my sweats onto a parking meter and off we went. I didn't realize beforehand but Erika's plan was to run the whole time without walking and keep me in sight. That was cool with me because I didn't come that morning with any hopes of a PR. I knew it would be a really crowded course so I just wanted to run and enjoy.
The Race Director blessedly changed the course from last year which at one point had us running on a teeny walking path and then cramming gobs of us through a narrow covered bridge (think watermelon through the opening the size of a lemon. what movie is that from??). Even with nice open streets we were zigging and zagging around. Since we were almost the last ones to cross the start, we had lots of walkers and strollers to pass.
Even so we managed to run Mile 1 in 9:59, Mile 2 in 9:37 and Mile 3 in 9:34. I asked Erika every now and then how she was doing and she would say someting like, "I'm dying." and I would say something like, "But you're doing a great job!" I didn't want to be too cheerleader-ish so she wouldn't be tempted to slug me, but she did really well.
We were about a quarter of a mile from the finish and I asked her if she wanted to pick it up and sprint to the finish. She didn't and she didn't mind if I did so I took off.
Since I wasn't 'racing' much of the race, I was able to think about my form and keeping my core straight. I was tickled to see in this picture that I'm pretty straight. Though I know I need to get back into my hardcore workout.
My Garmin time was 30:32 which is a 9:35 pace. Not bad at all.
Notice that while I was running my Polar Bear Boy took off his coat and hoodie.
Sherpa, Hank-watcher, Photographer. Thanks Jake!
Erika finished not too far behind me and Jake snapped this picture of us hardcore runners who had earned our extra helping of turkey.
We couldn't find my cross country mom friends afterwards(whom Erika also knew along with at least half the other people at the race. such a social butterfly!) so we headed home.
Overall impressions of the race are that it's a nice race with an easy, well-marked course. The post-race food is usually devoured pretty quickly and the swag is not great, but ok. However, it's a relatively low cost race ($20 early reg) for a charitable cause so it's a nice option to have.
Next year, I will most likely run the Emmitsburg race so I'll start nagging and begging my friends in early October to get ready so they can join me.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway for FREE FOOD! There are very few entries at this point so your odds are REALLY good!