We all know by now that a holiday is just another excuse for runners to have a race. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, 4th of July, and of course- Christmas.
This morning our family headed out for the 7th Annual Mount Mourne Christmas Elf 5k. The race was hosted by the Mt. Mourne Volunteer Fire Department and all proceeds benefited the Station. Being the daughter of a firefighter, this was a cause I fully supported!
We arrived about a half hour before the race started to pick up our race bibs and t-shirts. I was a little worried about standing outside in the cold for 30 minutes before the race started, but it turns out a fire station is the perfect place to hold a race. They moved all the engines from the bay and all the runners, volunteers, registration, packet pickup, etc, was inside! It wasn't heated but it was away from the cold and wind. And I felt right at home with all the fire engines, firefighters, and fire-fighting equipment (not even the call alarm startled me!).
David ran with Roscoe while Max stayed with my parents-in-law. Everyone was in awe that such a small dog ran such a long distance. Guess they don't know that Jack Russells are a special breed of crazy.
My running-bestie lives in the town the race was taking place in, so of course we met up (she's the one who convinced me to register!).
Now I have to admit- this race was a little strange for me. When I turned my Garmin on to get signal, I was in the engine bay. When my Garmin asked if I was indoors, I didn't think much of it. When the gun went off (which was really a fire engine's siren), it said "timer started." Turns out if a Garmin doesn't have satellite signal when you turn it on, it's nothing more than a glorified stopwatch.
Once we were off and running, there was nothing I could do, so I just let it go. I wouldn't know my pace or how much distance was left, so I was forced to run by feel.
The course was an out and back on the back roads of scenic Mooresville. There were a few hills but nothing too major.
I passed the marker for mile 1 when my 'stopwatch' read just over 10 minutes. This really baffled me because I felt like I was working a LOT harder than that, and I wasn't too far from the front. Mile two came at minute 18 and change. There was no mile 3 marker.
I have to admit- I started to feel winded and fatigued after the first 7-8 minutes of this race. With no way to know what my pace was, I didn't know if that was from the extra Christmas cookies I'd been eating or if I was really booking it. By the time I could see the finish line and saw my time was already past 26 minutes, I got pretty discouraged. Obviously the opportunity for a PR had passed me. And while I know 27 minutes is a perfectly respectable time, I was bummed.
Usually I sprint to the end- but what's the point when you're not even going to come close to a PR? (I know I know, I'm turning into that kind of runner...)
I made my way across the finish line in lackluster fashion, stopped my watch and just sat down. I really wanted to make a killer 5k PR at this race, but I guess today just wasn't my day. The clock read 27:18 when I passed it.
And then.... I heard the first person complaining about the 'long' course. Maybe it wasn't the buckeyes, sugar cookies, or eggnog that made me feel like I was dying.
Then David and Roscoe crossed the finish line (when everyone gasped at how small Roscoe was and how fast he was running, I was beaming with momma-pride!) at a slightly slower time than expected.
I was still pouting, so I didn't bother to go inside to get water or look at the results.
Eventually we got so chilled that we moved inside, at which point David told me to follow him. He led me to the results and pointed to my name. Under division place, it said "1."
They started giving out the awards. The race director first apologized to everyone that the person who set up the turn around point aid station put it in the wrong place. The 3.1 mile race was really a 3.4 mile race.
Then it all made sense- I didn't feel like I was dying because I've been stealing cookies from the pantry every hour (I should stop that). I felt like I was dying because -as it turns out- I was keeping a 7:56 pace!
Turns out a DID win first place in my age group! But more importantly, it turns out I also made a new PR- sub 25 minutes!
The timing company posted the race was 5541 meters (just over 3.4 miles), and my time was 27:18. That comes out to just under 24:50 for the 5k, which I think I'm going to claim as my new PR time.
I'm over the moon thrilled! Who would have thought?!
I think I'm going to put my trophy next to my marathon medal. And then go have a celebratory cookie =)
Happy Christmas Eve!