Tag Archives: River City Races

Race Report: Reindeer Romp 4K

This race was over two weeks ago.  Yep, I suck.

This race is part of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, a three-part race series that lasts through the winter, with each race increasing in length a bit.  It is also part of the Run 502 series and I totally signed up for this because I need all three races to get the big Fleur de Lis hanger medal.  Not just bling, completist bling. 

Back sometime this summer or early fall, there was an email that the deadline was approaching to register for the series and get the extra swag.  I asked Spouse if he wanted to do this series with me.  Arguments for:  1) in our neighborhood park (literally a 15 minute walk from our front door) 2) nothing longer that 4 miles 3) extra swag  Arguments against:  1) running

Spouse is not a runner.  He does but does not enjoy cardio.  He far prefers lifting weights while understands cardio is necessary a few times a week.  So he does cardio a few times a week and hates every minute.  For whatever weird reason, he said “sure!” when I asked him if he wanted to do this series with me.  The morning of the race I asked him if he was drunk when he agreed to this, because he looked so regretful. 

At least the swag was good!  The race shirt was a long-sleeved grey tech shirt, men’s and women’s styles, with a small logo.  I have so many ass-ugly race shirts—loud colors, huge and hideous pictures—so this was welcome.  A bunch of my shirts I have turned into tank tops, with varying degrees of success.  Long sleeves are fine, but regular t-shirts tend to not get worn.  Any runner who signed up for the three-race series got a zip-up tech jacket, which is pretty decent quality and, again, not ugly.  And any runner who signed up by the cut off got a red and white stocking cap.  I don’t really wear stocking caps, but they’re nice to have around for cold-weather dog walks.

Our biggest discussion pre-race was whether to drive or walk and when to leave.  I prefer to be early.  It lowers my general anxiety level about parking and random snafus when I know I will be leaving with lots of time to spare.  I don’t mind just sitting in my car for a bit before a race.  I also tend to get a good parking spot, which makes getting out easier.  Spouse is typically a very On Time person, but he did a 5K downtown with me in February and was not a fan of the waiting around for the race to start.  I didn’t blame him—it was cold as fuck that morning and that particular race had a DJ playing loud pop music, which neither of us enjoy. 

When we got there, I chatted with people from my running group, but I missed the group photo because I waited too long to make a decision about getting in line for the portapot. 

The race start and end is at the top of a hill.  The first at least quarter mile is downhill and we didn’t do any walking intervals, so that mile was pretty speedy.  Then I became aware of my poor clothing choices. 

I had gotten a Lu Lu Lemon gift card for my birthday back in April, and I had just used it to buy a fancy new warm jacket for cold-weather running. My North Face jacket is past its prime and I figured I should replace it before it died all the way.  I had a few doubts about how warm the new jacket was, so I figured this 30ish degree morning would be a good test.  Again, don’t ignore the wisdom of “nothing new on race day”.  I need to either wear fewer layers under it or straight up save it for actual cold.  I started overheating shortly after the first mile and had to do intervals the rest of the race.

Spouse on the other hand was doing fine.  He powered up the first big hill, where I was cursing and paranoid about my wonky hamstring.  Apparently not skipping leg day paid off for him.  I was mostly fine though until the last hill.  It was rough.  So rough.  Spouse was ahead of me and I told him not to wait, but he said he wanted us to cross the finish line together. 

I managed to not die and finally the end was in sight.  There was a woman just ahead of me, and she and I had been passing each other most of the last half mile.  I wanted to finish ahead of her.  I’m apparently a petty, competitive bitch.  So I sprinted at the end, but didn’t tell him to keep up with me.  So I finished a second ahead of him.  After he specifically told me he wanted to cross the finish line together.  He was irritated with me.  I felt bad. 

Crossing the finish line “together”

I can’t remember our finish time; the pace was around 10 minute mile I think.  A bit skeptical because on Garmin, Strava, and Map My Run, the distance was longer than 2.4 miles. Yes, I use three gps trackers.  I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 that seems the least accurate in the park, where I mostly run, but it’s fine everywhere else and it gives me cues for intervals, as well as other features I appreciate.  I started using the Map My Run app years ago and I’m not even sure why I still turn it on, as I don’t really look at the data all that much any more.  I guess I like the audio announcement of mileage, total time, and split pace.  I’ve used the Strava app for a while now and find it accurate, and I get what I need from the free version. 

After the race we were offered fruit snacks and rock-hard granola bars.  We stuck around a bit for awards then went home.  It was a fun race with good organization and free race photos.  My wonky hamstring didn’t bother me as much as my recent lack of running hills regularly.  I need to let it heal, but I also don’t want to lose the training and fitness I’ve managed to claw back in the last few weeks.

Race Report: Santa Sprint and Stroll 5K, 7 December 2019

This race was part of the Run the 502 series, where you run at least 8 races and get a special big medal.  I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it otherwise, but I’m glad I did.  It was organized fine and a nice wake-up call for me.  I had to go looking for information on packet pick-up and the correct start time, though it wasn’t hard to find.  My only complaint is that the shirt was fugly. 

It was a chilly morning, in the mid-to-upper 20s.  The sun was shining bright though and there was no wind.  I dressed in a warm, wicking long-sleeved shirt with the race long-sleeved t-shirt over it, with a lightish jacket with good pockets and my new fleece-lined Skirt Sports Toasty Queen leggings.  It was the first time to wear the leggings, maybe not too smart to wear something new on race day, but it was just a 5K.  So if I’m miserable, it’s only for half an hour tops.

The starting and ending point was at Barrett Middle School, and the pre-race was in the gym.  It was nice to not have to freeze waiting around.  Santa was inside, met up with people from my running group, talked to some neighbors, got the group photo.  Then everyone went outside for the start of the race.

This was a hard race for me.  The course was flat and fine, down Frankfort Avenue, which had been closed to traffic for the duration.  I started out at a comfortable pace, skipping intervals for the first almost mile.  But the cold air was like breathing fire.  I did not have a neck warmer to pull over the bottom half of my face, which would have helped, but I knew it would make me warm after not too long, so I elected to skip it.  Probably not the smartest decision but whatever. 

The last two miles I mostly did my usual 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk intervals.  I felt somewhat better, my lungs were no longer going to explode, but it was rough.  The sun was right in my face and my sunglasses kept fogging up.  I think my main problem is the “it’s just a 5K” mindset.  I hadn’t really hydrated or eaten well in the days leading up.  I drank beer and bourbon and red wine the evening before—an unholy combination of poor choices.  My training had slowed way down while I rested my stupid hamstring.  I just felt unprepared in general. 

I finished with several women from my running group, so that was cool.  We took some pictures afterward, then went back into the gym.  They had coffee, bagels and cream cheese, and donuts for participants.  After indulging in a really delicious bagel and chatting, I went home.  By that time, I was melting.  My new leggings are heavy and warm and probably only appropriate for very cold mornings.  It would have been better to wear something lighter and been chilly for a short quarter mile, but live and learn.  Those leggings will be great when it’s for-real cold and I’m looking for excuses to skip a run. 

Later in the day, the race results went online, and I was surprised to find out I took third place in my age group.  That was somewhat gratifying, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was in October and keep improving.  I’ve got a race tomorrow morning—the Reindeer Romp 4K—a short race in the neighborhood park and the first race in the Polar Bear Grand Prix series.  I somehow convinced, without much arm twisting, my husband to sign up too.  Now I just need to decide if I’m going to run the course with him and chat and have fun…or push it and see if I can stay in the top 3 of my age group.

Race Report: Pupkin Spice 5K

So this race was originally the Pumpkin Spice 5K, but the organizers changed the name when they partnered with Tyson’s Chance Animal Foundation. It also became a dog friendly race. Costumes were already encouraged.

I signed up for this race because 1) near my house 2) something easy and fun to do shortly after UBHM 3) River City Races does this thing called Run the 502 (Louisville’s area code) where if you participate in 8 of 11 or so races beginning in the summer and going through winter, you get this big fleur de lis (Louisville’s symbol) medal on which to hang the little medal charms from each individual race. And since this year I am apparently a crow and attracted to shiny things, I am all about the race bling of this series.

I was pretty ambivalent about the costume aspect of this race. I love dressing up for Halloween parties…but not to run in. My running group was doing an October Scavenger Hunt Challenge and one of the items was “selfie running in Halloween costume”. Sold. I kinda already knew that my costume would be a last-minute, low- energy effort. The running-with-your-dog part was a bit more complicated. Kira loves to run but she has a bum knee and she is not reliable with other dogs. Also she’s a little crazy under perfectly controlled circumstances. She was staying home. Camp Randall on the other hand is a well-behaved, mostly chill little dude. But he is only good for running like a mile before he starts slowing waaaayyyyy down. So Kira was a Sorry No and Camp was a game time decision. Everything was made worse by the weather forecast–lower 50s and 100% chance of rain.

The night before the race, I pulled out some stuff from the costume closet that Spawn had bought a few years before for Halloween. It was goggles, a tool-type belt, and work-type gloves to be Tara from Teen Titans. Tara wears yellow shorts and a black, long-sleeved belly shirt with a yellow T in a circle. No yellow shorts (went with black capri running tights) but I did have a plain black tech shirt (full coverage, thanks). I cut a T In A Circle out of bright yellow fabric that was Praise Be! toward the top of a fabric pile and used a glue stick to attach it to the front of my black shirt. All set!

The morning of the run was as wet as was predicted. If it wasn’t for the giant medal-medal charm bauble and my completionist needs, I would not have gotten out of bed. Coffee, toast, pooping like clockwork. I put on my costume, which was all fine except my tights had no pockets and I couldn’t carry my hand-held water bottle because of the gloves. This was bad because I had no way to accommodate my phone. The compartments on the tool belt thing were big enough for my car key, but nowhere big enough for the necessary phone. Leaving it at home or in the car was not an option, as I wanted to take pictures.

So cue last minute destroying my closet and the coat racks looking for my flip belt (stretchy fabric waist band thing with interior pockets). I found it right before I gave up (not sure what I would have done with the phone…worn a jacket? stuck it down my pants?). The flip belt fit under the tool belt thing and I was able to squeeze my phone in. Yay! Also found cheap yellow poncho thing for if I wimped out and needed protection from the incessant rain.

It was time to leave. Camp or No Camp? I checked the radar and it was solid green. All rain. I hate being wet, having wet feet, wet shoes, being wet and cold. Everything about doing this run was going against my instincts, so I decided “goddammit if I’m gonna do this, I want a friend.” Spouse was still in bed and both dogs were there with him. I did not want Kira to know she was about to miss out on something adventurous. Camp has Toast Radar, so I opened and closed the bread box, then slid the toaster around. Sure enough, he came bouncing down the steps, expecting food to happen soon. Instead I put a doggie tie around his neck (he was in costume too!), leashed him, and off we went!

The drive only took a couple minutes. This is literally my neighborhood park. I saw some people from my running group immediately. Some in costume, some not. Some with dogs, some not. It was nice to see MRTT folks and catch up with a few people on post-UBHM feels. Pictures were taken, costumes admired (yall, some people had a goat with them), doggie-costumes awarded.

Me and Camp, ready to go

It was coming down steady at race time, so I donned my poncho. Camp went pee on command on the way to the start line because he is the best. The run was fine. Very wet, pretty fun. Thankfully it was mid 50s and no colder or I would be bitching nonstop about the temperature. The only thing of note–about 4 tenths of a mile before the finish, there is an exit out of the park. It is the exit I most often take when I’m in the park with the dogs, which is several times a week. Camp, who was completely and utterly soaking wet at this point and, keep in mind, *not a runner*, seemed to think that perhaps it was time to Later The Fuck Out Of This Noise And Go The Fuck To Our Dry Home. I enthusiastically told him NO! KEEP GOING GOOD BOY WE’RE ALMOST DONE! He said “bitch, I’ll show you how done I am.” He got slower and slower and I basically dragged a doggie anchor up the last hill.

Then we were done! We went back to the shelter and talked to friends and Camp got treats and I got coffee. We placed a 3rd in my age group. Lots of wet, happy people and pets. It was time to go home. On the way back to the car, I noticed how dirty Camp had gotten. Not from the run, but from the dirty floor of the Witches Hat pavilion shelter area. Like, seriously the floor was so damn nasty and because of the rain it was gummy and sticky and just overall ugh no. And it was all over Camp’s back legs and tail because he had been sitting so much. Thank gods I remembered to throw some towels in the car!

When we got home, Spouse had already left for the gym. The Camp and Kira reunion was insane. HE HAD NEW SMELLS. As soon as they mellowed a little bit, I put Camp’s leash back on and dragged him up to the bathtub. I’m sure he at that point was convinced he should never leave the house with me again. A big day, and it was comical how hard he crashed the rest of the afternoon.

The race seemed well organized. Packet pick-up the day before was fine, awards went quick, free photos afterward were awesome. The Heine’s Coffee was a blessing. Bummer about the weather–it would have been much funner without the rain and I’m sure more people would have been there and more people in costume.

Camp post bath, wearing age-group medal