As a lover of Halloween, when I started seeing ads for this local race, I was intrigued. A skeleton tech tee, trick or treating, and only 3 miles from my apartment? Well, I was sold. So I texted some friends to assemble a crew, and both Mike and Carson agreed to join in.
Mike was just two weeks away from the NYC marathon, and I was trying to get on track with training for dopey in January, so we had more miles on our schedule than a 5k calls for. So, we decided to take advantage of this being a local race, and run there and back.
I rolled out of bed just before 7 am on race morning, and Mike ran to my apartment from his house - he had to get in 12 miles, and I had to get in 9, so the little extra distance would bring him to his goal. It was the first cold morning of the season, in the low 40s, and I was excited to pull out some of my favorite cold weather gear. Since it was a Halloween race, I also pulled out my x-wing pilot costume as well, and used it as my top layer.
Mike got to the apartment just as I stepped outside, and after a quick stretch we were on our way. We chatted about life, the dopey challenge, and how Mike had done so well with training for his first marathon, which was fast approaching. I kept an eye on my watch as we went, as Mike had to sign up for the race when we got there, so we needed to be there before 8.
Once we arrived, we were able to get Mike all registered, then we stretched out as we waited for Carson to arrive. When she got there I passed her a race bib and shirt, as I had been able to pick up her race day gear. While there was day of registration and bib pickup, they also offered advance bib and shirt pickup, so Den had swung by the John Theissen store front the day before to pick up Carson and my bibs, since we had pre-registered. I quickly used Carson’s car as a changing room, and lost some layers before it was time to start the race.
The three of us headed towards the start line, stopping and putting our raffle tickets into various bins before the race - they had some great prizes, from sporting events and concerts to headphones and Apple products. As we prepared to get moving I told Mike and Carson I was gonna try to really race this one, since my knee had been feeling better. I put on my headphones, and when the start horn went off followed the crowd to see where it would lead me.
My first quarter mile clocked in faster than expected - I hadn’t been looking at my watch, and as the crowd thinned out I checked my pace, and it was sub-7. Whoops. I governed my speed a little bit, and settled to a pace right around an 8-minute-mile, since that was what I was hoping for. The course was easy enough to follow, and my first mile rang in at 7:57. My stomach was a little knotted, but I felt good otherwise.
There was a water stop just after the first mile, and a candy stop during the second mile. We were running through residential areas, and it was cute to see kids outside in their Halloween costumes, spectating the race. Mile 2 came in at 8:14, and while the pace was hard, there was only one more mile. I could push it for one more mile. My knee felt good, even if my stamina was feeling like it had faded a little.
One mile to go, and I was going to try to keep pushing it. I turned up the volume on my headphones, and followed the beat of the songs that were playing. I had made a short playlist on Spotify the night before to get me through the race, and I was glad I had it playing. There was another water station in the third mile, and as it came to a close I could spot the train station in the distance, which was right near the finish line. Two more turns, and I would be able to see the race awesome finish line. I kicked up the pace a little, and pushed it as I finished the last bit of the race - 3.1 complete, in 25:35, at around at 8:09 pace.
I was really happy with my finish time, thrilled that my knee felt fine, but mostly glad that they were handing out water at the finish line - I needed it! I walked towards the runners that were turning the final corner and plopped down on a curb, to watch for Mike and Carson, as I figured they would be coming around the corner soon. When I spotted them they were all smiles as they headed for the finish line.
The three of us reunited, and headed towards the post race refreshments- they had quite the spread! Bagels, hot soup, candy, cookies, brownies, breakfast bars, and more! I opted for a banana and grabbed some Halloween candy for later. We were waiting for the race results to be posted, so our next stop was to look at the raffles, which had been pulled while we were running- and to my surprise, I won an iPad mini! I collected my prize, and then headed to the soup line.
When the race results posted, the three of us crowded around the lists- Carson and I had both placed 3rd in our age group, and Mike had placed 5th in his! Woo hoo!
When the award ceremony started, we learned that the awards went five deep in each age group, so we would all be getting medals. When they announced Mike’s age group, it turned out that he had actually came in fourth! We were all excited to have placed in our age groups, and once we collected our awards it was time for Mike and I to start running home.
We took it easy as we finished up our miles, three more for me to make it to 9. The one eventful part of the run home? Mike spotted a frame that he wanted, so we called Carson with a mission to retrieve it since she had her car.
By the time we made it back to the apartment I had totaled about 9.6 miles, and my knee felt relatively normal - my legs were tired, but more from being less used to long distances that I normally am.
All in all, it was a great morning for a local race, and I had a great time spending Sunday with my friends.