I had a great NSV (non-scale victory) before the race even started - I traded in my pre-ordered Adult Large race shirt for an Adult Medium! Woo-hoo!
The atmosphere was wonderful - people were decked out in all kinds of holiday gear - I gave in and bought a Santa Hat that said "Jingle Bell Run". Everybody was given jingle bells to tie through their shoelaces along with their tracker chip, so there was a constant faint bell ringing the entire run. There was a singing group doing Christmas carols and other upbeat holiday tunes. Lots of families jogged or walked as a team, and I saw dozens of parents who ran or walked with strollers. Here's a pic of us at the very start of the race.
The course was a bit of a surprise - from the map we had been given at registration I guessed we would have one hill about halfway through the race, and it would be uphill on the first half, downhill on the way back. Nope. There were four hills (two repeated ones) on the course and that meant that we had to finish on an incline. One of my friends ended up running as well, and she told me later "Boy, this was NOT a good race for your first - those hills were killer!"
I'm happy to say for me it was more a psychological challenge than a physical one. All my training was definitely more than enough to prepare me for this race - even with the hills. Who would have guessed??? I jogged the whole thing, running 3.1 miles in just under 36 minutes. Afterwords I felt really proud and happy, but my body was like "So, that was pretty normal..." How wonderfully unexpected.
This is me crossing the finish line...
I was inspired by many people in the race - there was a whole team of people from the University Hospitals Medical Center running in honor of an 8 y.o. girl named Taylor with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There were people like the mom behind me in the picture above who ran up and down those hills pushing a double stroller! There was a wonderful 76 year old woman named Jean that I chatted with on the second half. She runs races every weekend, so she's well known by most of the regulars. She talked about how she had ANOTHER race today, and I couldn't have been more surpised. "You run two races in one weekend???" "Oh, just when they're small ones like this..." LOL! It's good to see things from a different perspective. She said that so many young people are all impressed when they hear her age. I told her that they should be impressed with her running all of these races even BEFORE they hear her age and she laughed. She said she's glad to be able to run when so many people her age can't even walk much, but also confessed she enjoys seeing youngster speed up when they realize she just passed them. ;)
My son crossed the finish line just a few minutes after me and I told him I was so proud of him for hanging in there and finishing! He was exhausted, but said "Mom, we have to start training on HILLS" so I guess he might be willing to do this again.
Doing it again... yeah, probably. I didn't hurt afterwards (or this morning) so I think I might start looking for maybe a race every month or so. It's way more fun than just jogging with my dog :) But I'm not feeling driven to start training for a half marathon or anything.
There was another woman I met that left me with mixed feelings. She was a friend-of-a-friend and when my friend introduced her she said "She's lost 100 pounds, you know!" I laughed and clapped for her and then said "Me, too!"(well, rounding up) We chatted for a little while and I found out that unlike me she didn't have bariatric surgery. I was very impressed - to be able to lose that much without having the help of a pouch as a tool... that's rare! She said two years ago she started walking two 5ks every weekend. Then she started jogging them. Then she started running half-marthons, and now does marathons as well. Whoa. Cool! Then she explained that she is just working on keeping the weight off, so she has added Zumba a couple of times a week and recently personal training. OK, so she is running at least two 5k races (if not a marathon) in addition to daily training runs, taking 2-3 Zumba Classes, and having a personal training session every week JUST TO MAINTAIN HER WEIGHT. Uhhhhh. Great? For her, it's great. This is a really good demonstration of what happens to the metabolism of a formerly morbidly obese person. To lose this much weight, our bodies and metabolisms change a LOT. In her case, presumming she eats healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes, it means she has to become a fitness machine. I am all for being active and staying active, but I would never want to dedicate every weekend of my life to running races. They're fun, but I want to have time with my family doing other things. I can commit to spending 30 - 60 minutes a day doing cardio for the rest of my life and having a severally restricted diet/ calorie intake. For her, that wasn't a good choice. Either way, there is no easy way.
So I'm looking into doing the "Color Run" sometime this spring, and keeping my eyes open for other fun opportunities. I heard that Coco Key (a water park in Sandusky, OH) has a Santa Run that I can imagine the family enjoying this time next year. Today I'll just be walking my dog a couple of miles and celebrating my father's 70th birthday and other every-day miracles. Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating!