As I look back, I can say that when I consider the hours that I put into preparing for this race, I put in an appropriate amount of time.
The only problem is that those hours were spent sewing costumes instead of training.
Ada the Dog in her Tiny Tim Costume
For the second year in a row, Ada the Dog and I ran Santa Runs Tacoma. We had a free race entry from winning the costume contest last year. This year they added a half-marathon distance. I decided to run the half-marathon because I wanted the medal. 5k and 10k runners don’t get a medal, so I decided that I had better run the half so that I could have a medal. Yep.
I decided not to train. I guess I didn’t really plan out how to not train, but after running the Snohomish River Run, I thought about what I should do to train for this race, but every time I went out for a long run, I decided to cut it short. In the end, I ran 5-miles or so 1x/week and that was pretty much my training. I wasn’t too worried about it, because I knew that I would have to stop to get Ada the Dog water, so it would be a slower race anyway. So, I figured, “It will be fine! It’s just one foot in front of the other.”
Then, the day before the race, as I was madly sewing my costume, I started to feel worried. I tried to convince myself that everything would be okay and that it was okay that I didn’t train. And then I thought, “I’ve not trained before for races, right? Hmm…when was the last time that I didn’t train for a race?” And then I remembered: The only time that I didn’t train for a race was Ragnar with Nuun, and as I result I cried, couldn’t finish the race, and ended up in a boot cast. Fantastic. So, that was a great confidence boost.
With that in mind, I decided that I’d go sans-Garmin, and walk, jog, skip, jump, whatever I felt, and just have fun on race day.
i prepared an amazing Tiny Tim costume for Ada the Dog. Husband Saign made her an adorable little crutch. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.
Ada the Dog on race day, ready to run!
On race day, we stood under the start arch, and got judged for the costume contest. Ada the Dog wasn’t totally comfortable in her costume, so I considered taking it off right after the judging and putting it in Gear Check. But she just looked so ridiculous and cute that I decided I’d try to have her run at least the first mile in the costume.
Ada the Dog as Tiny Tim, and me as Ebenezer Scrooge
Well, that didn’t end up working out so well. We took off with the crowd, and immediately after running under the start, I realized that I couldn’t keep Ada the Dog in costume. She was excited to be running, and excited to be surrounded by people, and completely confused about why she was wearing pants. She was pulling, and swerving, and acting like an untrained puppy! Within a few meters of the start line, I pulled to the side and removed her costume. After she was costume-free, we thing took off running again, but there I was, stuck carrying her costume, her leash, and my Nuun bottle. It was not comfortable. At about .5 miles, the race runs over a bridge, and I spotted a little hidden area on the bridge, where I stashed her costume. I also stopped to take a photo!
View from the bridge
I felt so FREE after the costume was dropped! Unfortunately, we had spent several minutes taking the costume off, stashing it, etc, so now we were stuck behind groups of walking people, strollers, etc. This was mostly just a problem because I had to weave around the crowds with Ada the Dog on leash, and this was a bit messy.
By about mile 1.5, we were ahead of all the strollers, and we could just steadily pass people without too much fuss. I felt GREAT! It was so fun to just pass, and pass, and pass! I felt so fast! I think I should start purposely starting races behind everyone just so that I can keep passing!
And the race went on, and I just kept feeling strong and happy. I stopped at every water stop to give Ada the Dog water, and I stopped at several puddles to let her drink. And we just kept passing, passing, passing. Oh! And then we were passing pacers. First the 2:30 pacer, than the 2:20 pacer, and at about mile 10 we passed the 2:10 pacer. When that happened, I just thought, “Okay! Yay! This won’t be a personal worst!” Ada the Dog was running strong. I considered not stopping at the last water stop to give her water, because I wanted to get to the finish more quickly. However, my guilt took over, and I stopped. I worried that the 2:10 pacer would pass me while I was getting Ada the Dog water, but he didn’t!
Usually I feel pretty good for miles 1-10 of a half marathon, and I start feeling tired and having to push myself for miles 11-13. But that didn’t happen for this race! I just kept running and passing! I smiled the whole time, and felt strong and happy!
Finally, I was at the finish! In the shoot, I heard someone coming up behind me. No way! I was not going to get passed! I decided to make a game of it, and I started sprinting, trying to stay ahead. As we crossed the mats, the man was about 12 inches in front of me. “Aw man! No way!” I shouted. The man turned to hug me. Then a nice lady dressed as an elf gave me a very sincere congratulations and placed my medal on my neck.
I checked my finish time: 2:07:30.
I then found out that Ada the Dog won the dog costume contest! Woot!
I felt great! Ada the Dog ran strong. I ran strong. We both were happy and friendly for the entire race.
That night, I felt like I had run a marathon. I felt so free and happy for the entire race, but apparently I was pushing myself pretty hard. I spent the afternoon lying in bed.
The next day, I found out that Ada the Dog and I made the local paper!
Ada the Dog and I in the paper, next to the obituaries and everything!
I LOVE this race. It’s super convenient and a pretty course. But my favorite part is the jingling. People wear jingle bells while they run, so as you take off from downtown Tacoma, you hear jingle, jingle, jingle, and you see a crowd of red and green, and it’s just the most fun ever.
What do you think Ada the Dog should wear for next year’s race?