This past weekend, I had the opportunity to run the Santa Runs Tacoma 5k, a race that I attempted (and failed) to run 2 years ago. I still had the costumes left over from 2 years ago (which no one had ever seen, since Ada the Dog and I were lost alone in the woods while wearing said costumes). Ada the Dog still had her Ralphie A Christmas Story costume, and I still had my leg lamp costume (albeit, a bit dirtier for wear). It was a GO! I was ready for redemption! (Redemption to me would be to actually successfully make it to the start of the race).
Packet pick-up was super easy, and I was really excited to learn that swag for the race was gloves and a choice between a hat and headband-earmuffs-thingies. I’ve been wanting to try headband-earmuffs-thingies, so I was really excited! They also included a little bell in my race packet, which I thought was a cute, holiday-spirity touch!
On race day, I woke, ready-to-go! Okay, really I was dragging around the house, unmotivated and disorganized. But somehow I got in the car, ate my breakfast on the commute, and made it to the start in time.
Soon enough, I heard an announcement asking that all costume contest contestants come forward. I went forward, and was surprised to find myself surrounded by 2 Grinches, 2 Maxes (the Grinch’s dog), 1 Cindy Lou Who, a handful of cute little kids in a variety of Christmas costumes, and Buddy the Elf. In other words: There weren’t many contestants in the contest. I suddenly realized that Ada and I had a pretty good chance of winning! The judges came by and took notes on the costumes, and we were dismissed.
I really wanted to use the bathroom, but I couldn’t figure out how to use a porta potty with a lamp skirt on and Ada the Dog along. It was just too crowded for me to feel comfortable tying her up while I went. Soo…I held it.
It was getting closer race start time, so I attempted to find a garbage can to throw out the plastic bag that I had used to carry Ada’s costume down to the race start. I looked around and around, and couldn’t find a trash can! I considered stuffing the bag into a bush, but felt that such an act would be immoral, so decided to just carry it with me. Carrying the bag didn’t seem like such a big deal: I had decided before the race that with a lamp skirt on and Ada the Dog along, I should run it really slow, and just aim to finish in under 30 minutes. Between the lamp, the leash, Ada’s Ralphie glasses, and my phone, I had quite a bit to carry, so a plastic bag didn’t really make much of a difference, especially since I wasn’t planning to run fast. (I even chose to leave my Garmin at home).
Soon enough there was a countdown, and we were off! Whoo hoo! As soon as the crowd started going, I realized something: Most people were wearing the bells that they had received at packet pickup! It was such a fun experience, being surrounded by jingle bells, dogs, and holiday costumes while we ran!
As soon as we started running, I could feel pressure on my bladder. Dang it! I wished that I had been able to pee! The wire waist of my lamp skirt did not help matters: It pressed into my abdomen, making me wish even more for a bathroom. But, I remembered that I was there to have fun, and I let the sound of the jingle bells drown out my bladder’s protests.
The course started off really pretty: We ran over a bridge which was fun, and we could see Mount Rainier off in the distance. We then ran in a rather ugly industrial part of town, but I didn’t mind. There were still lots of fun costumes and jingle bells making things cheery and bright. I was having the most fun that I have ever had in a race! I was smiling from ear-to-ear! I waved at and thanked each volunteer that I saw.
As I ran, I wondered what my pace was. I was having fun, and not pushing myself too hard. I guessed I was running 9-minute-miles, but I also know that I am really bad at guessing pace, and I was feeling so light and happy, that I thought it might have been closer to 10-minute-miles. Soon enough, we had crossed the 2-mile sign, and I tried to pick up the pace just a little to bring in the last mile. I think I did pick up the pace a little, but not so much that it made me lose my cheery attitude. I continued on, smiling and thanking each volunteer as I passed.
At some point in the last mile, I dropped Ada’s Ralphie glasses. I considered leaving them, but then remembered that I wasn’t going fast anyway, and I shouldn’t litter, so I turned around and picked them up. Picking them up involved an awkward sideways squat, because in case you didn’t know: It is not possible to bend over in a lamp skirt.
Then: There it was! I could see the finish! Ooooh! Oh no! And there was a kid in front of me! Oh no! I couldn’t let a kid beat me. I picked up the pace enough to get in front of the kid, and ran on. I smiled for the race photographer, turned the corner to the finish, and heard someone calling my name, “Go Becky!” I looked up: It was Zoe! Hi Zoe! I then looked at the clock: 24:47.
I was shocked. How in the world did I run that fast (for me) when I thought I was running 9-minute-miles??? And I was really comfortable and happy for the entire race! What in the world?
I was even more shocked when I looked at the actual results: 24:08. Um. A 2-second PR. With no pain or stress…in fact, while smiling and thanking each and every volunteer. While wearing a lamp. And dealing with Ada. And with a full bladder. And hands full of dog glasses, a plastic bag, a leash, and a phone. And with stopping to pick up dropped dog glasses.
What in the world?
I don’t know if it was a lucky day. Or if my speed training is paying off. Or if I’ve simply been selling myself short when it comes to pacing. I’m apparently capable of more than I’ve shown when it comes to the 5k.
I continue to feel convinced that despite my previous opinion, 5ks are SUPER fun.
When I finished, the costume contest winners weren’t going to be announced for another 1.5 hours, so I had to stick around. Luckily, it was pretty easy to entertain myself: There were lots of cute costumes, cute dogs, and cute kids running into the finish. There was chocolate milk to drink. There were reindeer to pet. There were porta-potties to use (it was less crowded at the finish, so I tied Ada to a fence while I peed). There were instagram photos to take. There were kids to watch run the 1k.
I kept myself entertained, and finally, it was time to announce the costume contest winners. First up category: Best individual costume, and…..I WON! I was pretty surprised, because I thought they’d give that to someone else, and then give me the prize for best dog costume. I was surprised then when they announced “Ralphie” as the dog costume contest winner. Double winner! (I was simultaneously excited and felt bad for winning two prizes). Then there was a raffle: and I WON! Oh my. This was getting embarrassing.
In other words: I swept it up at Santa Runs Tacoma. Not only did I have a blast, I got a PR and won three prizes which included: 2 free race entries for Santa Runs Tacoma 2014, a gift certificate to Fleet Feet, and 2 dog toys for Ada the Dog. I also learned that the mug that I received at the finish was reserved for the first 200 people, so I also won a mug. It was a lucky race for me!
I’m already planning Ada’s costume for next year! This was such a fun race, and I can’t wait to do it again!
Is it embarrassing or awesome to win multiple prizes at the same event? (I’d say that it’s a combination of both). What’s your favorite Christmas movie? (I like: A Christmas Story, the Muppet Christmas Carol, and Elf).