Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ugly Sweater 5k

Ugly Christmas sweaters are in short supply this year. I searched multiple stores and finally settled on a Bolivian sweater with a pear design and wooden buttons down the front. Not Christmasy, but it was ugly. $2 from Goodwill.

The race started at 9:00 and was within a 30 minute drive from my house.  Unlike the Grinch 10k the day before, I arrived with plenty of time to spare and no one was in line for the portapotty.  Ugly sweaters were in abundance for this small, local race. We voted on the ugliest sweater:

The long blue sweater won the ugly contest

Kathy Ballew and I lined up at the front of the line as the other runners timidly followed.  We started on an open field and soon were on a single/double-wide trail with some roots to run over with caution. I was passed fairly quickly on the field and settled in to a comfortably hard pace.  The trail is wide enough to pass or be passed without difficulty.  The first mile went past the playground and soccer field at Sehmel Park.  From the picture below, we started above the baseballs fields, ran to the left and down around the soccer field, and to the right and back toward the top, doing this loop twice for the 5k.

Here's an overhead view of this newer park in Gig Harbor:
Sehmel Park aerial view

Mile one:  8:03.  I didn't look at my Garmin at all during the race.  Why make myself feel bad?  My eyes blurred the moment I started running and it was hard to focus.  Kathy Ballew stayed in front of me and I tried to keep her in my sights.  Quads were tight from yesterday's run.

Mile two: 8:13.  Hot!  Stupid, heavy sweater.  We got to run up some hills through the woods.  There were some sections with boardwalks and they looked slick but weren't.  My brain kept telling me to put on the brakes and my quads were screaming all the way down hills.  We ran past the start line and the clock was at 13:30.

Mile three:  Wow, last mile!  My races usually last so much longer.  I was so close to catching Kathy in the last half mile but on a big downhill, I couldn't push myself any faster.

Finish line ahead and I finished with an 8:15 average.  My Garmin had us at 3.39 and others also recorded it a little long.  Kathy was second female and I was third.  Apparently the first place woman is a rock star runner and we were told "not to feel bad" that she won.  Nope, not at all.  I wonder what her time was?

No fanfare at this small race.  Kathy and I strolled through another loop for a cool down.  It was nice to run the loop without racing it.  We snuck off the course before the finish line as there were still people running. This was a fun little race for our community.  Hopefully we'll get to do it again and I will start searching for an ugly sweater sooner.

One of the boardwalks through the trails of Sehmel Park