Saturday, I attended my 4th Jack-o-lantern Jog 5K (put on by Ohio Challenge Series). It should have been my 5th, but I was busy last year doing a little thing called, taking my state comprehensive exams for my counseling degree/license.
In 2007 I had no idea what I was in store for. I signed up because it was part of the Subway Challenge Series, and I was racing every weekend trying to lose weight and stay in shape. The all downhill start falsely boosted my confidence. Without warning we entered the cemetery and all hills broke loose. After running past beautiful memorials and seeing mausoleums in person for the first time in my life, I was forced to run straight up this off ramp, which looked like it lead into the sky, before finally reaching the finish line. I was instantly hooked.
Now, part of the reason I loved this first year was the swag and audience. There is a child’s race so of course a lot of families are there, and there is a costume contest so a lot of people have spirit. Subway Series always gave tons of food, we’re talking subs, chips, fruit, drinks, treats, the works. The first year the bags had not just our long sleeve shirts, but toys and flyers. And a “spooky” squish ball I loved until a co-worker popped it.
Every year since it’s been more of the same and I always rate it my top race of the year. This year I was forced to face the reality that bad economic times have hit everyone. You may recall my saddened reports on Morgana and Jackson Night Glow, my other top races…well this one has the same flavor.
The shirts have never been anything other than long sleeve Halloween themed shirts. The year they were orange printed on black I was in love, but other than that they’ve been orange with black writing and I don’t wear orange well. Too bad so sad for me. The food at the end, was a little bag of pretzels and a sub. Nothing else. The awards, often a splice of trophy and pumpkin, were smaller and normal awards. The costume contest was a lot of homemade looking things (kids’ too) and the families were thinned out in attendance. Our swag bag? One granola bar and a bunch of flyers. Oh and technically the bag was one of those “green bags” but it’s too small to carry anything in (IMHO).
HOWEVER the race itself was still amazing!
I went with my friend Liz this year. We both dressed up…a first for me. She was “SUPER LIZ” and I was supposed to be 80’s but lost many of my accessories so instead she decided I should make a homemade crown with some of the yellow paper and be a princess.
|Me and “super Liz” before I had a theme|
The nice thing about a race you do every year, you know the little tricks and nuances. Such as leaving one building to go into the next and down a weird hallway to get to the bathroom. Where you overhear a mom say to her child (in the stall together)
“Do you wanna have fun today?”
“Yes” … noises come from the door handle
“Do you wanna go home early?”
“No” … feet kick the door
“Then DON’T open that door!”
The race started 4 minutes earlier than planned, which threw a lot of people off, but before ya know it we were all pacing and running just fine. I took off hoping for a PR but at least a PB on the course. My first mile (all down hill) was 8:56 and I was tickled. I was even more tickled, when the official mile marker person said it was 8:46. I tried to keep it up for the next part, but I knew we were well into the hills and I needed to really push. About half way through my IPOD broke (actually the headphones, not the device so it’s all good) and I was without noise cancellation. Normally I don’t use music, but today I needed it. See, where I was in the pack was just behind the lead people (at this point in the race) so I was with people who were really pushing it, but also really feeling it. So without my music I was hearing all the moaning, groans, the uneven feet from people walking or pounding hills. All the “This is hard” or “WOW this is quite the hill” and I have to admit these things get to me.
It helped when I heard someone say “See that guy? He does those marathons!” And pointed to someone just in front of me. At first I was like “Ugg” then I realized, um in order to have heard that, it means I was right there with him! I was keeping up with the *amazing marathon man* not to mention, I do marathons too! And ultras! so suck it. (haha bad attitude when running hills).
I cleared the second mile in 10:30. I knew at that point I was doing well, but wasn’t going to PR, so I have to admit I backed off a lil. My lungs were burning and a 5K isn’t worth getting sick (I had plans the rest of the day). So I cruised along on the rest of the course, only getting passed by two girls. They didn’t just pass me they flew to the finish! I also passed a few people, at least one on the final death hill! I told myself to be strong, told myself think of everyone doing Oil Creek that day or the Chicago Marathon the next. I made it up the hill and to the finish in under 32 minutes. I was bummed, but also OK. My Garmin said 31:44, race report says 31:50. I was 10/21 in my age. The first time I did better than 50% and I was 95/173 overall.
One thing I loved about this race was seeing the kids’ costumes. One girl made me smile, who also won. She was a “witch elephant” because you can’t just be one thing ya know? I was so this kid when I was younger. I always had to be a “fairy-princess-xyz” everything needed a crown and wings. So I’m glad she won…for the child in me.
|Walking back to my car, like the crown and skirt?|
|Princess ROJ and “super Liz” happy finishers!|
Now go off and read the report of all those who ran Chicago, Oil Creek, Denver or more!