To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Run #6 - Jingle Bells Run 5K

It was the first race in my 2nd year of racing. Okay, I can't even believe I have been actively racing for an entire year - let alone starting on my second year now! I registered for this because I aim to have one run per month and it fell at a good time. Plus they said Santa might be there! Mostly I was considering this to be just one of my training runs for the week. An excuse to go have fun in the race atmosphere, but nothing much more. My leg had been bothering me all week, so I was no longer dreaming of a PR. I was, however, having this far fetched fantasy of an age group award. I am never anywhere near contention, but hey, a girl can dream, right??

Saturday's race was at noon, so I was happy to get to sleep in a little bit. I eventually settled on a race day outfit combo (I did go for the red/black plaid skirt so I could look like a little goth Christmas present!), and was on my way to pick up Sushi Guy and find our way to the race area.  Hm, Google maps failed me a bit. It brought me to the park, just not a place I could park. Fortunately we had plenty of time and just decided to drive around and eventually found it. The parking lot was pretty empty - this pleased me. Christmas music was playing over the loudspeakers and I saw racers in a variety of Christmas inspired outfits. Loved it!

Upon check-in I told the one guy that I hoped for massive amounts of rain to come and scare away all females ages 30 to 34. That didn't work. For Oregon the rain was nothing to speak of really. We got little bells to attach to our shoes for the run. Sushi Guy almost had me convinced to NOT attach it, but at literally the last 5 minutes I grabbed mine from the car and on it went! (It fell off about a mile into the race, but I was a good girl and scooped down to pick it up. Can't be a litter bug!)

The 5K started 3 minutes before the 8K, and I noticed only one woman lined up in front of me (who was seriously the twin of 5KRae!). Seemed everybody was scared to be at the start. Sushi Guy is speedy, he was up at the front. We gave each other the thumbs up, and the gun went off. I was surprised at how few people blew by me in the beginning parts, and I even had to plan my route to get around some runners.  And then it was on like Donkey Kong. I had checked out my competition and silently talked to Pre asking him to help me run my ass off and get any award at all. So I went all out. This girl was on my ass for so long, almost to the point that I just wanted her to back off, move to the other side of the path, or pass me. I was trying my best to stay ahead of her because I thought she was my age. Hell, I looked at my Garmin and I was going around 8:25 for a while. Um, no. I can't maintain!  I started remembering that my leg had been bothering me and thought I have to slow to 9:30 so I know I can finish this race in one piece. And so she passed me. F*ck.

I did the best I could, but did take a few walking paces a couple of times. I don't know. My mind and body were battling each other. I was trying so hard to get my head in check. Over and over I just kept saying that I would survive and just push it and relax when it is over. I had almost wished there were more people just so I'd have someone forcing me to go faster now that the one girl was ahead of me and too far ahead to pass. But that didn't happen, so I just had to dig deep and push it.

At the 26 minute mark I knew there would be no PR, and I was totally okay with that. As far as I knew the only person my age ahead of me was the white skirt girl, so I was okay to just go at my pace and finish and take 2nd in my age group, if I was that lucky.

So at 31:10 I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face! Not a PR, but still my 2nd fastest run. At the Monster Mash 5K (not chip timed) my Garmin said 31:09 and the official time said 31:11. So I was on par with that run ... no complaints at all!

I quickly met up with Sushi Guy who was enjoying some pizza. There were seriously at least a dozen boxes of pizza for us to have at the finish. Woohoo! I can't turn that down! I quickly grabbed a water then went to see the prelim results that had just been posted. Oh. My. Gosh. Sit down. Are you ready for this??? I, yes, me, little ol' Ronda was FIRST in her age group!! Are you kidding me??? And that girl I was trying to out pace? Yeah, she is 24. Holy cow. So I'm trying to outrun some girl nearly 10 years younger than me? Crazy!

Needless to say, the gross Little Caesar's pizza I ate was tasting pretty darn good at that point!  The whole atmosphere was actually really nice. Small crowd, Santa, friendly people, a dog in a Santa costume. It was just a really nice way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon!  And then it was award time. I've never been so excited!

"First place in females 30 to 34 with a time of 31:10... Ronda!"  I really do believe I let out a squeal when I jumped and ran to get my medal. I GOT A MEDAL!! And Santa Claus put it around my neck!!  While that was happening I saw the original guy I had talked to about my desire to win and happily showed off. I guess my enthusiasm was appreciated, so the race director gave me a 2011 magnetic calendar to help plan races and goals for the year. Pretty cool!  I was just as happy as can be!  And what about Sushi Guy? First in his group... again! That's two in a row for him! (Oh! I was #424, he was #525... I said it was a sign before we even ran ... and now I know it was right!)

After the race we hit up a running store to pick up a few things I needed, then bought a book about Prefontaine that I had originally bought for a Christmas gift exchange. I changed my mind. I'm just keeping it. Can't risk having someone steal it from me in the gift game! Then we went for real pizza that was so tasty!

Overall .... AWESOME day!! Best way to start year two of races, and a fabulous boost to my 1/2 marathon training!

OOh - I was so excited I forgot the final stats!
35 overall out of 94 runners, and 1st out of 12 in my group! So it wasn't like I just beat one or two other runners, but I finished before ELEVEN other women. I'm still smiling. And I did wear that medal the rest of the day and night. Okay, I wore it today, too. :)


  1. Congrats!!! That's awesome.

  2. Great job! First in your age group?! That rocks!!

  3. Congrats Ronda!! :) Way to kick some butt in the age group. I totally eye up my competition too and usually try beating the high school track never works.

  4. Yes Laurie ... thanks for taking pity on me and not running in this one! ;)

    Thanks, Stacie!

  5. Thanks DisneyGirl! I did laugh when these little grade school boys FLEW by me at the beginning ... and then about 1/2 a mile in they were walking and exhausted. Ha ha ha - I beat SOME little kids... and some kicked my ass!

  6. Awesome!! You are my hero!!

  7. Congrats on first in your age group! That medal looks great on you. Congrats to Sushi Guy too, but I kind of thought he'd win again.

  8. I love this times infinity! I'm so happy for you!!

  9. Oh, SO excited to read your report! Well done & glad the knee held up!!

    That pizza looks gooood :)

    Way to take home the bling!

  10. Fabulous job! You rocked it!

    How funny you saw my twin...I wish you got a pic. :)

  11. WOOHOOO!!! That is awesome!

  12. You slept with it under your pillow, didn't you??? Rock on with the bling!

  13. Congratulations on getting first in your age group!! That is so awesome!!!

  14. Yay!! That is soooo exciting, congrats!!!!! :)

  15. So awesome - glad you had a great race and it's just icing on the cake that you won your age group!


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