Hooray! It’s all over! I can’t believe how fast 2012 has gone. When I started this challenge back in January, I (and many others) wasn’t sure how it would play out. Would I enjoy it? Would I get sick of it halfway through? Would my face turn a permanent shade of crimson? Would I wind up trapped under a giant pile of race T-shirts? Would I need a Lululemon intervention?
I never really had any doubt that Hubby and I would pull it off (it was only one race a week, after all), although I did do some major sanity-questioning along the way, especially during the summer. But if I didn’t think my bank would cut me off completely, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Here’s No. 52. Wrap-ups of various kinds to come later…
The not-so-grand finale
There’s something fitting about my last run in the challenge being a race director’s first. We signed up for the All I Want for Christmas 5K in Exeter, NH, because it sounded like it would be one of those fun small-races-for-a-good-cause that I’m always going on about (proceeds to the Hope for Gus Foundation), and because it was in Exeter, which for some reason became our running home away from home in 2012 so it seemed appropriate to end it all there.
You never really know what you’re going to get with an inaugural run, especially one that’s so small it doesn’t even have a web presence, but we were heartened to see cars slowly trickle into the Exeter High School the morning of. We, naturally, were among the first to arrive, giving us plenty of time to beat the, erm, traffic and really get to know the parking lot. Despite having 60 minutes to mentally prepare, we neglected to collect our bibs straight away and wound up having to— shock—line up.
I mention this because the long bib-pickup line, and therefore slightly late start, was one of the first indicators that this run might have some first-time-event hiccups. The second was the race director telling us that her PA guy had failed to arrive so there would be no microphone. The third was her revelation, as we were lining up to begin, that the course was 3.4 miles long instead of 3.1. Ouch.
But no matter. The run felt great at the start despite the chilly weather, and I got it into my head that this was going to be a PR triumph. How awesome would that be, on race No. 52? (Forgetting, of course, that this was 3.4 miles, so it’d be hard to measure.) There was a gorgeous Golden retriever in front of me who was making good time, so I decided she/he was going to be my pace dog.
I kept the furry jogger in my sights for a couple of miles and was proud of my progress, but then … disaster. Giant, ass-busting, IT-band-aggravating hill! Of course there would have to be a giant hill in the very last mile of my 52-run challenge. The running gods wouldn’t have it any other way. I wasn’t able to keep up with Pace Dog, and watched ruefully as she pulled away. I did, however, find myself behind a jeans runner for a while, which made me very happy. Hi, Jogging Jeans!
I conquered the slope, but the shortish downhill was nowhere near as satisfying a payoff as I was hoping for, and I ended up having to take a bit of a stroll. Hubby told me later that there was lots of interesting scenery to be had, but I was clearly too focused on getting to the end of this one and being warm again to notice that there were cows along the way (I like cows!).
Still sort of convinced I was onto a good thing with my pace, I approached the finish especially keen to find out my time. But then … disaster.
No timing clock!
No timing clock!!
I couldn’t believe it. More than 52 runs this year, and the final one has no timing clock. I wasn’t wearing my GPS watch, either, so I had no idea. I could have been running for the past hour for all I knew.
Oh well, at least this final run was memorable.
After spending way too much time hanging out to see if the results would be posted (thank goodness there was hot chocolate), we finally threw in the towel and left time-less. Apparently, there was a problem with the software, and the timing guy was having trouble extracting the data. This may have been his first time too. I felt bad for the novice race director. The course was good (despite the hill, but I have issues) and the post-race spread was great. But she was let down by a couple of factors clearly out of her control.
We got the results about four days later after some back and forth via email.
Needless to say, my time was not what I had hoped for. Not only was I slower than I thought, I had somehow become a 47-year-old male. When the results were posted on Cool Running a couple of weeks later, I was a 52-year-old female.
I do feel like I’ve aged a little this year, but that’s just ridiculous …
No more runs to go!!!
The event: All I Want for Christmas 5K (actually 3.4 miler)
The location: Exeter, NH
The date: December 9, 2012
My time: 34.20
Hubby’s time: 22.44
The T-shirt: Gray long-sleeved cotton
The aftermath: Bananas, oranges, bagels, hot chocolate