Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reindeer Run 5K Race Report

Back in October I signed up for a slew of 5Ks throughout the fall and winter. And technically, none of them are IN winter. They are all winter themed but they all fall on the weekends before the 22nd of December. I love themed 5Ks and ones that promise a fun t-shirt, so I was psyched for my December races.

It's actually a cute shirt!
This was the first one on the list. It was put on by the Beverly YMCA and they asked people to dress up for the race. I saw lots of Santas, reindeers, elves, candy canes and one guy dressed up as the nutcracker with a huge cylinder around him. He ran the entire race like that. He was faster than me too.

It was a beautiful day for a race. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and although it was a little chilly at 36 degrees, most of the course was in the sun and I warmed up quick.

The start line was in the middle of the street behind the YMCA and I was amused that they just spray-painted it onto the street. It was a good idea though, it let everyone know where to be!

A little ways into the race, there was a man playing Christmas music on his porch for the racers. His wife was hanging Christmas decorations and singing. They weren’t the only ones out in front of their house to support the racers. It was nice to see the community come out to support everyone.

 I had checked out the course elevation online before the race, and it looked pretty flat. But it was actually quite hilly. The good thing though was that what goes up, must come down!

During the race, I looked to my side and I saw a familiar face. Carolyn from Today is the Tomorrow was running along side me with her dogs! We hadn’t met before, but we had been talking all summer about how we should meet up and a race or try to do some biking together as she was also training for a triathlon! I recognized her dogs before I recognized her and I said “Are you by any chance Carolyn?” She said, “Yes, are you Sara?” She had seen me walking over to the race packet pick up area, but was in her car and didn’t get a change to say hi before the race. We ran together for a little while before she had to back track and find her husband because she didn’t want him to get lost on the course.

Which brings me to my next point. If a race advertises that both runners and walkers are welcome to participate in the race, then the volunteers and/or race directional should be left out on the course until the FINAL racer – whether he or she is a walker OR runner – has completed the course. When I volunteered at the Cambridge 5K Oktoberfest, we had someone ride behind the final racer on a bike and let volunteers know that the last racer had passed them. Only THEN did we leave our posts. Not when we thought maybe everyone was done. When we were SURE everyone had passed that one point. No racer was left behind.

My only complaint about this race was that racers were left behind.

By the time I got towards the end of the race, I was on my own. I learned my lesson from the last race that this happened to me and I brought the race’s course map with me. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known which way to go. There was a major intersection where racers were supposed to cross the road and go left. But there was no one in sight. I checked the map and made sure I was going the right way. A little ways up, I saw a volunteer walking back towards the race finish area. Thanks man.

There was a few volunteers standing at a corner further along, and my faith was restored in the volunteers, until I found out later that they were supposedly the water station. They had no water. Planning is everything. If you have 800 racers, have enough water for 800 racers. Just an FYI. I brought my own and rarely take water from water stations, but there were people behind me and they might have needed or wanted water.

As I was nearing the finish line, the map got a little confusing and I had no idea where to go. I actually saw a car filled with volunteers and I motioned to them to ask where I should go. They pointed me in the right direction. Kinda. I saw one of them start to get out of the car to help me before the driver took off with the door partially opened. Way to go, dude. I thank the volunteer that wanted to get out and help me. I ridicule the ass who was driving the car and didn’t care about a lost racer OR a volunteer that could have been injured in that whole process.

Once I finally found the finish line (and I think I still went the wrong way) they asked me if I knew if anyone else was behind me. I told them yes, but they might be a while since there was no one out on the course telling them where to go. I asked them where the race director was so I could let him know about the problem and they didn’t seem to care. So, race director of the Reindeer Run in Beverly, MA: There was a problem.

I gave up at that point and just met up with my friend, Beth.

A few minutes later I saw Carolyn cross the finish and we took a picture as well.

Official time: 3.14 miles - 51:59
Garmin time: 3.14 miles - 51:44

I then continued on for another 3.94 miles to total 7.08 for the day since it was my “long run” day and I needed to do 7 miles. Beth kept me company for the second run and it was nice to chat with someone to help the time pass more quickly. She also motivated me when I started to whine. There was a lot more walking than there was running, but she made sure I kept going. If I had been alone, I might have quit half way through and taken a shorter route back to my car. I told her many times that day, but I’ll say it again here: Thanks for tagging along with me Beth!! Maybe I can convince her to do 8 miles with me in a few weeks!

On the way home, we discussed ice baths. It was a comical conversation and when I got home, I actually took the plunge, which apparently turned into an even funnier video opportunity.

In case you missed it, you can check out the entire ice bath experience right here: My First Ice Bath


  1. WAY TO GO SARA! I am so proud of you for sticking with it despite the poor organization (I probably would not have). I LOVE LOVE LOVE your attitude!

    I hope your next winter race is better organized!

  2. I totally agree about poor race planning! We are out there trying our best, is it wrong to ask the same of the race organizers?

  3. Yay, Sara!! Yay, Beth! Great job! (Is Beth on DailyMile or anything? I'd follow her, too!) Great picture on your part; lousy picture on mine. Maybe I need more practice (shudder). I generally avoid the cameras - hideously ugly doesn't need to be publicized.

    Your finish time & Garmin time were very close this time! Mine was 54-something, but I haven't even looked it up; I know it wasn't posted after the finish. (They only went up to the 46-minute finishers).

  4. Great job Sara! Way to finish strong and I am sad about the poor organization. I will be at the Winter Classic 5k next week in Cambridge, I saw that on your schedule. Would love to meet up.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...