Sunday, December 16

Doing the Ho Ho Hustle

Yesterday I put on my best Grinch-green shirt and my holly-bedecked knee socks, and I hustled my way through the Ho Ho Hustle 5k.
Pre-race lineup
The course was crowded with elves (um... I mean elementary school children) who just completed a "my first 5k" training program. (I think this is the time I've ever been taller than at least 25% of the 5k field!)

The starting line and first quarter mile of the race were a complete mess on account of new runners, non-runner parents trying to pace their elves, and a too-narrow course around the first bend. I knew that with such a slow start, my pace goals were going right out the window...

That said, it was heartwarming to see the glee on the faces of pint-sized participants as they raced through the neighborhood (sometimes right across people's lawns... but we'll let that go. They're still learning.)

One kid spit on my shoe.
(Yep... they've definitely got some things to learn... His coach needs to teach him that you need to check to your side before you spit on the run! Eww.)

Even Santa got his run on...
(I wonder if Santa saw the spitting kid and will bring coal now? Santa sees everything, right?)
Even Santa hustled!
While I wasn't running my fastest, photos from the final mile make it look like I'm on fire!
(Maybe I just look speedy now that I'm not carrying around 2 extra pounds of hair?)
Running soooo fast you can't see my right foot! (Don't I wish?)
Unfortunately I still wasn't fast enough to break the 24 minute barrier.
In fact, after running a half marathon last weekend, I ran slower at the Ho Ho Hustle than I did at the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. (Totally expected, but still a disappointment. More on that in a minute...)
After I finished, I grabbed a bottle of water and did my second favorite thing at a race: I stood at the final turn and cheered for other runners. I'm hoarse today, but a lost voice is small price to pay...
Doing my 2nd favorite thing at a race: cheering on other runners!
There's something about watching people of all ages, shapes, and sizes rounding the bend to finish their first (or their fiftieth) 5k that makes me glad to be alive.

Definitely not closer to 24 minutes...
25:26 official (25:18 by my watch... The starting line was an un-chip-timed madhouse)
2 (of 35) in my age group
13 (of 239) females
79 (of 547) overall

I suppose I shouldn't complain. I placed well. But dammit all, I wanted 23:XX in my time this year!!!

While grumbling, Grinch-like about my pace on the way home, Hubby turned to me and said:
"You had a good run! You placed. You knew today wasn't going to be a PR because you raced last weekend..."
And as he was giving me The Speech, we both realized, simultaneously, that I've given him this speech many, many times over the years. Oh, how it hurts when the shoe is on the other foot!

He blurted out:
"You sound like you're turning into ME."
I doubled over with laughter.
I laughed 'til it hurt.
I laughed 'til I couldn't breathe.

He's probably right. But as a runner, there are worse fates than turning into someone who's got a bit of a competitive streak...

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