Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jill: Jingle All the Way Race Report

As you may have already noticed, our club recently participated in the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation.  Before I launch into my individual race recap, I want to celebrate how we did as a team.
  • 9 is the number of official teams that we beat. With the help of Steph's husband who registered as part of our team, we were able to place 26 out of 35 teams.  26 of 35 may not sound so good if you are waiting in line at the DMV, but for four chicks who just started running, I thought it was a solid place to be. After all, we get to say we beat other teams which means we were not last. Yay!
  • 3 of the girls finished their 1st 5K EVER.  It's safe to say that they ran more this day than ever before.  And for chicks that hate to run, that ain't too shabby.  I'm so proud of each one of them. Really super proud.  Like the embarrassing-mom-who-tells-everyone-she-meets-that-you-won-the-4th-grade-spelling-bee type of proud.  It's been amazing to be a part of their journey. The best part is that we are only really starting.  There's more fun ahead.
It appears that I am the only club member whose pre-race evening was not full of nerves. Whatever nerves might have tried to take hold were quickly squashed by sheer exhaustion.  My 3 month old baby girl is currently on a schedule that puts bedtime somewhere between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m., and since I am still the sole provider of milk for the child, I have to stay up and endure her marathon, end of the day nursing session.  When I finally got the baby to bed and returned to my room, this is what the clock read:

No worries. The race didn't start until 10:00, and it was local so we didn't have far to drive.

Cue the toddler. This is what time she decides to wake up crying, presumably from a scary dream where Dora and Diego do NOT work together.

Yes, that's a.m., people.
Did I also mention that the day the before the race I started to get my first head cold of the season? Right. Well, in addition to not sleeping enough, I also slept badly because of the oncoming cold (which by the way, is why it's taken me so long to get this race recap posted).  Why didn't you take some medicine, you say? Well, I did, but because I'm still breastfeeding, I couldn't take any of the really awesome, super strong, knock you out so your body can heal while giving you freaky dreams medicine.  Instead I am allowed to take this:

Sorry, makers of Tylenol.
And even though the box says "severe," it's pretty much like not taking anything at all.

So, I try to make the best of the early morning situation by getting myself up, cleaned, and fed before the rest of the house turns the calm into crazy. I also wanted to get in the requisite pre-race gear check.  Now, if you want to read about real running gear such as shoes, arm warmers, and tech shirts, then I suggest you hop on over to another running blog.  Like I've said before, I'm all about the costumes, or in this case, what I like to call "fun wear." Fun wear falls somewhere between full costume and bland running attire. Here were some of my favorite fun wear items for this race:

1. Super long, awesome Santa hat that doubles as a scarf. I hung it on the refrigerator for scale.  It's so long that I could wrap it around my neck several times. I'm considering making it my regular winter hat/scarf this year.

2. Festive, knee high socks. Turns out that all club members had a pair of these, and I saw loads more people with them during the race. I wonder if the sales department at Target noticed the unusual, sudden interest in this item.

Yes, that is denim, but don't get too excited JoggingJeans fans. I didn't run in them. Sorry.
3. Best piece of gear for $5. This is a holiday light necklace that I picked up at Kraynak's which is this really difficult to categorize toy/Christmas/Easter/garden store. What makes this the best piece of gear? Well, for your $5 you get 3 different light settings!  There is the fast blinking, going to a holiday rave setting.  Then there is the slow blinking, family friendly setting.  And finally, there is the non-blinking, just "on" setting.  The sad part is that race day was so sunny that you couldn't tell if the lights were on or off anyway.  Boo.  But you can bet I'll be wearing it to all the holiday events in the next few weeks!

Eventually everyone else woke up, and we all bundled up and headed to the race.  Remember the toddler who didn't sleep too soundly?  Yeah, she was thrilled.

We get to the race on time, score some free parking close by, and head in to meet the girls. Once everyone is there, SmokedGouda distributes our official team shirts.

SmokedGouda also sewed on some festive ornaments for us!
Sponsors on the back, just like real runners!
With about 15 minutes before the start, I get into the long line for the ladies room.  While in line, I notice a women behind me in jeans, but I have no camera.  As fate would have it, Steph's husband exits the men's room right in front of me, so I send him with the mission to have Steph return with my camera.  We have a good laugh while she tries to take a picture of the jeans lady while acting like she's taking my picture while not being able to work the camera on my phone.  In the midst of the confusion, the lady in front of me asks if we want a picture together, as if that was our actual goal. So, we ended up with a nice pre-race picture outside of the ladies' room.

We made our way to the very crowded start.  I still don't know if there was an actual gun/horn signal or if we were just too far back to hear it.  Either way, the four of us started together knowing that we'd be splitting up quickly into pairs based on where we are in our training.  Steph and I kept up a nice pace with a good balance of walking and running, and despite what she says about me going slower just to stay with her, I wasn't interested in "running my own race" as they say due to all the sickness and tiredness. I enjoyed supporting her even though I ran the risk of getting kicked or perhaps even thrown off the bridge.  There were definitely moments where she hated me, especially running over the last bridge, but she finished strong, and I had a really good time.

Some random thoughts about the actual race:

  • The race had people not only holding up mile markers but also giving splits at each mile.  I must have run some rinky-dink 5Ks in the past because I've never seen that before for a 5K distance.
  • On a similar note, there was a water only aid station about halfway through. Again, I don't think I've ever seen an aid station for a 5K. That said, it was nice to get a quick drink.
  • The race organizers didn't exactly pick a pretty course.  Other than the river crossing, it didn't show off any highlights of downtown Cincinnati or Northern KY.
  • My new priority is to find some sort of sport case to hold my phone/camera while I run. This is a MUST.  There were sooo many things that I wanted to document including the awesome military guys running the aid station, the person who dressed up as the leg lamp from A Christmas Story, and a guy in jeans who passed us.
  • The phone/camera case is critical because I also learned that if my husband has to be on kid duty during the race, then he probably can't take pictures too.

We finished about 10 minutes behind our cohorts and took lots of post race photos like these:

Jill and Steph
HC and SG charging to the finish

Smilin' like rock stars

Then came the really important part: the post race celebration.  We quickly decided that it should take place at the Hofbrauhaus because they could easily accommodate a large, loud group with babies and toddlers. Oh yeah, and they have beer.  Like, really good beer. They even had a Christmas variety on tap to add to the festive mood.

It's not wine. Sometimes you just have to make do.
Even though we all went without wine, there was no lack of cheese.  Appetizers included pretzels with yummy yummy beer cheese.

Gorgeous, gorgeous beer cheese
With the inclusion of the cheese, I declared the first club race to be a total and complete success for all!  Our next task will be to find our next race.  Pucks & Pinot might be the place to make this happen. Or perhaps we can discuss at Habanero Cheddar's Christmas party? Either way, we will be faithfully following Rule #2.


  1. Yay! I've been waiting for your race recap. Glad to hear it went well. You all should be super proud of your accomplishments!!

    I love having faces now to go with names - but wondering: No full group pic? In your cute shirts and socks?

  2. @joggingjeans Updated with more faces! Had to make sure everyone was ok with it first. :)