Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rudolph Ramble 8K: Race Recap

This year I got to run in a wonderful holiday themed race, which combines two of my favorite things: running and Christmas!  It is the smallest race I have done here in Chicago, but there were still about 1100 participants, which isn't that small, but I guess for here it is.  Fleet Feet Sports was one of the major sponsors for the race and offered a few entries to FFCheer members and I was lucky enough to snag one!  
The Rudolph Ramble was my first 8K race, which was exciting and not a race distance you see often.  I enjoyed the distance, which is almost five miles.
The great long sleeve tech shirt we got.
The race was on Sunday morning and began at 9AM.  I gathered my gear and bundled up to head to Lincoln Park.  It was literally freezing; the thermometer read about 30 degrees but it felt more like 23 with the wind.  I ate part of a Clif bar and had some water on my way.  Once I arrived I had to check my gear, including my warm coat, and got into the start corral.  Luckily my timing was perfect, so I didn't have to wait too long in the cold before the race started.  The announcer said, "Go!" and I started up my Christmas music running playlist which was full of upbeat Christmas tunes!  
Waiting in the cold to start
And we're off!
It had snowed earlier in the week so there were a few patches of snow around the trail and some ice puddles, but there was a good amount of room to maneuver around them.  The race course had us run on the paths of Lincoln Park and Lakeshore Trail in a big loop.  This meant that we got to see the lead runners speed by during certain parts of the course.  The one thing I didn't care for was running right by the finish line.  Seeing the finish and hearing others crossing the line when I was only halfway through was not really fun.  When you see the finish line it should be time to finish, right?  That was the only downer, other than that it was a good race.  There were three water stops which were well spaced on the course.  

My goal for this race was mainly to have fun (which is a major reason I sign up for races anyway).  I was also hoping to complete the race just around an hour.  Most of my other five mile runs were about five to eight minutes over an hour, so I was hoping to beat that.  I went for it and ran pretty much the whole race.  I only walked through the water stops!  I started running using the run/walk method (and still use it), but when I run longer than I knew I could with little to no walk breaks I am always amazed.  For fuel I had some Honey Stingers about halfway through.  The first mile was cold, but I soon began to warm up and even felt kind hot for the last mile. 

I tried to race by effort and only looked at my Garmin about four times during the run.  Turning in mile three we started to run into the wind.  I felt like I was putting forth the same effort as the first two miles, but when I glanced at my Garmin, my pace was not showing that; the wind definitely took some of it.  On the way back the wind was at our backs for the last mile or so, which was nice.  In the last mile I picked up my pace and made small goals to pass certain people. 
I loved these ladies' costumes (which I told them as I passed).  I just couldn't be beat by a present!
As I approached the finish line I kicked it into high gear and zoomed across. I felt great!  My Garmin said I completed 5.01 miles in 58:47 -awesome!  The official 8K results read 58:29. 
No race is complete without my post race thumbs up pose!
After getting my gear and some post-race treats, I met some fellow FFCheer members and other runners at the Fleet Feet tent.  Sara and Mana, who I met at the Women's 10K, were there and I also got to meet Lois and Alexandria, as well as few others.  It was nice to chat with and meet everyone!  

There was a mini costume contest which I stuck around to see.  There were some great costumes.  The winners were chosen by crowd applause.  The tree and present I passed ended up winning which I thought was well deserved considering they ran with such big costumes!  
Santa and some Elves
Rudolph, the Heat Miser, a Present and Christmas Tree
I was pretty hungry after the run and decided to stop at Feast.  I had a tasty breakfast burrito filled with eggs, cheese, guacamole, pinto beans, and pico de gallo, with cheese grits on the side.  I mostly ate the inside of the burrito though.  It was a great post race meal.  

Thanks Fleet Feet for the race entry and for putting on another great race! 

Have you participated in a holiday race this season?