Jingle Bell 5K… A Trail Race?

Well, my attempt at going 3 for 3 with my third consecutive sub 24 was unsuccessful, but I am still quite happy with my time.  Why you ask?  Well. . . the 5K course was tough as it was mostly on snowy/icy/frozen grass terrain.  I had no idea of this prior to the race.  I had the Yax in the car, but no one was wearing theirs, so I assumed that the course was just on the roads in the local sub divisions.  Sure there would be some slick spots, but nothing too bad.  I looked at the map of the course, but not being familiar with the area and this being the first Biggby Coffee Jingle Bell 5K I just went with the crowd.  No one else in Yax, so I left mine in the car.

I picked up my packet and did almost 2 miles of a warmup jog with a few strides in the parking lot of two big box stores where the footing was mostly good and took my spot near to the front.  Looking around there seemed to be some really fast runners, so I moved back a few rows.  I didn’t want to be too far from the front though because it was not a chip timed race.  Gun goes off and I am running at a steady 7 min pace, feeling strong and surprisingly good.  We cross the street and enter into a community center/park area.  Hmmm. . . so far so good.

But wait!  What’s that up ahead?  I see lots of runners and lots of white stuff.  Where’s the path?  Where’s the pavement?  Heck, those look like some hills. . . Oh, this is going to be interesting.  I followed the runners in front of me on to the plowed path through the snow.  It was a mixture of powdery snow, hard packed snow/ice, and very uneven footing.  With each step I took I could feel my feet sliding backwards.  As I looked down I could see my pace slowing as well.  Mile 1 – 7:40.

Lots of short steep rolling terrain as we basically ran through what I could guess was a field?  I kept trying to stay in the tire ruts from the plow and keep my pace up in spite of the poor footing.  Dang!  I’m working hard here for not moving very quickly.  5K effort but closer to MP timewise.  I’m chugging away at this and going to give it my best.  I knew it wouldn’t be a PR, but hey this is kind of fun.  Quite an adventure. .  . Oh, looks like the turnaround is coming up because the leaders are coming from the opposite direction.  Seeing them running fast on this stuff gave me a boost to try to pick up the pace.  Mile 2 – 8:39

Rounding the corner around the baseball diamond, there is a car in the ditch?  Huh?  Who would try to drive a car through here?  A police officer was ticketing the window.  So, confused.  Still chugging along.  The footing in this part was a little better and the terrain flatter, so I was trying to make up some time where I could.  My legs were working so hard and really wanted to let loose, but I just couldn’t make it happen.  Imagine running in sand.  I just kept thinking get back to the pavement and fly.  At about 2.75 miles my feet hit pavement and off I went.  Mile 3 – 8:25 and the last bit I was running at a 5-5:30 pace!  Final time – 24:50 (Garmin), 24:52 (Clock)

Though it wasn’t a sub 24, I was thrilled with my controlled start (though in hindsight I should’ve took off like crazy to bank some time) and the push I had for the finish.  Faced with the challenge of trying to be speedy in not so speedy conditions – terrain and 20* weather, I took it on with all I could.  I was 54th overall out of 190, 8th in the 0-39 females and 13th female.  Coincidently, if they broke the age groups into 5 year ranges, I would have been 2nd in my age group.  As a reward, I bought myself a giant pumpkin spice latte as a post race treat after running about a 1/2 mile as a cooldown.

The car in the ditch. . . well it belonged to the Race Director.  He said don’t ask. . .

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