Saturday, December 06, 2008

Race Report: 2008 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

I had a really nice race this morning in Raleigh! This was my second running of the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis in Raleigh, a festive race for a good cause. The race starts and finishes at St. Mary's in Raleigh, where I went to high school, an added bonus. (I know how to get there, and it's always nice to see the campus again.)

Like last year, there were a lot of people dressed up in red and green, some in more elaborate costumes. I got there early to get my packet, and enjoyed warming up around campus. It was a chilly morning, but sunny. I was glad to have a long sleeve t-shirt and leggings on before the race, but warmed up quickly once the race started.

I only took a couple of short walk breaks during this race, which was encouraging. (I hope to return to running the whole 5K in time!) My running segments were fairly steady. With about a quarter of a mile to go, I felt a nice spurt of energy, which was soon aided by a nice downhill stretch to the finish line. (I can't believe I'd forgotten this nice finish from last year!) I ended up finishing in about 38:05, according to the clock, so I'm hoping my chip time will be even lower. Either way, I finished up about a minute faster than my last 5K, the Apex Turkey Trot two weekends ago! I finished last year's Jingle Bell Run in 38:02, so it would be sweet to beat that time too.

Before the race, I was starting to feel a little down about 5Ks, thinking I needed to start concentrating more on training for longer distances. But I really enjoyed this race day! I only saw one familiar runner person before the race, but I met a new runner at the starting line, a lady who has been kind of reinventing herself since the birth of her 3rd child. She picked up running a few months ago, and was competing in her 3rd or 4th race today. She's so psyched about running and getting fit, is running a race in Phoenix over Christmas, and can't wait to get her family to join her. (They don't know it yet, though!)

After the race, I saw a lady in a St. Mary's sweatshirt, and struck up a conversation with her. I thought she was an alum, but turns out she works part-time in the library, so we had fun talking about the school. She loves working there, and we enjoyed swapping library stories. On my way to my car a few minutes later, I ran into the lady who taught me piano there at St. Mary's! She's still giving lessons there, and looks almost the same!

All of this reminded me that participating in road races isn't just about the running. I love race days, and now part of that is the people I get to meet.

UPDATE: My official time was 38:02, which was the exact time I ran this race in last year!

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