First and foremost, I want to apologize for not updating in so long. I hadn’t realized that it had been 9 days since my last post. Working at a frantic pace at work, and then shutting down for 4 days afterward, only to be thrown into the work mix again caused me to lose track of time. SORRY!
On Sunday, however, I participated in one of my favorite races ever: The Evergreen Cemetery Pumpkin Run. Every year, the cemetery plays host to two races: the St. Patty’s Day 10k/5k and the Pumpkin Run 5k/10M. They are also both on Sundays, which makes it easy for me to run them, even if I was working the day before.
There are a lot of reasons that this race is fantastic: the route is beautiful, the people are supportive, and best of all – it’s a Halloween race which means COSTUMES!
The Saturday before the race was my 6 year wedding anniversary, and it also happened to be the air show. Which of course we went to, because why not? The air show was cancelled the year before and hello! Blue Angels! I’ll go to pretty much anything if it includes men in flight suits. Just ask my fly-boy husband!
Anyway – the show was actually really warm for October in Florida, and I was wearing jeans and wasn’t thinking about it so it got hot. And sweaty. At dinner, I drank down two very large tubs of liquid. Despite wanting to stay up and celebrate with the Dreamboat, we were in bed early. Partly because standing outside in the bright sun wearing jeans can wear a girl out, and partly because I know I had an early wake up call for the race the next morning.
At 5:45 am, the alarm went off and I all but leapt out of bed. I was surprisingly awake and ready to run. I went to the bathroom so Brian could sleep, and I braided my hair, added some eye dazzle, and got dressed in my running gear. I had set up my costume and my tutu already outside of the bedroom so I could put it on when I got to the race site. Once I was ready to go, I kissed Brian goodbye (and got a mumbled “good luck today” in return) and tied on my shoes.
With my tutu, my dress, and my bag of gear in my hand, I slipped into the night and texted Kat that I was en route. I was so surprised and excited to hear that Kat was signing up to do the race. I hadn’t seen her since before the end of last school year, and we only chatted intermittently because she’s a teacher and was super busy. Having a chance to run into her, let alone run WITH her, was something I was excited about.
I got to Evergreen Cemetery before she did, and it was already packed. Lots of cars got the hint from last year and started showing up early. I pulled in at just before 7am, parked my car on the grass where directed to, and then dashed to the port-a-potty before I caught up with Kat. It was cool outside, some would even go so far as to say it was cold, but I thrive in it. Kat texted me that she had to register for the race, so I went back to my car to get ready. I pulled on my tutu over my running shorts, and dug into my awesome Runners Warehouse bag for my gels, my head phones, my gum, and my “snot rag” as I so affectionately call the terrycloth wrist band. Kat called out to me and I realized that she actually wasn’t parked that far away. She came over and helped me get into my gypsy costume and then I head over to get my chip.
One of the best parts about this race is that since it’s so close to Halloween, everyone dresses up. It’s so much fun to see all the different costumes people were wearing. I saw a lot of super heroes and villains, a lot of Disney princesses and brides, and a lot of people were even dressed up as Star Wars characters! It was fantastic!
This year, the route was different in order to accommodate some of the runners that were doing the 5k and wanted to bounce early. They took part of the route out of the cemetery, cutting out some of my favorite parts, but it ended up working out for us. I told Kat my goal time was less than 2:10 since I missed my last long run and haven’t been running consistently lately. She said her goal time was 1:50 – 2 hours flat. We discussed starting the race together and then splitting up when needed. Kat bragged about how she was running without technology and was focused solely on having fun because she missed that part of running. (Backstory – her husband is a huge runner, and is super competitive: even with his wife. When she runs with me, she knows that I’m competitive, but I also want it to be FUN or else I’m not doing it)
We started near the 12 minute pace flag, and got ready. We both are in the habit of downing gels before long runs, I roped my earbud into one ear and set up my Spotify and Runmeter. We stood respectfully when they played the national anthem, and then cheered when the cannon went off. Kat and I fell into a comfortable pace that allowed both of us to chat the entire time (Me? Chat and run? Scary thought.) and thanks to Runmeter, I was able to keep us stable.
We were able to comfortably run about 7.5 miles consistently, with walk breaks only to get water or gels. Which is pretty impressive since neither of us had been really training that way. Toward the end of the race, however, my knee started to hurt (read: my IT band sucks) and I had to take more walk breaks than I wanted to. Kat didn’t bat an eye at it, in fact: She told me I owe her $1 every time I apologized. I think I owe her like $8 right now!
Our time was consistently under a 12 minute pace, and I felt really good about that. Sometimes we would speed up and we’d have to force ourselves to slow down a bit, but for the most part it felt good. I didn’t hurt much until the end, and if I had been carrying my pain reliever with me, I’m certain I could have taken it and been okay the rest of the way.
Coming up on the end, the conversation came to whether or not we were going to chase the finish line.
“Are we powering through the finish line?” Kat asked me.
“No. Well, you can. I’m not. I’m just going to run through it,” I said.
“Well, I’m not leaving you, so let’s do this,” she said. That made me smile. It was like old times.
We crossed the finish line, and were immediately handed a medal. Then we set our foot up on a baby crate for volunteers to tear off our chips. (By the way – LOVE that. LOVE LOVE LOVE that. There is no way in hell I’d be able to bend over and take that chip off at that moment) I grabbed a bottle of water, two pumpkin struessel mini cupcake muffin things, and took a selfie.
My Runmeter said 2:02 and change, but our official time was 2:01:35; blowing my goal time out of the water and just barely making hers. This was a positive thing. We didn’t kill ourselves running, we found a pace that challenged me but also slowed her down a bit, and we finished strong. We left everything out there on the route. I felt fulfilled, proud and sweaty.
OH! AND CAN I ALSO MENTION: NO MIGRAINE! WOOT WOOT!!!
Walking back to the car, Kat and I chatted about how we wanted to train together. Being that she’s a teacher and needs to be at her house by 6:30am to get her kids ready and herself ready for school, it means a way earlier wake up call than I’m wanting to do, but it’s gonna make my ass get out of bed and run before work so I’ll meet her at 5:30ish and run between 3-5 miles. Then, our long runs on Sundays could be a time for us to get together, run and catch up as well.
I’m feeling good with where I’m at given what training I’ve been able to do. Now, with beefing it up a little bit, I am certain I could go farther. Just a matter of making it happen.