Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ugly Sweater Run - Madison, WI - Race Report

Last Saturday, I cringed at the thought of heading out for a 5K I was signed up for.  The sun was out ans shining bright, however the forecast was a high of 19 degrees.  Ugh.  I had purchased a great deal through Groupon a few months earlier for the Ugly Sweater Run 5K (HERE).  It was held on Saturday, November 23 at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, Wisconsin - only a twenty minute jaunt from my house.  I had purchased an ugly sweater VEST, because I thought there was a good chance I would overheat.  Nope, not on race day .......

I dressed in layers and left the kids with my hubby for a couple of hours and ventured to Fitchburg solo.  I was able to park close to the park, and walk briskly to the shelter to pick up my packet.  It was FREEZING and miserable just walking and standing in line.  So, I quickly ran back to the marathon mommy minivan, and waited for the race to start.  Dozens and dozens of runners were packed inside the shelter/bathroom area to wait for the start.  I got a nice hat and mustache tattoo.  I opted to wear the hat and ditched the tattoo.
I then headed to the startline five minutes before the 11:00 start time.  There were hundreds and hundreds of participants.  It appeared that there were a lot of walkers and a lot of run/walkers, too.  There were a few folks with jogging strollers and dogs as well.  There were so many participants, that they set us of in waves every few minutes.  I was in wave number 2-3.  It was cold standing around.

I headed off after they said GO and maneuvered around walkers and mobs of people on the path.  I watched my footing in the snow-covered grass.  As we approached the road, the field opened up and spread out across the road.  It was apparent that there were TONS of walkers.  How nice that so many people got out and were active on such a frigid morning!

I jaunted up past everyone on the first hill and then took a right into a neighborhood.  We wound around the neighborhood for the remainder of the race.  It wasn't very scenic, but the route was nice, none-the-less.  I warmed up right away and forgot how cold it was.  But, I never over-heated.

I don't run many 5Ks on my own anymore, so I was interested in running with my tunes and seeing what I could do.  I didn't carry my handheld water bottle - and I didn't stop at the one water station I saw (which I believe also had hot chocolate?!).  I didn't see any mile markers along the course, so I could only guess how far along I was, based on my watch.  Previously my 5K PR from 2009 (four years ago!) was just under 25 minutes.

We headed up a HUGE hill, as I continued to pass people left and right.  And, then I enjoyed the down hill, with short steps and a fast clip.  I saw the finish line, as we wound around to the front of the park and on the path.  I was trying to calculate my finish time on my watch, replayed Katy Perry's "Roar" a few times and sprung into the finish line in 24:10 - about at 40 second PR.  I felt amazing.

I didn't go in the roped-off beer tent area for hot chocolate or Sam Adam’s Winter Lager, Boston Lager, or Angry Orchard Hard Cider.  Instead, I headed home in the marathon mommy minivan, turned on the heater, basked in the joy of a new PR (personal record) and headed home to family.

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