That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day 10k

Despite what it said on my blog, my goal was actually 1:05. Well, that was my medium goal. I read an article recently (that I'll have to find again) that recommended actually having three goals for the race. The first, your amazing wonderful awesome goal. The second, the goal that you would be happy to achieve. The third, the goal that you could live with.

I also decided to make my goal fairly conservative. I have pretty much never met a goal I set for myself pre-race. My first 5k, I thought maybe I could do it around 30, since I read soooo much about how much adrenaline kicks in during a race and how people go soooo much faster when they're racing. Well, either that's a bunch of crap or it doesn't apply to me. Also, 30 was WAY optimistic, considering I was used to running about a 12 minute mile. Yeesh.

So anyway, given that I tend to miss my goal times by a smidge, and given that downtown is hilly, I set my "happy" goal as 1:05. My amazing wonderful goal would've been around 1:02. (Actually, AMAZING would've been under an hour but I don't know that I'm quite there, except on a perfectly flat road in perfect weather conditions with nobody getting in my way, ever.) What could I live with? Doing better than my first 10k in May. And if that didn't happen, I could live with finishing the race happy and feeling good (although I think at that pace, I would've had to have been feeling bad in some way.) And even if none of those things happened, I figured life goes on.

So I won't keep you in suspense (although everyone's probably given up on reading my ramblings and checked out the side panel by now....)

1:04:49. Happy goal minus 11. It also qualifies me for the National half if I decide to do it.

I'm good with it.

The race itself:

The learning experiences:

  • For the first time, I absolutely did NOT eat enough for breakfast. For whatever reason, my nerves had my stomach doing cartwheels. Plus the only banana we had turned out to be mushy and gross. I read about some runners who eat like a bird before a race. Turns out, I can't do that. My english muffin and pb wore off around 4 miles and I felt STARVED. I had to fight a little bit for the energy to finish. 
  • The HILLS. I ran them all during the Pig 10k (pretty similar route) but holy crap, I forgot that those bridges are killer. There's a huge uphill to get onto the bridge, then I spent the run across the bridge recovering instead of enjoying the view of the Ohio River, then a downhill where I went wheeee! and got back into the race. And if the bridges to Kentucky and back weren't enough, there's a bridge IN KY that's a doozie too. Ironically, Kanye had just kicked on when I was staring at that bridge, looking up at the hill, hearing, "That that that that don't kill me can only make me stronger...." Probably needed that. There was also one fun uphill downtown. At least that was at the beginning. Oh yeah, the one and only photographer I saw was in the middle of the bridge to KY, so if he got my picture, he got me trying to catch my breath from the uphill. That'll be one hot looking pic.
  • The crowd. I was passing walkers at the beginning even though they were supposed to be behind us. NOT COOL, walkers. Most people were pretty cool but there was the occasional person suddenly turning around to go back to their friends, or randomly cutting across right in front of me.
  • There were signs to line up by pace. The 10 min/mile sign was the last one before the walkers. Thanks for the confirmation that I'm slow. I think a 10 minute mile for a 10k is pretty good, myself.
  • There was NO 2 mile marker! I had my stopwatch going, and I remember looking at it and thinking I must be close to 2 miles. Aaaand....nothing. For a minute I thought I had slowed way down, but when it got to 12 minutes after my first mile, I KNEW I hadn't slowed down that much and I was able to keep my head on straight. But still....had I not had my watch, I might've been really discouraged!
The good:
  •  The crowd! There were people in turkey costumes, a group of girls singing the 12 days of Christmas while they were running, all kinds of fun stuff. Oh, and a super tall guy wearing neon tights with a paint splatter pattern. Those were awesome.
  • I had my cold weather gear all ready....and it was 58 degrees. Rainy, but 58 nonetheless. So I didn't freeze waiting OR running. And I ran in capris on thanksgiving, which I never thought I'd be able to do.
  • The woman towards the end holding a sign that said, "Good job stranger! We're proud of you." It's silly, but I swear it put the biggest smile on my face. Actually, the crowd was great. There were a lot of people lining the course, especially for a 10k in the rain, and they mostly cheered for everyone instead of just looking for their friends.
  • I managed to keep a (mostly) steady pace, which was kind of an unofficial goal. Well, I had a couple of slow miles, but I pulled it together at the end. At any rate, it's getting way better than my former good/good/good/fall on my face looking splits.
  • Besides the fact that I probably would've hurt someone for a bagel at mile 5, I finished feeling good.
  • I did NOT walk. I wanted to walk. I told myself that I could probably still meet my goal if I walked. But I didn't walk! As long as I was still passing people who WERE walking, I told myself that I didn't need to walk.
 Overall....good experience. One worth repeating next year. Maybe I'll be down to a sub-hour by then.

Splits (far as I can remember):

mile 1: 10:11
miles 2 & 3: 20:19 (30:30)
mile 4: 10:45 (41:15) <---hill!!
mile 5: 11:00  (52:15) <---bigger hill!
mile 6: 10:30 (1:02:45)
.2: 2:04  (1:04:49)

Edit to add: I found some guy's youtube video of the race, with footage at every mile marker. There WAS a marker at mile 2. Somehow I completely missed a giant sign with an LED screen under it. I really am that awesome!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Like the tree falling in the forest....

If my run tracking programs don't record/can't upload my really awesome runs, did they really happen? Or will anyone believe they did? :)

Final week of the 10k plan: yesterday was speedwork. I did 5 repeats of 2:30 fast/2:30 slow on a marked bike path, and then finished strong for a total of 3 miles. In 28:16. Yeeha!! Runtastic again crashed, which I suspect it does if I get an email or phone call. I did test it on my walk back to my car and it seemed to work. Bummer that it didn't keep this workout, as (a) proof of my 3 mile PR, and (b) because it would've been fun to see how it mapped out those intervals. I'm wondering how fast I was really going during those fast intervals, since I ended up with a 9:something average pace.

So today I tried endo again. It recorded my whole workout (although again it gypped me on the distance - it recorded 2.93 when I've mapped out my route and it's 3.1) but it won't upload it for no good reason. But anyway, I did 3.1 in 31 minutes flat today. The traffic lights were in my favor. And ya know what, that 10 minute pace felt like an easy, comfy pace. I still can't believe it wasn't an 11 minute pace or something. I mean, I was tired, I was fighting through a tylenol pm hangover. Plus, it was an even pace. I checked my watch at the halfway point and it read 15:29. I'm patting myself on the back in a major way for both the huge improvement in my speed lately (which I'm still trying to convince myself isn't a huge mistake on my part), and for seriously improving my pacing.

Also awesome: I've been able to run in shorts yesterday and today. It's almost December. I live in Ohio. This is pretty much a miracle. Although today I had to pair the shorts with long sleeves, and it was about the limit of my shorts threshhold, it still felt good. (As an aside, I find that other runners dress cooler than I do. I really like to be warm.)

10k on Thursday. I'm unnecessarily nervous but I can't wait to blow my old PR out of the water!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's an app for that!

This morning, my wonderful husband informed me that he's found two free running apps on blackberry. Both claim to use the blackberry's GPS to time and record distance, mile splits, speed, etc. My Christmas list unofficially includes a Garmin, but it's really really hard to pass up free, especially knowing that I can finally comfortably carry my berry while running. (Thanks spibelt!) So I downloaded them both.

The long run on the training plan this week is 8 miles. I decided to do 6. I did 8 prematurely in the training plan, and the plan is set up for a 10k on a Saturday, not on a Thursday. I want to make sure I'm sufficiently rested Thursday morning and 8 miles just seemed unnecessary, especially considering that zicam aside, I may not be 100% healthy at the moment.

So I used the 6 mile run as a test drive for the new apps - endomondo and runtastic. Since I couldn't decide which one to try first (endomondo has better reviews; runtastic was a much larger download - so fancier? Plus runtastic can upload to facebook) soooo I decided to see if both would run at the same time.

First of all, a garmin would be easier. I had to set everything up on my phone, get both started, and then while running (no time to waste!) settle my phone into my spibelt in a way that it wouldn't accidentally get pushed or scratch against my car key, get the spibelt addition to doing the usual fighting with my ipod to get the earbuds to stay in my ears and the ipod to stay clipped on. After 2 minutes or so of looking like a spazz, I was running for real.

My run was AWESOME. The weather was gorgeous. I wore capris and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and ended up with the sleeves rolled up. And I was at my fastest. I'm worried that I might've pushed harder than I needed to be pushing, but I was having too much fun to slow down.

Finished the 5 mile loop plus .5 out and back. There are mile markers that should be accurate. I was excited to see how the app results measured up.

Well, runtastic crashed somewhere in there, so I've got nothing recorded. I won't blame runtastic just yet; it may not have been able to work with endomondo already running.

Endomondo recorded my km. Well crap. The stupid thing is that even after I changed my preferences, it won't convert it for me. Well, it did on my phone, except that it literally changed km to mi and nothing more. So my phone now says my average speed was a 6:23 minute mile, which I must admit does look pretty freaking cool.

After converting (9.24 km), it recorded that I did 5.7 miles in 59:09. My stopwatch and the mile markers say I did 6 miles in 58:47. The time, of course, has to do with the fact that I had to take the time to start and stop the apps. I'm not sure why I'm .3 miles off, unless the mile markers are off, which would be weird. I'm not gonna lie, either, it's a little discouraging to do an awesome PR run and then be told that it wasn't as awesome as you thought.

I got on endomondo's website to check out the more detailed stats. The cool thing is that it actually shows my running route, and it's dead on. It follows the trail exactly. It's obviously not perfect, as it says that my top speed was 1:03 min/km. (Huh??? - maybe it thinks I did the last .24 k in 1:03??)

Other cool things include that it does indeed have the option to post to facebook, as well as to share with others. Well, here; see for yourself:

And when I logged on to the website, it listed everyone who was out running/walking/cycling and their distance and time so far. That's pretty fun. You can also stalk these people by clicking on their names to see where they are. How fantastic for creepy people everywhere! I watched some guy running around England for a few minutes. Apparently there is another feature called peptalk, where you can type a message for your friends during their workouts, which will be read to them out loud. That would be really fun to have during, say, a marathon. However, I don't listen to music on my phone, so I wouldn't have my headphones plugged into it.

Runtastic's website seems to have a similar setup as far as seeing your workouts, friends, etc. but I don't think it has as many features.

I'll have to do more trials with both apps in various locations to see how it turns out. I also hope that I really am as fast as I think I am. :) Sub-10 minute miles would really be amazing!

Does anyone use/know of someone who uses a phone running app?? I'm trying to figure out if this is worth it or if I'd be better off with a garmin.

Edit to add: I managed to get my run converted to miles after all!! I can tell the 1 mile mark is later than it is on the trail. Same with the 4. As for the others, I have no clue. Obviously the 5 should come at my starting point since it's a 5 mile loop. And obviously I never ran at a 1:41 min/mile pace like it says. However.....10:18 also sounds more like my usual pace. Hmmmm.

One more edit: I just mapped the trail on, which shows it to be exactly 5 miles. So the inaccuracies are indeed with endomondo. A closer zoom-in does show where it thinks I went off the trail (trust me, I was not off running in the trees or onto runways.) However....for a free phone app, that was impressively accurate! Now I'm going to stop obsessing about it, walk away from the computer, and take a shower. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Run, Girls, Run!!

First of all - sickies are pretty much gone. I'm slightly more mucusy than usual, and there's a lingering throat tickle, but no more of that sick feeling. Thank you, zicam!!

I did circuit class Wednesday. I didn't push myself to use bigger weights than everyone else for the strength training exercises (my usual M.O., as I'm a bit of a showoff when I'm not running) and I slowed down a little on the cardio stuff, especially since I felt a bit woozy at one point. Thursday I had too long of a workday to squeeze in a run. Yesterday I took the day off. So I've been slacking a little....I call it tapering for the 10k. :)

This morning was the Girls on the Run 5k! It was a huge event. Apparently there are 53 local school/community GOTR groups. It was also freezing at 8:30 in the morning when I was supposed to be there. For whatever reason, I felt awkward wearing just tights while role-modeling for elementary school girls, so I put on a pair of workout pants from high school over the tights. (I still do not have official cold weather running pants). Wore a couple of layers of running shirts, gloves, and a headband. They told me to be there early, but there was pretty much nothing to do for a while. I saw a whole one person near my assigned school's sign, who turned out to be the father of one of the girls and had no clue who my running buddy was. God love these people, they had coffee for the adults, so I got some decaf for the sole purpose of keeping my body temperature above 40 or so. (I'd already had my coffee at home, and I was trying to avoid two possible unpleasant side effects: (a) jitteriness, and (b) speeding up of the, um, GI system.) Eventually I met the coach for my school, who was a tiny little ball of energy. I think she was the local GOTR coach who ran a 2:53 in the Chicago marathon recently.

So the coach introduced me to my buddy, a very sweet 9 year old first-timer with a heart painted on one side of her face and her name on the other. Actually, this lucky girl got two buddies, due to a volunteer surplus. We ran/walked on either side of her, per her request. At the beginning of the race, she said, "If I can survive math class, I can survive this!"

My fears of being assigned to a girl who left me in the dust were pretty much unfounded. We started out (after a very loud countdown from all participants that even had me pretty excited) at a pretty nice, easy jog. That lasted for a little bit until little buddy decided it was time to walk. We taught her the art of landmark running - picking a spot to start again, and then running to that sign or that tree or that traffic light. That worked for a while, although Little Buddy was pretty clearly a walk/runner. The other buddy was more of a pusher; I was the "oh, you don't want to run right now? OK, let's walk!" So Little Buddy pretty much had a running angel/devil on either shoulder. She had also been proclaiming her need for a drink since before the starting line. Somewhere after the first mile marker (which the other adult buddy proclaimed we crossed about 14 minutes in), Little Buddy spotted the water stop and SPRINTED away from us. We caught up with her and went back to the run/walk routine, but with a lot more walking. Big buddy tried to convince her to run more. Little Buddy responded, "I know my limits." Good thing to know, little buddy. She also taught us new strategies she had made up, such as the poodle walk (kind of a jog/prance), the swimming dog, and other dog-related running styles. I even barked while running. Little Buddy, as it turns out, wants to be a vet someday.

We got to mile 3. We were trying to persuade Little Buddy to run again. She had a strategy, she told us. First, she wanted to SEE the finish line. "And then you'll run?" asked Big Buddy. "No. Then I'll measure it, in my head, and pick a mark, and then I'll get there, and THEN my grand finale!" So when we spotted the finish line, sure enough, she picked a flagpole very very close to the finish line. "How about that pole?" asked the other Big Buddy. "No. That's NOT my mark!" Sure enough, we walked all the way to Little Buddy's flagpole and broke into a sprint for the finish line.

Little Buddy was quite hilarious throughout the race. She was shy for the first 2 minutes or so after I met her, and then she turned into a chatterbox. She's fascinated by science and history (her words!) and told me at the starting line that if we all were molecules, we'd be liquid. (If we were a gas, we'd be way far apart. If we were a solid, we'd be more scrunched together.) After the run, she told me she felt "great", and proudly proclaimed her time of 50 minutes, 34 seconds, after Big Buddy reported it to her.

Actually, it seemed like the majority of the girls ran our pace, pretty much, and they were loving it. Little Buddy said her friends at school wouldn't believe she finished a 5k. Goals....times....whatever. Those girls were happy to be out there accomplishing something that seemed so much bigger than themselves.

Isn't that why I run? To do it. To accomplish something that used to seem impossible. I promise I'll remember Little Buddy when I work toward the marathon next year. Maybe I'll even throw a poodle walk or two into my training.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Immune system, don't fail me now!

So I always brag about how since I've started running, I hardy ever get sick. The one time I can remember having a cold last winter, I can attribute it to too many flights and having to spend the night at O'Hare.

Sunday I had a great run. The training plan said 7 miles; I tackled 8. (I talked myself out of attempting 10.) My ultimate top awesome goal was to do it at a 10:30 pace - I did it in 1:21:47. Almost a 10:13 pace. My 6 mile time was 1:01 and change, so I'm well on my way to a good time for the thanksgiving 10k.

Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat. In denial, I decided to do a 6 mile run anyway (because that was the one day this week I'd have time to squeeze in a 6 mile run!) I did it in 1:06 and change (running through town and stoplights) and freaking wore myself out. All day I felt tired and brain-dead - luckily half my appointments yesterday cancelled so I could take it easy. Been overdosing on vitamin c and airborne.

This morning, it's no worse, but the sore throat was definitely still there, along with the general achiness and malaise that means yep, I'm coming down with something. On the agenda today: 50 minute tempo run. My crazy self had half a mind to go to the 5-mile airport trail and try it. My mind wanted to get out the door, my body was definitely saying eff you. So I googled "running while sick". The consensus seems to be that if your symptoms are above the neck (sore throat, runny nose, etc.) it's ok to do an easy run. NOT speedwork. Any fever means no running. I checked and I did indeed have a low-grade fever, but I was still fighting with myself over totally sitting out today. After all, I had plenty of time to run before work, and I know myself well enough to know that spending the time lying around thinking about how I don't feel well is NOT going to help. (Already had my coffee, so going back to bed was out of the question.) And maybe my temperature was high because I had hot oatmeal. Sooooo my compromise was a 5k through town, easy pace, with the promise to myself that if I felt really bad, I'd turn around. I bundled up extra well, probably ridiculously well for the temperature, but it felt good.

Sooooo glad I didn't do speedwork. The run was enjoyable but sluggish and I can tell that pushing myself would've just made it suck. Time was 34:31. The irrational part of me actually wants to be annoyed by that; the rational part of me keeps saying of COURSE you're not going to PR when you're not healthy!

Sipping on more airborne now. I need some good vibes to be better by this weekend (the Girls on the Run 5k, where I'll hopefully get to be the running buddy for an elementary aged girl, who will hopefully NOT be way faster than me!) and DEFINITELY by thanksgiving! I want so bad to run a good race that day!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

10k training, week 5

Monday: 4 miles in....crap, don't remember. 42 ish maybe?

Tuesday: 10 400m sprints. On the freaking treadmill because it was dark by the time I got around to it. I ended up randomly alternating between 2:30 fast (so a little over 400m)/2:30 slow, to actually running .25m fast and .25 slow. Anything to kill my boredom. End result: 5 miles in 52 and change.

Wednesday: circuit class.

Today: 5.5 mile run. Well, it was 5.8ish miles because I couldn't find a good 5.5 mile route. 1:07:02. Ran in rush hour so there was lots of waiting for lights to change. There were a total of 6 traffic lights one way, and I did an out and back. I didn't have to wait at ALL of them, but of course that ate up some time.

Plus I went purposely slow today. I haven't been feeling so hot lately. Maybe TMI, but my tummy has not been so happy and I can't figure out why. My best guess is stress, although I haven't been more stressed than usual. Anyway, that's also the reason for my traffic light heavy run - because as all runners eventually find out, running can also be hard on the stomach, and I planned a route that had Kroger/McDonalds/Walgreens/multiple gas stations in case I needed a restroom break. (I didn't!!!)

Ya know.....running can be a really gross sport. Between that and the snot rockets (during the freezing cold run like hell, I had snot pouring into my mouth because I couldn't keep up with my running nose), it's not for those who like to be dignified. Thankfully, I don't much care about being dignified. :)

And also - it was in the low 70's today!!! I got to run in short sleeves and shorts again, in the middle of November! Yays!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hillz - I hatez dem

I am so not a cold-weather person. I love the fall/winter holidays, I love looking at the snow (out the window), I love fireplaces and curling up in warm pajamas. I hate the very thought of being outside when it's cold, and I generally resign myself to the fact that from about November until sometime in April, I will never be completely warm.

So it's a whole new mental game with myself to get my butt out the door and running. I still enjoy running, I still want to run, and about five minutes into my run, I find the cold to be incredibly tolerable - even invigorating. But until I get to that point, it's really hard to make myself believe that voluntarily spending more time outside in 30-40 degree weather is a good idea.

I'm really annoyed that the perfect, 60 degree running weather window was so painfully short, while the heatstroke and frostbite seasons last soooo long. Welcome to Cincinnati.

So I took Thursday and Friday off from running. To be fair, I couldn't run either morning due to work, and I had to work too late on Friday to go to my usual circuit training class, so I was all off. I almost ran Thursday evening, but then it started to rain. Running in the rain AND cold? Screw that.

At least I made up for it this weekend. Yesterday I ran the 5 mile airport loop in 50:40, wearing capris, knee socks, my USAF marathon shirt, a fleece jacket, a stocking cap and gloves. I passed a woman wearing capris and a light jacket with none of the extras. Told ya I hate cold.

Today I did Hal Higdon's prescribed 6 mile run. (Actually, I inadvertantly made it a 6.2.) But I took it to the next level. Realizing that I've been running on a lot of flatness - flat trails and my flat neighborhood - and realizing also that the Thanksgiving 10k is downtown and goes over bridges, so it will NOT be flat, I decided to do some hill training. Boy did I ever. I wanted some new scenery anyway, so I went to Indian Hill. Note: if you run in a place that has Hill in the name, and everywhere you look there are streets with "hill" in the name, you will be running over lots of hills. There were some flat stretches, but the majority of my run was hills, including one that, a year and a half ago, I discovered I could not conquer on a bike without stopping to walk my bike.

Needless to say, that run was a huge challenge - a challenge that I completed in 1:06:48, including stops at 5-6 traffic lights. It probably had over twice the hills of the Flying Pig 10k (also downtown). I haven't been able to get up off the couch for the past hour.

As far as I'm concerned, my hill training for this upcoming race = complete. Now to try to peel myself off the couch and make some coffee so I can do something else with my day.

Cool thing about that route - Indian Hill is home to some of the fanciest, most expensive houses in the neighborhood. Naturally I wore my classiest running clothes to pretend like I belonged, and I had some pretty mansions to look at!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

By the way....

Here I am before the Run Like Hell. Too bad my white and pink running shoes aren't in this pic - they really brought the outfit together. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who stole my legs....

....and replaced them with faster ones????

I ran 7 miles on Sunday. It wasn't in the training plan. I just felt like it. Well, I felt like 6 and then I decided to keep going. I checked my watch at the first mile, and did a double-take. I started out at a comfy pace and figured I was doing an 11-minute mile. And I wasn't. I made an effort to slow down because I was afraid of burning out, but I didn't. I actually really really enjoyed it. Well.....look. This is what my watch said at every mile:

Mile 1: 9:36 (!)
Mile 2: 20:00
Mile 3: 30:08 (I had decided to try to do a 10 minute mile on purpose)
Mile 4: 40:16 (Not even on purpose. That was at comfy pace.)
Mile 5: 50:34
Mile 6: 1:00:20 (!!!!!!!!)
Mile 7: 1:10:36

That's right. I've shaved 4 minutes off my 6 mile time AND did another mile AND my 7 mile time beat my 10k time from May. And I wasn't even trying to run fast!

So I figured that the mile markers must be wrong, except I've run that trail before. It's a 5 mile loop, clearly marked. (Plus I added another mile out and back.) They even did 5 miles of a 10k there. Nope, I had to convince myself that that effort was ALL me.

Monday, I ran 5k in my neighborhood. 31:47, including two traffic lights.

Today, I did a 45 minute tempo run. And I ran 4 1/2 miles. I kept an almost exact 10 minute pace, and it felt awesome.

All I can figure is that maybe the cold gives me superpowers. It's been in the high 30's/low 40's in the morning (although Sunday was a little warmer.) I hate cold. I've never really ran in cold weather before. Guess I was missing out!

Tomorrow: circuit class
Thursday or Friday: I have to do a 5 mile run somewhere in there, according to my training plan, and I have two long work days. It's mildly annoying trying to squeeze something more than 3-4 miles in during the work week. But this training plan is apparently taking my speed up a few notches, so I'm not going to complain - just going to do it!

Run Like Hell recap!

Run Like Hell was great fun. The race was ridiculous and not at all a time for a PR. First of all, there was no chip timing and the crowd at the starting line was huge. Second, people were in costumes, some of them very bulky and hard to get around - like the girl who was dressed like a tv or something (I don't really know, I only saw her from the back) that was three people wide and she was stuck behind people and I was stuck behind her. Third, it was crowded - so much so that I had to walk for 5-10 seconds in the middle of the race. Fourth, only the top 50 men and women were actually timed.

Finally, the hills were RIDICULOUS!

At first, it felt like a great run. Then I realized that it felt great because we were running downhill. Then I realized that it was an out and back course, which meant that nice downhill was going to be an uphill right at the end of the race. Actually, it wasn't quite an out-and-back - we ran down the road, ran a loop around a cemetery, then back.

The cemetery was one giant steep hill that took about 5 minutes to climb. And it was dark except footlights, so for a minute I only knew we were going uphill because it FELT like uphill. Then I caught a glimpse of some people above my head. Yes, THAT steep! At the top of a hill was a truck with its headlights on, rendering me really blind, followed by a downhill so steep that I really couldn't run it for fear of falling on my face.

It was still fun. I finished at 30:51, and called my husband, who said, "You're done already??" He had heard that they shortened the course to 2.8 miles, which makes sense. I was thrilled but given the circumstances, I really couldn't believe I had set a 5k PR.

But really, the sheer ridiculousness made it fun. People were throwing a football around while running. Some guys were dressed as a basketball team and one of them was dribbling a ball. The end of the course was littered with stray costume parts, glowsticks and a large white horn. Besides feeling a little choked by my cape at the end and losing a bit of peripheral vision, it was pretty amusing running as Batman!

Plus, out-and-back races are fun because I really like seeing the winners and cheering for them as I run. It was especially fun when they were superheroes and an Oompa Loompa!!

Next year I'll bring friends and act sillier, now that I know it's not at all a race to take seriously.