Sunday, September 29, 2013

*insert witty donkey/ass title here* Race Recap

So, before I could even think of a title, Bart had to wake me up while my fingers were over the keys and my chin resting on my chest.
Today was twofer Sunday and clearly I can't handle it as much as I thought I could.
I guess I shouldn't be that surprised considering that today technically started last night when I was at a birthday party and I didn't get home until 12:30 this morning.  And of course, even though I've known about this run for a while and that it was happening on the 29th, I hadn't gathered any of my "running" gear or packed anything to be ready to go, so after I got home, I figured that it was now a good time to do so.

Finally get to bed a little after one and for once in quite a while, I feel like I get into a really nice, deep sleep.  Only to wake up 4.5 hours later trying to figure out what the hell that noise is.  Oh.  It's my alarm.  At 5:30 am.
Why the frick did I sign up for this stupid race again?!  Who cares about the donkeys?!  I. Want. To. SLEEP!
I did wake Bart up so I could bribe him to message Josho to tell him I couldn't make it #aintnoshameinmygame  Apparently, I suck at bribing people because $5 got me nowhere.
I stumble around and it's a good thing I decided to get everything together before I went to bed so it didn't require much brain cells to get everything on.  It's getting harder to bend over to tie my shoes, so I kind of do some combination of leg lift/open knee shenanigan and I'm awake now that I'm sweating just trying to get my shoe on.
I mix up my Vega pre-energy workout drink and drop a Nuun tablet into a measuring cup full of water and once I get everything transferred into their containers that I'll be taking with me, we're good to go.  Run out the door and then turn around, unlock the door and get right back inside to grab the drink containers that I totally just forgot about two seconds earlier and then we're good to go.
First order of business - gotta tinkle!

I just realized I haven't even talked about this run that I'm doing that I've already gone on about! *LOL*
My friend Josho and his fiancee had visited a donkey sanctuary just outside of town and they really liked it.  They liked it enough that they're actually going to be holding their wedding ceremony there next year!  Today, they mentioned that the donkeys at the sanctuary are going to be all dressed up in little bow ties which I'm super pumped to see!  Anywho, just like an animal shelter, a donkey sanctuary needs money in order to provide care for their wards and so this 5K fundraising run came about.  When I saw that Josho had signed up, I wanted to run it as well!
It being a trail run didn't really phase me - even though I've never actually DONE a trail run before and I remembered reading something that didn't really recommend pregnant women doing a trail race because of the uneven ground and roots, etc.  But I wasn't at all worried considering that my "running" is more like walking now.  If it's even walking...perhaps a shuffle.  Whatever, it's for the donkeys, man!  (I didn't even mind [so much] that there wasn't even a medal.  Kind of...)
A couple of asses...
Josho had this pretty sweet shirt that his fiancee got him.  And I was super pissed I didn't have one too.  I mean, seriously.  Look how cute that donkey is!  I was happy that it got sunny so I could wear my Hello Kitty sunglasses though.  Here's us practicing our running form.  We're kind of awesome like that.

I guess this might be a good reason to get up at the ass crack of dawn to run around with donkeys (see what I did there?)

We get to the start line and apparently there's still a bit of time before we get started.  I don't do "waiting" very well.  I had a lot of things to say in the seven minutes it took for them to count down to the start time - as you might be able to tell...
Whyyyyyy is it taking so long?
I'm tired.
I'm cold.
My feet hurt.
I have to pee.
I don't want to warm up.
I hate donkeys.
I woke up early for this?
I'm hungry.
I might have to poop.
Why aren't we going yet?
Aaalrighty.  FINALLY.  I'm kind of in love with this picture.  I would love it more if it actually showed me running, but enh, what can you do.  We started off at the back of the pack which kind of sucked because we ended up behind the walkers and the donkey trails were really narrow once we got off the dirt trail.  There was no overtaking so for the first 2.5 km, there was nowhere to go and no choice really.  It was pretty much having to put my feet exactly where the person in front of me put hers, otherwise, because of the long grass and the uneven ground, couldn't really tell if you were about to step into a hole or a dip in the ground.  So it was all eyes downward and trying not to freak out that my Skora running shoes were getting wet and dirty. #trailrunningn00b

And there it is.  My longest 5K run - ever.  Even compared to my very first 5K run in Niagara a few years ago *pouts*
I'm trying to keep it all in perspective in that 1) this was my first ever trail run, 2) I'm 24 weeks pregnant, 3) Donkey trails were narrow, 4) We got stuck behind walkers (not the zombie kind - although they moved just as slow) for the first 2.5 km
So I guess at the end of the day, I'm happy that I we got out there at all and that I kept it under an hour!
Pretty much the entire run was done on grass/donkey trails in the woods and less than a kilometer was on a run-able dirt trail.  Once we we hit that and was able to break out from behind the walking pack, I started a slow jog until I realized that the ONLY surface that I could actually run on is going UPHILL.  Donkey balls.

We finally crossed the finish (which was also the start) line and boom.  There it is.  My first trail run and I'm done!  As soon as I crossed, they had a volunteer cut off the twist ties that held our chip timer and we headed back up the way to the "Mule Motel" where the post-race snacks were located!
There was lots to choose from: bananas, apples, orange slices, small packets of candy (oooh, I just remembered that's still in my pocket!) and packets of fruit gummies, granola bars and small baggies of corn nuts.  They also had full-sized bottles of water that they were also handing out at the halfway point, so it was really nice to refuel.
After my potty break (of course!), we made our way over to the closing ceremonies where they did some raffle draws and check me ooooout!  I won a prize!

Holy moly!  A GINORMOUS Christmas wreath!  It totally reminded me of when horses get wreathed after a horse race *LOL*  Look at meeee!  I've been wreathed!  And I'm also eating an apple.  Also kind of like horses do when they win horse races.  Except I didn't win a race - just a wreath (that I have no idea what to do with).
I paraded it around for a bit until I made Bart carry it the rest of the way.

And then we all know walking up and down hills and donkey trails getting my pretty shoes dirty TOTALLY earned me this:

There's a side of pancakes that couldn't fit onto the picture because it barely fit on the table.
Race thoughts:
I was really surprised when I heard after the race that this was the first time the race/fundraiser was being held.  Everything was well planned and executed that it all felt like clockwork.  We parked off-site and then was shuttled by school bus to the sanctuary.  We were dropped off right at the registration tables and it was a short line to pick up our numbers and our chip timers.  While we were in line, there were ladies handing out our t-shirts, although at this point, I was already dressed with everything I was going to wear and didn't really want to have to hang on to a shirt for the entire race.
I didn't see an actual bag check area, but I did hear some people asking where they could leave their jackets, etc. and they were redirected somewhere.  The racer cap was at 300 and according to the website, the race was full and there would be no same-day registration so I was a bit surprised that there was a registration table set up.  Looking around before the start of the race, it definitely didn't look like there was 300 people, so perhaps that's why they had the table.  
We were asked by one of the volunteers if we had any comments and I did hear a lot of people mention that the donkey trails that we started off with (the first 2.5 km) were REALLY narrow.  As in, at the start of a race when everyone is all packed together, it's hard to really get going when you're stuck behind people slower or people who are only intending on walking.  It might be a good idea to set some corrals, but I guess in a small race like this, it would have been better if they turned the race course backwards and started off with the more open space and then ended with the narrower trails when everyone is more spaced out.
The only other thought I could think of was during the halfway mark, they had volunteers handing out bottles of water and everyone I was with turned it down.  Perhaps because a 5 km doesn't really merit a stop for a full bottle of water, but I think it might also be because nobody wants to finish the rest of the race carrying around a bottle of water.  I think it might have been easier for the runners if they poured the water into cups and handed the cups out to the runners so a quick drink and toss could have happened instead.
A lot of runners also commented that they wished there were more donkeys along on the trails.  I guess with logistics and animal behavior, perhaps it's not possible, but the animals were all in their caged areas at the beginning/end of the route and that was all you could see of them.  Maybe if the volunteers stationed along the route had a donkey so there could be photo ops would have been fun too.  Also a way to kind of "remind" yourselves of what you were running/fundraising for.
Other than that, it was a really fun race and a great way to spend a Sunday morning!  I'm looking forward to running it again next year and getting a PR *LOL*

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