Saturday, December 13, 2008

21st Annual Jingle Jog 5K

So this was my first 5k.

Time: 22:19
2nd in my Age Group
13th woman overall (at least this is what the card said that I was given at the finished to fill out with my time)
3000+ people do this race (at least that is what the announcer said).

I am a little disappointed.
I was not able to run on the vomit line as I had planned.

Oh, believe me, it was still just as terrible as I knew it would be but not because I was running as fast as I think I can--or rather have. On the treadmill I regularly run under 22 for a 5k but because I ran the freezing- choking-on-your-phlegm-and-tasting-blood-while-you-run-all-uphill-for-the-second-mile 5k I was slower. And that is okay. On a warmer day I am sure I will be faster. Soft Pr's are the way to go, I think.

I still had a great time. Besides, since it was my first any time would have been a PR. Really, my main goal for this race was to nab the Santa award. So it was misson accomplished this morning. Further good news is that my right hip that has been bothering me and my perennial calf issues were absent during the race. Of course, I think that it is because I couldn't feel any part of my body I was so cold but whatever no pain is a good thing.

Okay, race report:

My plan all along was to wear my Santa's helper costume for the race. I do love a costume. But yesterday I found out it was going to be in the 20's. Which I should add that I typically don't run outside when the temps get below freezing because it makes my asthma flare up. I feel like I can't breathe or get enough oxygen when it dips into the 20's. This normally isn't an issue since it doesn't often get that cold in Atlanta.

And for that reason I really didn't believe that is was really going to be in the 20's. But just in case it was I did go and buy a long sleeve white technical shirt to wear under my costume (which is sleeveless). This was very smart on my part since it did end up being 26 degrees for the start. Some man--outfitted for Antarctica--walked past me and commented "God Bless you". Not sure if I was being blessed for my festive spirit, much too short skirt or just plain lack of clothing in below freezing temps.

Oh and let me say this, before the fashion police come and arrest me, that in general I do not abide by white spandex. Please do not do this. White spandex is never a good idea unless, like me, you are planning on only having your sleeves show. Then it is okay. White + spandex = not flattering. White shouldn't be tight. That is the rule.

Whew, I feel better about getting that off my chest.

Wait, no, one more thing-- this one for the men who swim: Please, please I beg you, refrain from wearing white or light colored swim trunks to swim laps (unless you are Micheal Phelps or have the same delicious physique). And thus ends my public service announcement of what is in good taste for working out.

You do know my tongue is in my cheek, right?

Beau also wanted to do the elf run. I wasn't sure if he was going to be able to since Ryan is out of town and I figured it might be a problem if I tied Beau to a tree while I did my race--5k was at 8 am, Elf run at 9am. Luckily my parents agreed to bring the kids later. I am really glad he got to do it and I appreciate my parents braving the cold to bring them. Beau has been so excited and kept me in stitches all week with his "training". Before tennis on Tuesday he ran for 15 minutes straight stopping only to call out to everyone that he was "training to run a marathon." And by marathon he meant 100 yard dash. Oh, and Beau, like me, was also en costume.

I could not convince Carmella to do the race but she did agree to wear a festive Santa hat. She doesn't like costumes as much as Beau and I do. Okay, really what I mean is that she is not an attention whore like me and Beau.

Getting myself and the kids ready and out the door by 6:40 was no easy task. But I did it and got the kids to my parents a by 6:55. I hightailed it down 400 and was thrilled to get off the Abernathy exit at 7:15. Immediately my elation was dashed by having to sit in traffic and inch along Ashford Dunwoody to the race start. I mention this so that if people want to do this race next year they can adequately prepare. I did manage to park and get over to the start area by 7:40.

You might be wondering if I felt at all self conscious about wearing a costume but I didn't and luckily I wasn't the only one who thought to wear one.
I am pretty sure I am the only woman--at least that I saw--wearing a Santa's helper costume but there were lots of men dressed up and everyone was pretty festive with some Christmas socks and Santa hats and reindeer antlers. I bet if it hadn't been so cold more people would have dressed up.

I jogged over to the Johnny on the spots and then ran over to the start line. I knew the crowd was huge and with baby joggers and dogs being allowed I wanted to make sure I was as close to the front as possible. Strangely with about 10 minutes til start there was hardly anyone in the start area. Since it was so cold I couldn't stand around so I ran up and down the hill.

Under my Santa dress I had on my 3" Nike compression shorts. I do love these shorts but they have no pockets. I wanted to have my camera so I could take pictures of Beau in his race. I didn't know if I would have time to go to my car and get it so I used my amphipod. I hate this thing because it pulls my shorts down and with the camera and phone it was pretty bulky. But I figured I could deal with it for 3 miles and desire for pictures of the festive occasion won out. I am glad I brought it but in my next 5k I will be more serious, well, I might still wear a costume but no ipod or camera.

Yes, (hangs head in embarrassment) I used my ipod. I wasn't planning on it but when I realized how cold it was I knew my asthma was going to be a problem and the worst part about it for me--I mean besides all the phlegm and not breathing-- is hearing myself wheeze and gurgle. I am glad I had it even though I can't tell you a single song that played during the race. Between songs when I could hear my breathing it was bad, lots of wheeze. In fact, I am still wheezing and coughing 3 hours later-- even after hitting the inhaler. I am sure I will be fine as this isn't unusual for me in cold weather. I am just glad I don't live some where that is always cold otherwise it would be a major problem.

Finally they called everyone to the start and I was lucky to be in the front row. Normally I would not place myself there since I know I can't run under a 6 minute mile but since there were people standing next to me who I was pretty certain wouldn't maintain a 9 minute mile I was okay with it.

Santa shot the gun and we were off. First mile was mostly downhill and flat. So.Very.Cold. My nose ran like a faucet down the front of my face and the back of my throat. I didn't even know I was congested but I'm certainly not now.

I couldn't even feel my body impacting with the pavement I was so cold and I tried wiping my nose but I couldn't feel it and decided it is better to just have snot on my face than touch my nose that felt like rubber.

Other than how cold I felt-- and the phlegm problem-- I was doing pretty good and heard the split of 6:29 called for the first mile. I was happy about that. I am still felt good, phelgmy but that I could maintain. I was having a good time.

About 10 seconds later I am running up a long hill and I am no longer having such a great time. Don't look at the hill I think and I keep my eyes on the ground. I start choking on the phlegm that is in my throat and I can taste blood. I pretty much feel like I am dying. I have no idea if the blood taste is from my sinuses or from my lungs but I figure it isn't a good sign. I think whatever, less than 2 miles, you'll be okay. The good angel on my right shoulder reminds me this is how it is suppose to be in a 5k. The bad one on my left though chimes in with: yeah, but you're not suppose to be this slow.

So I am still going up a hill, and I know I am slowing down but trying my hardest. It was extra hard though because I had so much mucus in my mouth and throat that there were moments when I literally couldn't breathe--I was holding my breath because breathing in would have sucked it all in my lungs. So to clear my throat and mouth I would have to hold my breathe for a second while I spit and that made running up the hill all that much harder. Legs felt good though and I knew it was just the cold making my airways react.

We flattened out and had a tiny dip and then another hill. Two mile split was called at 14:51. Ugh. Serious slow down. Again, I've done 2 miles on the treadmill under 14 and expected to hear that today. More evidence that just doing long runs on hills is not enough. I need to be doing those darn hill repeats that I have long avoided.

Finally we flatten out for a bit with some tiny false hills and I push as hard as I can. I know I need to hustle. There wasn't really enough time for me to do the math in my head but I knew 21 minutes wasn't going to happen and figured I'd come in somewhere between 22 and 23 minutes. I was worried it wouldn't be enough for a Santa statue. There is big downhill and me and my phlegmy self went for it. Passed a few people. Then I was almost at the finish line--men went left, women right. As I am crossing I look at the clock--22:19.

I got a little annoyed when one girl shot past me right as I crossed over the line at the last second and got in front of me. Another girl tried but I edged her out. I know it is a race but the chute had narrowed and in the past when I've done races like this you come in single file and most people respect the placement. But whatever, they both looked a lot younger than me. Like I said, I just wanted a Santa statue and they weren't my competition.

I was handed a card--said number 13--I assume this meant I was 13th woman. On the card you had to fill out your time, name, bib, age etc. I turned in my card and was really excited that mine was the first one in my age group box. I cheered for myself and looked around. I didn't see anyone else hand in their card so I thought I had first place age group. But when they did the awards turns out I was second. The girl that beat me was either 1 or 2 minutes faster. Oh well. Guess she had held her card. I am a fast test taker so maybe I was just quick in filling mine out. 1st, 2nd, 3rd--goal was a Santa Statue and I got one; so I am happy.

After finishing and turning in my card I took a few pictures of the finish line and watched a few people come in. Santa was there shaking all the ladies' hands and congratulating them. I saw some young guys come in dressed as reindeer pulling Santa in a wagon and tried to get a picture but there were too many people in the way for me to get a clear shot of them.

I headed off to collect my shirt. I called my parents and they had just gotten there so I went to find them.

We had to wait around for awhile before Beau's race started. He practiced on the course for a bit and then warmed up a bit more by riding a pony.

And taking a few turns on the bouncy slide

Hugged a fox

And a reindeer and got a balloon sword--and "one for his sister".

They did the kids by age and gender.
The five and six year old boy division was chaos. Beau was doing great and right after he did the turn some kid cut through the cones-- or something--and was heading straight into him. I expected a collision but Beau shoved the kid out of his way. I don't think the kid fell but Beau did push him off the course. Oops. I hope the kid wasn't hurt but I saw the whole thing and it really wasn't Beau's fault --he wasn't being mean or aggressive just trying not to crash. It happens. But if by chance the parents of that boy are reading this I am sorry. I would have made Beau apologize but I wasn't certain which boy it was.

So after Beau's race it still hadn't warmed up as I had hoped it would so we left (after collecting my award of course).

This was a really fun race (well except that part where I felt terrible for 22 minutes and couldn't breathe). I loved wearing a costume and making it like a party. Because Lord knows, there is nothing better than a costume party.

And now me and my little elves have a Brownie outing to attend and sing Christmas carols to a local nursing home.

By golly! We are just spreading all sorts of love and cheer and festivity this year.

Probably won't last.


  1. Congrats on your PR and the sweet trophy.

    I wanted to do this run today, but am not too broken up about missing those freezing temps.

  2. That right there was funny, I don't care who you are....good job on the Santa Statue. You wouldn't happen to remember what the winning time for the M35-39 was would you (just curious).

    If you are having trouble with your asthma (mine acts up when it is cold or when I run on the vomit line also) go see Dr Glen Nadel at Asthma and Allergy Consultants of Atlanta. He "gets it" as far as working out and such.

  3. Thanks Kate! It was cold and if it wasn't for my desperate desire for the statue I wouldn't have been there either.

    You mean this Dr Nadel won't just say "Don't run outside when it is cold or when the pollen count is high and if it acts up use your inhaler?" Because that is exactly what the pulmonologist told me last I saw someone about my asthma. I really do love going to doctors but I hate not being taken seriously. I just don't like to waste my money. Well, except on silly costumes . . .

    No I don't remember what the time was. The guy was right next to me at the start though. I don't think English was his first language cause I asked him when we were waiting for the awards if he did well. But I can tell you after the first 100 ft I didn't seem him. From what I remember the winning guy times that they announced were all under 20 in nearly every age group. Think winner was 16, maybe even sub 16. Winning woman I think was 19 or something. Maybe they will post the results.

    Really, it wasn't a great day to run cause it was so cold.

  4. love the santa trophy andyour outfit! don't know that i would be brave enough to sport it.

    my asthma sucks big time when it's cold too but unfortunately i have no tips to share. i just keep trying to run anyway.

  5. YAY Nat! That's super! Sorry about your asthma though. Beau is such a cutie.

  6. I don't remember ever reading such a great, long, and extensive 5k report before! The report was fantastic!!

    Hard to believe this is your very first 5k race since you've ran so many other distance races before! I would think the Santa Trophy would be practically guaranteed, yet you ran a fantastic time anyways. I'm sure you'll even clobber this time in better conditions!!

  7. Great job! Jingle Jog was my first 5K too. Man was that cold!

  8. why do your feet look so big in that photo in front of your door? no wonder you didn't get first having to drag those puppies around.

  9. Great Blog. The 2nd mile was a killer and the weather was too cold. I was lucky to also got a Santa Statue (1st age group, 19m42s) - good thing there weren't any serious runners in my age group. :-)

    Great pics and story. It helped me relive the experience.

  10. OMG I am laughing. Anon my feet look big because they are! I'm 5'5 and my running shoes are a 9 (other shoes I'm a 8 1/2). Thank goodness I grew some because I was wearing an 8 1/2 when I was 12 and 5 ft tall.

    J! Congrats on your AG win and sub 20 is smoking. Maybe on a warmer less hilly day I can get closer to that--someday . . .

    Thanks all for the congrats and worry over my asthma. I was short of breath all day after the race and thought for sure I was going to wake up with bronchitis--and I was super tired in the morning. But in the afternoon I managed to run 6 miles at an 8:20 pace and zero breathing issues (well except when I ran through some smoke from someone burning debris). And today I got in my long run: 21 @ 8:46 avg pace. Moving right along towards M of A marathon. What a difference it makes for me when it is 50 degrees and not 26 degrees.

  11. Nice work Nat.

    Here's a link to the official results, complete with jacked up formatting:

    It looks like you finished just a few seconds ahead of one of the Branch twins (2nd place in the 10-14 age group) and mom Doreen (first place in 45-49 age group). The Branches are very fast girls and Atlanta 5k regulars.

    Since you beat them, I will assume that your time was outstanding for conditions.

    I am also glad to hear that i am not the only one who tastes blood during a freezing 5k race. And I don't even have any asthma issues.

    Your costume is fantastic.

  12. I haven't run in a month. Training for CMM? I'm screwed...

    Does opening a restaurant count as training?

    Meanwhile, I am proud of your 5K. While 5Ks are perfect for your attention span, I am curious to wait and see if you ever do another one.

  13. Way to go Ms Natalie! Congrats on your PR and your trophy!

    Great race report and usual!

    Happy holidays to you all!