Friday, August 23, 2013

Serpent Run 5K 2013 (Kung Fu Kick)

Serpent Run 5K (3.15 miles)
27:29 PR!
Average Pace 8:43/mile

Holy crap.  Prior to writing this recap, I decided to take a look at the mileage I've completed in the last month or so. 

For those of you who don't follow my every post, I'm in the end stages of half marathon training for the Chicago Half on September 8th.  In review, I have ran...

     45 miles in July
     33 miles in August (to date)

That means I've run a measly 78 miles in the last 7 weeks.  No sweat, right?  LOL!

I guess my point to all this is, I am definitely in peak shape right now for 5K racing.  I've never run this much, this consistently, ever in my life.

Couple that with a race that has been my PR for the last two years in a row, and there's bound to be some sort of success story.  And so begins my race recap for the Serpent Run 5K in Crosby, MN.

As I said, I've run this race three years in a row now.  And the reason I keep going back is largely due to the vicinity of the race to my sister's house, and the fact that they offer a family friendly registration discount.  So, not only is it a PR course for me, it's cheap for my sister's family to participate in.  Which means a win for us all!

And, of course, what's a race with me without a costume of some sort?  I think by now most of you have seen this photo, which is actually from the Serpent race in 2012:

Not to be out done by our previous performance, I asked my nephew months ago what we should do for 2013.  His answer came quite easily, actually, as he quickly answered "Ninja Turtles".

And so, without any further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Ninja Turtles:


Of course we had to do a few kung-fu kicks, we were ninjas after all!!

If you look carefully, you'll notice we each have a proper ninja turtle colored headband, and my niece is dressed as April O'Neil.  We're the entire crew, yo!

Speaking of, have any of you seen what they did to April now that they brought the turtles back?  I mean, I'm OK with the less boobage... but the outfit changed?  WTH!  If anything, they could have at least made her have a more normal looking body shape.  What is up with those new twig arms and tiny knees?!


I guess they'll never give girls a break on body image.  *Sigh*


So, my sister's family and I, dressed as ninja turtles, hustle to the start line of the race.  There's not much to discuss in terms of race organization or participants this year, because the race has really shrunk since the first time we ran in 2011.  In fact, I think there were less than 40 folks on course, and a good half of them were from the cross country team that run the race.  Sad!  Hopefully the race still happens in 2014... I guess we'll see.

While we wait at the start line, it becomes apparent my nephew (who's 5 and starting kindergarten this fall) is unsure who he wants to hang with on course.  He begins asking us all how fast we are going to go to see if he can keep up.  My sister says she's going to run, so he either has to run with her the whole way or walk with dad and the stroller.  Big debate, right?

Decision time!!  What's a cool kid to do? 

DUH!  Consider running with me, of course!

I can tell he's already thinking about walking with dad, and try to encourage him to go that direction a bit by explaining I'm going to run even faster than his mom. 

He asks how fast, and I say "So fast that smoke will be coming off... (long pause to think of something kid friendly to say)... my shoes." 

He smirks and decides to jog/walk along with dad.

Now that our paces are settled, all we have to do is wait for the gun... well, that and I wait for my watch to pick up satellites, which took a bit longer than I would have liked.  But that's really my own fault, because I didn't sync my watch when I moved from Siren, WI to Crosby, MN.  So of course the 200+ mile location change threw my watch for a bit of a loop.  Thank goodness the satellites linked in about 1 minute prior to the race... I thought for sure I was going to have to go back to using my Nike+ app on my iPhone! 

Literally seconds after my watch is ready, the gun goes off and I take off.  I feel like a gazelle sprinting down the road, everything is moving so smoothly.  My watch's instance pace monitor tells me I'm doing something crazy like 6:54 in the first 1/4 mile, which I want to believe is true... but after I read my splits I guess it's not entirely accurate:

And you can see why I like this course, check out the elevation for the first two miles - a constant downhill slope!

However, I have to admit, beyond this being a flat/fast course, there isn't much more interesting going for it.  You basically run from the grocery store of the small town, down along the back side of the city, and out onto the local paved trail.  Then, shortly after crossing a highway, you hit a turn around and head back.  Not exactly thrilling.

Typically, I don't really like out and back races, and often try to avoid them if I can.  I think it's because seeing the fast racers coming back past me when I'm barely clear of the 1.25 mile mark is a little demotivating - especially for someone who's competitive like me.  However, in this race I actually like it, because it means I get to wave goodbye to my nephew at the start, then again somewhere after I pass the turn around (since he's always a bit behind me), and then one final time when he comes into the finish line.  Cheap thrills, what can I say?

I found out later that sometime after I passed them mid course, apparently my nephew decided to ditch dad and run along with mom for a bit.  I think he must have seen her at the turn around and decided running back sounded fun?  I'm not sure. 

But, what I do know is, as they're jogging along ... all the sudden my nephew strikes up a conversation with my sister.  It goes something like this:

Nephew: Mom, do you smell that?
Sister: (Confused) What?
Nephew: I said, do you smell that?
Sister: (Sniffs and thinks) Um, I don't smell anything buddy.  What do you smell?
Nephew: (Grinning) It's the smoke from Auntie Natalie's shoes!!!

LOL!  Maybe I need to start running in these guys?

While my nephew is cracking jokes back on trail, I pull into the finish line and hear the timer call out 27:29.  I can't believe it!  Not only did I crush my PR from April last week by almost 1 minute, I've crushed that PR buy almost another full minute not even a week later.  I'm pretty stoked!

Enjoying my victory, I grab some water and cool down, waiting for my sister to pull in.  Eventually I get impatient and start to walk backwards on course.  And, of course, I drill sergeant her to the finish line just to get her time as fast as possible, too.

She informs me at the finish that my nephew abandoned ship and hopped back in with dad, so we wait for them to roll in.  And, a few minutes later they show up, stroller in tow.

After a few post race snacks, we feel refreshed, and decide it's time to go.  We all pile in the car, and I review the last few stats before getting back home and jumping in the shower:

And that's the story of how race bib # ... well, nothing joined my collection!  This race didn't have bibs!

Here's to another race soon... technically, this weekend via a team event.  Stay tuned!

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