Waconia Nickle Dickle 10K/5K/Half Mile Tickle (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:18/mile
Disclaimer: As I said in my previous post, I am incredibly behind in race recaps right now. So ... that means I will probably forget many major details on these next few recaps and just end up glossing through them. Sorry!
Waconia's Nickle Dickle has been on my radar for several years. Being the fall festival of a neighboring community, I've always thought to myself "I should really go to that". But, for whatever reason, every year I've ended up with a conflict.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I happened to hear Nickle Dickle was on September 17th in 2016, and ... I was free to attend!
How that happened, I don't know. But so be it!
Not wanting to be outdone anymore, apparently my husband decided he wanted to join in, too. So on race morning, away the three of us went to Waconia to run the 5K!
Upon arriving to race check in, I could tell that this race has been a well oiled machine for some time. Not only was check in incredibly well organized AND staffed, I was fully impressed to discover after receiving my bib that the race was chipped timed ... via our bibs. No chip to wear around my ankle or tie to my shoe?! Score!
The high level of organization surprised me quite a bit, as trying to find registration information for this race online was ... seedy, at best. Even as I type this blog, there are still several links out on Google that reference the Nickle Dickle race and community festivities, many of which link to old sites (IE the 2014 race page, etc). Hopefully the race organizers can work to improve that issue for future races.
Regardless, despite the confusion online about where to access race day information, everything else leading up to race day was exceptional - email information regarding pre-race process, check in, etc. I was even pleasantly surprised at how friendly the staff was when I checked in. Even more so when you consider it was a Badger game day, so I was wearing Wisconsin gear ... at a race taking place in Minnesota ... which was being staffed by U of M and Iowa alumni.
Of course, they couldn't let me leave check-in without a few friendly barbs. I think the exact quote from the Iowa guy was "Maybe you should just take this bib here and ... uh ... pin it over that badger, no? Might make the shirt look a little better."
Haha - well played.
Since check in went so smoothly, I ended up with a bit of time to kill pre-race. Luckily, a regular student of mine from the gym ran into me (who recently had a baby herself), so we compared baby notes and such until just before gun time. I'm sure that was a little boring for my husband, but whatever - he and I had an entire 5K together to come, so ...
About 5-10 minutes pre gun, my friend and I ended up parting ways in order for both of us to make a few last minute preparations. And at roughly the same time, the 10K runners lined up, the national anthem was played, and then the 10K runners had their gun.
After that first crowd of runners and spectators cleared out, since the 10K was on their way, my husband and I moseyed over to the start line in preparation for the 5K group. Unfortunately though, my husband was a bit insistent about us staying to the back (since we had the stroller). That meant that when it was finally our gun time, we spent the first few minutes either waiting for the crowd to thin out or being stuck behind various walkers. Arg.
Fortunately, the good news was that the first stretch of the race was on a city street with the entire street blocked off to traffic, so we had lots of space to work around the inevitable groups who insisted on walking 5 wide, etc. And finally, at about a quarter of a mile in, we settled into our rhythm. We even found a fellow stroller runner keeping a similar pace that we could tuck behind. Convenient for us, but maybe not so loved by a few teenaged kids who passed us by, saying under their breath "What is this? A frickin' stroller parade?"
While we were being snarked at for our strollers, the race course took us down hill and into a park. When there, we merged onto a walking trail. At this point, I happened to also overhear a woman slightly ahead of me talking about this transition. She said something to her running partner about how the course didn't go this way last year, that she didn't like the new course thus far, and that she thought the transition onto the park trail was weird (which I had to agree with, as we went from having the entire width of a city street down to a trail barely wide enough to accommodate 2-3 runners wide, so there was a giant bottle neck at this point in the race). After hearing her comment, I began to wonder if they would follow the same route again in 2017 based on this issue. I guess time will tell.
Our goal for the day, as you can see in the above pace chart, was to run at least 1 mile continuous, and then see how the rest of the run went. That meant that at the 1 mile mark, we took a well earned walk break and then took off again.
The announcer pre-gun had made us a little nervous talking about the "big hills" on course, so after the first mile we set a conservative pace goal. Originally we were shooting for another half or full mile continuous run ... until we hit the water stop. LOL - figures. Overall, the second mile was mostly a continuous run, with a couple of minor breaks/water stops included.
By the time we hit mile three, though, as you can see above ... well, I had pretty much had it. First of all, my endurance right now is almost nothing. Second, the course at that point had fed into an active road where we were to run in the shoulder, with little more than a white stripe insulating us from traffic. Third, we finally hit the "big hill" the announcer mentioned pre-race. When those three points intersected I kind of went "F IT!" and just decided to walk.
I think my husband was secretly disappointed that I checked out, since the rest of our run had gone surprisingly well. But sometimes your brain just wins, and that was one of those days. At least all was not lost though, because when we finally leveled back out to a flat course, we took off for one last run around the block ... and then there it was - the finish line!
Thankfully, we made it through another family race - hooray!
After clearing the finish line, we buzzed over to the treat table where there were bananas, bags of pretzels, bottles of water, and my husband's favorite find - mini nut rolls. After enjoying a brief moment of rest and a quick snack, we headed back to the car ... and then as fast as we could we cleaned up at home so I could go get a NEW car.
**Footnote: many thanks to the race photographers who provided the above photos free of charge. Also, if you are wondering what the shirt was for this race, just check out any people above wearing a white performance shirt with the race logo on it.
And that's the story of how race bib #75 joined my collection. Here's to another race soon ... which is technically the last of 3 race recaps I'm past due on. I'm trying to get caught up, I promise!!