But we went this morning and I picked up my packet - a black sweatshirt and my bib. (The sweatshirt is fine, I'm not a sweatshirt person but it is what is, right?) I had a lovely preview of what the course would be trying to get to the packet table, haha - snow to mid-calf.
Ready to go - with my slick gaiter from Kim!
Little did I know that that preview was incredibly accurate; this course was brutal and crazy and fun. I would leave butt prints in the snow no less than 4 times - in the first of the two 2.5m loops! That's right - before even being half done I'd have 4 falls! My first mile was 19 minutes, the second 18 - and if you think that pace means I was simply strolling through, I'd have to laugh because I was huffing, puffing, and hauling it through the snow. My first fall came about 3/4 of a mile in - at one point around there the snow was so deep but looked so level it was deceptive, more like quicksand, and down I went. I heard someone ask her friend how she had talked her into this race, which had me laughing!
It would be another mile before I signed the snow with my butt again, but don't worry - I'd make up for it by slipping and sliding until said behind met ground two more times within a third of a mile. I don't remember where the fifth fall came in, but don't worry - each fall was met with giggles (on my part at least - I was kind of worried I'd accidentally take someone down with me. Thankfully that didn't happen!). I was having fun though, and passing what I thought was a fair number of people, too.
Approaching the end of the first loop, the most surreal part of the race was being passed by two guys who were finishing their second loop, because the loop split two ways at the end - one towards the finish line and one into the second loop. I knew it was slow going but what I couldn't fathom was how anyone was going double my speed through this quicksand - I had to give them huge props!
At the end of the first loop we hit the water station and while I usually hate taking water on a cold course I guzzled down a cup and joked with the volunteers that there wouldn't be veggie dogs left when I hit the finish line - they reassured me there would be though. (There wasn't last time I ran with them or when my husband did a half with them in August, so I was pretty sure they just weren't destined for slow pokes.) Somewhere around here I joked with a photographer that I'd pretend to be really running but I'd just fall again; she laughed and told me almost no one was "really" running.
The beginning of the second loop was equally brutal physically but I was still having a lot of fun. I was listening to people talking around me, and my favourite was hearing one runner tell another "Longest 5K ever!" I can't remember her exact words but I had to smile, because I felt a little bad when she found out it was a 5 miler! Here I would get a little confused because while mile 3 and 4 were both 20+ minute miles, I was playing tag with the same people over and over - I'd pass them and they'd pass me. But in the last mile I realized ...we were about the last people on the course. There was 1 person further behind us, but that was it. I had totally thought I was keeping up with most people - I knew I'd be near the end, but finding myself at the end was weird because I didn't think I'd been really passed by more than 2 people.
I ended up going the last mile with a nice runner named Karen, who I think was actually the woman who had earlier said it was the "longest 5K ever!" We both whinged a bit that the course was brutal and neither of us had been expecting it to be this bad, but we generally had fun chatting and ended up talking a bit with two other runners around us. We ended up taking a picture 4.5m~ in because someone had tromped a heart through the snow, which was pretty cool! (I'll add a picture here if they post it - my camera battery was dead, boo!)
I crossed the finish line and got my lovely mason jar. (I'm not a beer drinker, so while I abstractly think ending up with a set of these to display is cool, I'll admit to being a bit bummed there aren't medals - there were last year!) To end this fun but killer race on an even better note - there were vegan dogs left! I have to be honest, I have never been so happy to see a hot dog in my life - I was STARVING! That was hard work and at nearly 2 hours, I was out there wayyyyy longer than I had fueled up for!
And then there were two jar..things. Whoo! Whoo?
Looking back, this is one of those things where I'm not totally convinced I understand why I found this fun, but I totally did. And - I also figured out, from looking at Muddy Monk's Facebook wall, why I never had the sense I'd be last - not everyone did both loops! So that made me feel better, haha. I may have been one of the last people across the finish line, but I did both loops! (And whee, my quads sure know it). Their gun time results aren't up yet, but my garmin says 1:49:10 so I'm just going with that...not like time matters here anyway, lol!