Alternatively titled: What I Will Do for a Free Donut.
I’ve never run the Rudolph Ramble in the past because it’s always the day after Jingle Bell, and what kind of crazy person runs races on back to back days? Well, since I think I’ve more than solidified that am most certainly that crazy person this year (running the Spring 13.1 and Soldier Field within six days, Ragnar, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Remix Challenge: pick an example, any example!), I figured why not close out my year of races on an equally questionable note?
Okay, fine. I signed up to run Rudolph because all participants got a free Do-Rite donut at the end of the race. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. That was my entire motivation for doing the race, because somehow, running 4.97 miles to get a donut seemed easier than going downtown to get a donut. Real talk.
I was up throughout the night (thank you, anxiety brain) and heard it raining, but fortunately the worst of it had passed by race time. In its wake, however, we had INSANELY warm weather (it felt colder in my apartment than it did outside, which is NOT how it’s supposed to be in December in Chicago!) and conditions for Chicago’s newest mud run.
Thank goodness Fleet Feet was putting on this race. They were SO prepared for the ickiness, and I was way impressed. They double-bagged everyone’s gear, putting all of our gear checks bag in another plastic bag in case it started to rain again, and had people raking the leaves out of the puddles on the path. It was also just kind of fun to run another Fleet Feet event. Aside from having their event management ish together, which I think any runner can appreciate, their races seem to bring out the core group of Chicago runners, if you will, and I like seeing familiar faces at events.
The race starts and ends in the Diversey Harbor/Nature Museum area, maybe 500 feet north of where Jingle Bell began and ended the day before. The course is somewhat similar, except for that whole extra 3000 meters thing. The dirt trails of the lakefront were already a bit messy on Saturday, and on Sunday it was just bonkers. I was genuinely surprised when my watch beeped one mile just before the one mile mark, because with all the puddle/people dodging I did in the first mile, I was sure I had added on a bunch of distance.
After the measurement debacle with my newest GPS watch at Jingle Bell, I opted to wear the watch I’ve worn for most of 2015 at Jingle Bell instead. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and Bethanys. Somehow, my watch magically stopped itself right after the first mile mark and didn’t bother to beep at me that it had done so for another half mile. Not only did that mean all my mile markers were messed up for the rest of the race, but it also meant my watch was off for a decent stretch of time, so I had no idea how long I had actually been running. Fabulous.
I was pretty happy with how I felt for most of the run. Unlike the 5K the day before, where my pace was “As fast as possible without dying, with no regard for intelligent pacing,” on Sunday I ran more of a comfortably hard pace–that pace that makes your legs burn in a good way. I even had something left for a kick at the end, which hasn’t happened in quite some time! Unfortunately, my kick wasn’t nearly enough to make up for lost time, and I finished in 45:02, which is FAR and away my worst 8K time. Like worst by just a bit over two minutes worst 8K time. Sigh. Still got my donut, though.
I’m pretty bummed out with my time, even though I’m not all that surprised by it. Running Shamrock is LIGHT YEARS away from running Rudolph – the course, the competition, the atmosphere, and I didn’t have any real illusions of running a comparable time at Rudolph to what I’ve done in the past at Shamrock, but there’s just something about that 45 that doesn’t sit well with me–probably because my other 8Ks have been in the 41-42s. But what can ya do? I’m happy with how I felt, I’m happy with how I maintained my form (or at least it felt to me like I was maintaining my form) throughout the run, and I’m happy I had something a little extra to give at the end.
Thus concludes my racing for 2015! Fourteen races in 12 months – a new PR 🙂