Monday, December 14, 2015

LOCO Jingle Bell Half Marathon

On Saturday (FYI, a Saturday race is delightful!!) Eric, Andy and I ran the Jingle Bell Half in Atkinson, NH.

Thus far, the weather this winter has been truly delightful. Saturday was no exception with sunny skies and temps soaring into the upper 50's. YES PLEASE. F**K YEAH.

All of us had been having our share of issues, Andy had a foot problem, Eric was getting over a virus, and I had managed to strain BOTH by calves the prior Sunday which seemed stupid. Luckily, I was feeling 100% but had some lingering feelings of caution as one often does after a few painful days.

LOCO hosts great races. I have run quite a few of their events and have always been very happy! Signing up is easy, prices are reasonable, they have some of the best and most helpful communication in the business and (most importantly) have fun, safe courses for us to run on.
Actually the most important thing they do is to offer you a Smuttynose beer and REAL food at the finish. Let's be honest.

We were planning a Holiday gathering with Eric (and Andy's) Sister/Husband/Mom/Kids/Teenage exchange student later in the day, and since the kids had a morning of skating and youthful shenanigans to contend with we decided to drive most of the way there and run. Good choice. Holidays are always best when both the kids and the hyperactive adults (me) are given a workout beforehand!

A useful headband. Also, gloves, not pictured. GOOD race swag!
We arrived early enough to change, apply body glide in public, feel amused that they handed out flyers telling us "not to run around barefoot" or "wander around the resort" OR "jump into the pond..." (runners be craaaaazy last year.) We also had time to run two warm up miles which, frankly, felt just dreadful.

Lousy warm up BUT: TANK TOP. On December 12. Yes.
What didn't feel dreadful was the DAMN GORGEOUS weather! I was so happy about the nice conditions that nothing else bothered me.

We started on time, and thru the first few miles I felt MEH but the magical sunshine and weather warm enough for a tank top kept my spirits high.

The start. I took this pic with my arms wayyyy over my head! #short
Right on cue at mile 4 my legs woke up and I loved everything! I really had a delightful time and ran along at a pleasant, marathon paced feeling clip basically enjoying the world tremendously. Sometimes running is THE MOST FUN and after mile 4 that was the kind of day that I had.

Crappy mid race snap. HAHA!
The course wasn't flat but it was very runnable. There were plenty of water stations, well marked intersections and a good number of other athletes to run with. I felt that it was a strong group of runners and I spent quite a bit of the race with people who maintained my exact pace. Very pleasant.

Because I am a jerk I made it my mission to pass a few people and I did. They were:

-The slightly provocative "reindeer" (I caught her when she tied her shoe, while she bent over to do so many of us reflected on why it is not good (or, good depending on who you are) to wear the most tiny shorts imaginable under your tutu. FULL VIEW. Whoops.)

-The guy in a Hawaiian Holiday shirt. (he was very nice.)

-The one woman who I randomly decided was my nemesis. I caught her while she was showboating for a photographer at mile 10 and she ate my dust. Bwahahah. I'm getting coal in my stocking.    

I ran through the finish in 1:44:38 which is a 2015 Half PR for me. I felt good throughout the race and excellent afterwards. I seem to be a bit stuck in the 8:00 pace currently but I understand why and am (currently) fine with it.

I'm also fine with the Floridian sunshine in New Hampshire...

A short time later both Andy and Eric finished. I cheered for them obnoxiously and the man standing next to me said "I think they hate you." I agreed.

I'm not sure if they loved life as much as I did at this point. (but they both met their race goals and were only bleeding a little so that is a win.) Also, they did not appear to hate me any more than is expected. If they can't take finish line harassment then we really can't be friends.....

Twins. Yeah, it can be confusing.
Even after a good race I am thankful when beer drinking time arrives!!

The best part of a race.
Since our next big event (for all three of us) is the Dopey Challenge it was fun to get together for a good run.
While I don't expect  Disney to be as generous with the post race beer, if they can put on the kind of well run event that we have been spoiled with here in the Northeast I'll be impressed. I will be the first to admit that I am picky about the details and between the flawless execution of MDI and the fabulous job that LOCO does I am hard to impress.

Basically winning!
This was a great race to wrap up 2015 with and another smart and solid effort in what (for me) has been a smart and solid year of running and racing.

I plan to recap 2015 a bit over the next couple weeks as well as start the chatter about the upcoming Disney experience (and yes, I already have lots to say and we are still a few weeks out!)

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season and that all of you are excited for 2016 and what the New Year holds.
I know that I am taking a moment to reflect on what a great year 2015 was and how thankful I am for my amazing family, friends, and running community who I have really grown to appriciate more than ever during the past year!

Merry running Christmas!


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