Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jingle Bell 5K and Long Run


Pasco Sheriff Jingle Bell 5K - 18:34, new PR and 1st overall.

Was not expecting to win or PR today.  In fact, I had kind of given up on running this race.

When the race was announced (the race director was our good friend Ms. Kathryn who has run with Jenny for years and has always been a huge supporter of my running as well), I clicked the "attending" button on Facebook.  Then as the race approached and Jenny asked if I was going to run it and said yes, she reminded me I was planning on running 24 miles on Saturday.  Yes, that's true I thought, and I probably shouldn't try and do both, maybe not the wise thing.

But, Kathryn came over for a short run with Jenny and I on Friday morning where I told her I was not going to do the race.  Then I thought better of it and thought maybe I could do the race (this change of opinion had something to do with the fact that she was joking around with her kids that they should just go ahead and engrave my name on the trophy ahead of time!!).

So, whether or not it was the wise thing to do or not, I decided I would do both, run a 5K race as well as get in a total of 24 miles.

Trailed very fast high school cross country teenager for 2 miles then gradually caught up to him.  There was also another guy ahead of me for the first mile, a few years older than me but pretty tough looking (he's done some Iron Mans).   We were spread out 1 - 2 -3 for a while with the same sized gap between each of us.  Also, there were some smaller kids who I almost tripped over at the start who passed me and were out in front for about the first quarter of a mile.

I caught up to second place guy and slowly closed the gap on the teenager.  Ran next to him for a bit then started to pull away.  The course was a little bit hillier than expected (as there aren't that many hills around here), but I think I used them to my advantage to recharge my speed on the downhills if I started to slip a bit.
There was one final hill right before turning into the parking lot of the New Port Richey Aquatic center, where the finish line was.  I turned the corner and saw the clock which read something like 18:22, that really got me going and I pushed as hard as I could, crossed the finish line and couldn't quite believe that I had PR'd and one the race.

Thank you Kathryn L. for putting on such an awesome race and encouraging me to run it. Did some warm up before the race (jogged the course), then some strides, then did a little over a mile before awards.

Race shirt with race bib
Finish line
Gift Certificate and Trophy

Had a plate of pancakes, stuck around for the awards then headed over to Starkey Park to do the rest of my miles out on the trail.


I arrived there about 10:00, it was still cool out (high 60's) but the sun was up.  Did another 16.64 miles on trails (longest all trail run so far - well, almost all trail, ran about a 1/2 mile on the bike path to top off water bottles).   I parked at the horse corral and ran towards the 3 mile loop,

then out past it over to the power lines where I headed North.

I came to the water crossing where Sean had seen an alligator the day we ran together back in August and I was still recovering and rebuilding (I just did 6 that day so turned back early and did not see the gator).  But, with the dryness, there was only a very small water crossing (short enough to jump over), but with the size of the swamp and ponds on either side of the trail I could see how much of an obstacle this could turn into when it is the rainy part of the year.

Kept going north and got to the paved bike trail.  Took a slight detour onto it to top off my water before continuing north some more along the power lines.  Enters into a new park at some point.  I turned onto one of the marked trails and ran on it for a while until I came to a bridge over a creek,

crossed it and the trail started to get overgrown until it disappeared.

Made my way back through some tall grass to the main power line trail which I stayed on until taking another chance on a side trail.  The second one worked out better.

Ran until I had gone a little over 8 miles total then headed back the way I came (minus the first disappearing trail!).

The total distance for the day was just a little more than I did two weeks ago but I felt a bit more wiped out due to the race and the timespan.  Had been on my feet and on the go since 6:45, and now it was 12:45.

I had a bottle of chocolate milk (still cold) and a Power Bar waiting at my truck along with some more water which I quickly drank and ate before heading home.

Recovered pretty well and enjoyed another bass guitar lesson where I learned a few new things (like how to tune using harmonics), but also learned about how much I have to learn.  Hope I can get better at it someday!!

Also, got out the ladders and climbed up into the garage attic to get down the Christmas lights and other decorations.  Brought our artificial tree inside, and in the evening Andy helped me put it up.  I would leave hanging the outside lights for tomorrow as the daylight was running out.

Also, one of the toilets wouldn't stop running so I had to shut off the water and would have to head out to Home Depot to get a replacement part.

Felt pretty well ready to run again on Sunday.  This was the test to see if I did too much yesterday.  Wanted to just get in 5 miles.  I ran along the grassy shoulder of Trinity Blvd which felt good on my legs.
5.5 miles at about a 9:02 pace.

Odds and Ends
Headed out to Home Depot and took Thomas with me.  He didn't want to go but would have been way too bored to stay at home especially since his brother had gone to a friend's house for a few hours.
Bought the part for the toilet, along with a lighted Reindeer for the front yard, and some palm fertilizer for the yellowing palm tree next to the driveway.

Quick stop at Publix to get some things for dinner and the back home.

Put up the lights outside while Jenny and Andy worked on decorating the inside.

Cooked dinner (I need to do this more often!! at least once a week - I would also like to learn how to bake bread, I'm trying to expand my skill set beyond working and running).

Then, finally fixed the toilet in the evening!!


  1. Congratulations on both a PR and first place! Awesome - and I am sure that was a perfect warm up for all the rest of the miles you did this weekend. Glad it all went well!

  2. Wow! Incredible job on the 5K. That is awesome.

    What does a runner do when he comes upon a gator? We're possibly moving to FL; should I be scared of running? I think this might add a whole new challenge.

  3. Thanks Amy! I wasn't sure how well racing before a long run would work, but it worked out ok, probably better than I thought it would. I think the plate of pancakes helped.

    Thanks Clarinda! It's pretty rare, just keeping a safe distance should be enough. The gators out "in the wild" are probably a little safer than a gator in a pond next to a subdivision because there's less of a chance that a human as fed it - those are the ones that become more dangerous. Also, now that it is fall they are less active than the warmer months.

  4. Thanks for the helpful advice. So, I should be good as long as I don't try to pet the gator? :)

  5. You are really speed, Mark! Congrats for the 5 km race! 18:22 is a good time considering that there was a final hill. Nice race report!