Fall Omnibus Race Report: Kensington 8K, Rock the Creek, Across the Bay 10K, Run Under the Lights, Turkey Chase, and the Snowflake 5K—Damn, That’s A Lot of Racing

I accidentally ran 6.3 miles yesterday.

My family had gone out to breakfast and since I’m doing a Thanksgiving to New Year’s run streak, I decided to get my daily run in by hoofing it home from the restaurant. I ended up taking a route I’d never run before, full of suddenly ending sidewalks, treacherous street crossings, and about three more miles than I had anticipated.

That 6.3 and my ability to do it is the result of a fall full of trying to get back on the running wagon. 2015 wasn’t the greatest of years for me in terms of consistent running. I lost some fitness, I lost some speed, I gained a couple pounds—it kinda sucked.

In fact, running in general was starting to suck and that’s not okay with me.

Happily, you can come back from that. Lately my runs, including yesterday’s, have felt really good. It looks like my fall running program has had a positive effect.

Part of that fall running program has been a whole bunch of races, none of which I have managed to write a race report for, much to the chagrin of Lyda, one of my running buddies, so I have decided to put them all here in one post and together we can track my journey back into runninghood.


Photo of a woman holding a cell phone to take a selfie of herself and me, who is standing behind her.

This is Lyda. I run a lot of races with her. You will see her again. Also, I love this photo.

You will also see some of the same people over and over in this post, as they are my race friends. (I can’t believe I have running race friends. Who am I?)

Photo of five people standing in a line.

This is them: Heather, me, Bob, Lyda, and Marc.

Now that you know the characters, on to the race reports.

The Kensington 8K in September

This race was not a lot of fun for me to run. It was particularly memorable both because I was sick for it and also because my family came out to cheer me on. Quinn ran alongside me for a few minutes, not for moral support, but to ask questions about whether he was allowed video game time. It was both hilarious and highly irritating.

Photo of me just after I crossed the finish line. I'm smiling. There is a clock behind me that reads 1:03:18.

Proof that I finished.

This race is five miles long and I felt every damn one of them. Even though it was a tough race to run, I was happy that I was still able to run five miles all in a row, considering I hadn’t done that for weeks.

Rock the Creek Relay in September

This was a six-person, nearly 30-mile relay that I ran with my normal racing buddies and a new teammate named Jenny.

Six people wearing blue shirts with flamingos on them after finishing the relay.

This is us.

Each of us had a leg that was about five miles long, which is why I was happy that the Kensington 8K had proven to me that after a long summer of barely running, I could still run that far.

This relay was super fun. It was like all of the fun of a two-day, 200-mile relay, with no sleeping in a van or staying awake for 30 hours. My teammates are so much fun and they all crushed their legs. Plus they brought Doritos with them.

I captained the team because I’d been the first one to find the relay and harass my friends into running it with me. I got to assign everyone their legs and plan the menu for the van (water and Diet Coke, pretzels and peanut M&Ms). I also got to design the team t-shirts.

Photo of a blue t-shirt on which is a bright pink running flamingo. The text says, "Faster than a plastic lawn flamingo! More powerful than Kentucky bourbon! Able to leap tiny sticks with a single bound! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Team MLC! And they will Rock the Creek"

See, the race was flamingo themed for some reason, hence my choice of a concerned-looking flamingo.

In fact, that relay was such a blast—except for the five miles I had to run. Those were terrible.

It was flat, it wasn’t that long, but, lord, it was painful. It was during this race that I realized just how much speed I’d lost. It sucked to run what should have been an easy stretch and to struggle so much. That was when I realized how much of my running fitness I had lost and that I could no longer rely on past running ability to continue to race. I realized that I had to start training again in earnest.

So train again, I did. It certainly wasn’t every day, but it was enough so that my next race was not terrible and was, in fact, pretty awesome.

Across the Bay 10K in November

I love this race. The course crosses the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, heading up the span for about a mile, then down the other side for three, finishing with a couple miles on the other side of the bridge. I ran it last year by myself and had a great time. This year I convinced my friends that running across the bridge was way less scary than driving across it and they agreed to join me.

Photo of four runners posed in front of a bay at sunrise. There is a bridge stretching away in the distance.

Yes, that is the sunrise. Yes, it sucks that most races start in the early morning.

I expected to suffer on the first, uphill section of the course, but it turns out that training actually works and I was able to run without struggle. In fact, training actually makes running fun. The long, gradual downhill wasn’t just not a struggle, but it was fucking joyous. I hadn’t been that happy while running for a long time.

Selfie of me standing by the edge of the bridge. There is water with sunlight reflecting off of it behind me.

I even stopped and took this photo to remember it.

It was a gorgeous day. I felt bouncy, I felt happy, I remembered why it felt so good to run.

Official race photo of me running on the bridge. I'm smiling and waving at the camera.

This is me feeling good. Running.

Even the loooooong school bus ride back across the bridge in heavy traffic to our car was not that bad, even considering the bus driver had to ask the passengers for directions on how to get on the bridge. It was a little bit concerning. But, still, our enthusiasm couldn’t be diminished.

Photo of two rows of bus seats in which are me and my three friends. There is a photo bomber barely visible on the edge of the photo.

I really like this photo, from our happy expressions, to our awesome medals, to the photo bomber who got lost behind my giant head.

I’m already signed up for next year’s version of this race. Just watch it be sleeting and miserable.

Run Under the Lights in November

My next race was one that I wanted to run just for fun. There is a Christmas light display that people usually visit by driving through it in their cars. This race takes place before the display opens and entrants get to run the course. It is limited to not that many runners and sells out within hours.

There is a good reason for that. It was pure fun. Lyda and I were able to score entries and suited up in our warm clothes to run 5K the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Normally at races, I’m kind of an isolationist asshole and refuse to run with anyone. This time I asked Lyda to run with me. Turns out that it’s fun to run with people. Who knew?

Selfie of me and Lyda standing in front of a lit up outline of a Christmas tree.

This was definitely the way to see the lights. And evening races are the way to go.

Also, the after-race refreshments taught both Lyda and I that neither of us want to eat chili after running a race. Or smell it. We decided to skip that part of the race.

Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving

Last year I did a running streak where I made myself run at least one mile each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That resulted in a 5K PR on New Year’s, which taught me that building a solid base is a really good way to start a year’s worth of training.

I decided to do the same thing this year starting with this 10K. I intended to up the mileage a little bit from last year though. Last year, I ran between one and three miles most days of my streak. I didn’t do many long runs at all. Originally, I was going to make myself run at least 2 miles each day this year, but that ended the first day I was forced to run on my treadmill and got bored after one mile. So instead, I’m working on doing more longish runs, hence my accidental 6.3 yesterday.

I ran the Turkey Chase with Bob and Lyda. Well, not with, because I was back to being an isolationist asshole, but we started together and met up again at the end. The turkey chase course is a tough one. There are lots of hills and also people who can run faster than me dressed as turkeys, but for me, it felt really good. It signaled to me that I am coming back, that my training is working. I still didn’t run fast, but I ran strong.

Photo of me, Bob, and Lyda before the race.

And I got to hang out with a couple of turkeys.

Oh. No. Wait.

Photo of me between two people dressed as turkeys.

I got to hang out with these turkeys.

Snowflake 5K in December

My last race for 2015 took place in mid-December. This race was tiny—like 25 people tiny. I was pretty sure that I was going to come in last.

So in an effort to come in 24th instead of 25th, I decided to push a little bit past my regular comfy training/racing pace.

Photo of me just before I crossed the finish line.

See how speedy I look?

It worked out really well. I didn’t beat my PR (set last New Year’s Day, remember?), but I did run faster than I have been. I came in before a few people and OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT I WON MY DIVISION.

First person who asks if I was the only person in my division gets kicked in the shins.

Also, there was one other woman between the ages of 40 and 49 and evidently I ran faster than she did. So there.

Photo of a group of people clapping for me. I am in the middle looking very happy and surprised.

This is me after my division award was announced. It was maybe the best moment of my entire life.

It turns out that it can work in your favor to run in tiny races. This was a pretty big deal for me. I spent the rest of the weekend reminding my family of my win whenever it seemed vaguely appropriate. Or even when it didn’t; give me this moment, folks, it is unlikely to happen again.

Heather, on the other hand, came in third of all the women. And, unlike me, this is a feat that could be repeated—she’s a great runner. It was an excellent morning.

And there you have my fall race omnibus report.

Hopefully those of you who enjoy running posts have enjoyed this. Those of you who are annoyed by running posts can take relief in the fact that there was only one post for all of these races.

Just wait until next year though. We’re going to be all about the running around here. I’m going to run a 5K on New Year’s Day, which will be the first of many races. I have some ambitious goals for the coming year, starting with the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May and hopefully culminating with a marathon early in 2017.

I have goals.

Stay tuned. :)

6 thoughts on “Fall Omnibus Race Report: Kensington 8K, Rock the Creek, Across the Bay 10K, Run Under the Lights, Turkey Chase, and the Snowflake 5K—Damn, That’s A Lot of Racing

  1. Jean, I love the race posts! You are inspiring me to try walking on a more regular basis.
    Looked for you at the Turkey Chase, though there were thousands of people, so didn’t see you. Obviously.
    I initially volunteered for race-day packet pick-up; however they had enough volunteers at the time of my shift. SO, I was reassigned to help relocate the balloon arches, and to stand at the start of the two-miler to make sure no runners tripped over the balloon cord. Yes, this is TOO an assignment :) … and very fun, as I got to see all of the runners in their costumes.
    The Tot Trot ‘race’ was hilarious.
    Hope you and family have a merry Christmas.

  2. You never cease to amaze me. Your abbility to combine life and running all in one. You are an inspiration and an amazing person. I am glad stumbled upon your blog those many(not that long ago) years ago.Thank you . I love reading your blogs..

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