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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jingle all the way

Since I began running in 2010, I haven't missed a Jingle Bell Run (I's only 3 years, but it's somethin').  This year I had a goal of achieving a 5K Personal Best by going sub-20 minutes, which would annihilate my previous record of 23:23, set in last year's edition of the Harrisburg JBR.  The whole gang showed up with their best holiday socks and hats, joining around 1200 other participants on a mild December morning.

The whole gang!

We were surprised to hear that the course was changed from previous years and as we gathered near the starting line, I began to question whether I'd be able to achieve a sub-20 time with a 100' climb staring right back at us.  The worst part was, the course was two loops!  Regardless of how I felt about the course, the horn blew and we were off.  My wife and friend Ben started near me, but then it began to spread out after the first hill.

I had the Runkeeper audio cue set to give me feedback every quarter mile, so prompt adjustments could be made to my pace to keep my PR in sight.

All went pretty well until the second loop, when on the straight section around mile 2.5, where there were "four lanes" of runners on a two lane road.  For the most part, the slower runners and walkers (who we were lapping) stayed to the right on either side and the quicker runners took turns passing in the middle, but it was a mess...kinda felt like trying to run through the mall the weekend before Christmas.  Compounded by the fact that there were dogs and strollers, it was dangerous, and I hope they figure out a solution for next year.

Course Map.  See all the squiggly criss-crossing lines in the middle?  Yeah, that's pretty much what it was like.

Lucky for us, the last quarter mile stretch was less crowded and we were able to open up and really push for the finish.  I officially crossed the line (as one person in the crowd stated) as "the first antlers".  I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty happy to be one of the first "dressed up" finishers.  Couple that with my finish time of  19:33 and 17th place, I was ecstatic.  Ben and Bree also finished with amazing times, both PR'ing and Ben actually pulled out 34th place.

Checking our race packets afterwards also revealed a nice touch this year: long sleeve tech shirts in place of the normal cotton shirts.

This will be my last 5K for a while, maybe for an entire year.  Like I stated in my previous post, I'm focusing on some longer distances in the near future: 50K in January, then a Marathon in March.

Happy Holidays!

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