Saturday, December 6, 2014

Race Review: Reindeer Run & Romp (Delaware Special Olympics)

Living in Newark, DE for five years, one of my favorite things every year was their annual Winterfest.  Held on the beloved Main Street of this college town, it was a simple event where Santa would arrive via fire truck, light the big Christmas tree, and hear children's wishes.  Chestnuts were roasted, ice was carved, cookies were served, and Christmas carols were sung.  And every year, just down the street, hundreds of people would run around town raising money for Delaware's Special Olympics program.

I was never into running while we lived there, but I always watched the participants in the Reindeer Run & Romp with a little big of envy.  Their reindeer ears and bells on their shoes, and the glow they had after finishing their race were something I watched in awe.  I had NEVER been a distance runner (despite my three best friends all signing up for cross country in 5th grade without me).  And despite running track 6th through 8th grades, I was never really any kind of runner.  I ran the 400 meter most races and was almost always last.  (I was okay at shot-put and discus, and placed a few times in those field events, but was required to run at least one race).  But after I picked it up last year as part of my weight loss goals, I knew this was one race I wanted to try.

Unfortunately, despite having excellent weather the last five times we attended the event, it was a bit drizzly and rainy this year.  But, it was a light rain and we were prepared for it (our stroller rain cover is  a life saver).  We arrived in time to pick up our race packet, grab some slices of pizza for dinner, see Santa roll in and light the tree, and watch a block of ice become an Olaf statue.

While the boys romped (walked) behind, I ran ahead on my own, and decided to go without music, which always makes running a little more difficult for me, but I wanted to hear the sounds and people around me.  It was very emotional to run through our old town, where I have such vivid memories of being pregnant twice and welcoming both of our boys into the world.  As their first home, Newark will always have a special place in my heart.  The course itself took us right near where Brian used to work, and along the James F. Hall Trail where we used to walk and take the boys to a nearby park.  It was a nice flat course, as you can see in the map below.

I had hoped to pace myself to have progressively quicker split times each mile, but I never seem to manage that in training so I shouldn't have expected to.  But, I had a pretty consistent pace and ended up with each mile being between 10:26 and 10:50 minutes (adjusted for the starting line delay).  When I finally came to the finish line, it was getting close to 35 minutes which was just the motivation I needed to push and sprint to the finish.  I knew I wanted to be under 35.  However, since this race had a large amount of people, I didn't actually cross the starting line until about 60 seconds into the official race time.  The race was chip timed and I ended up with an official time of 34:17!  And while that's by no means a fast time, it is a respectable one and my best time ever running 3.1 (though I think the course was a little longer) miles without stopping.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention I overdid it in a circuit training class the day before, and was very stiff and sore before the race even started, so I was very impressed with how I held on.) 

The race is in its 8th year and was very well managed.  It started at 7:00pm on the dot, and had a lot of great volunteers.  Over $50,000 was raised by the event, and I think a great time was had by all despite the rain.

Old posts on Winterfest 2008 (ha, I actually said we thought about running the race the next year), 2009, 2010.



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