I don’t think there is a more entertaining running race than a Halloween themed run: Costumes, hot cocoa, and great race temps—oh my! You really can’t beat it.
On Saturday, October 27, I ran the Real Racine Skeleton Skamper 5K in Mount Pleasant, WI. There was also a half-marathon, but my mileage hasn’t been very high lately (re: Motivation MIA) so I opted for the much shorter 5K race. I hadn’t run a 5K in several years, so I had no real expectations in mind. I didn’t feel the nervousness I normally do before races, which I have to admit was a really nice change of pace.
The race was easy to get to, and though there wasn’t a ton of parking right near the starting line, I only had to park a little over ¼ mile away on a side road. The costumes were fun and made me smile as soon as I made my way to the sign-up. There were so many outfits, ranging from people in pumpkin shirts and orange striped socks, to someone in a full banana suit, a unicorn, and a PacMan with ghost balloons that followed hauntingly behind him.
I met up with a lot of people from my Kenosha Running Club (“best running club in the USA!”) before I went to register. Registration was quick & painless, as was the bag drop. The race shirts were pretty cute, and glow-in-the-dark, which is fun and definitely different than any other race tee I have.
The only downside was waiting to start.
There were about 550 5K runners, and it seemed like we stood there in the starting corral forever—in fact, we stood there for a good 20 minutes past our starting time. The Jedi man costumed with a Yoda on his back must have been getting worn out. And, I could tell the Legends of the Hidden Temple (Blue Barracudas) couple were itching to run the temple, er, course. We never did get an announcement of why we were starting so late, but all of the sudden, we were off!
I started off at a good clip, and tried not to push myself too crazy hard for the first mile. 5Ks are not my favorite races, because I really don’t like running so fast & hard—it’s just so tough! I would honestly rather run an evenly paced 13 miles. But, my first mile was still pretty fast at a 9:02 pace (my normal running pace is ~10min/mile), and I was feeling good as I passed up some super heroes and zombies, so I kept chugging along.
Between mile 1 and 2, I got passed by a lot of the quicker people who had been stuck in the back of the crowd, and wished I had been able to fulfill my costume dream. (I was going to dress as a cop and hand out speeding tickets to anyone who passed me. Alas, time wasn’t on my side to get that get-up together. Next year!)
The course was an out-and-back loop, so I was happy when I started seeing some fellow Kenosha Running Club buddies coming back already in the lead for the 5K pack. I got to the turn-around, passed a pirate, and then kept running by the water station. With 40 degree temperatures, I didn’t really need any hydration, so I used the opportunity to pass some others who had stopped or slowed down.
At mile 2, I clocked a 9:22 mile split. I had slowed down a little, which I kind of expected once the adrenaline of mile 1 wore down, but I was still pretty surprised at how strong I felt. At this point, mentally it was easy for me to get focused and determined to take down the last mile of the race. Breathing was starting to get a little difficult, so this mile is all a bit hazy to me…all I knew was—breathe in, breathe out, keep your head up, don’t slow down.
Eventually I guessed I was near the last 800 meters (I wished there were a bit more signage in that regard), so I tried to keep my pace even and evaluate how I felt so I knew when to kick it in. I got caught up in some people who would walk, then run as I neared them, and eventually sped up so I could just leave them in my dust! All of the sudden, I could see the 3-mile marker up ahead—I felt a surge of energy and speed come on.
There was a 10-year-old girl ahead of me (come onnnn) so I made it a petty goal to at least pass her up. There was also a portly chef who had kept stopping to walk, and I kept him in my sights ‘til I could run by him. At this point, I was keeping a consistently fast pace, and admittedly felt a bit queasy—but I was almost there!
I kicked it into gear and glided past a man in a full penguin suit (those big flipper feet surely must slow one down) and crossed the FINISH line. At 28:55 (~9:18 pace), I couldn’t call this an all-time PR, but because this was the first 5K I have run in almost 3 years, I am going to call it my “new adult” PR. Looking back at the 5Ks I ran in 2007-2009, I actually did run this one faster than those, so I’m proud of that.
The post-race beer with my running buddies was a good “treat” after running this 5K race. There was also hot cocoa available…but who can pass up a free beer?
This 5K race really was a lot of fun, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of doing the Real Racine Skeleton Skamper 5K in 2013. And, if you aren’t from the area, you should find a Halloween themed race near you…they are so much fun!
P.S. Bummer, but somehow I got left off of the actual race results—maybe because I signed up the morning of the race? Next year I will make sure to sign up early!