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Friday, May 8, 2015

Back at It - The Frederick Running Festival

Hyner View scared me. A lot. I wasn't able to train at all in between Hyner and Frederick because of the concussion. Technically, if you ask my doctor, I shouldn't have run Frederick at all....but let's not talk about that. Frederick was a big deal and even more so coming off a DNF. I planned to run my first challenge; back to back races with extra sweet bling as a reward.

The Frederick Nut Job Challenge is a 5K and half marathon about 12 hours apart. Not exactly the Dopey Challenge, but cut a girl some slack. I needed to drive down there to get my race packet on Saturday anyway, so why not run the 5K while I was at it. Spoken like a true, crazy runner.

Packet pick up was quick and the race shirts are soft and comfortable. These are some of my favorite race things. They're right up there with the spectators that hold out tissue boxes during cold weather races. On point.

The 5K was pretty uneventful, which is fine with me. The sun was pretty brutal, especially on the loop back, and my lack of sunglasses made me seriously regret that decision. Despite a wicked (probably sun and concussion related....ugh) headache that crept up in the last mile, I finished in 34:00 exactly. I'll take it.

The next morning, Jeff and I left the house at 5AM to pick up Nicole and head down to the race. We were slightly panicked about making it in time, but were pleasantly surprised with how easy parking was when we got there. We parked in a field and walked about 200 yards to the starting line. What is easier than that?! Corrals were not predetermined, but instead broken up by pace time and marked by signs and pace teams. This is what I love about this running festival - small town feeling, but all the perks and ease of a "big" race! Plus, who starts a race with a hot air balloon launch?! Amazing.

Knowing the potential for some hot weather, I decided to break out my Camelbak again to stay hydrated. I also brought sunglasses this time! With a 7AM start time, there was still a lot of sun to come up.

The race course itself was easy, scenic, and lined with neighborhoods of excited spectators. Again, small race, big feel. The first few miles of any race are pretty awful for me, but after the first 5K or so, I'm warmed up and ready to roll. This time, the thing that got me over the hump and into smooth sailing? Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. Seriously. Mile three water station gave out freaking chocolate munchkins. I didn't care what else happened - those little things hit the spot.

The rest of the race was comfortable and fun. I wasn't staring at the clock the whole time (goodness knows I wasn't looking down at my feet...) and I could just watch the other runners, check out the spectator signs, and take food from strangers. No, really - there were families handing out fruit, candy, and drinks along the course that ran through neighborhoods. Gummy bears at mile 8? Yes, please!

I got a little ache in my right ankle towards the end, which slowed me down a bit, but nothing to get upset over. I headed up the last hill to the fair grounds and still had a smile on my face. Besides, this "hill" had nothing on Hyner! I finished with a respectable 2:34:22. Not bad for running against doctor's orders.

By the time I finished, Jeff and Nicole had already gotten their medals and were waiting for me. We got our beer, then sat down and enjoyed some of the live music before heading home.

I absolutely loved running Frederick and hope to come back next year. I can't emphasize enough how simple, friendly, and organized this race was. You could really enjoy running because you weren't worried about all the logistics. There were no parking issues, shuttles to catch, crazy bag check lines, port o potty wars....none of it. You came, you ran, you partied. The way it should be. Thanks Frederick for a great race!

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