You know you’re a runner when you’ll do a race alone.
Originally I planned to run The Great Pumpkin Run 5k in Oswego with a friend, but she had to back out. We’re still cool. Then I realized that this race looked like too much fun to pass up! It was at Keller’s Farm Stand– how fun is that?! It also included a black half-zip hoodie- black with an orange jack-o-lantern face. I LOVED IT!
So today I hoisted a pumpkin and went for it. There was a “Tough Pumpkin,” option– completing the challenge entitled you to a second medal. Paying a small fee allowed you to select a pumpkin from two large pins, weigh it, and carry it during the race. I saw it in the promo pictures and it looked really fun! Plus, you get COLD apple cider at the finish line.
I loathe everything pumpkin spice, but I’m a sucker for apple cider!
So yesterday at packet pick-up I tried out a few pumpkins and walked with them a short distance. I guessed one would be six pounds, and the scale confirmed it. Perfectly round with a long stem to carry it with, I felt ambitious! Two other people selected theirs first: both wanted the smallest one possible. Even the man!
The weight range was 2 to 10 pounds. So I was satisfied to be in the middle. I wanted to EARN that race bling. So I made some rules for myself:
1. Keep it on my shoulder or above my waist at all times.
2. Only hold it with one arm. Switch off when necessary.
The parking situation was crazy! A much bigger race than I estimated. But I got to the start line 5 minutes early, and it was exciting!
There were a lot of people in matching team costumes– one was for a birthday. I felt a little jealous at first, I always do. It’s awesome to do races with friends, but the races I want to do don’t usually line up with what’s on the circuit for my running club, or they may conflict with my friend’s schedules. So the majority I run solo.
But running alone also makes me feel that much more like a serious runner.
I also told myself I wouldn’t wear any headphones this time.
So I started with my left arm, and held that pumpkin high on my shoulder.
And ran– sloooowly. And yeah, also walked.
But it was so beautiful!! We started weaving through an orchard, it looked like. Going between the rows as marked by signs and the occasional volunteer. I almost signed up to volunteer, but was glad I didn’t. They had to wear orange long-sleeved shirts and looked miserable! All their sleeves hiked up to the elbow.
Last night it had been a HOT September day, and I anticipated it would be again today. Checking the weather online confirmed it.
Usually I wear the race shirt provided. This marks the first time I went and bought something specifically for a race!! Last night I went shopping and chose a black tank top with a white skull on it in a lacy design. Sexy and feminine! And my black Nike shorts, which are pretty high. But hey, I wanted to be comfortable in the heat.
And I was. So many people wore the race-included hoodies. I’ve been that person: I usually do. You want to be festive and especially when the swag is comfortable and cute. But sometimes it’s just not compatible with the weather! I’ve had plenty races where I was sweltering or shivering, due to wrong assumptions about the weather and layering.
This time I got it right. Just those little details make me feel like a veteran.
There appeared to be a young couple in front of me: both wearing orange and blacks striped knee socks, black shorts, orange t-shirts, and backward baseball caps. They didn’t hold hands, so I wasn’t sure if maybe they were just friends or even siblings. The male’s hat cracked me up. It was black and white and declared, simple: “Titties.”
That gave me a good snicker.
The course progressed from a dirt trail, to gravel. At the halfway mark, water!
I stopped and asked someone to take a picture of me against a golden field. Not sure what it was: soybeans? Definitely not wheat or corn. They were short shrubs.
I was so happy.
Then at the 2 mile mark, we headed on for the final stretch! A few volunteers pointed us toward the finish line.
One of them was remarked to me: “You got the big pumpkin!”
Hell yeah, I did. It was almost the size of my head, looking at pictures.
Another runner exclaimed, “SHADE!!” The shadows indeed gave us a break.
My only beef with this race is that I never saw a photographer. I was really looking forward to race pictures! Good thing I stopped and took some of my own.
I finished strong!
Received my finisher’s medal, then the second– The TOUGH PUMPKIN!! Posed at the finish line with my pumpkin and my bling. Enjoyed every sip of that COLD cider.
Getting my photo the finish line was such a reward. There were so many times I wanted to just drag my pumpkin or ditch my pumpkin all together. Put I persevered. I got a great arm work-out! They’re not as weak as I thought.
This was honestly one of my slowest races: but I exceeded my own expectations!
I noticed that most people didn’t have pumpkins.
The ones I noticed on the course mostly had chosen ones small enough to still run with without hindering their normal arm swing. I saw one woman carrying hers with both hands. Most people let their arms dangle with it.
I even saw two women with backpacks toting something large: the cheaters! Maybe they had a 10-pounder in there but in my eyes, that’s the easy way out.
I carried my damn pumpkin the whole time, mostly on my shoulder, and I’m proud.
Then Tammie called and we met up. Her car was parked close and she offered to let me put my pumpkin in there so I didn’t have to carry it anymore. I accepted! Then we walked around the farm: the petting zoo, the hay “maze” inside for kids. My feet were too tired for a whole corn maze! We sat in this giant pumpkin carriage type thing and took a picture. She had some stuff to do first that morning, but we had arranged last night to meet up and hang out post-race today.
And I tried something: I did a pull-up gripping the arch to enter it. Wow! I REALLY felt that in my core– no wonder you see all the ripped people doing pull-ups in their work-outs. That feeling made me want to actually work out, in addition to running. Goals!
It was great to have a few hours to just hang out with Tammie. She’s been a friend and a mentor to me since high school. We caught up about our lives and we’re both doing great. Happy. We took selfies and leisurely strolled around.
Thursday night we’re going to see a band she told me about years ago– Here Come the Mummies! She plaid a few songs for me in her car as she drove me to mine.
I’m stoked for FALL RACES! This is just the first.