Some people wear sparkly sequence and high heels. Others pop champagne and twirl noise makers. And then there are the few dedicated crazies who lace up running shoes and ring in New Years Eve with a race in the dark and frigid cold. Can you guess which category I fell into this year?
Ta – da! If you picked “crazy who ran in the freezing cold,” you’re right! My friend and long-time running buddy Jenny introduced me to the Fairfax Four Miler event, and without giving it a second thought I realized it was the perfect way to fit crash the New Year. We met up at the Pacers store in Fairfax to pick up our numbers and keep warm before the start of the race. Looks like everyone else had the same idea because the place was packed!
After walking back to the car to drop off my bag and sweats, I realized I had left my handy-dandy SPIbelt at home and had no pockets for stashing my phone during the race. I like to keep it on me so I can take pictures to share with you all, but it’s not very convenient to hold on to while working out. So, I caved and purchased another belt, just for the occasion. I’m going to keep this one in my car for when I have another no-pocket emergency down the road.
I wore long tights, a tee, a thick pull over, gloves, and my reflective headband. Overkill? Absolutely. But I have become somewhat of a cold-weather wimp now that I don’t train full time, and am always happier to have too much on rather than too little. Jenny’s boyfriend Joe took the alternate approach – shorts. Although, I must say, the calf sleeve sock things are an inspired touch. He reported back that they indeed kept his calves nice and toasty during the race. I’ll have to pick up a pair for next time.
The event was extremely well organized and all of the volunteers along the course were happy, helpful, and upbeat. That’s saying something for folks who spent an hour standing in the cold just to help us get in our daily dose of endorphins. The four mile course was relatively flat and wound its way around the George Mason campus. There were certain spots where lighting was an issue – as in, there wasn’t any – so if you sign up next year be sure to keep an eye out. Also prepare yourself for the fact that there are lots of kids in this race, and many of them will be faster than you. I’m pretty sure Fairfax has some sort of underground training program for the 2020 Olympic Games, because the number of Bieber-lovers who beat me was out of control. Just an observation.
Which brings me to the next portion of this story: the one involving the guy in the head-to-toe beaver costume, complete with neon fanny pack and aviator sunglasses, who smoked us all. I was okay with the future track stars of America leaving me in their dust, but this? This was just too much to handle. Ladies and gentlemen, behold…the speedy beaver guy who ran a ridiculously fast time and beat us all.
In case you were wondering, he dry cleans the costume after each race and has to request special care with the hat portion because the teeth are delicate. I may have had way too many clothes on, but at least I can throw my duds in the washing machine. Let’s be practical, people. That said, I was more than happy to support his efforts for the benefit everyone’s entertainment. How can you not have a fun time when running with someone dressed like this? Race on, beaver man!
Despite signing up at the last minute and not having any real race-day plan, I was over-the-moon with my finishing time of 31:09. It was a solid showing and gave me the confidence boost I need going into my half-marathon training this month. Speaking of which, I’ll be posting my day-by-day 11 week training plan soon so those of you who are running the Rock ‘n Roll half can follow along.
How did you ring in 2013?[line]