Christmas Festivities, in Pics

20 Dec

I finally remembered my camera! So here are the pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Christmas Tea

I found these picture holders at Kohl’s for less than $4 each. These were the guest gifts.

Christmas Decorations

Same as last year

Our mini tree

Christmas Carol 5k

Sweet shorts, huh? (Thanks for the pics D!)

About the race…

It was being held in City Park and didn’t start until 9 so we met D and Doug at our house around 7:45. We got down to the race site a little after 8, parked, got our bib and stood around drinking coffee. The temperature was in the high 20s but besides my feet, I wasn’t really cold at all. Ten minutes to 9:00, we did a quick 1/4 mile warm up and stretched – but we didn’t start running until 9:13. Since I went out too fast last year and ended up walking in the middle to catch my breath, my goal for the race was to do negative splits and beat my time from last year (33:40).

Finally, we were off. For the first mile, I focused on maintaining even breathing and even though we had to weave around people, I tried to not be too ambitious. We reached the first mile marker at 11:03. I was a little bummed because it felt like we were running faster than that, but I was happy that if I maintained that pace (which felt doable), I would definitely beat my time.

The second mile started off with a nice little downhill stretch and a run by the Denver Zoo. It ended with a brutal uphill stretch. But because I was running with Travis and D and didn’t want to fall behind, I kept pushing, telling myself that it would be downhill in a bit. We reached mile 2 at 21:15 – a 10:18 pace. So that’s why I feel ready to collapse. Seeing that motivated me to keep pushing, even though I felt completely out of breath.

The third mile was a mental battle. Just like during the Rock n Roll Relay, I keep telling myself that the pride and accomplishment of setting a new PR will be worth the next 10 minutes of agony. Finally, I could see the finish line. We passed the third mile marker around 31:45. As we got within 100 feet of the finish, I actually felt a little dizzy/nauseous. We crossed the finish at 32:52 – a 10:36 pace. Even though my time is still pretty slow, I feel good that I really pushed myself. The only bad part about this PR is that now I have to run even faster to beat it!

We were funneled into a chute, where the race timers were collecting the tags off our bibs. We were a little confused at how they determined the times that way, since there were 2 chutes, but oh well. We grabbed some water and bagels, our goodie bags, stretched a bit and headed over to Denny’s, where I had their new Bread Pudding French Toast. It was pretty good – not as good as real bread pudding, but close.

As for the race itself…

I thought that A Christmas Carol Classic (5k/10k) was a fairly well-organized race for its first year. There were 425 runners in the 5k and 264 in the 10k – impressive for an inaugural event. They had a lot of volunteers telling people where to park, registration/check-in was organized and quick, and they had coffee and pastries for runners before the start. The goodie bags were pretty decent (they included chocolate milk), they had bagels at the finish, and the course was well-marked (though the markings were sometimes hard to see because of the crowd). The race also sponsored the Denver Children’s Home, which I liked.

But I think it would be better if they used chip timing. My official time was 33:43 (40/82 AG, 193/425 overall) but I don’t feel like it took me almost a minute to cross the start line. And because D ducked under the rope into the other finish chute because the line was shorter, her time was recorded as 34:09 even though she crossed at the exact same time as we did (granted it was her fault, but that’s the downfall of bib tag timing!).

Also, even though the website said something about having carolers out on the course, they didn’t. (They did have them at the finish, which was nice.) I wish that we would’ve gotten more race swag for our $30 (like a shirt, towel, medal or something) – you could buy a shirt for $15 but they weren’t that cute. I just hope that most of our race fee went to the charity.

Finally, if I had been doing the 10k, I would have been a little annoyed. They started at the same time as the 5k and just did 2 laps of the same course. So the 5kers were finished and leaving while the 10kers were still running and we were actually walking on the course to get back to our cars.

But overall, I enjoyed the race and would do it again. I like that the course is all in City Park, so you don’t have to worry about traffic or sidewalks.

……………………………..

We’re heading back down to City Park tonight for Zoolights at the Denver Zoo – we’ve never been and apparently, it’s pretty cool!

Have you gone or are going to any holiday lights shows?

2 Responses to “Christmas Festivities, in Pics”

  1. B. in the Know December 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Looks like fun! And your house looks so festive! I have not gone to any light shows, not even the Holidazzle. I have been to a fair amount of holiday gatherings though – such a fun time of year!
    Much love,
    B

  2. Mel December 21, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    Fun! Good job in the PR. I considered doing that race. If I had realized it was in City Park I may have gone since I could have just walked there.

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