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Oct 30 / Jane

Pennington Library 5k 2013

I like to dress up for Halloween, but I feel like I’m too old to dress up and go out to bars and party and I’m too young to hang out with young parents and their children who will dress up. It’s those awkward years in-between. So, my solution? Sign up for a local 5k near Halloween that encourages costumes! I searched for the ones in my area and choose the one with the lowest entry fee. I wasn’t really planning on racing it, just running for fun, in costume.

Saturday night, Alex and I stayed in, carved pumpkins and watched Scream 2 and Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. I also put the finishing touches on my cow costume. I’d gotten the idea to be a running cow after viewing our local community theatre showing of Spamalot (um, just how, I’m not sure). But I was able to find cow-print knee high socks online, as well as a headband with cow horns and ears and a pin-on tail. No cow is complete without a cow bell , so I ordered one of those too. Saturday, I sewed felt cow spots onto my white tank top.

Sunday morning, I arrived at the Pennington Library somewhat nervous. I checked in and hung out in my car for a bit, I hadn’t slept all that well. I think I was more nervous for this small local 5k than I was for the RW half marathon! I donned my ears and tail, to the amusement of many children at the race, and set off for an easy 1 mile warm-up. The start was downhill, the finish up (out and back course), so I finished my warm-up on the hill to get used to it.

There were a lot of families and children there, but I was one of the only ones dressed up. The race director even took my photo for the Facebook page. At 9am, all 76 runners (according to the results) took their place at the start line. I’d made the decision to race the 5k, perhaps that was why I was so nervous. The last 5k I raced was end of July and it was a post-college 5k PR by only 3 seconds. Today I would beat 27 minutes.

The gun went off and so did we. I started off a little fast downhill.  The whole course was rolling hills through residential streets. Friendly spectators and police officers along the route offered encouragement; the children were particularly thrilled with the Running Cow. I hit the first mile marker at 7:40. Whoa, too fast! I slowed myself a little so I could make it the full 5k, and hit the turn around feeling pretty good. That’s when I realized there were only three women ahead of me. I hit mile 2 just under 16 minutes. MUCH better. And then one of the women dropped behind me, sweet. We ran through a townhouse development, downhill, then made a turn back onto Main Street where the final hill stood in front of me. A large group of spectators was at the bottom of the hill. Half a dozen little girls started screaming “go Running Cow!!!” and “go right, follow the Running Cow!” to those behind me. It made me smile and pushed me up that hill! I had slowed a bit on that last mile (that’s what I get for clocking 7:40 on the first one!), but finished the race in 25:51.

25:51!!! That’s nearly a minute and a half PR over my last post-college 5k! I ran back to the car quick for my cow bell and headed back to the hill to cheer on the remaining runners. I stood next to the race director who couldn’t have been more thrilled the Running Cow had a cow bell. Yup, it was that awesome.

Once everyone was in, I headed back to the registration area where they had water, apple cider, cider donuts and candy-corn-shaped rice crispy treats. Yum! I hadn’t planned on knowing anyone at the race, but it turns out, a woman, Michelle, from PI was there cheering on her daughter who had run (and Michelle is running the NYC Marathon this coming weekend!). We chatted and waited for the awards. The gave out medals to the fastest runner in each 10-year age group. Then they skipped mine, only to call me up as 3rd place female overall! Woo, I’d known it coming in the chute, but a 25:51 for 3rd place overall? Not at any other race, but I’ll take it! Instead of an age-group medal, I received a beautiful stone paperweight.

The last award was for best costume. They called all two of us fully dressed in costume up (myself and the Super Librarian, complete with plaid leggings and a shawl for a cape); and awarded Best Costume to the Running Cow! Alright!

The Running Cow

The Running Cow (photo courtesy of Michelle, from PI)

An awesome 5k PR, awards for 3rd female overall and Best Costume, cider donuts and rice crispy treats! What a fun race! And the day didn’t end there. Alex and I ran 5 miles when I got home (to total 9.5 for me), then attended the Bordentown Halloween Parade and went out for a yummy pizza dinner in town. This truly was a day full of exclamation points!

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  1. So now I know where the cowbell you brought yesterday came from =) AWESOME! I haven’t read your last couple of posts up until tonight. Way to go on the strong 5K PR! Love the costume. Going to read your RW Half post now…

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