This weekend was my VERY FIRST challenge race – The Frederick Running Festival Nut Job Challenge!
In its 13th year, they have gotten this event down to a science. It was SO well run and had great communication. From the very first communication through race day follow up, I have been sufficently impressed. Since this was my VERY FIRST challenge race, I had two goals.
Goal #1 – Celebrate with my MRTT friends.
Goal #2 – Forget about a finishing time and HAVE FUN!!
Mission accomplished on both fronts!!! This was my second slowest half marathon by a LOT, but I had a tremendous amount of fun and got to really enjoy the adventure with my friends.
Saturday Night: Twilight 5k
There were many MRTT’ers slated for this event, but only three of us from our chapter doing the full Nut Job Challenge. On Saturday afternoon, we headed out for the 5k early because we all had to grab our packets. Plus we heard there was an expo and I LOVE expos. Frederick is about 45 minutes north of us and the route goes through some really pretty countryside. We arrived in pleanty of time to pick up our packets and get ourselves dressed and ready to go before the 6pm 5k gun. Challengers recieved both race shirts, which are a soft, comfy material.
We headed over to the race start, which was on the track. They had two waves of kids runs and these kids were pushing it!
The gun went off at promptly 6pm and about 1,500 runners were off. It was A HOT RACE. I am always thrown by the first warm race of the season and this was no exception. I allowed myself to get too hot and too dehydrated, but still managed to have a great time with my friends before heading home to rest up for the half. I was pleased to see my MRTT magnet got flipped (a little game we all play – when you see a felllow MRTT magnet, you turn it upside down or move it somewhere else on the car or turn it sideways – you get the idea!).
I woke up JUST in time to head back to Frederick for the Half. I was definately feeling the 5k on my legs, even though I’d taken it easy, and the dehydration. We headed out at 5am and made pretty good time getting to Frederick. I had been warned to get there early and thought making it before 6 would be pleanty of time.
After 13 years of doing this race I would have expected better traffic direction from the organizers, but we got off of the highway and came to a DEAD STOP. While watching the light cycle through, I realized that the problem was that the head car of the “go forward” lane was not getting into the intersection when our light turned. By the time the light changed those making a left turn blocked that person from moving. After watching this for about 15 minutes, the NJ girl in me took over. I swung up the right turn lane and when the light turned again, crossed the intersection. No one even beeped!! I was SHOCKED. And am very glad I did not get a ticket.
We parked, met our friends (who had GPS’ed a better route and not violated traffic laws) for a photo op, had time to use the potties, and headed out to the starting line.
We had agreed we would all try to run the race together and take it easy. And we did just that. We had SO MUCH FUN taking pictures, stopping to cheer for our friends, snacking and chatting. Frederick has some really beautiful areas and an adorable downtown. The sun really picked up around mile 8 and my body was not happy with the 5k. We pushed on, but it was one of the more physically demanding races I’ve done.
I crossed at 2:24:06, was handed two medals by lovely volunteers, grabbed some food and waited for my friend Jen to join me. We had our photo snapped by an official photographer, but also by some lovely ladies who grabbed one on my phone. This was our FOURTH half marathon together since March 14th and we have had so much fun on our “Half Marathon Tour” this spring.
We met up with our friend, Katie at the M family meet up area (M for MRTT, of course). We all streteched a little, drank a ton of water and headed home. I will do this race again in the future, but most likely not the challenge. It was fun, the medal was awesome, but I need my rest. It was a fabulous adventure with my wonderful friends!