2012 was winding down and I had almost fulfilled my personal goal to run 10 races in one calendar year. I had 9 under my belt and just needed one more to cap things off. Thankfully, a friend of mine, Beth, invited me to run in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on December 1. Beth was one of my many friends that ran with me in my first race of the year (the Capital City Half Marathon), so she would be the perfect person to run alongside my final race of the year! Since she works at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, her coworkers had a fundraising team set up, and it was great knowing that the race cost of $35 would be going to a nobel cause: to fight arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis (which can be acquired at any age, young or old).
Photos by OHventures
The race was in Columbus (I hope to run more races across the state next year) and started at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the corner of High Street and Nationwide Boulevard at 10 AM. Despite that, Beth and I arrived shortly after 8 AM so that we could stretch, register, and soak it all in beforehand! And let me tell you, there was a TON to soak in!
Never before had I seen such a large array of Santa Claus hats, elf ears and reindeer antlers at once! Thousands of runners (I do not know the exact number) were milling about both inside and outside of the hotel, gearing up for what looked like the most festive race ever. I myself brought a Santa hat to wear while I ran, and as a part of our goodie bag, we were all given jingle bells to tie onto our shoelaces!! It was a pretty clever touch, if you ask me! Beth and I were what seemed like a small fraction of the race participants who decided to run competitively with chip timers (given that our bib numbers were 46 and 47). That made a lot of sense, too, as it looked like many people might have a tough time running in the crazy costumes they had on: garland, wreaths, and even working Christmas lights were some of the accessories people had on for the run/walk!
Not only were the runners and walkers in the holiday spirit, a bunch of characters were present as well, including The Grinch, Frosty The Snowman, and the Big Guy himself, Santa Claus! Some familiar faces were there too, like Louseal and Krash (mascots for the Columbus Clippers), Crew Cat (mascot for the Columbus Crew), Max & Erma, and even a giant Wendy's Frosty. It was bizarre, but hilarious!
It was about 45 degrees and overcast, which put my new spandex running clothes to the test! I was pretty cold, and in awe seeing fellow runners around me wearing tank tops and shorts (and even a shirtless guy here and there). Perhaps the cold would make them run faster, but I was pretty worried that the cold would do the opposite, and slow me down! The race started facing South on High Street. Beth and I were at the head of the pack (something I learned to do from the bad experience at the Turkey Trot).
We sped down High Street, past Nationwide Insurance, past the Statehouse, and into German Village. I tried my best to catch up with Beth, but she is such a speed demon, that it proved difficult! I kept my own, however, as my RunKeeper application on my iPhone (worn in my armband during the race) announced that I had reached 1.53 miles at the 10 MINUTE MARK! Woah! I couldn't believe the pace I was running! If I were to keep it up, I would finish in just under 20 minutes, which would be my best time EVER. Unfortunately, I was losing steam and slowed down a TON for the second half of the race, which headed North on 3rd through German Village and back to Nationwide Boulevard.
Despite a slower second half, I still completed the race with a time of 24:39. I was very pleased with this time, which beat most of my recent races! I learned now that I need to pace myself accordingly so that I do not lose so much gas in the first part of the race! Beth fared much better and had a time of 22:32, making her the 17th female finisher overall and 6th in her age group!!! It was fantastic knowing that all of our jingling was helping people who suffer from arthritis, and thus can not run in races like we can. It was a humbling thought. It was also very touching to see people who were walking who had signs on their back dedicated to loved ones who have arthritis - some who had it themselves!! It was important to have an outlet for these folks to get out and be as active as they can be with their unfortunate arthritis diagnoses.
My face was redder than my Santa hat as Beth and I celebrated with food from Panera Bread and First Watch. We walked around a bit, with our feet jingling away, taking pictures and cooling down. We high fived for a successful 2012 running season and did a toast (with bottled water) for an even better 2013!