Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What better way to welcome the New Year than to RUN into it?

I, of course, couldn't think of a better way. And neither could Kristi, so we couldn't wait to sign up for the 30th annual Beat the New Year 5K run at Sugarhouse Park.

It started at 11:30-- as in 11:30pm, and the goal was to make it to the finish line before the clock struck 12. We were definitely up for the challenge. Our husbands were all set to be our moral support-- bring cocoa, cheer our names, while staying snuggly and warm wrapped in blankets on the sidelines. Little did they know, we had other plans.

Kristi casually (I like her style) tossed out the idea to Phil that he and Jon should run too. I did the same to Jon, whose reply went something like this: "Is Phil going to run?" Me: "He said he would if you do (I had no idea if this was true)." Jon: "Well, I guess that sounds kind of fun..... but not running sounds more fun." Me: "Jon, Phil's going to do it (again, I had no idea if this was true) and won't that be amazing to do it all together?" Jon: "Uh, okay.... do I get a treat?" Me: "Yes, and we're going to dinner together before hand." Jon: "Um, okay." Score.

I think Kristi and Phil's conversation was similar because around 8pm, we all met for dinner, ready for our big run! We went to Sugarhouse BBQ company and then hit Starbucks for cocoa-- we needed all the warming up we could get. The predicted low for the night was 0 degrees. From Starbucks, we headed up to the Garden Center at the park where Jon and Phil had to register. We signed in, got our numbers, and took in all of the excitement and anticipation with other runners who thought they should run toward 2008 as well.

All of us received a yellow race shirt-- just what Jon and Phil wanted! While we waited, we started to chat with the other runners at our table. One man asked if it was our first race-- it was mine. He then said that this was his bazillionth time running this 5K and that he had completed 4 marathons. His first was the original path in Greece, and currently he is training for the marathon on the Great Wall of China.

Then the gentleman to my left chimed in and said that his first race ever was the SLC marathon last year (the very race we are training for). He had never really run before and finished the race in 3 hours and 15 minutes, coming in 66th out of the thousands of runners competing. Can you say superhuman?

Just as he was finishing his "Wow, I'm amazing without even trying," schpeel, a man wearing a Boston Marathon jacket grabbed a race form from our table. It was at that moment I started to look around at all of the die-hard runners around us and realized we were out of our league. But, we were determined-- we would finish before midnight! And, hopefully there would be someone left behind us so we wouldn't be last.

At about 11:15, we started the warm-up lap. Jon and Phil immediately asked if this lap counted toward the race. To their disappointment, it did not. Kristi and I gave them our Ipods, thinking they would need the motivation of some good tunes more than we did. Little did we know they would not listen to a single song. Thanks boys.
It was 8 degrees at the starting line. That's when Kristi and I mapped out a game plan. We could see ice ahead and strategically weaved our way to the opposite side, as well as near the front. It was at that moment we noticed an odd looking man wearing a poofy wig, goofy glasses, and a bath robe. I joked that maybe he wasn't wearing anything underneath. It was 11:37. Just then, we heard someone yell "Go!" and everyone started cheering and running. We then saw a pair of naked bum cheeks and a bouncing black wig sail past us-- it was the bathrobe Borat impersonator! He was wearing an over-the-shoulder-weener-holder-thong, running shoes, and nothing else. Jon and Phil immediately took off after him-- chasing him with the camera, and leaving Kristi and me in the dust. We started our pace, got into our breathing pattern, and tried to resist the urge to sprint--- it would be a race of consistancy and pace for us, not a sprint to the finish line.
Many runners passed us, many did not. Some stayed with us the entire duration. To our annoyance, one of those was a 12-year-old boy that seemed to think our pace was just right for him. Problem was, he was panting like a DOG and was invading our bubble; staying directly to our right the ENTIRE race! Everytime I looked back at the pimple faced panter, he was staring right at me-- like he was looking at me before I looked over my shoulder! We tried everything to get away from him, veering from side to side, but he wouldn't budge! And with our husbands enjoying our Ipods, we were left only to hear "Haaaaaa, Haaaaaa, Haaaaaa, Haaaaaa" at an almost hyperventalative state over and over and over again. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
We made it though lap one and were feeling good, but oh the hills! That's when we spotted Phil.... walking and shaking his head. Poor guy, he didn't know what had hit him. We asked him where Jon was and he breathlessly said "Up there" and motioned with his arm. Kristi asked if we would catch up with Jon, and I knew we wouldn't. He's one of those people who can not work out for months and then suddenly decide "Hey, I haven't been training at ALL, but I think I'll kick everyone's butts today and run faster than all of them!" Such a brat.
We didn't have a watch to time our pace, so we just tried to stay consistant. We slowly started to pass some of the runners that had passed us-- what a great feeling! We were just coming up on our last hill when we heard a man yell "20 more seconds to midnight! Hurry!" WHAT??!?!? Kristi and I started running as fast as we could up that hellish hill, the pimpled panter right behind me. I was determined to cross the finish line before the boy that had thrown off my rhythm the entire race! Up, up, up we went, and pain, pain, pain we felt-- but just in the knick of time, with fireworks from Downtown crashing overhead, we crossed the finish line and heard "Go Kristi and Jen!" from our cheering husbands-- both had crossed the finish line before us.
Phil finished first out of us four. In fact, he was one of the first runners in the race to finish. He crossed the line to cheers, and applaude, and a plaque, and lots of "Good Job"s. But there was one minor difference. Phil had only finished one lap, at the same time all of the hardcore runners had 2 1/2. But, happily take his plaquard he did, after winning an emmy for Best Actor in an Action Movie. Way to go Phil!
Next across the finish line was Jon. He had chased those those bouncing bum cheeks the entire race and got close to getting a picture, but in the frantic moment of snapping a picture, Jon dropped his glove, and missed the opportunity. He looked up and could see the pink bum running quickly away.... never to be seen again. He used up a lot of steam and had to walk the last little bit, but still came in a few minutes before us. Again, punk.
Kristi and I crossed the finish line together, just the way I had hoped we would. I am so proud of us! We did about a 9 minute mile, and stayed running the entire race. We met our goal and all four of us got plaquards for finishing before midnight. This was the most memorable New Year's I have ever had! Thanks guys! I love you! Happy 2008!

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