Parking was easier than over the summer, and we got a spot right by the start of the race. We got to the park about 50 minutes before the race started. We got some hot chocolate, made sure we knew where bag check was, and then went back to stay warm in the car a bit longer. My phone said it was 37 degrees at the start, so not terrible, but colder than I wanted while wearing thin running clothes. We headed back over with about 10 minutes to go, and waited in the starting area.
I had made a new playlist the night before, and put it on my iPhone. Or so I thought. I went to make sure it was ready to go, and couldn't find it. But there were new songs on the playlist that weren't on my phone earlier, but were today. So somehow I managed to upload all of the songs I wanted, without the playlist itself transferring. I was disappointed, as I had organized the list the way I wanted, to be almost exactly as long as I thought the race would take me. I improvised there, but ended up with more songs than I planned, and I couldn't edit the list to go in a particular order. I put it on shuffle, and that worked well for the first two miles or so. But then it played one song three times in a row, and I had to fiddle with it to move to the next song. My kids convinced my husband to download "I'm sexy and I know it", and I added that to my list, hoping it would be a great running song. It did not disappoint. I don't know if it was an iPhone issue or a Runkeeper issue, but Runkeeper was behaving oddly again as well. For the most part, it gave me the audio cues I asked for, but maybe 3 times during the race it gave me random updates.
They started all three races at the same time, along the same course. The 5k split off pretty early, so I wish there had been an announcement that the 5k runners should line up on the left, 5 and 10 mile on the right, because there were a lot of 5k runners having to cut across the road. The race was really too small for corral starts, but people lined up oddly too, with seemingly no consideration to how fast they were going to start out. The woman in front of me started the race walking. I really think if you are planning on walking the course, you should line up at the back of the crowd though, as everyone had to run around her. There were a bunch of little kids running, which was fun. Maybe next year I'll see if my older son wants to do the 5k with me.
The course had changed slightly from over the summer, with a loop on the out portion of the race going up a hill, then back down. The hill wasn't very steep, but it sure was long! That part of the course did not repeat on the way back, thank goodness! The organizers had put orange cones along the course, which is an out-and-back, and spray painted arrows to show which direction people should run, but no one really followed that at the beginning. The course is along a popular running/biking trail, and it isn't closed, so having us marked to run on the opposite side of the path as is customary just wasn't working well. This turned out to be a problem around the 5 mile turn around point. Maybe a quarter of a mile past the turn around point, the returning runners had to cross the path of the runners who hadn't gone to the turn around yet.
Then end was sort of funny too. I am a pretty slow runner, and finished just shy of an hour. The leaders of the 10 mile came in right after me. From the looks on some of their faces, they did not appreciate having to dodge and run around slower runners at the end of their race! I'm sure they are much more used to having a clear path to the finish!
All it all, it was a good run. The course is beautiful, and the weather was much more running-friendly than in July!