Reindeer Romp 5k

I've been officially discharged and my hamstring muscles are almost fully healed. Hallelujah! My chiropractor was really happy with my progress and said that my leg and glutes were already stronger and more flexible. She told me she’d discharge me so long as I promised to keep strengthening my entire body.

Um ya, like I’d ever make that mistake again.

The good news is that I never had to take a complete break from running. Walking in between miles was agonizingly annoying and sometimes it felt like I was jogging so slowly that turtles were passing me, but I’m fortunate in that I was never hurt bad enough to have sit on the bench. For that I’m incredibly thankful.

And the even better news is that my muscles are getting stronger because like I said several weeks ago when this all started, hearing that parts of my body were weak didn’t sit well with me. I hated that feeling. I hated knowing that the intense ache in my legs while I ran the Monumental Half Marathon was because they were weak.

To celebrate my healing body, I ran a 5k last weekend. I know, I know—Too much too soon? Nah. Trust me, I was told it was okay. And I went into the race knowing it wasn’t going to be my best and that taking it easy was okay. Just being present at the starting line was gift enough.

(I just used present and gift in the same sentence. #Christmas)

I signed up for the 16th Annual Reindeer Romp 5k and 8k about a week before the Monumental Marathon, before I knew that the reason why I was sore all the time was because I was actually hurt. When I was told to slow down and decrease my mileage, I gave myself the goal to be better by the weekend of this race and it would be a benchmark for my improvement.

I’ve ran the Reindeer Romp before and I chose to do this race again because 1.) the shirts are always adorable and yes, the shirt is important to me and 2.) the course runs through Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana. Winding roads lead to the top of large, rolling hills and you cannot beat the view!

Race day was fairly warm with 50° temperatures and heavy fog made the course somewhat eerie and moody. It was a fairly decent turnout with most runners opting for the 5k instead of the 8k, and I was feeling marvelous. I was really excited to just run and wasn’t feeling any kind of pressure or typical pre-race stress. “Don’t go overboard and hurt yourself again, just have fun,” Clayton cautioned. I enthusiastically agreed.

The race course is a quick down-and-back with gradual inclines and lots of curves. It’s so scenic, you don’t really get too hung up on the changes in elevation, and half the time you’re so busy staring off into the distance that you don’t really notice that you’ve been huffing it up a hill for the last 2 minutes.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t feel any pain during the race (though I definitely felt stiff right after the following day). I didn’t experience any aches or shooting pains and honest-to-goodness just enjoyed myself. I didn’t bring my Garmin, I didn’t worry about my pace—I just ran steady and focused on my breathing and surroundings.

An added bonus is that I passed everyone I wanted to pass. I wasn’t looking to smoke anyone, but I always pick a few people ahead of me to chase. The only person I didn’t manage to catch was a girl who was easily 75 yards ahead of me for the first 2 miles of the race. She had an awesome pace and was the one runner I fantasized about flat-out beating. She began to fade in mile 3 and I came alive. The race wasn’t long enough for me to pass her, but I closed the gap and she was mere feet in front of me when we got to the finish line. She beat me by only 4 seconds.

I felt awesome. I had a really good race. Probably one of my Top 5 most solid 5ks.

Double bonus? I placed 2nd in my age group! When I turned 30, I was positive that my days of placing were done. I now share an age group with our area’s fastest female runners but lucky for me, most of them weren’t there on Saturday. I was also the 7th female finisher overall. 

Plus I won a basket of salsa in a raffle, so it was a big day for me.