Race #20 : Santa’s North Pole Dash 5K

Race #20 is in the books!

In fairness, I haven’t exactly been keeping close track, but recently decided to chronicle my races since I started down this crazy path nearly three years ago.

You see, almost three years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  And while I put on a brave face to everyone around me, to my ears, it was like a death sentence when my gastroenterologist told me there was a two-inch tumor inside me.  I was petrified until a few days later when Becky described what the doc had actually said, and it began to hit me just how lucky I was … I had a completely curable Stage I intruder, with great prospects for my future survivability.

Shortly thereafter, I heard about the Undy 5000, which was a fundraiser for the Colon Cancer Alliance.  The folks in CCA are awesome, and I knew I had to help support them.  So, three months after being diagnosed and subsequently cured through surgery, I ran my first 5K.  Having never really run before, this was new territory for me, and I kinda got hooked.  This would be part of trying to get me to a healthier place in my life.

And I kept running… and yesterday was #20 since that first race in March of 2012.

This was the first time I’d actually run the course for this race.  Last year, there were nine inches of snow on the ground, and I didn’t make it to the site.  Instead, I opted to run my North Pole Dash aboard ship while docked in Dominica on my 50th birthday.  Not a bad way to run a race, or spend a birthday.

Thar be turtles here!
Thar be turtles here!

As the race participants lined up, I took my place at the slowest pace sign they had (14 minutes — my pace ended up being about 17:57, which is pretty dang slow, even for me).  Conveniently, that was near the only speaker system they had.  In fact, the announcer said that he hoped the folks at the front of the race would know when to start, because he was sure they couldn’t hear him all the way up there.

I’d run in St. Charles a couple of times previous (both in the Mo’ Cowbell), but never on the uneven brick/cobblestone roads of Main Street.  That was not the most pleasant thing in the world, and by the time I got to the end of Main Street, my shins were barking bad.  In fact, if you look my pace through the race, it is substantially different on the bricks than it was on the paved roads.

Aside from that, the course was nice enough, winding past the businesses on Main Street, and then past the homes in Frenchtown.  The folks in the neighborhoods were gracious, cheering us on (even the slow turtles like me!) as we clogged the tight roads of their neighborhoods.  I know that had to be a pain for the folks that live there!

The one complaint I’d have about the course was that there was no water!  I always carry water — I’m usually drinking before the first kilometer is down — so it wasn’t a thing for me.  It was surprising though.

Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?
Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?

And despite having something like 4000 people there, there was very little in the way of fanfare or post race festivities.  At most of the races I run, there’s either chocolate milk or beer, and while they had hot chocolate and a pub crawl later, those two niceties were missing.  And, aside from a few booths on the Katy Trail, and several more in a parking lot, there just wasn’t much to do after the race.  I hoofed my way back to the Jeep, and headed home.  But not before pulling the Jenny Craig flyer from under my windshield.  Someone must be trying to tell me something.

Santa's Donkey
Santa’s Donkey

This was a race I really wanted to do, and I’m glad I did, but I sure was expecting more of that “big race” experience.  I’ve seen that with the Mo’ Cowbell, and given the holiday-theme, I expected more.  I did get my photo taken with a miniature donkey, though, so that should count for something!

2 thoughts on “Race #20 : Santa’s North Pole Dash 5K”

  1. Colin- it speaks to your character that you were able to take something so scary and turn it into such a positive outcome. I really admire your dedication!

  2. Thanks Jane! Ya know, it’s folks like y’all in the MWJT (and others!) that have made my recovery possible. It’s not just the physical recovery — that’s the part the docs do. But putting this godawful stuff out of my head is just as important, and that’s where Jeeping, music, running, and so many other things and folks have had such wonderful influence on me over the last three years!

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