Race #21 : Operation Jack KC Run/Walk in the Snow 5K

Now that title’s a mouthful!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for races to close out the year, and found this one.  It was a close race — Shawnee KS (a Kansas City ‘burb) is only about 3½ hours from here — and benefitted the local KC Autism Society.  How could I go wrong?

I also had a secret, hidden reason for going to this race:  Shawnee KS is home to the closest Runza I know of!

Friday, I cruised into town, got checked into the hotel, and set about finding the Autism Society office.  When I got to the building and walked downstairs to the race pickup area, I noticed someone had been eating Runza for lunch.  I chit-chatted with the folks doing race registration, and as it ends up, one of them had also been in Nebraska for a while, fell in love with Runza’s, and understood my mania.  After handing me my race materials, she directed me to the nearby Runza.

I haven’t eaten in a Runza since our half-cross-country road trip in 2008, so this was a treat — a regular Runza, onion rings and a root beer.  That was an awesome, awesome way to start race weekend!

Questionable Linens
Questionable Linens

I got back to the hotel, relaxed for the afternoon, and eventually wandered outside my room to find a pile of laundry appearing to contain every piece of linen from the room next to me.  I don’t know if there was some kind of plague in that room, or a crazy game of Wesson Oil Twister — either way, I stepped gingerly around the pile, and sequestered myself until the morning!

I figured out that the race site was about five minutes’ drive from the hotel, so I headed toward the park around 8:15am for a 9:15am race start.  And when I got there… there was almost no one there.  I parked within fifty feet of the start/finish line, which is as close as I’ve ever been to the line of any race I’ve attended.  Through the next forty-five minutes, runners filtered in, with maybe about 150 runners lining up for the half marathon, and about half that for the 5K.

When I walked to the registration table to make sure I had what I needed for the run, one of the folks from the office recognized me, and said, “You’re the Runza guy, aren’t you?”  I guess it’s good to leave a positive impression on folks!

Start/Finish Line
Start/Finish Line

There was no electronic timing, no banners, no post race activities… just a simple run that maximized the proceeds for the Autism Society.  That was nice to see, but I didn’t realize how much I missed having the post race hubbub, and the bigger cheering crowd.  And I missed having chocolate milk at the end of the race!

My time was really slow in this race, and I’m sure part of that was the crazy cold weather.  It couldn’t have *anything* to do with my lack of training this winter!!!

Cold Weather Running Duds
Cold Weather Running Duds

The temperature wasn’t really any colder than any other event I’ve run in, but there was a ton of wind and moist air to make things really cold.  For this run, I added a Buff reflective neck gather, and a new Saucony DryLete Skull Cap.  These kept my head, face and neck really warm.

I also had a new Nike Element Shield jacket, partly in preparation to stay warm in the upcoming Lincoln races.  I had a long sleeve jersey on as a base, and a short sleeve atop that, and then the jacket.  I was waaaaaay hot with all that, so I think they’ll do later this week for Lincoln.

However, my new Brooks running pants proved to be warm, but not warm enough.  Same with my gloves.  I have some Saucony gloves, but they’re proving not to be very useful once you hit 30 degrees or so.  I’ll need to resolve both of these pieces of human real estate before Wednesday.

In all, it was a good trip, and another medal for this year!