This is several days later than I normally write race recaps, but it’s Christmas party season for goodness sakes! This past Tuesday was Sportspectrum’s Downtown Christmas Run. I’m home in North Louisiana for the break, so my mom and I ran this race together. We thought I would be working, and didn’t find out that I wouldn’t be until last minute, so we registered the day of the race, and so they were out of t-shirts, which is the main reason I wanted to do the race!
Pre-race: The race was downtown and was supposed to start at 6:45, with the kids race at 6:30. We got downtown about 6:15 and had to park about a two blocks from the start, which wasn’t too bad. As soon as we got to the start, the STOMP UpBeat band was just starting. They’re a percussion group that uses things like ladders and trashcans. I went to church and high school with some of the guys in the group, so it was fun getting to see them perform.
This was a pretty awesome pre-race performance! Once they were done, there was no other entertainment, but it was nearly 6:30 so we didn’t expect to be waiting much longer. The kids race started on time, and then we noticed a really, really, really long line leading up to the registration and timing chip pick-up table. I thought about getting a chip, but it wasn’t worth waiting in that line. Due to that (I think), the race was about 20 minutes late starting. Now, we’ve raced Sportspectrum races for years and years, and they had the same emcee that they’ve always had, but how they had the speaker trailer set up, we couldn’t really hear much of what he said.
The end of the kids race was probably my favorite part of the night. We thought all of the kids had finished, and then the race volunteers asked everyone to clear a path because there was still a kid out on the course. After a few minutes, he came down the alley of people towards the finish. The boy was about 8 years old, and walked with crutches, the permanent kind. He had finished the entire .8 mile loop in about 25 minutes. Seeing that, no one out there has the excuse that they aren’t able to get out and exercise! It was truly inspiring.
Go time! The race started about twenty minutes late, but I didn’t have anywhere to be, so I didn’t mind too much. At first, I thought the sweater would be too much, but the wind picked up about the time the race started, so it wasn’t bad at all. It took about two minutes to actually get past the start, and then we were off. The race was a 3.4 mile race a single loop of about .8 miles that you did four times. The course was really more of a rectangle than a loop though, with the start/finish being on one of the long sides. The other long side was completely uphill, which my quads were not ready for. The LSU lakes certainly have no hills! I ran the first two loops without stopping, and then walked only the water stop at the beginning of loops 3 and 4. The STOMP band was performing throughout the race at the last turn, before you started the downhill into the finish line.
There were mile markers on the race course, with Mile 1 being on loop 2, Mile 2 being on loop 3, and Mile 3 being on loop 4. They had a time clock at the mile 1 marker, but with such a short course, I guess people were overlapping too much, and they didn’t have clocks at the second two mile markers. The race was pretty much on the honor system if you didn’t have a chip (they were $1 extra, so most people didn’t have them), and you could really run how ever many loops you wanted. As I was finishing my second loop, there was a guy finishing the race! I looked at the time stats later, and he finished in 18 mins. Crazy fast!
I finished the race in 37:49, by my RunKeeper app, since I didn’t buy a chip. I ran about a 10:44 pace, which is what I’m shooting for at the RnRNola, so I was excited!
What I liked about the race:
-The hills gave my legs a little different of a workout, which was a good feeling.
-Plenty of post-race cookies, bananas, jambalaya, and drinks.
What I didn’t like:
-The race info said that there would be music throughout, so I didn’t bring my headphones. The music was only at the start/finish area, so that made the backside stretch pretty quiet.
-The finishers crowded the street, causing me to have to run around a few of them as I started my last lap. This was not the race coordinators fault completely, but I think it was a bit rude of the earlier finishers.
-The STOMP band was leaving as I was finishing my last loop. I was no where near being the last to finish, so I think they should have stayed until a few more finished.
Would I do this race again? Maybe. I liked the night atmosphere, and the costumes. I would only do it if I registered in time to get a t-shirt (because that’s all we really race for, right?) and just used it as a good, fun, workout race.