Two nights ago, our running club hosted a "once in a lifetime" event called the 11-11-11 Run - a follow up to last year's wildly popular 10-10-10 Run. The 10-10-10 Run was an unofficial 10-miler/10K event, which started at 10 a.m. or 10:10 a.m., respectively, and cost $10. For a simple sawbuck, people got a neon yellow technical shirt, a good run on what turned out to be a beautiful day, and bragging rights.
That run was so successful that when talk of 11-11-11 came around, of course we wanted to try to recreate the magic. I am the first to admit that I was probably the biggest naysayer of this event. Although on a Friday night, the run would still have to start at 11 p.m., and I just didn't think you'd get enough people interested in interrupting their weekend plans - or their sleep - to do this. In fact, I was surprised when Hubby said he wanted to do it. This is the man who goes to sleep every night at 8:45 p.m., so he can get up to exercise. Reluctantly, I agreed to go along, and I am glad I did. The event was a lot of fun!
With what turned out to be close to 150 people, this event was as big, if not bigger, than the 10-10-10 Run had been. For me, the night started out early as I got there by 9:30 p.m. to offer any help with registration. Mainly, I needed to get out of the house, lest I fall asleep while waiting to go. Registration went about as smoothly as you can expect when you are not expecting a huge crowd, but we got through it.
The run itself was awesome. Starting out along the main street of our little town, our crowd got a lot of curious looks from the smokers hanging out on the sidewalks of the neighborhood's local taverns. They quickly recognized the fun of the event, though, and started cheering, offering encouragement and high-fives as we streamed past. Once past the main drag, the streets quickly became quieter and darker. I started out running by myself as I tried to find a pace to settle into. Coming up behind a group of friends I decided to tuck in behind them and run their pace - a tad slower than I had been going. Getting drawn into the conversation, though, it wasn't long before I and another lady pulled away from the group and set our own pace. I didn't have my watch, but L.'s watch reported an average 9:30 pace, which is not too shabby for me. The best part - I ran the whole time! I can't remember when the last time was I ran that distance with no walk breaks. Now, I am not necessarily looking to be a run-only type of gal. I do like my walk breaks, after all. But, it feels good to know they can be optional on group runs like this. If there is one disadvantage to the run/walk, it's that it makes group runs difficult for obvious reasons.
The route mapped out for us was a nice one. We wended our way through residential neighborhoods and past parks. Somewhere off to our left was Lake Winnebago, but we couldn't see it. The full moon that was out helped light our way a bit, but I was grateful for the headlamp I had borrowed from a friend earlier in the week for this purpose. Without it, I think I might have taken a few missteps as there were a couple of stretches of roadway that were not well lit and where the trees blocked the moon a bit. I had a map in my hand, but that proved unnecessary as there were so many of us; the steady stream of LED-lit runners ahead stretched out into the night leading the way towards the finish. I guess the only worry would have been if someone up ahead had made a wrong turn, but luckily that didn't happen.
Finishing up the run, we headed into the tavern where the run was being staged and enjoyed some beer and cake, of all things. (There was apparently a sale on cake, so we had a lot of it.) A good part of the crowd stuck around talking and hanging out, and it was nice to see so many new faces. 11-11-11 was advertised as a members-only event, and that helped garner a couple dozen new members for the club. And, I think they are already finding out one of the reasons I love our local running club so much: it's not just about the running; it's about the friendships, too.
Aftermath of the Late Night
The only downside to the run is that it made for a very late night. I didn't get home until nearly 3 a.m. that night, and that made for a zombie-like Saturday. This morning, I managed to pull myself out of bed at 5 a.m. to go run five miles with the Sunday running group. That was nice and the motivation I needed to do something. I think I must still be tired, though, because they didn't take nearly enough walk breaks for me today. I was pooped.
So, all in all, a good weekend. Now to prepare for another type of endurance event, the days leading up to the Little Guy's birthday. Party planning is not my strong suit, so I'll have to buckle down and take care of all that. So far, we have eight kids coming to a local bouncy place, where pizza and cake will be served. Most gifts are bought, and I am happy I finished the blanket I made for his bed. (It's just a simple no-sew blanket. The only crafty skill I have.) I think he'll like it. This year, he wanted everything Cars, so hopefully this will fit the bill a bit.