The race shirts came in both men's and women's cut, technical fabric. The organizers had a design contest for this year's shirt, and when we saw the winner, we were all "there's a water tower at the park??" - turns out, there IS one, but it's across the road from the park. Not sure why that was notable, but the colors are cute on the shirt, and mine fits me well, so it's all good.
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, we ran the Burning Pine race at Bastrop State Park. Once again I chose to run the 5K, but instead of me being the only person out of our group to do so, more than half of us picked that distance. I think we were all glad we did, as the hills are so freaking steep! But I'm getting ahead of myself - here's the recap from the beginning.
Jeff and I, along with Andi, Julia, and Diane carpooled to Bastrop in Andi's van, with Jeff driving. Just before we got to the park, we stopped at Buc-ee's to use their awesome restrooms - we knew there would be porta potties at the race, but why not take advantage of real restrooms while we could? Then we got to the parking area across from the park, met up with the rest of our group, got our bibs (Cary's mom did packet pickup for us the day before, since she lives nearby), and got on the school bus for the short shuttle ride into the park.
We took our traditional pre-race sunrise picture:
Jeff, Julia, me, Diane, Karen, Andi, Laura, Cristy, Cindy (Cristy and Cary's mom), Cary, Brian.
Here's a better shot of the sunrise - perk of being a runner, getting to see many sunrises.
The 10K started first, and I managed to get a picture of Jeff doing jazz hands as he passed by:
Karen and Cary are behind him. Note that they get to start on a slight uphill; luckily, the 5K started at the top of this slope.
We took a quick selfie as the 5K group lined up:
Me, Julia, Andi, and Diane.
And then we were off! I ran with Diane...this was her first time doing this race, and she'd only heard about the hills. The first part - less than a half mile - is fairly flat, but then it starts to climb, and climb, and climb. The road also curved, so you couldn't see just how far up you had to go; I knew it was going to be bad for a while, but Diane kept asking if that was it - nope. We walked to the top of the first hill and then got to run down it, and that was glorious. I went from feeling like "why am I doing this" to "I CAN RUN!!!" so basically for my running mental health, I should only run downhill, haha. Then we hit the next hill, which was even steeper than the first. More walking, but hey, that gave us time for pictures:
I believe we were actually running in the middle picture.
It was much hotter and way more humid this year - 73 degrees, 100% humidity, and the sun was beating down on us - and we were pretty wiped out after the hills, so we did random intervals (run to that orange cone then walk until the sign up ahead, for example) for the rest of the race. We must have looked bad because just about every volunteer we passed by called out for us to keep hydrating - and we did take water at all three of the aid stations - but I think we looked pretty good when we crossed the finish line:
photo credit: Jimmymeow
We got our medals (which were the same as last year's, only with a different colored ribbon) and then went over to wait for the 10K peeps to finish.
This collage includes both the 5K and 10K Renegade Runners:
Tough course; everyone was glad to be done!
Afterward, you could check your finish stats via a computer, which printed out a little receipt with your info on it. Brian placed third in his age group, and Laura placed third in hers! We waited around for the awards, but when they did the 5K awards, Laura's name wasn't called. She went back and rechecked her info, and it was updated to place her fourth, whomp whomp. So in between the award ceremonies, we had her stand on the third place podium:
You're still a winner to us, Laura!
We waited quite a while before they announced the 10K winners - I'm not sure why there was such a long break in between the two distances. Everyone was getting tired of standing around:
Diane, Jeff, and Julia, just hanging out on the winner's podiums.
We took our traditional post-race finisher's picture with the #RunYourAshOff sign:
The gang. You know who we are at this point.
And then we did some individual shots:
Give us a camera and a prop, and we'll entertain ourselves.
Finally, the 10K awards started. Brian's name was called and we hooted and hollered for him:
Winners got a cool white hat.
At that point, even though we'd had some donut holes and coffee courtesy of Dunkin Donuts, we were all pretty hungry, so we hustled over to the shuttle bus and rode back to our vehicles:
Renegade Run Club - anytime we're together, it's fun, even on an old school bus!
We planned on going to Maxine's Cafe again for breakfast, but we all wanted to change into dry clothes, so Cary and Brian went ahead to the restaurant to put our names in on the waiting list and change there, but our group went back to Buc-ee's to change in their nice restrooms. That would be trip number two, if you're keeping track.
We didn't have to wait too long for our table at Maxine's, and we actually had the same waitress as last year. She was super nice and patient with us, and even took our picture:
We were seated in a little side room which was perfect - no worries about disturbing the other diners with our exuberance.
My appetite has not been great ever since I came back from California; I'm just about over that cold, but it's been weird to not be hungry. I'm not complaining (always the dieter) - however, I'd like to feel more energetic. Any case, I ordered a biscuit meal and ate about half of it:
No ginormous pancake for me this year...maybe next time.
We spent a couple hours at Maxine's, and then we all headed for home - but not before making one last stop at Buc-ee's! Whoever was watching their security cameras that day must have thought we were a strange bunch, going in so often, and appearing in different outfits as well. Thanks for having such nice clean restrooms, Buc-ee's!
Couple more things - this was the fifth year for the Burning Pine race, so they had extra goodies you could tack onto your registration, sight unseen. Since it's a fundraiser, I went ahead and ordered the hat and coffee mug. This is what we got:
Cool hat; either Jeff or I would be happy wearing it.
Somehow the coffee mug became a gigantic beer stein. I actually weighed it on my food scale - it was 2.75 pounds, empty!! Even Jeff thought it would be too heavy with liquid in it, so it's decorating his desk now.
All in all, this was a fun day with my Renegades. The race is hard, but it's for a great cause - the proceeds fund planting new trees to replace the ones lost in the fire of 2011 - and we'll be back next year...and maybe by then I'll have forgotten how steep those hills are!