Yesterday I did my first Cross Country race: The Living History Farms race. This race is North America’s biggest Cross Country race and is capped at 7500 participants. For years, I’ve loved looking through the Des Moines Register’s online galleries of pictures from this event, but never, ever did I think I’d run it! Actually, as of 30 minutes before leaving for the race I still wasn’t positive it was gonna happen.
Let me back track. I have been co-chairing the East Village Holiday Promenade for the last 4 years and the 2012 Promenade happened to be the night before the race. I also had let my spa work get behind in the final days leading up to the Promenade. On Friday, I started my day at 5:30 am getting ready for a 6am TV interview and ended it at midnight so when my alarm went off bright and early, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep.
My serious exhaustion coupled with the fact that this would be my longest distance run…EVER…and my severe crowd anxiety (oh, and don’t get me started about my bad bathroom situation/porta-potty fears!) had me all kinds of freaked out. I decided to tough it out. I didn’t have a costume or even a regular outfit planned, I hadn’t even checked the weather since I’d been entirely work/Promenade focused for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, the rushing around to find clothes, parking far away and walking briskly made it so I didn’t have time to stand around and panic like I frequently do in a crowd. Also, seeing the fun costumes was a good distraction.
The course was 7 miles, 6 creek crossings, some decent hills. Most of the crossings had what I call a “weenie” option that Matty J and I took…a shallower crossing. I actually didn’t even get my feet wet the first couple since I could hop rocks. It wasn’t until the last 2ish miles that I did get wet and a bit muddy. The mud was due to the younger runners splashing it and kicking it at other runners. I suppose at their age they aren’t thinking “I don’t want a nose full of E-coli.” But, I’m a germ-a-phobe, so I’m usually thinking of things like that, whether or not I’m knee deep in a creek.
Overall, it was a beautiful and unseasonably warm morning, a fun race, great to see all the creative costumes. We ran the majority of the parts that were run-able (meaning not the logjam before the creek crossings and some of the steeper/more slippery hills) and I only walked a few parts at the end. Plus, the calorie burn (according to Livestrong.com’s My Plate anyway) was pretty stellar so I got to be naughty yesterday. The race is something something I may or may not do again (specifically I would totally do it again if my brother and his girlfriend come up to join us…hint hint!) but I’m glad I pushed through my anxiety and can now say I’ve done it.