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Fun Runs

If you asked, I'd tell you running is fun. I feel pure joy when I'm out cruising on trails. But, when I'm training for a big race, I occasionally find myself taking my running too seriously.

This Spring, I've re-discovered the fun run. These short "races" have refreshed my spirits, gotten me excited about running and I'm now looking forward to my training more than ever.

First in the Fun Run Series: The Fancy Pants 5K. This one was dreamed up by my friends Kris and Kyle who hosted it the morning after their wedding. Named for her sister's cat Clancy, the only requirement was to wear fancy pants. I went with my Life is Good pajamas (surprisingly comfortable on a cool Spring morning). Hubz wore his god-awful weightlifting pants from the 80s. 

Gang at start of The Fancy Pants 5K
The planned course covered a mile of scenic Lexington to the VMI track, then retraced its steps, ending at a bakery. Kris said anyone who wished to run a full 5k distance could run a mile in laps. After one lap, a few of us decided we would make our own impromptu course. A fellow guest who had attended VMI gave us a short tour of the campus. We achieved a bit of bonus mileage before we reached the bakery, where we enjoyed breakfast and coffee with our friends. Great fun!

3.23 miles of Fancy Pantsing around Lexington, Virginia

Urban racing (photo by Bobby Gill)
Second, and the most indulgent, was the WUS Donut Run. One of my Tuesday night running group cohorts came up with the idea, and I didn't have the heart to tell her @PunkRockRunner had beaten her to the punch. She made it a bit more competitive, to her credit.

The plan: Run a 10K, eating six Krispy Kreme donuts at the halfway mark, then run back to the start.

For the injured reserve, there was a 5k option with the requirement to consume a full dozen pastries. Brittany managed this seemingly impossible feat with aplomb.

The Donut Eaters (photo by Bobby Gill)
Hubz and I ran the first half, ate several donuts, then decided to go for sushi.

We may or may not have eaten more donuts when we got home.

Finally, the slightly more serious and less fun Crystal Run 5K. A couple of Twitter friends were signed up for this Friday evening race and a day before I impetuously ponied up my twenty bucks to join them.

The weather deteriorated all day until it was cold, windy and raining. I cursed my stupidity, toying with the idea of skipping the race. The rain deterred me from warming up for more than a couple of easy laps around the start area, however I did manage to run through a puddle the size of a car and soak my feet ten minutes before the start.

I had no idea what my 5K PR was. In fact, it has been so long since I raced a 5K, even the Internets don't remember. Half the participants were in red dress get-ups, blatantly stealing the idea from the Hash House Harriers. I don't care if it is in the name of charity, that's a Violation! Anyway, I wasn't sure how the hell I'd pace myself around all these yahoos but I was too cold to care much and then we were running.

Aside from the occasional headwind, the chilly weather was good for racing, and it also kept more than a few runners home. The scenery was urban service roads and buildings, the course was flat and fast with a couple of turnarounds. I didn't see my friends so there was nothing to do but get it done as quickly as I could.

Stylin in my Punk Rock Racing shirt.

Mile 1    8:19
Mile 2    7:59
Mile 3    7:54
Last .22 7:22

I was darn pleased with that, honestly. I'm counting it as my new 5K PR.

Although I ran this harder than the previous two fun runs, I didn't get anywhere near the misery index a 5K usually entails.
After the race, I met up with @katekirk and enjoyed a free beer courtesy of the race. All in all, time and money well spent.

Next up: The Beer Mile! The trash talk has already started.

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