Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rudolph Red Nose 7.2M

Last weekend was my first (and only, likely) race for December.  I ran the Grinders High Noon Saloon Rudolph Red Nose 7.2 Tuff Miles race, here in Leavenworth.  I ran with L last year (brrr!), and loved it despite the wind and chill.  This year D and Nugget accompanied me to the start and then went on a lovely walk through downtown Leavenworth and the Riverfront and left me to run while they then headed for home.

Over the last few months, the previous establishment here (High Noon Saloon) closed, and then opened recently as a re-imagined Grinders franchise.  I was worried that the race wouldn't be offered this year due to changes in the management and ownership, but a week before the race, I spotted a sign in town advertising the event.

My goal like last year was to run in under and hour, and also to run more quickly than last year.

I had nothing but luck on my side -- warm sun, high 50s, just the faintest of breezes.  The course starts at the restaurant and travels south through the VA campus, around the duck pond, and back to the restaurant.  I love that it's such an odd distance - tough for the typical 5K crowd, and a bit of a stretch for the 10K weekenders too.  It's so much fun too because it starts eponymously at 12:00 sharp.  What a nice change, to sleep in for a run for a change!

The field of runners was so small this year, well down from about 100 last year, but the race director acknowledged that advertisement had been last minute due to uncertainty in the continuation of the race this year.  I was just so pleased that it reappeared for the 7th year.  I am so thankful to the management of Grinders for deciding to continue to support this in cooperation with the Riverfront Community Center.  It's a great Leavenworth race, and the course is hilly -- challenging for sure.  The overplayed joke is that "it's Kansas, no hills here!" and that joke my friends is still not funny!

The roads are low-traffic, and scenic, and since it is largely out-and-back there aren't too many race volunteers needed throughout the course to direct runners and traffic.  I love that all ages show up, to include my new race friend, in his 80s:

RFCC's photo of us...he's totally trying to get away from me :(
So many people wore Christmas-themed costumes!

And so many wore the cute shirt.

And others were comfortably attired in elf, kangaroo (Leavenworth's sister city is Wagga Wagga Australia, of course!) costumes and Rudolph himself made a royal appearance for pictures among us plebeians.

I had a great race, and as often happens, I luck out at smaller events and win a FOF!  I came in just under 57 minutes which makes me real happy on this rolling course.

I beat my time from last year, met some really nice runners, and am overall very impressed with Grinders.  I hadn't been there since it reopened, and the interior is much brighter and more inviting with the renovation.  I'm looking forward to our upcoming Christmas party there.  The menu looks delicious, and I will attest that the post-race pizza was fantastic, though I am always swayed by 1. free food and 2. any post-race comestibles.  I'd eat asphalt and bobby pins if that's what was offered.  The High Noon food and atmosphere are highly praised by friends of ours and I hope Grinders High Noon is here to stay, especially if they continue the Rudolph Red Nose 7.2M every year!

How's your winter racing going?  I love our Indian Summer...but know it's unseasonable!  I'm sure next year will be far colder but I am looking forward to this race again already.