Race: Fast Freddie Five Mile Foot Feast
Place: New Albany, Indiana
Date: November 27, 2014
One does not simply Turkey Trot in New Albany, Indiana. Oh no. Not here. In New Albany…we have what is known as a “Foot Feast.” What, pray tell, is the difference? Nothing. But, why trot for turkey or dash for drumsticks when you can simply feast on everything!
I love the Fast Freddie Five Mile Foot Feast. Regardless of the weather being atrociously cold most Thanksgiving mornings around here, when all is said and done…I adore this race. It is, literally, right outside my door. Held at the 4-H Fairgrounds right across the street from my apartment complex. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that. It remains the least stressful race that I run…every year.
So, leave it to me and my Type A, Virgo mind to stress me out.
First of all, the night before Thanksgiving is always…I repeat…always super busy for me. This year, I was preparing desserts to take to dinner. But first, I needed to pick up my packet at the 4-H Fairgrounds (which I did on my lunch break), then, after work, traverse traffic over to Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky to pick up my special holiday order from Annie May’s Sweet Café. Gluten-free stuffing and gluten-free croissant rolls awaited. There was no holding me back. And…it was the eve of a race. And while Cathy and I almost went to Jason’s Deli for soup that evening, we instead ended up across the parking lot at Blaze Pizza. Keeping with tradition…gluten-free pizza the night before a race. I think, in the end, it made me feel a little more at ease noshing on a thin-crust gluten-free and vegan pizza.
Afterwards, we were winging back to the apartment so that I could start baking my gluten-free and vegan marbled pumpkin cheesecake and start putting together pink salad…for desserts the following day. It took up the rest of the night and I found myself shifting things in the fridge much later than I would have liked, but getting both the cheesecake and the pink salad inside. Tight fit…but they were in and chilling. That was the important thing.
I slept really well, waking up around 6 a.m. with the coffee brewing. As I didn’t really need to be in any big rush I just sort of ducked into my closet and started pulling out what I was going to wear. Capri pants, my thermal top with the turtle neck, and compression sleeves. Done. I dressed. I glanced out the window to see if I could see the finish line set-up going on. What greeted me next, however, was SNOW. S-N-O-W.
“Awww…hell!” I said.
I think I kept hoping that it was an illusion or a dream…but each time I checked…the white stuff was still there. I ate breakfast when my roomie staggered out…which consisted of cereal. Then, after puttering around for a little while (which I should have been stretching), my roomie went to go and prepare herself for spectating. She came back out and walked over to the front door, pulling it open.
In rushed this cold, wintery gust of air that literally blew right through me. I sat up from the rug I was just lounging on. “Oh. My. God. Do I need another layer?”
She shrugged and went back into her room. And I was left to ponder the age-old…how to dress for this race problem.
After a lot of back and forth, while Cathy suited up in 5 layers to stay warm…I decided to suck it up (gluten-free) cupcake and just wear the top I had on. I could keep my fleece on until go time. And with Cathy bundled up and me really not wanting to step outside…the time had come to make our way down to the 4-H Fairgrounds. Just a short walk across the parking lot of our apartment building. But in the cold air…not as much fun.
Our downstairs neighbor was unloading stuff from her car and she saw us and asked if I was running this morning. I told her I was doing the 5 miler right across the street. She wished me luck. We continued down toward the road and a window of one of the vehicles parked in the drive of the apartment complex rolled down the window. It was Art from my spin class. He and his family were doing the run too. We talked briefly and he introduced me to his wife who was really curious about my marathon running. And then…he went to stay warm for a few more minutes and I went over to the base camp…the fairgrounds.
Runners were huddled together trying to keep warm. I noted who the elite runners were. This is evident by their lack of clothing on seriously cold days…the singlets with the short-shorts. And walking around like it’s really 90 degrees out and we’re just all big babies. These, friends, are people who win races. I am NOT one of these people! Remember, I debated an extra layer. So, I stretched, because I forgot to do it in the warmth of my apartment, and not soon after, Freddie was having everyone fill up the street because this race starts at 9 a.m. SHARP. I joined the masses and moved up toward the front of the line, without being in front. There was still some traffic trying to come through, so we made room. Some brave souls ran sprints through the cars. I just stayed off to the side and tried to stay warm. I had shed my fleece jacket at this point. And with the wind, it was biting cold that morning.
Finally, the cars cleared and we spread out. I moved more toward the other side of the road. Fred let us know that he would give us the on your marks command and a whistle. This year…he blew the whistle.
We were off.
I was not running this year for time. I couldn’t. Not with the foot problem, the broken toe, and the lack of running (except for crazy distance races) since July. Honestly…I took so much time off this year, I felt like a freakin’ tortoise as we started up the first hill to go over the overpass. I usually incorporate this route in some way, shape, or form, in my training in the summer. But as I wasn’t allowed to run all freakin’ summer…the route felt brand new to me. You’d think my legs would remember it. Well…maybe it was the icy cold morning, but…they felt like they had never run it before.
As we crossed over the interstate, there was a patch of ice on the overpass. Everyone near me started yelling “ICE!,” so I did the logical thing and quickly moved away. I sprained my ankle last year and required physical therapy after slipping on ice. I’m done with injuries, okay? Freakin’ done. I’m still working on the recovery. So…yeah…I moved. Down the hill and to the light where we make our first turn. One mile…done.
The rolling ups and downs of Mount Tabor road are what we are greeted with. It feels good, now that my legs have warmed up that first mile. I wish I could say the same for me. I could no longer feel my face. I wasn’t even sure it was still attached. Pressing on, I took the hills as I usually do…with power. I figure, I want to earn the downhill recovery, I’m going to best the hills. And these weren’t bad. Nope. Mile 2…done after turning onto Grant Line Road.
Grant Line Road takes us to Sam Peden Community Park. We duck inside near the fire department. This is where the water stop is located. I think most people decided it was too cold to deal with water as more people than usual just ran right past the group manning the table. We head up an incline and it levels off (no downhill) to take us around the park. At the path where the 2-mile walk cuts across…is Mile 3. Two more to go. And we now get to the most difficult part.
After Mile 3, you get this small, steady incline to take you to another leveled off spot. Here, you round the corner and go through the gate at the other end of the park. A lot of people who live in the apartments there came out to cheer. One guy shouted, “All the kings horses and all the kings men…” I don’t know what that means, but he was clapping and shouting, and it was needed. Exit park on a nice downhill. Then start your first of three hills. Schell Lane is a beast. A freakin’ BEAST!
I actually have always embraced the challenge of Schell Lane. I don’t know why. I hate running hills…and that’s all this road is. Three uphills and two downhills with a nice downhill waiting as you turn the corner and hit Daisy Lane. I ran Schell Lane like I always do – with intention. And, I loved heading up that last hill and seeing these kids out in the yard screaming, “GO RUNNERS!” as we all worked our way up the steepest of the climbs, to earn our reward…a flat segment leading into the turn…then the nice downhill.
Running down Daisy Lane makes you feel so free and alive. It feels so easy because it is one hell of a downhill. It takes you right into that 4th mile. I actually peeked at the clock as I ran past the mile marker. I knew I was going to have a slower time this year. But, I figured that going into it. Time to just make that last mile count.
Down to the traffic light and make the turn onto Green Valley Road. You’ve come full circle almost. Only half a mile away is the finish line, back at the 4-H Fairgrounds. I run this stretch a lot. I know where the rolling hills are. And yet…at this point, my feet wanted to do little in regards to getting me to that finish line. It was the cold weather. My body hates cold weather. My muscles just don’t fire the same. But, I turned it on and gave it my best push and soon, I was rounding the corner to the drive of the 4-H Fairgrounds and pushing hard to the finish line, with Cathy screaming at me from the sidelines. There were very few spectators out this year. I think the cold weather kept them inside.
But…finish I did. I dropped the bottom tag of my bib into the raffle box and went to grab some water. Cathy met me on the other side of the main hall and we debated whether to stick around for awards or not. Traditionally, we do. And if you do place in your age division, Freddie says you have to be there to claim your award. That’s just how he does it. So…after debating on whether to go shower and get ready for the drive to Corydon for Thanksgiving or to stick around, I finally decided to stick around…at least for a little while.
This turned out to be…of little use this year. There was a timing mat issue…which they were working on resolving. So, they went ahead and gave out some of the raffle drawing awards. And then they did the top three male and female finishers. No new faces there. Not this year. The first male finisher, Ben Hubers, finished in 25:05. The first female, Sarah Peace, finished in 28:14. The times were slower this year and a lot of that was on account of the cold weather.
Anyway…they finished up the raffle and then Fred announced that they were still sorting out age division awards, so they would have that posted on the Web site and if you won an age division award, you could pick up your award at Pacers & Racers on Grant Line Road for a week. After that…they were gone.
So…as it turns out, I ran this years Fast Freddie Festive Five Mile Foot Feast almost 2 minutes slower than last year, finishing with a time of 38:15. I was 152/928 finishers this year. I was the 26th female to cross the finish line. And lo and behold…I was 3rd in my age division. Go figure. So, the one year they aren’t able to do the awards at the race is the year I actually place. And I did it running slower. How does that even happen?! Needless to say, I went over to Pacers & Racers that Sunday to pick up my award. It was a mug. AWESOME!
Anyway, I am already looking forward to next year’s Fast Freddie Five Mile Foot Feast and can’t wait to see what I can accomplish. Maybe I can at least beat this year’s time. HA! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!