Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jingle Bell Run 5k

Hi everyone!  As I mentioned yesterday, I ran my final race of the year on Sunday- the Jingle Bell 5k.  Today I'm going to be recapping of the race.  I'll start with an overview, followed by a breakdown of the location, event, course, and how I did.



Location Overview

This is a race that I've done years and years ago at North Park, but it was recently relocated to the North Shore in Pittsburgh.  I love this location for races, because it's easy to get to, there's lots of convenient parking, and registration/packet pickup is in the Great Hall in Heinz Field.  The hall is covered, which is perfect in case it rains, and there are also lots of real toilets.  For all you runners out there, this is a huge luxury!


Event Overview

This race is very family friendly and has lots of different events going on.  There's a pet costume contest, a tinsel trot for kids, 1 mile run/walk, and a 5k.  Almost everyone dresses up in costumes- both spectators and runners.  I love how festive the run is!  I will warn that most people put jingle bells on their laces, so if you have sensitive ears, this could give you a really bad headache.


For the 5k, there were pace signs set up as informal corrals, but the majority of the people participating are either jogging with a group for fun or walking.  I lined up near the 8:00 pace sign, and there were hardly any runners around me!  Most people were around the 10:00 sign, so I knew this would be a fun, non competitive race.

As far as swag, we received a long sleeved green t-shirt.  There were also lots of arthritis-themed vendors around who had goodies, but other than a t-shirt we didn't receive anything.  Awards were given for overall and age group winners.


Course Overview

The race starts at the corner of Heinz Field on North Shore Drive.  The road is really wide, so it's perfect for the start of a race!  

Mile one takes you down and around PNC Park, then onto River Avenue.  There is a slight downhill at this point, and the Steel City Road Runners hosted the first water stop right outside of their building.  I hit mile one in 8:08.  I tried to start conservatively, but my legs felt really heavy.  Not really a good sign, but I knew I could power through for two more miles.

For the second mile, you continue down River Avenue, and turn onto the River Trail at the 16th Street/Heinz Lofts parking lot.  I really like that this race has a separate path for the out and back portion.  The river trail is one of my favorite places to run as well, with a great view of downtown and the river.  My second mile time was 7:36, and I was still hurting!

The final mile continues on the river trail, past  PNC Park and Heinz Field.  The only noticeable hill is right before you hit mile 3 - when the trail meets up with North Shore Drive.  This is a short and steep ramp, with a steep turn onto the road.  From this point, you can see the finish line ahead and it's slightly downhill.  I could feel myself slowing down in this final mile, and I finished it in 7:57.

Thanks to my mom for the picture!
Overall, the course is very flat (for Pittsburgh) with a slight downhill at the beginning and a steep hill at the end.  The course is out and back, but the "out" is on a road and "back" is on a paved trail.    My final time was 24:45, which was my third fastest 5k of the year.  I'm happy with this time since I wasn't really training for this race, and didn't feel my best.  



When I registered, I accidentally signed up as a male somehow, so I ended up in 12th place in the male 25-29 age group.  In my "real" age group, I finished in 10th.

Have you ever done a theme race?
What is your final race for the year?


linking up with Tuesdays on the Run  
Wild Workout Wednesday and Jill

57 comments:

  1. Great review. I have yet to do a themed race but from the sounds of it, they are more of a go out and have fun type of run. I would like to do one like that. Great time also congrats

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    1. Thanks Shaun! I like how for races like this you can be serious and run it for time, but you can also just do it for fun. I took a middle approach!

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  2. Great job Gretchen! Way to end the year on a good note!

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  3. Signing up as a man is something I would do by accident lol. Every time we go to my son's soccer training, they pull him up as me because I put my name in on the sign up form and he yells at me every week lol. Great job on the race! 5k's are so tough (at least in my opinion!) but this looks like so much fun. I always wanted to do a hot chocolate themed race. Wish one would come closer to me in ny

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    1. That's so funny! I've done that a few times for Selma when we take her to the vet..whoops. The hot chocolate races sound amazing...

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  4. Great finish to the year, Gretchen!! The only themed race I ran this year was the Turkey Trot, and I managed to PR with a drum stick headband, lol. I really want to run a superhero race at some point though!

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    1. Thanks Cynthia! Love that you ran with a drum stick headband..that's so funny!

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  5. How crazy that you ran in shorts and a T-shirt in December?! I've never done a Christmas/holiday race (just a Turkey Trot) but it sounds fun!

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    1. It was SO crazy! I'm not complaining though!

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  6. HAHA congrats on your male age group finish! That's seriously hilarious and so something I would do- I love it! Congrats on such a great 5k! I've been there time and time again where my legs feel heavy at the start regardless of how much I do to avoid that, but way to stick with it and push through! I'm so sad not to be doing a holiday race this year it looks so fun

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    1. Thank goodness I didn't actually win a prize..that would have been awkward to explain! Thanks Margaret :)

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  7. Great race! I did this race last year & had a good time. Love to see everyone's outfits!

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  8. I've never done a theme race & my last race was the Buffalo Creek HM in October. I'm sort of regretting that now that I have nothing on the calendar for a while.

    It's always good to take a break, but when I do I wish I hadn't.

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    1. I do that all the time too! When I have a lot of races I wish I had a break, then when I have a break I wish I was racing. We always want what we don't have!

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  9. I think I'm done racing for the year, but who knows! There's a small trail run nearby this weekend, if I can completely defeat this cold and get myself out of bed I might give it a shot. Nice job on the race!

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    1. Good luck at the race if you end up running it!

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  10. I considered doing this race last and this year since it's so close to my house, but I wondered whether I'd be able to race it given that most people treat it as a fun run. But maybe it would be good to race because the front of the course is less crowded? Congrats on a good finishing time, especially given that you weren't feeling great!

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    1. I think you would be able to race it for sure. People doing it for fun are pretty good about lining up at the back, so I had no issues at all. Thank you Jennifer :)

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  11. Congrats on your race! It looks like a fun course and it's great to see so many casual runners out having fun!

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  12. The pumpkin spice 5k was very much themed with the shirts, bibs, and post-race goodies. I grabbed what I thought was a small coffee cake and it was pumpkin cake. I'm not a fan of pumpkin but I still ate it for the carbs.

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    1. That sounds like a fun race! I wish there was more available for this race, but it goes to a good charity so I can't complain!

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  13. The bells would make me batty. Ha! But what a fun, festive run.

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  14. Rock it out! I'm not sure that I could handle the bells. I would beat the bells out of them. But I'm a scrooge.

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    1. Bah Humbug Suz! jk they made me crazy too!

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  15. I love this recap! I just ran the same "race" here in Anchorage (the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis) last weekend so I was excited to read about how Pittsburgh did it. Your race looked much warmer than mine! :)

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    1. That's so cool! Coming to read your recap now. I can't believe how warm it was!

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  16. Sounds like an awesome race!! awesome job on your time!

    We have been wanting to do a race in Pittsburg for a long time, maybe 2016 will be the year!

    I have learned that *sometimes* the data entry teams makes their share of mistakes when entering the runners info... I registered my fiancé for a 10K, and put down he was a 46 year old male. At the finish line the people double checking the results were all sorts of confused when he finished, because their computers said he was 15 year old girl! and more than once my name has been changed, once at an award ceremony the organizers kept calling for Aia.... instead of Ana.

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    1. Thanks Ana! You should definitely come to Pittsburgh if you're able. It's such a great city to visit! I'm assuming that this was user error, but I guess it's possible they made a mistake. I guess we'll never know!

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  17. Great job on your 5k. An awesome time! I'm surprised to hear that it was mostly flat for Pittsburgh. Of course you couldn't finish a race there without a hill at some point. Why is it the hill is always at the end when we are tired?

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    1. Thank you! Races that are around the rivers are usually pretty flat thankfully. My neighborhood is on a hill, so no matter where I run I always finish running up hill. Helps for races like this!

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  18. This race looks so much fun! I have never done a Christmas-themed race but I would love to. It doesn't seem like there are a whole lot near me, sad!

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    1. Maybe next year there will be more! It was so fun and put me in the holiday mood..even if it was 60 degrees out!

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  19. Gosh, sometimes I wish I were a runner just because the events seem fun! Plus it seems like a great way to have some personal goals and accomplishments outside of just work and what not. Congrats on your third fastest time!

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    1. The events are always really fun! There's also lots of walking races if you wanted to do that :) Thank you for visiting Gina!

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  20. Hah! That's funny you registered as a male. Good job on your race! I can almost keep up with you. :)

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  21. Congrats on a great 5K time! Signing up as a male on accident is something I'm always worried I'll do (sometimes my brain autocorrects things haha)! The jingle bells on people's shoes would probably drive me insane, or just motivate me to run faster to get away from the noise!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I couldn't believe that I did that..but thank goodness I'm slow and don't win age group awards ;)

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  22. Hey cutie patootie! Sorry I'm so late getting to your blog today. I'm glad I did though because I loved reading about your race! Our running group used to run with bells on our laces every Christmas Eve and it was really grating for me because I'm so sensitive. But I still did it, because it's Christmas. Congrats on a great race. That middle mile is smokin'! And way to finish strong, too. Love the photo. :) I don't race very much at all, so I don't have anything coming up other than Andrew's marathon in AZ in January. Getting excited about that!

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    1. I'm just glad you stop by every day Suzy :) Thank you for the sweet comment! I can't wait to see how Andrew does in his marathon. So exciting!

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  23. I LOVE your graphic and workout playlist for this race- how cool! Themed races are so much fun, I just ran my first Santa Shuffle not too long ago!

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    1. Thanks so much Annmarie! Sounds like a fun race :)

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  24. What a fun race!! I'll have to see if I can visit my in-laws around that time sometime!

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  25. This looks like so much fun - I've done a couple "glow runs" which are at night and you kind of just jog in the dark lol - great playlist too

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    1. I've always seen the glow runs, but have no desire to run one. That's too late for me ;) They look like fun though, and the pictures are always amazing!

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  26. This looks like such a fun race. Crazy that you were in shorts for a jingle bell run, huh? I also adore your race recap graphic!

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    1. Thanks Nicole! I still can't believe it's 60 out..what a crazy year.

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  27. What a way to finish the running year! I LOVE that "Confident" song by Demi Lovato...such a motivational song!

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  28. hahahaha love that you accidentally signed up as a male. that photo is fabulous by the way, though that guy next to you definitely doesn't look impressed. i can't get over how warm it is lately. shorts!

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  29. I love holiday runs! Nice finish and awesome playlist. Thanks for sharing with friends at Fitness Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  30. Great job, looks fun and perfect weather :)

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  31. GIRL, that is a fast 5K!! I need to see South Paw...
    Merry Christmas!!

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