Name of the race: It’s a Wonderful Run 5K
Where: Seneca Falls, NY (aka Bedford Falls)
Date: December 12, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm (actual start time 4:45 pm)
Terrain: Flat road race, with a downhill finish
Entry fee: $25
Swag: Long-sleeved tech shirt
Performance: Overall: 410/3819; Gender: 126/2407; Age (35-39): 11/251
Weather: 52 degrees, 72% humidity
Merry belated Christmas! We started our holiday season with going upstate to Seneca Falls to celebrate Ben’s birthday and to do the It’s a Wonderful Run 5K. I’ve wanted to do this race ever since I found out about it because the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, has a lot of sentimental meaning. Seneca Falls is famous for being the site of the first women’s rights convention in 1848 and for being the inspiration of Bedford Falls for Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
Thanks to the unseasonably warm winter, we got to do this race wearing t shirts and shorts. In December. In upstate NY. In 50 degree weather. It was unbelievable. Even the race director couldn’t believe it. By the way, I don’t know if everyone reads the emails that race directors send, but I do. I really love it when the race directors put their personalities into the messages. She was funny and snarky
Ever since the clusterf*ck of a bib pick up that we experienced at the Oyster Bay Turkey Trot, Ben and I have an extra appreciation for efficient service. We approached the community center with trepidation because it looked like there was a long line snaking out of the door, but it turned out to be nothing more than a crowd huddling around the entrance. We went inside, stood in a short and fast line, and left with our bibs. As an additional nice touch for the race’s theme, we were given a small bell to wear with our bibs.
The town goes all out for this race. Several runners were in costume. Even Mr. Potter showed up to spectate! A DJ spun tunes while people gathered around to get their bibs and wait for the start. A rousing band played on the bridge where the start line was. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey, was there to send the runners off by saying her famous line, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!”
The race atmosphere was festive. At different spots around the race, speakers were set up to play music. Spectators were out to cheer for us and a few even had a roaring bonfire to keep them warm. My favorite stretch of the race was the last 1/3 where we turned onto the main street to run through Seneca Falls to a thick crowd of cheering fans.
My goal for this race was run a sub-24 5K. I didn’t want to start too fast, so I was diligent about running a 7:30 for the first mile. Garmin beeped that the first mile was 7:36. Great! I was excited about not running too fast.
After the first mile, I could feel myself getting really tired and slowing down. The second mile, I slowed to 8:16. After that, everything just fell apart for me. I got a terrible side cramp. My legs felt like they were filled with concrete. Honestly I felt like quitting, but I knew I would still have to get myself to the finish line. Since I only had about a mile left, I decided to run the mile slowly, enjoy myself, and finish the race. It was disheartening seeing so many people pass me, but there wasn’t anything I could do. If I didn’t have such a terrible cramp, I would have really enjoyed the nice steep downhill to the finish. Several runners flew right by me!
I finished in 25:33, which is the slowest 5K time that I’ve had in two years. While I’m bummed at not having a good race, these things happen and I’d rather I have a bad race at a non-goal race than at a goal-race.
The post-race spread was very generous for a 5K. I drank lots of hot chocolate and helped myself to cookies, while Ben stuck to coffee to warm up. It’s a Wonderful Life 5K is a fun holiday-themed race. This is the biggest 5K that we’ve ever been in, almost 4,000 runners. Ben was amazed that so many people came out. While Ben still thinks it’s a crazy that we drove 4.5 hours to do a 5K, I thought the race was fun and well worth the effort of driving from New York City.
Seneca Falls Bedford Falls, for bringing the holiday cheer!