Last race of 2016, woo hoo!!

Suggly Sweater 5K

December 17, 2016

Holly Spring, NC

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Suggly Sweater 5K is my last race of 2016. I looked back over my list of races for this year and this was my 10th 5K. Holy Smokes batman I have been doing a lot of races. Who knew? I did because I keep a running list so I know what I have coming up and what I have done. I won’t even mention the half marathons, 10K, 8K and triathlons. This has been a busy year for me in terms of races. I’m blessed to have been able to do it all. I’m looking forward to 2017 and everything that awaits me.

I saw an advertisement for the Suggly Sweater race at Omega Sports in Cary when I was picking up my race packet for Holly Spring 5K. What caught my attention was that it was a local 5K and there was a medal. If you know me, you know how I feel about medals. Shockingly I did not take a picture of the sign. After I got home I kept trying to rack my memory on what the name of the race was. To my own surprise and through the helpfulness of Google I could find it. Cost was $35 which wasn’t too bad in my opinion. I went ahead and signed up. Of course, I decided to share the race on social media in case some of my fellow race peeps might be interested in joining me.

The race was held on December 17 at Sug Farm Park in holly Springs. I have lived in Wake county for over 18 years. There are still parts of it that I have never heard of. This gets added to the list. Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the major city in the county. There are others including Cary, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina. When I venture into the neighboring towns, it boggles me to see how much they have going on. When I drove to Holly Springs in November for the Inaugural half-marathon and 5K I was really impressed with the baseball stadium the race was held at. Who knew Holly Springs had it going on like that? I live in my corner of Northeast Raleigh and that’s about it.

As I woke up on Saturday morning for the race, I check my phone and see there was slick road conditions overnight that caused serious crashes on the roads. I slowly go into panic mode. I wonder if the roads are safe and if I should just stay home and miss the race. I really don’t want to miss the race primarily because it’s my last race and it’s the last race report I’m going to put in the book. SN: I’m working on a book about my race adventures. I text 2 of my TRI sisters Tiffany Davis and Ebony Haywood to see what they think. Neither responds. I call tall drink to see what he thinks. He isn’t really fazed by the weather. I decided to go ahead and get ready and head down US-1 to Holly Springs. By the time, I get dressed and get my stuff together, Ebony texts me that she’s in route to the race. Tiffany is barely among the wake. I head out on the TREK from my neck of the woods down to Holly Springs. It’s a good 35 minute drive. I really must love races because I’m really not about the commute life anymore. I head toward the park entrance and I can tell from the line of cars heading into the parking area that the weather is having absolutely no impact of the attendance. Folks are rolling in like normal. Did I mention that the temperature is a COLD 32 degrees outside. Baby it’s cold outside. I’m really wondering why I didn’t put on like 1 more layer just in case.

As I park in the parking area, I sit and wait in the car. I call tall drink. He can hear it in my voice that I’m not in a good race mode. My mind is all over the place thinking about other stuff. I tend to over stress over things. He reminds me to have a good race and have fun. I gather up my camel back and my phone and head over to the race HQ. The wind is kicking up and making the 32 degrees feel like 22 degrees. I’m starting to rethink doing races in December. Ebony and Kathy are already at the race sitting in Kathy’s car. Claudia Mello is also at the race as well. I wait by the entrance to race HQ for them. I see Tiffany walking up. We walk around trying to stay warm. It really isn’t working. We walk past a table that has a snow waiver that you can sign if you plan on using any of the snow shops that have set up. No thank you. We walk past 1 of the snow stations. They have ice shooting into a machine making real snow. The snow is COLD. I’ll pass. Kids are enjoying it. I see a few heaters under one of the tents where folks are hovering around it to stay warm. I tell Tiffany it reminds me of Charleston 5K. She tells me it’s just like Rock N Roll Raleigh. I tell her you know I wasn’t there I sent my replacement. Kathy and Ebony finds us. We get a pre-race group picture. Then we head over to the start line.

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The start of the race is in the field. I don’t even remember hearing anyone saying GO. I look up and see folks in front of us take off. We start moving towards the start line and we all set our Garmins once we cross the timing mat. GARMINS unite!! The race goes around the outer perimeter of the field. The terrain is very unbalanced and I’m trying my best not to fall because I am seriously accident prone just check out the mysterious bruises that show up on my arms and legs. I really can’t tell you where they came from either. Maybe I’m in an imaginary abusive relationship with my bed that I don’t know about. You gotta admit that was funny. We are making our way around the field. As we go down the side of the field, Tiffany says what goes down must come up. Then we start to walk up the field. We make our way around the front side of the field. There are some signs and markings that tell us where to go. We pass around the start/finish line and head around the field again. Tiffany tells me the first finishers are already headed to the finish. Overachievers!! I mean that in complete love. We head back down the side of the field. There is a sign that says 2 and right. We turn right and we are on trail again and then we pass mile 1 marker. Garmin beeps and mile 1 is at 21:51. I’ll take it. We keep moving through the trail and have mercy we finally are on the greenway. Tiffany and I both rejoice that we are on solid ground. The trail was killing my feet and tearing up Tiffany’s hip and knees. It’s hard out here for the Aruba TRI queens (nickname that tall drink has given us since we are signed up to do Challenge Aruba in October 2017). The greenway is very desolate. There are no course monitors out there. Tiffany mentions what if I was out here by myself. This is the prime spot for a predator to attack. Well I be she is right. As just as soon as she said that we see 3 teenagers who are course monitors. I tell Tiffany she talked them up. They tells us to keep up the good work. After we pass them we finally see a water stop. We were wondering if there was any kind of support out here on this course. I take a water cup and it’s ice cold and feels good to my throat. I am sweating like a sinner in church. Even in 30 degree weather I am sweating. We pass the water stop and keep on pushing on. I tell Tiffany the greenway reminds me of the greenway in Cary where the commitment day race went on. The greenway is running behind new houses that are being built. It’s hilly. We keep pushing through. We come to one hill. We both take a pause before we attack it. My lower back is starting to talk to me and not in a good way. My feet are doing very well. That’s normally where my issues are. We make it up the hill. We are coming around the side of a field. We have passed mile marker 2 awhile back. As we head out the greenway, we see cop cars at the entrance. It dawns on me that we are headed back to the park entrance. That means we are almost done. We turn onto the street. We tell the cops we are the last ones on the course. We see cars leaving as we head to the finish. I hear someone yell “Jo”. Guess who it is? Meredith Cuomo one of my TRI sisters. I didn’t even know she was even out here doing the race. We keep walking towards the park. Some cars honk at us as they are leaving. Some folks are giving us virtual high 5s as we pass them. It’s stuff like that gives me that extra boost of energy to keep on moving. My phone rings and it’s tall drink checking on us. I tell him we are headed to finish. Tiffany yells out we have .5 miles left to go. He tells me to call when we finish because he wants to know our time. SN: Tall drink has been designated our personal drill sergeant to get us ready for Aruba. We cross into the park and pass the parking area. I tell Tiffany this is the part that sucks when you pass by your car but you can’t get it in just yet. As we get closer to the turn to the finish, I spy with my little eye 2 of our TRI sisters up ahead Ebony and Kathy. I would like to call them Ebony & Ivory but someone make think that’s offensive. I tell Tiffany that’s what I’m talking about, sisterhood and support. We turn onto the field and head to the finish line. I see another TRI sister on the side, Claudia Mello. She heads to the finish line and is taking pictures of us. We cross the finish line posing. We have finished the race.

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It was so much better having someone with me this time. Thank you Tiffany Davis for signing up and doing this race with me. Racing is so much fun with a friend.

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