I spotted several familiar faces, and arranged a warmup run with Willy Sayers, who runs right around my pace. We got back to the start just in time for the National Anthem and the start of the 10k at 10:00a. Then at 10:05a it was time to line up for the 5k.
After a group photo with Elba, we were off, following a lead bike out of the Battle Ground Cinemas parking lot and into the quiet streets through town. Willy, another friend, and I quickly found ourselves in a lead pack, and I thought if things stay this way, it will be fun to share the podium with these guys, in whichever order we end up finishing.
As we settled into our pace, one of the volunteers, Ardara, cheered us on as we passed an intersection and said “I know all three of you!” The lead cyclist was great about giving us advice about safely running in the street and where the upcoming turns were. Some frost was still visible on the road, but it wasn’t too slippery, and the sun was quickly warming things up.
The 5k course was a pleasant tour of residential neighborhoods, open fields, and quiet industrial park areas, and the sunshine added to the scenic atmosphere. At one point, the lead biker pointed out that we were passing through the neighborhood where a tornado struck exactly one month before.
The route was a large loop, with long straight stretches to make it fast, but just enough turns to keep it interesting. The course and start/finish areas were changed from last year, and seemed to me to be a slight improvement. The start/finish seemed less congested and parking was easier, and the race course was very logical, well-marked, and easy to follow. (A 10k runner reported that their course was a nice out-and-back, mostly on a paved path.)
We took a right turn and a volunteer told us we were halfway done. At this point I found myself in the lead, which meant more hard work as I tried not to slack off. A long straight segment led to another right turn, and then a final long straight stretch took us west back to the cinema parking lot and the finish. Willy and I had warmed up on part of this section, so it was easy to tell how much longer I had to go.
I crossed the line, accepted my finisher’s medal, caught my breath, and congratulated the other finishers. Willy easily surpassed his goal time, even with a cold, and my other friend earned another PR, one of many he has achieved in recent races.
I put on some warm clothes, took a few photos, got in line for a post-race pancake, and warmed up for a few minutes at one of the fires. Before long it was time for the 5k awards, and then I headed back to the car to change into my swim trunks.
“Swim trunks?!”, you ask. Yes, swim trunks! One of the unique features of the Resolution Run is the post-race Polar Bear Slide and hot tub. Last year I was a rookie, and came unprepared for the extra activities. But this time I planned ahead. Although it was still cold, I was mentally prepared as well, and the chill didn’t bother me too much, except for walking across the parking lot in bare feet. I’m sure the fact that a nice warm hot tub was awaiting us made a brief exposure to the cold easier to bear too.
The slip ‘n’ slide was fun, even though I only slid a few feet each time (I must cause a lot of friction!) Afterward, the hot tub was very welcome, and I made fun use of a white elephant present I received at a holiday gift exchange: a shark hat! A few runners and a couple kids seemed amused at least. From the comfort of the hot tub I got to watch the Cub Run for kids, who enthusiastically sprinted around the parking lot.
Finally it was time to reluctantly climb out of the tub, dry off, get dressed, and say goodbye to some running friends. A well-organized race, a nice course, great amenities, and fun extra features make The Resolution Run an excellent event and a good way to celebrate the new year.
I resolve to return next year to set a new PR in the Polar Bear Slide.