Race Report: Trek or Treat

I’m not a fan of Halloween. Don’t get me wrong. I love helping my boys put their costumes together and giving out candy at the door. But I hate dressing up.
Little Ironman, on the other hand, loves being dramatic and can make a costume out of just about anything. He loves Halloween – not because of the candy, but because he gets to dress up and run around in the dark. Every summer, as soon as school is out, he starts to think about what he is going to be. This year, he dreamed of being Batman and wearing his costume to The Trek or Treat Creepy Mile because “Batman is fast so I’ll win.”
Superfriend Katherine came to the rescue to design and make a costume for LI, and I registered both boys for The Creepy Mile. Then, I impulsively decided to run the 5K, a mostly trail run which finishes past the cemetery.
Since I was crazy enough to put my road-running legs on the trails in the dark, I figured I might as well dress up too. LI and Skipper decided that SuperMom was the way to go. “And your shirt is easy,” piped up LI. “All you need is an S and a M on a heart.” No comments, please. I pulled everything together except the emblem; Superfriend Katherine surprised me with that too.
Since this was my first trail race ever and my first race in the dark ever, I was pretty nervous. But I didn’t wear my racing hat; I was just there to have fun. I realized how relaxed I really was about this just being another run when I lined up for the bathroom. “Forget this,” I thought to myself. “I’m not wasting my time in line; it’s ridiculously long.” Yup, you know you’re relaxed about a race when your last bathroom visit was two hours beforehand and you just don’t care.
I think there were just as many runners dressed to race as there were in costume. The more serious, dressed-to-race runners were at the front and I positioned myself just behind them and my friend, Graham, who was sporting a very large and round Pikachou costume. I couldn’t figure out why he was so close to the front but I didn’t ask; I was quite content to stay behind him.
Within the first kilometre, runners had to pass around the left or right side of a gate. Graham, whom I had already passed, was catching up to me and said, “You go right, Cynthia,” and he went left. Thank goodness, I thought, because if he went first and got stuck going through with me behind him, I’d be ticked. Then I realized that I had just made this more than a friendly night run.
Once we got into the trails, I thought about the women that I had seen ahead of me and decided to try to catch them. But I couldn’t push myself. Well, it was more like I didn’t want to push myself. I was worried about missing a step or landing the wrong way. So, I ran with what felt comfortable and safe. When we came out of the trails and onto some residential streets (for about 500 metres), I caught two gals. Then, back into the woods, I resumed my stance.
About half-way through, I heard someone catching up to me. But the breathing was different. It didn’t sound like a woman panting to catch me but the breaths were too short and quick to be a man’s who runs my pace (which usually sounds more relaxed). I listened and tried to quicken my step but the breathing got closer and closer. Then, it happened. I got passed by a cow. But it was a skinny cow. Still, it was a cow.
Not knowing whether the cow was male or female, I tried to stay with it as long as I could but I just could not catch it. When we came out of the trails again, all I could see ahead of me was big yellow Pikachou and a skinny cow. I had been put in my place.
I chased both of them through the cemetery and we finished within a minute of each other. I learned later that the cow was a 15 to 19 year old male.
When I finished, I wasn’t tired at all. In fact, I didn’t even feel like I had raced. And I had no idea how I had placed because I felt alone (and a little creeped out) most of time. This made it clear that I did what I set out to do: to have fun.
Once results were up, I learned that the first three gals were high school runners. I was a solid fourth, in a time of 22:22 (not bad for my first trail run) which earned me a medal and a pink Saucony vest.
On Friday, I was telling some of the kids in my class about the race and my dressing up as SuperMom. “You’re Batman’s sidekick?” one of them asked. “That’s cool.” I wonder what they’ll say when they hear that his sidekick was passed by a cow. Geesh!
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