2016 12Ks of Christmas 12K: How could I run so slow when I have so much to do?

The starting line for the 5K race

5K runners at the starting line in front of Heritage Park in Kirkland

This post will be short and sweet and rather dull (and possibly with some missing words and typos). That’s because I still have lots of Christmas shopping and wrapping to do. And what new can you say about a run you’ve done for 13 years?

The finish line at Heritage Park

The finish line at Heritage Park

Here’s me trying. My 16th and final run of 2016 was the 12Ks of Christmas 12K in Kirkland on Sunday, Dec. 18. I continue to wonder why I do this 7.45-mile run every year when I am always so busy with work and things to do to get ready for Christmas.

I guess it’s because this is a local event that’s easy for me to get to. Also, I have a history of doing this race with friends, and a 12K is a rare and challenging (for me) distance.

I only wish I could run it faster. I’ve been running it since it debuted in Kirkland in 2003, when along with an event shirt, all participants got a Seahawks T-shirt signed by 20 or more players. The Seahawks then were still headquartered at Northwest University in Kirkland.

A sampling of some runners' costumes

A sampling of some runners’ costumes

My fastest time in this 12K is 1:06:57 (8:58 per mile) in 2005, the closest I will ever come to breaking an hour.

But these bad-ankle days I struggle to beat 1:40, and last Sunday, I didn’t. I finished in 1:40:49 (13:38 per mile), a regression from last year’s 1:38:38. Full results are here. And I ran end-to-end — no pit stops, no walk breaks, no water breaks. My excuses: It was bone-chilling cold out (in the 20s), and I haven’t been able to train that well for recent races, due to just being busy.

Even as sore as I am a day later, the run still felt great, and I’m surprised my pace wasn’t stronger. But enough about me.

Still enjoy running the Cross Kirkland Corridor

In the 13 years that I’ve run this race, I’ve seen at least a half-dozen different courses through Kirkland. This year’s was the same as a year ago; meaning that for a second straight year, the course had a big chunk — 3.72 miles — that traversed the flat and straight Cross Kirkland Corridor.

12K_courseThis stretch includes a jaunt through Google’s Kirkland campus and is the best part of the run, even if there are tough hills leading to and from this gravel trail. I like it because you have views of Lake Washington and some of Kirkland’s nicer neighborhoods, and the dirt and gravel surface is less taxing on my ankle and legs.

Slightly more than 1,000 runners did the 12K and another 430 did the 5K. The event had a festive and holiday feel, much like the recent Jingle Bell Run in Seattle, but with more Eastsiders and fewer people overall.

I don’t understand why someone would run either distance in a full-fledged Santa outfit, but several runners did. At least one Santa had a reindeer head emerging from his torso, as if he was riding the animal. It looked uncomfortable, but that’s just me. Hope he won the costume contest, but there was competition from elves, Santa’s helpers, and others.

Congrats, and what’s next

Taking a picture for social media

Taking a picture for social media

Time for a shout out to Joyce Szymanski, a Facebook friend who ran the 5K to complete her goal of doing at least one road run a month in 2016. Congrats, Joyce! Don’t stop at one year; continue on in 2017!

My next run is the Resolution Run 5K in Magnuson Park on January 1. I’ve done this run 10 times, and last year also did the optional jaunt through Lake Washington (the Polar Bear Dive) as part of the run. It was OK (i.e., overrated), but this year, I plan to stay dry . The Polar Bear Dive is a must-do only once, in my opinion.

Cool tech running shirt

Cool tech running shirt

Looming in February is the 45th annual Chilly Hilly bike ride on Bainbridge Island. I’m looking forward to that, but need to start riding again!

Thanks for reading these posts in 2016. See you in 2017! Merry Christmas again and Happy New Year to all.

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About monteenbysk

I am not an elite runner or bicyclist, though I am friends with many. I run, walk, and bike for fun and the health benefits. I can get you to the finish but probably not to the Boston Marathon (and especially not to the Tour de France).
This entry was posted in 12Ks of Christmas, 5K, Bicycling, Chilly Hilly, Resolution Run 5K, Running, Seahawks 12K Run and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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