Saturday, May 2, 2009

Run For The Wild 5K Race Report - Bronx Zoo

How many of you have ever DNF'd a 5K race? I'm betting not a whole lot of you . . . but that is just what we did in the Bronx Zoo Run for the Wild 5K on April 25, 2009. Here's the story.

After working until 1 a.m. the morning of the race, I inhaled a supper of chicken soup and strawberry jello (yes, I ate dinner at 1:30 a.m.), and then immediately zonked out for a measly 4.5 hours of sleep.

Wilson and I awoke promptly at 6 a.m. and immediately watched this video for some inspiration:

Okay, so we didn't actually watch this video . . . but I found it when searching youtube for videos of baby zoo animals (shut up, y'all! I had a rough day yesterday, and needed some snuggly, cuddly animals to cheer me up), and I really wanted to include it. Back to the report . . .

We had decided we were going to walk the 5K so that we could really enjoy looking at all of the animals and stalking them paparazzi-style with my new big-girl SLR camera (thanks for the sweet hand-me-down, Mom!). After all, there were no timing chips, no starting corrals, no bibs; heck, the race wasn't even timed! Thus, we began the difficult task of figuring out what to wear. The weather that day was absolutely gorgeous--low-70s and sunny at the start--so I went with capri tights and a tank with a long-sleeved half-zip top that I could remove should I get hot (and did I ever!).

After a brief stop at Starbucks for coffee and bagels, we embarked on the LONG ASS subway trip up to the Bronx. BORING. But whatever. We arrived about 90 minutes later with half an hour to spare before the start of the race. We quickly grabbed t-shirts (only larges and XLs left--boo!) and wristbands and lined up in the "walker" area amid a sea of strollers and people of all sizes and shapes. It was a zoo! And . . . it also actually WAS a zoo. (hahahaha--I crack myself up!)

The gorilla from the promotional video was there at the start along with two of his best buddies.

After a brief introduction and the singing of the national anthem, we were off!

The first mile or so revealed very few animals--it was all on service-y back roads of some sort--and we started to wonder whether we would actually see any of our favorite animals during the race! Still, with the crowds and our relaxed stroll of a pace, it took us . . . well, I couldn't tell you how long it took us to get to the first mile marker (I went with the whole "zen" theme of the race and wore no watch) . . . I'd bet it was at least 20 minutes.

After hitting that first mile-marker, though, we got our wish and started happening upon all kinds of beauties. We stopped and took pictures of ALL of them (it's SO fun to have a big girl camera!). In fact, most of the time, Wilson and I BOTH took turns taking pictures of all the animals. We were moving SLOWLY. At one point, Wilson stopped for a bathroom break . . . because how often do you get to stop for a bathroom break during a 5K? It's like a once in a lifetime opportunity! :)

I'm thinking between the paparazzi-ing and bathroom break, the second mile took us over a half-hour. Ha. Ridiculous. Whatever. We took the opportunity to joke about how we didn't think we could make it to the finish line (okay, but seriously, 5Ks are actually really hard when you're moving at about a 30 min/mile pace--that's a long time to be on your feet!). Of course, shortly thereafter (in typical Irish Cream fashion), I tripped and rolled my ankle. Oops. I was totally fine, but figured maybe I was pissing off the walking gods (there are walking gods, right?) and should probably shut up.

Onward we went until all of a sudden we saw the 3-mile marker. By this time, it was getting kind of confusing trying to figure out where the course was because a) the race had thinned out A LOT, b) finishers were all over the place, exploring the zoo, and c) the zoo had actually opened, so there were non-racers all over the place as well. We saw a zoo employee who asked us and another group if we were "in the marathon" (HA!). We said yes, and she told us that the finish was straight ahead. This was interesting, considering "straight ahead" wasn't really an option. So Wilson and I just wandered forward, trying to figure out what the chick meant by "straight ahead".

I tell you, we must have searched for another 20 minutes, before we finally figured out that they had probably taken the finish line down. We had officially DNF'd our first race. I just couldn't believe it. "But . . . but . . . we didn't take THAT long, did we, Wilson? Lots of people take over 90 minutes to finish a 5K, right? RIGHT?" I was bummed. Mostly I was bummed because in addition to not getting to cross the finish line, all of the post-race food had long ago been decimated. And? I was STARVING! What were we to do?

THIS is what we did:

So maybe soft-serve isn't the best idea at 10:30 a.m., but heck . . . it was getting HOT! I figured we'd earned it. Plus, our snack time gave us an opportunity to look over which animals we'd visited and which ones we still needed to see. Here is a sampling of the photos we took DURING the race:

After our DNF, we spent another 3 hours or so walking around the zoo and checking out everything we'd missed during the race (and even some animals we HAD seen during the race). I leave you with the fruits of our labor.

So there you have it . . . and hey, we even learned a couple lessons. #1: Next year run/jog the race first and then do the sightseeing, and #2: We seriously need to get a telephoto lens!

Happy running and good luck to everyone racing this weekend (including me!).


Running and living said...

Great pics. Sounds like the 2 of you had lots of fun. Looking forward to more pics now that you have a camera:) Good luck tomorrow!Ana-Maria

chris said...

Great pics, Irish. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. Good luck tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Great report! You have a great idea of "snuggly, cuddly animals". It would have to be so cool to run/walk a 5K in a zoo.

The pics show that you had a great time.

lindsay said...

too funny. at least it was a good reason to dnf! sounds like you still had a great time and ice cream can never be turned down :)

Nitmos said...

But did you place in your age group?

Fair Weather Runner said...

that sounds like the best race EVER. i heart the pictures, all of them. nice camera, i'm jealous! those really are great pictures, i love the polar bear.

aron said...

sounds like so much fun!!!! love all your pics too :)

sRod said...

Hilarious! That would totally happen to me and Wifey!

Great pics of the celebs.

Laura said...

Sorry so behind on reading/commenting, but I think ice cream is TOTALLY a valid reason to DNF :)