Running into 2008 in a Little Black Dress

Race: Hair of the Dog 5K
When & Where: 10 a.m.  Jan. 1, 2008, in Virginia Beach, Va.
Results Summary: 45:13, a new Personal Worst

My best intentions to be a Responsible Adult on New Year’s Eve and sloowwwwly sip a glass or two of wine were derailed by very well-made cosmopolitans that kept magically appearing before me, along with fun ’80s tunes and space to dance to them at a house party. My resolve was no match for that kind of enticement, and I passed out in a swirling bed around 1 a.m.

So, this morning…

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEE- what’s that noise? Wha-? My alarm was screaming. Momentarily I considered shutting it off and staying under the covers. But I couldn’t. My Kickrunners.com Internet forum friends had chosen today’s running outfit, and some had already contributed to the cause I’m running for this spring. I had to be accountable. So I made some coffee, got dressed up, and met my friends at our departure point to carpool the hour to the race site at Mount Trashmore Park. Cheryl, Darlene, and I were entered in the race’s Formalwear Division. Cheryl’s husband Steve and his 12-year-old son RJ registered as regular, or I guess in this instance informal, runners.

The weather was sunny and breezy with about 50 degree temperatures, and lots of runners and walkers showed up ready to start the new year out on the right foot. Most people wore running clothes, but plenty sported formalwear.  Coming out in a robe and pajamas with slippers modified to fit over running shoes was another popular choice.  Quite a few people leashed up and dressed up their dogs for the Hair of the Dog. The different outfits and four-legged entrants made for even better people watching than usual at a race.

I had fun last weekend thrift-store shopping for dresses, posting photos of them online, and encouraging Kickrunners.com members to vote for their favorite as a way to drum up interest and support for the Team Boomer organization.  Most likely the fault of the male users, the winner was a very little black dress with silver beading on the bodice and spaghetti straps.

Walking around before the start, I realized all my joking this week about “wardrobe malfunctions” was no laughing matter. In the shortest dress I’ve ever worn, I felt totally exposed. Unlike most of the (smarter) formalwear runners, I had foregone slipping a pair of running shorts under my dress, opting instead for a pair of pantyhose with built-in support shorts that really didn’t offer enough coverage for a flimsy minidress. But I didn’t want to run with my jacket tied around me. It would ruin the effect.

There’s a saying or two about vanity and fools and pride, isn’t there?

I had intended to run at my easy training run pace of 9-9:30 minutes per mile, but otherwise had no real race plan. As soon as we started, it became apparent that due to the biomechanics of running I would not be able to run at that pace without everyone in back of me seeing my sheer, nylon-covered behind. Darlene let me tie her jacket around my waist, which only also made everything ride up. I decided to run the race with Cheryl and Darlene for moral support and keep a more, er, modest pace for me.

We covered the first mile in 12:35. I spent it asking Darlene and Cheryl if they could see my butt and cursing my Kickrunners.com friends for choosing this particular dress.

Shortly after the first mile, we rounded Mount Trashmore and got a view of the winners already making the final turn to the finish. And we still had almost 2 miles to go! Naturally, we decided to start walking. Mile 2 was in 15:20.

For as long as I can remember, every race I’ve run has been with a time goal, an attempt to place high, or at the very least the task of maintaining a set pace. It was such a shift to walk and let go of anything resembling racing and pacing. We were getting passed by walkers! We were being chip timed! There were going to be official results published! My mind fought it at first, but as I talked and laughed with my friends and the other people around us, I started having a great time. It became a drastically different way to experience a race, and was definitely an opportunity to notice my ego.

We walked a good portion of the last 1.1 mile in 15:57, except when we passed the race photographer and at the final stretch when we linked arms and jogged in together.

I earned a new personal worst in the 5K distance (45:13) — but hey, I didn’t all-out moon anyone in the process, will be able to really bring my time down for the year, and started 2008 with a very fun and different running adventure!

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2 Responses to “Running into 2008 in a Little Black Dress”


  1. 1 Steve January 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Great race report…a very enjoyable read!

    Looks like you made it to the front page of the Kale Running web site too:

    http://hairofthedog.kalerunning.com/

    (I just updated the photos on their front page)

    Happy Miles!

    –Steve

  2. 2 Andrea January 6, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Steve. Those are some great photos!


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