On Sunday my hubby Bill and I were joined by our youngest son Chris as we traveled to Perkasie, Pennsylvania for what I believe was our final race in 2019 – The Freeze-Up 5K. The race started and ended at the Free Will Brewing Company.
Chris is not a runner (yet…I’m working on him), but he is a beverage manager for a restaurant, so he came along to scope out the popular brewery he orders beer from. We were happy to have him with us. He is excellent company!
We arrived early, picked up our race packets, goodie bags (which included a kit to make your own hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows and candy canes), and nice, soft cotton long-sleeved race shirts from friendly volunteers in the Free Will Brewery, then checked out the tasting room and studied the course map.
Fifteen minutes before the race, we headed over to a paved path near the Perkiomen Creek to get our last-minute instructions from the race director: Follow the arrows; you can’t get lost.
The morning was extremely brisk, so I was glad to have Chris there as a spectator. I could keep my heavy coat on until the last minute and hand it to him just as the race started.
Bill and I tried to start near the front of the pack. The path was fairly narrow and there was no chip timing. Race time began for everyone when the race director gave the starting signal.
The narrow path was really not an issue. As we began running on the scenic path near the creek, runners quickly spread out and I settled into a comfortably hard pace. The course was almost entirely flat, with only one road crossing where a policeman was on hand to stop traffic for the runners.
Did you ever have a race where the miles just seem to fly by and you can’t believe you are coming up on another mile marker so quickly? This race was the opposite of that type of race for me.
There were mile markers every half-mile along the course, which was sort of a modified lollipop. Every time I passed a half-mile marker, I groaned inwardly, thinking I was farther along in the race.
I’m not sure why I felt that way. I guess it was just one of those days. The racecourse was scenic and flat, my fellow runners were courteous, and the volunteers were enthusiastic. Everything was perfect, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
We finally rounded the lollipop at the halfway point of the race and headed for the finish line. I was having trouble maintaining my pace but tried to keep up with the runners around me.
At approximately a half-mile to go, there was a very slight incline where I stopped to walk for about 10 steps. I thought I was rejuvenated by the walk, but that feeling did not last very long and I stopped to walk a second time with less than half a mile to go.
I crossed the finish line in just under 26 minutes, put my hands on my knees, and quickly recovered for the walk back to the brewery for post-race festivities.
Each over-21 runner got a beer from Free Will. It wasn’t the type I usually drink, but it was very good – a mango lager. There were still-warm soft pretzels (which went well with the beer), fruit, chocolate chip cookies, various granola and protein bars, other assorted snacks, and candy. My son got a coffee oatmeal stout (which he claimed was a breakfast beer) that he let me taste. It was also very good.
We sat in the tasting room drinking our beer, waiting for the award ceremony, and chatting with other runners, including one man who told us the story of how he “died” and was brought back to life by a defibrillator, then started running to improve his health. Bill won third place in his age group and I won first in mine. The awards were very nice Free Will glasses.
After the awards ceremony, it was time for lunch so we checked out the offerings of a food truck parked outside the brewery. The guys got sandwiches and I got a delicious shrimp taco. We all shared some yummy tater tots.
There was a lot to love about this race:
- easy logistics
- proceeds donated to The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy
- fast, flat, scenic course
- perfect organization
- good snacks both before and after the race
- inside space to stay warm before and after the race
- nice T-shirt and goodie bag
- and free beer, I mean, come on!
As for suggested improvements, I got nothing.
I will definitely put this pre-Christmas race on my schedule next year. I hope Chris comes along!