On the Jingle Bell 5K, Christmas sales for runners and what runners eat
For runners in central Texas the largest race in Hays County is the Jingle Bell 5K run on Dec. 8 at the Sights and Sounds grounds. A few changes have been made to accommodate the road construction issues in front of the Chamber of Commerce building. The start just moved up a short block and will be in front of the bank. There is one small change on the route but nothing to be worried about as the change does not include a hill. Most races in this area feel good if 80 runners show up for the event. A few manage to get close to 200 – 300 runners. The Jingle Bell 5K is closer to 800 runners for the race. Volunteers are always needed for direction and water stops and at the registration desk. If you are not running in the race the race organizers can always use you as a volunteer.
This race goes back many years when it was Sights and Sounds 5K and sponsored by Century Telephone. Runners received a nice long sleeved shirt with a Christmas design on the front. I still have a couple of those shirts from those early races. The race had close to 200 runners even back then. Some days were great for running, but there were a few when the temperature was in the single digits and very cold.
At one time almost every race held in San Marcos started and finished at the Courthouse on the Square. There were summers when they had eight or nine races in a row on the weekends. But with various regulations and permits now required, the Jingle Bell 5K is about the only race left to run downtown. Old standby races such as the Tangram 5K and 10K and the Mudbug 5K are long gone.
On another topic. It is now legal to advertise for Christmas sales and events. Thanksgiving is past, Black Friday is almost over, and Cyber Monday is winding down. Now the Christmas sales can begin and a batch of new sales pitches are up and ready for the shopper. Runners can start thinking about gifts to give to family and friends that run. With all the advances in running technology the choices are many. Back some years all a shopper had for choices was shoes, sweat clothes, and maybe a watch that had a timer on it. Shoes are still an option, but finding a watch that tells time and has a stop watch function only is more likely found in an antique store. Watches today have GPS, pulse rate, distance covered, average pace, elevation changes, and a map of your run. The ads mention that no runner can be without these great advances in running technology.
One other subject that I am now seeing on the media and internet outlets is the findings of research on what runners eat. The hard part for the runner is to sort the various findings out. For instance, is dark chocolate better for you than regular chocolate, green tea versus black tea benefits, carbs versus protein for health, is coffee good or bad for you, caffeine versus decaf benefits, red wine versus white wine, sugar in fruit drinks versus sugar in sodas versus energy drinks versus diet drinks, French fries versus baked potatoes with butter and sour cream, and red meat versus chicken versus fish, for the main meal. My theory on most of this is that if I ate the food and I didn’t get ill or lose energy then it was okay.
The bad part of some of the choices people make is that as a population as a whole we are now fatter than ever before and the life span average is less now than a few years ago. I have read in various health magazines and research studies that between unhealthy eating habits and less active life style people are having more medical problems and do not live as long. I admit that to change habits in your life style is a difficult thing to do. I made a resolution to lose 15 pounds this year. I still have one month to go for 10 more pounds. Time to add more days walking up some hills, riding the bike a few more miles (maybe lead a 10K race instead of sticking to the 5K distance races), and try to not eat as many French fries with my hamburger.
Starting now until a few weeks into the New Year there are road races in the area every weekend. Most are the 5K distance of a little more than three miles. After being involved in many of the races over the years I can tell you that almost half of the entrants are walkers that want to be part of the event. It is easier to enter a race, pay an entry fee to encourage participation, be part of a crowd than to head out into the neighborhood by yourself. The key is to start moving and getting some exercise. If being part of a crowd at a 5K race helps motivate you and a friend to enjoy the festivities, then now is the time to start. All it takes is one small step, or change in life style, to eventually lead to better things. Even a puzzle starts out with small pieces before the picture is completed.