Another year has arrived and with it another Milwaukee County Zoo Samson Stomp n Romp 5K, an annual race that helps support the zoo and its conservation efforts. I love the cause for this race (I’m a big animal person and love zoos that don’t just show off animals but do other things to protect and help them) and I love that you get to run through the zoo for the course. What I don’t love is how the weather always manages to stick it to ya for race day. Yeah, I know, it’s January and it should be expected, but, this year was just an unfair tease. The Thursday before the race it was 55 degrees outside. Race day that Sunday, small reality check as the start time temp was 8 degrees. Like I said, not fair. But, at least the course was clear (thanks to that warm weather) and there was no snow or ice.
I went into the race this year hopeful (but also realistic) that I would place in my age group so I could win a sweet gorilla trophy but this wasn’t to be the year. I just haven’t hit a point in my training yet where I can compete with some of the speed guys out there. I was still around 4+ minutes off from being able to place. It’s frustrating but I am hopeful that I will hit that mark at some point; it is a goal to get one of those trophies, no matter how silly it may seem. And my mark, 23:20, was nothing to scoff at and for me, is pretty good.
As for the race itself, well, it was cold. A lot of heavy breathing with that sharp cold air hitting the lungs and your breath puffing out into the air like you’re watching an old NFL Films game recap. Like I said, you get to run through the zoo and there are plenty of animals to view/look at as you run by. Noticeable to me this year were the penguins, polar bear, seals, caribou, tiger, camels and Japanese macques on their special island. I love getting to see the animals as I run by. I can only imagine they are wondering what the hell we are doing out there in the freezing temperatures. The course starts and finishes in the same place, so what is a downhill sprint to start the race is an uphill climb for the end, something that I always grimace at when I round the corner heading towards it. After you finish, you head to the zoo welcome center and enjoy some water or Gatorade, granola bars, coffee and yogurt bites. There is no medal for this race but that’s also how the zoo is able to put all the money from registration towards the animals.
You do get a long-sleeve shirt though, so there’s that 🙂 And it’s a quality cotton shirt as well which can be saved for years or gathered up and made into a runner’s quilt.
If you have the chance to run this race, a simple 5K, I recommend that you do. It’s fun. It’s for a good cause. And you make new friends…all grousing about the cold, haha.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I’d love to answer or banter with you!