=PR= New Year’s Day 5k Race Report

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Warning – this post is somewhat long and very photo heavy.  

This was my fourth time running this race.  I love PR races because they are local, well organized, and just a great group of people.  I couldn’t make packet pickup yesterday because I was working so I went to the race early this morning.  Might have been too early.  The doors weren’t even open when I got there but I found my  number on the list and went inside as soon as they unlocked the doors and turned on the lights.  Pickup was quick after that.

Since it was so early and so very cold we headed back to the car to stay warm for the next hour.  After a while I got antsy and decided I really needed to hit a bathroom so we headed to the ice rink.  We hung out inside until 9:30.  I really like that this race starts at 10.  Any other day that would be very late but since I’m usually up at midnight it’s nice to not have to get up too early.

I warmed up in the street before the race.  I left my buddy and headed to the start line about 7 minutes before 10.  At that point I had given up my fleece jacket and it was pretty cold.  I knew once I started running I would be fine.

About to head to the start
About to head to the start

The start was really fast.

Starting - Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running
Starting – Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running
Hi Buddy!  I'm racing again.
Hi Buddy! I’m racing again.

 

We ran down the street and turned towards the W&OD trail.  I knew I was moving fast.

Approaching the trail
Approaching the trail

We turned down towards the trail and kept moving fast.  When I saw my buddy at the bridge I said I was moving way too fast.  I knew I needed to slow down and get control.  I could not maintain the pace I was running and knew I was going to burn out.

Along the trail...still moving fast.  Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running
Along the trail…still moving fast. Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running

Right after that I saw the winner coming back….running probably twice as fast as I was at that point.  I kept just chugging away and actually felt pretty good.  I knew I was running hard and would slow down but I felt good.  I made my way up the hill to the turn around and really started to feel my speed.  I started to slow down but I was ok with it because I was still running a decent pace.  I knew I was going to burn up in the final mile though.

When I saw my buddy again at the bridge I asked him to wait for me in the turn so that I could drop my hat.  I was getting really hot.  I almost always get hot when running.  Especially shorter distances with a faster pace.  I had removed my gloves very early in the race.

Right after I threw my hat.
Right after I threw my hat.

Once I took my hat off I felt better.  I made my way back to the roads.  There was a nice section that felt flat/downhill before the final uphill.  At that point I was really fighting.  I knew I had started just too fast.  I fought my way through the hill and then around the final two turns and I could see the finish line.  I sped up quite a bit and sprinted my way into the finish putting some serious heat on the guy in front of me.  I had stopped looking my watch and was just running as hard as I could.

Buddy I see you but refuse to talk...I'm racing to the finish!
Buddy I see you but refuse to talk…I’m racing to the finish!
See!  I really am running hard.  Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running.
See! I really am running hard. Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running.
Finishing strong...about to stop my watch.  Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running.
Finishing strong…about to stop my watch. Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running.

When I looked at my watch at the end I was quite happy.  It was a good pace for me.  My watch said I ran 3.26 miles which is long.  I didn’t feel off course but I’m guessing I didn’t run it as tight as possible and I’m sure the GPS loses accuracy around the buildings of the town center.

After sprinting to the finish I was totally beat.  I walked to the side and ended up sitting down right in the road.  I sat long enough that my buddy made it all the way down and was looking for me.  I called out to him and he said you must have run pretty fast.  I told him I was happy with my time.  Not even close to my best but I’m just not there right now.

My running streak is officially over.  36 days from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  I’m glad I did it.  It definitely got me through the holiday.

After a short break I’m going to start some serious training for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  My training program starts at the end of January.  I’m hoping to start that with some endurance but I don’t want to kill myself before it starts.