Race Report: Santa Sprint and Stroll 5K, 7 December 2019

This race was part of the Run the 502 series, where you run at least 8 races and get a special big medal.  I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it otherwise, but I’m glad I did.  It was organized fine and a nice wake-up call for me.  I had to go looking for information on packet pick-up and the correct start time, though it wasn’t hard to find.  My only complaint is that the shirt was fugly. 

It was a chilly morning, in the mid-to-upper 20s.  The sun was shining bright though and there was no wind.  I dressed in a warm, wicking long-sleeved shirt with the race long-sleeved t-shirt over it, with a lightish jacket with good pockets and my new fleece-lined Skirt Sports Toasty Queen leggings.  It was the first time to wear the leggings, maybe not too smart to wear something new on race day, but it was just a 5K.  So if I’m miserable, it’s only for half an hour tops.

The starting and ending point was at Barrett Middle School, and the pre-race was in the gym.  It was nice to not have to freeze waiting around.  Santa was inside, met up with people from my running group, talked to some neighbors, got the group photo.  Then everyone went outside for the start of the race.

This was a hard race for me.  The course was flat and fine, down Frankfort Avenue, which had been closed to traffic for the duration.  I started out at a comfortable pace, skipping intervals for the first almost mile.  But the cold air was like breathing fire.  I did not have a neck warmer to pull over the bottom half of my face, which would have helped, but I knew it would make me warm after not too long, so I elected to skip it.  Probably not the smartest decision but whatever. 

The last two miles I mostly did my usual 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk intervals.  I felt somewhat better, my lungs were no longer going to explode, but it was rough.  The sun was right in my face and my sunglasses kept fogging up.  I think my main problem is the “it’s just a 5K” mindset.  I hadn’t really hydrated or eaten well in the days leading up.  I drank beer and bourbon and red wine the evening before—an unholy combination of poor choices.  My training had slowed way down while I rested my stupid hamstring.  I just felt unprepared in general. 

I finished with several women from my running group, so that was cool.  We took some pictures afterward, then went back into the gym.  They had coffee, bagels and cream cheese, and donuts for participants.  After indulging in a really delicious bagel and chatting, I went home.  By that time, I was melting.  My new leggings are heavy and warm and probably only appropriate for very cold mornings.  It would have been better to wear something lighter and been chilly for a short quarter mile, but live and learn.  Those leggings will be great when it’s for-real cold and I’m looking for excuses to skip a run. 

Later in the day, the race results went online, and I was surprised to find out I took third place in my age group.  That was somewhat gratifying, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was in October and keep improving.  I’ve got a race tomorrow morning—the Reindeer Romp 4K—a short race in the neighborhood park and the first race in the Polar Bear Grand Prix series.  I somehow convinced, without much arm twisting, my husband to sign up too.  Now I just need to decide if I’m going to run the course with him and chat and have fun…or push it and see if I can stay in the top 3 of my age group.

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