Race: Jingle Jog 5K, beginning at the Library in High Point, NC
Goal: to PR… or come close. Run all out, and see how it turns out!
Gear: It was freezing, so my new Smartwool running tights were clutch, as were their socks, as always (links included for your shopping ease! These aren’t affiliate links, I’m just trying to be helpful). As were my North Face jacket, hat, and 2 base layers. I also wore an old running Reindeer Christmas shirt, gloves, and sunglasses. And Oiselle bra 😉
Gut: Nuun electrolytes + breakfast (eggs & toast) 3 hours prior, made for a happy tummy.
Weather: 30* and mostly sunny. A little windy too.
Pre-race: I went solo, parked at the bank across the street, and picked up my packet. Plenty of time to warm up and mentally prepare.
Race: It’s funny, the more I train for a race, the more invested I am and the more important it is to me. Likewise, the less I train… the less invested I am. This race was almost a “fun run” to me. Nevertheless, I did still want a PR, and thought it just might be within my grasp.
We lined up, and I noticed a girl I had raced before (she came in 2nd and I got 3rd at the Dixie Divas in 2015) had her 2 dogs. I thought to myself, that seems like an advantage to have your dog(s) pulling you. But this was a pet-friendly race where it was allowed, and there was no separate division for dogs & runners (vs. solo runners), as I’d find out later.
At 8:30, we were off! The crisp, chilly air stung my face and made my eyes water. Thankfully I felt warm enough, and even got borderline too hot later in the race. I fell in step with several other runners, and tried to go out hard, but not too hard. Mile 1 went by fast, in 7:16 (the downhill drop of 76 feet helped!) My goal was 7:20/mile, so I started off strong!
I wasn’t digging the course, as there were lots of little—and a few big!—hills, both up & down of course. And lots of turns. I found it hard to get in a rhythm, and the runners around me seemed to be having the same problem, as we’d pass each other, then get passed back. It was kinda frustrating not having my iPod (yet again!) and I tried to use my mantra, as I had at Turkey Strut, but it just didn’t really work. Mile 2 was tough for me, with no downhills, and I ran 7:56. Blah, almost 30 seconds off goal pace. You can still pull through, V. Get after it!
I love when I get to the last mile of a race, as I can say to myself “One more mile!” I chugged along, doing my best to catch up to the person in front of me. Finally, the finish was within sight. I saw the clock at 22:43, as my watch clicked 7:31 for the third mile. Darnit… I doubt I can run a tenth of a mile in the next 30 seconds! I was pushing soooo hard—I call it redlining—that I felt I could throw up. Still, I attempted to find one final notch, and passed the person in front of me right before the finish line. I couldn’t breathe.
I wanted to check my heartrate, because I was pretty sure I was at the MAX. Final time, 23:27.
Nine miserable seconds from a PR. [insert angry face]
I asked myself, Honestly, could you have run any faster? And the answer was No. I pushed as hard as I could have pushed. That’s what I get with unstructured training and a lack of miles. But when I checked the results board? Vindication… 1st place in my age group.
By one second. Glad I pushed it at the end!
(BTW, the last 0.1 mile, or 0.13 in this case, is always my best pace. 6:05 average pace for this one. I have no issue pushing at the end… when I can see the finish line, I am able to push through the pain, and ignore my brain screaming at me Slow down you %&$*! Idiot! Are you trying to kill yourself?!)
I know I need to work on my speed for next year… and increase my mileage. But energy levels were good, and legs felt fresh. My lung capacity was the limiting factor.
Pro’s: A small town feel, but with enough runners to have competition and never feel alone.
- Dogs are welcomed, so next time I’d like to bring Luna and see how fast I could go with her pulling me 🙂 (Dogs also get a “bib” number that clips to the collar).
- Great support with snacks, cocoa, etc at the finish, and a water stop during the course.
- Cute medal which doubles as a Christmas tree ornament.
- Free race photos! Love when you don’t have to spend extra $$$ to get your race pics.
Con’s: Lots of turns, lots of hills, which made pacing hard.
That’s a wrap for the race season of 2017! Happy New Year!
What’s on deck for you in 2018?