As I said before, we were seeking the epic end to an epic year, but in a “I’m not training anymore” way. No PRs, no marathons, no centuries… what to do? Well, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing two races in one day before, but have never done it. So, when the Trail of Lights 5k and Vern’s 5k were on the same day 10 hours apart, it seemed like the best thing to do!
Also let me call out here that it was right around mid to upper 60s for both races. That’s pretty awesome for December 15th. I was sure I was going to have to dig out the long sleeve and jacket and running tights type apparel but the weather looked kindly on us.
The day started early (again, triathlete summer me is laughing but, DAMN it was hard to get out of bed at 6:10 after really adjusting to a midnight+ bedtime this offseason). We got going a little late, but I had a small 100 calorie breakfast bar and some chai tea and water and we got up there. On the way, I was having a bit of a bathroom emergency, and then Zliten took the wrong road and got turned around, so I made him stop at a gas station for me. I felt like a different person after that, and apologized for being snippy, and we got there in just enough time to register, take a quick warmup (maybe 1/2 mile), realize that race pace was going to be challenging, line up, and get going.
I held a sub-9 minute mile pace as planned, but instead of feeling like I was just getting going, it was torture right out of the gate. I knew at half a mile in I was just going to have to do what I could do that day. The first mile was 9:13 after slowing a bit. I just kept chugging away – not letting off the gas and staying at least at the edge of the pain place, but I could tell I’m out of shape (physically and mentally). The second mile was about 9:40-ish, and I was able to rally for the 3rd and knock out about 9:20. I finished 3.13 miles in 29:46 – 9:30s exactly average – and if not my personal worst racing a 5k, pretty close, and just shy of 2 minutes slower than the same course in May. However, it’s offseason, so I was fine with this. I wanted to see what my legs and lungs had in them and it was this and that’s ok.
We then changed, and headed to my parents for salad bar and cards that afternoon. The food did not sit well with Zliten, and for some reason my heel started hurting. By the time we got home and changed, I was freaking out due to my heel and nothing looked right on my fleshy pile of offseason bloat, and we went into race #24 grumpy.
Then, we showed up to one of the most disorganized races I’ve seen in a while, which totally improved my mood (/sarcasm). I guess I’m spoiled – triathlons typically go off without a hitch, everything is organized, the races HAVE to go off on time to the second (unless there is an intentional delay). This race had 5000 people and didn’t have any corrals or any guidance to where to be if you’re a walker, or in a stroller, so of course those people started up front and caused a clusterfuck for those of us who wanted to, y’know, actually run a 5k. There were parts of the run that were not well lit, and I walked to make sure I wasn’t going to twist my ankle in a pothole. Plus, the race started 20 mins late. This made me extra cranky, especially because my heel was hurting and standing was horrible and I had already been there for 2 hours because parking closed super early and let’s just say, I had some choice words for the human race about then.
However, it all disappeared once a) I started running and got warmed up, instant mood elevator and then b) we got to the actual Trail of Lights. That one mile stretch was the happiest part of a 5k I’ve ever had. Movie below is very long and a little rough, but if you’re interested in what it was like, you can skip around.
We then ran the 1 mile back and I just really wanted to do more loops around the pretty lights, but away we went. We crossed the line unceremoniously at about 40 mins (we stopped to pee, then walked in the dark spots, then walked when we got stalled by people walking or stopping in front of us, etc, but I think we were chugging along at 10-11 min miles when we could run), walked to the lighted tree to take a spin for the camera, looked at the long ass refreshment line, and headed out to the car.
We got cleaned up, toasted with some champagne at a friends’ housewarming party, then toasted with more champagne at home, and then passed out and slept a lot!
It’s pretty amazing to have been able to have kept ourselves fit, healthy, relatively injury free, and racing for a whole year, and even tackle some new distances and PRs along the way. I’m definitely glad to be at the finish line, and very incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished this year. And, since I can’t leave well enough alone, look forward to me belaboring the point over the next two weeks (I’m off work on vacation, as such, more blog posts, wheeee!)
Question of the day: what was your biggest accomplishment in 2012?