Happy New Year everyone!
This year’s running adventures started off not with a training run, but rather a race. This is the second straight year that I’ve run a race on New Year’s Day. I have to admit that getting out of bed after watching the ball drop is harder than it used to be for this soon to be 40-year old, but knowing that I got my year started off with some exercise is always a good thing. It was also easier getting out of bed for this year’s race than last year. The temps on January 1, 2018 were a balmy 21 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits. This morning, the temp at race time was a muggy 66 degrees according to my Garmin. The race website posted a race temp of 69. I’ll take today’s temps every time.
This year’s race was the Hair of the Dog 5k in Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg is about 45 miles from home. I chose to make the trip there because the Virginia Beach option to run would have been at Mount Trashmore and considering the miles that I log there during the year as well as the 5k I’m running there on the 12th, I wanted a change of scenery.
This 5k runs you through the campus of the College of William and Mary. It was certainly a more scenic course than just running through the streets of a city, but I’ve seen prettier college campuses in my travels. All in all though, it was an enjoyable run (is any 5k really enjoyable?) and if in town, I would certainly do it again. It’s always fun to run a race where you get to meet up with some local running friends. Several from our Running Turtles group showed up for this race. Here’s a few shots from before the race.
Now for the race itself. I had a goal of running this race in 28 minutes or less. I honestly knew when I woke up that based on how my body felt that it probably wasn’t going to happen so I made my ‘B’ goal to get in under 30 minutes. My plan was to use a 2:00 run/:30 walk strategy for this race. This interval pretty much guarantees me to be sub 10 minute miles and considering how I like to push the finish, I felt that I could get under 30 with that. Well, what I wasn’t prepared for were the hills on this course. If you live in a more rural area with lots of rolling hills, this course probably wouldn’t have seemed too bad. I live on the coast. I have no hills to train on, so for a 5k course to be this hilly, threw me for a loop. Take a look at the elevation profile.
The start was congested like most races, although I found it compounded by the fact that several walkers chose to not start at the back of the pack. Despite having to work my way through the congestion, I ticked off the first mile in 9:14.8. 28 minutes was still in sight if I could somehow manage to hold that pace. That didn’t happen. Miles two and three were certainly much more hilly than the opening mile and it took its toll. I finished mile 2 in 9:41.3. 28 minutes was not happening, but 30 was certainly still in sight. Just past mile 2 the hills caught up to me. My heart was flying and I knew that I had to back off my interval. I switched to 1:30/:30 for the last portion of the race. I was going to be cutting it close to hit thirty minutes. Well, after pushing as much as I could down the stretch I crossed the line in 30:02. Ugh!! I can think of several spots where I’m sure I could have made those 2 seconds up. I still finished in the top half of the field (163/421) and I was just below the middle spot of my age group and the men’s bracket. Not bad for a guy that as of this morning was tipping the scales at 255.
It could be pretty easy for me to look at that finish time and get mad at myself. However, on January 1, 2018, I ran a 5k in 35 minutes and change on a very flat course. I’m also 19 pounds lighter than I was at this point last year. I still have a long way to go, but I’m going to get there. I get a crack at a flat 5k course next Saturday when I run the Freezer Burn 5k at Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach.
This race came with very basic swag. Every participant received a shirt and upon finishing, you received a finisher’s medal. Post-race eats were pretty standard fare. I only had a water as I am doing intermittent fasting and my window to eat had not yet opened. I saw oranges ,bananas, granola bars, as well as the usual adult beverages. The race was put on by Mettle Events and was very well organized. I liked that it was a fairly small race but not so small that it felt lonely on the course. If in town, I will definitely plan on running this race next year.
So, if you are a runner, did you run a New Year’s Day race? What race and where did you run? Do you have any specific running goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments.