Monday, July 28, 2014

Crystal City Twilight 5k Recap

I first heard about the Crystal City Twilighter last summer and was excited to sign up for it this year. Pacer's, a local running store chain, has been big into the high school cross country scene, and invited coaches to this event both years (although I didn't get an invite this year...) and held a team competition between high school teams. Our team wasn't partaking in the event, but I still wanted to check it out.

About a month ago, when Tom and I signed up, I had huge plans to train for this, and hoped to be able to break 19:00. That was before we went up to VT and got married. Read: Wedding planning consumed my life and mind for a solid two weeks, and it was hard to refocus after the wedding. I'm not complaining, I'm just stating that there has been a significant lack of quality and focused training recently.

Here's another thing: I don't know how to prepare for an evening race, specifically one that starts at 8:30pm. I love morning races: Go to sleep, wake up, eat, and run. Easy!

Not this one. I thought about the race the whole day - a race I wasn't all that excited to race. We also had a hard time planning what to eat, but eventually made a larger lunch and ate a smaller dinner at 4 pm.

It's hard to get excited for a race when you know you aren't going to run your best. Fortunately, my worries and lack of excitement began to fade once we arrived at the starting location and met up with one of Tom's coworkers. Once I started to warm up my body and mind naturally began to go into race mode. It's amazing how easy that is if you follow the same pre-race routine year after year. Your body knows what to do.

The race went off right at 8:30, just as the sun was going down. I'm pretty sure they announced that there were about 50 invited elite runners - another reason why my heart wasn't into this - I was going to get crushed and there wasn't a darn thing to do but go out and run my own race.

We blasted off and I was immediately unsure of what my pace was. It felt a lot harder than the 5K I did last month, even though this was a flat course with far fewer turns. I was a little sad to cross the first mile and see 5:56. Dang! I did it again. I went out way too fast.

During the second mile I worked really hard to focus on it being just a mile, and nothing more. I didn't want to think about the rest of the race. The sun was definitely down, and at the turn around point, I got to see Tom up ahead and cheer him on. I tried to run faster, but in reality, I was just trying to put in more effort so my second split wouldn't be too much slower.

Second mile: 6:29

No surprise there. It was playing out to be very similar to my last race. However, I really wanted to pick up the last mile in this one.

I don't know if it was the fact that it was now dark out or if it was because I kept repeating to myself, over and over, "I love this! I love this!" but I could feel that my body was calmer and less tense during the 3rd mile, and I didn't have the urge to vomit like I have in recent races.

As we closed in on the last 0.1 miles, I found myself catching up to two ladies, both of which who had just passed me. I passed them, but they weren't having it. I somehow found more energy to pick it up, but so did the other woman. We were tied as we crossed the line, but due to her later start than mine, she ended up taking the faster time.

Third mile: 6:29
Last 0.1: 0:34

Overall time: 19:29
Place 143/1954
Age Group: 10/186

Tom had a decent race, finishing faster than the last 5k. It's funny to hear the both of us talk after a race, because we break down every single part, talking about our weaknesses and strengths. It's awesome that we both have a passion for running and have done it together for so many years, but to someone else who runs it for fun, I could see how weird it might be.
We were quite impressed with how put together the race night was. Tom founded a race in Milton back in 2003, so we tend to analyze the logistics of races every now and then. I can't speak for Tom, but I would have no problem with doing this race again. The free beer ticket is also a nice addition for a post race celebration!

Even though I may not look forward to a race prior to running it, after the race is said and done I'm even more motivated to work toward the next race.

1 comment:

  1. Great race, that is a very speedy time! Night races are hard to prepare for... I don't do them often but it's always like...uhhh what do I do all day? Love that you and the hubs are runners and understand each other and can have those chats about things, important!