That is until I (virtually) met Stephanie, who is local to the greater Boston area, and who also told me to go sign up for a 5k in Cambridge, the Winter Classic. She said there would be a few other local bloggers and it would be a fun race and good meet up, so I shelled out the $30 and registered. Once registered, I realized my friends Julia and Dutch would be running as well, so I was even more pumped to show up in <30 degree weather, in holiday gear, to try out racing once again.
Since, I had not been racing in a while, I was kind of out of the flow of pre-race prep, race plans (OK, if I can be honest here, I don't normally have a race plan - but that is for another post), hydration and nutrition. I actually went out Friday night (harder than intended), woke up hurting on Saturday, but told myself I still had to go to my 90-minute boot-camp, since it has become a sign-up only, exclusive event, and the instructor sends out threatening messages if you don't show up and wasted the spot. I would have to suffer through the headache and grogginess, since I only brought it upon myself. So mistake #1 poor hydration, mistake #2 90-minute boot-camp the day before a race (race suicide you might be thinking?). I salvaged the day of race prep by cooking up a nice, healthy carbo-loaded meal for dinner, and then hit the hay....only to have not one, but two, dreams that I missed the start of the race because I forgot things at home....
|woopsie! How did more booze get in there?! Maybe that is why I had bad dreams ;) (chicken & apple sausage, butternut squash, spinach, brocollie, dice tomatoes, toasted pignoli nuts, whole wheat rigatoni, and white wine sauce I made up)|
I got in the car and tried to park near the T, but there were no spots, so as I sat at a red light (already 10-15 minutes behind mind you, because I suck at being on time) I remembered that my bib was still in my purse from picking it up on Saturday! I texted Steph telling her I was an epic fail and that I would be like 20+ minutes late, and to just do what she needed to and hopefully I would make it! I rushed home and grabbed my bib, but instead of risking more time trying to park, I decided to hoof it....so I sprinted the 0.5 miles to the T, and jumped on perfect timing. I got to Central Square just about 10:08 (the race started at 10:30 - phew!) and as I was running to find somewhere to drop my bag (and pray no one stole it, because they didn't have bag drops) I ran right into Steph, Robyn and Meghan! I joined in step with them and finished up their warm up jog, before promptly freaking out that I needed to strip and drop my bag - so they bio-breaked at McDonald's and I ran to the start/finish line tent. Mistake #3 = stressed beyond belief morning of race
When I got to the tent area I ran into Julia and Dutch, thank you to the Team Sparkle purple gear Julia was rocking :) and dumped my bag and warm-ups and got in line. I quickly found Steph and posse (who were wearing team sparkle attire as well:) ) and was listening to the convo going on "I am aiming for 6:50s...I am aiming for 7:30s - what's your race plan Danielle?" to which I replied "I am going for somewhere in between you and you (insert inflection point)?" and blushed at the surprised faces that I had no plan...woopsie...mistake #4 = no race pace plan/strategy
|Notice how Dutch and I are Kinvara twins - seriously LOVED racing in these shoes - first race ever in them, and I can see many more in the future!|
This is where I hate 5ks, they are short enough, where you feel like you are sprinting for 3 full miles, and feel like death by mile 1.5 (a distance that for endurance runners should feel like a dinky warm-up), and then continue to feel like death, or worse, the next 1.6 miles....I ran this race with my headphones in, my Santa hat bobbing, and completely alone - seriously....there was no one running next to me on either side (I mean people passed me and I passed some people), but everywhere I looked, there were groups of runners, and then it was like me, carefully placed solo in the gap between the groups...just a surreal feeling I felt like sharing.
By mile 2, I knew I burned myself out, there was no way I could have done 2 miles in 13:50, I wasn't going to make it to the finish! I slowed slightly and saw the group behind me pass by me...crap...then I saw a few stranglers pass by me, but I decided to keep them close and realized I only had about 0.75 to go, so I decided to swing my arms and turn on the jets, w/e was left. I did a gradual speed increase to the point of a full out sprint about 0.25 from the finish, I passed the stragglers and even a good chunk of the group in front of me - one sweet girl even mustered a "great push" as I passed her, and I was so breathless, it took me 5 whole seconds to puff out a "thanks!"
I saw the finish and I saw the time, I was going to get a PR, even if I walked, so I sped up some more :) I crossed in 21:22, a whole 00:01:03 PR, and promptly stumbled to the sidelines, where I immediately found Dutch, and tried to get out the words "PR'd", but it came out "psllurrr" and I realized then that I had really pushed myself to my limits - which felt AWESOME. I smiled, OK I lie, I beamed the rest of the morning (and even when I made myself a congratulatory ice cream sundae for dessert). Despite the many mistakes I made, I pushed hard throughout the race, and beat a two-yr old PR :)
Friendly Toast (seriously, if you ever come visit Cambridge go HERE) We stuffed our faces, talked racing, talked work and technology (we are cool, don't be jealous) and then departed.
I got in a good hour of downtime before I got up, got dressed again in clean work-out clothes, and headed over to field hockey (we have a 3 week bye, for the holidays, so I didn't want to miss this!). I scored a goal, gave some fist pumps, and went home and crashed (but only after my leftovers of pasta and ginormous celebratory sundae - that I did not photograph, because my phone died and I didn't want it to melt while I ran to get my camera). Today I hurt...a lot...but I am still pretty stoked about a successful, awesome weekend :)
Winter Classic 5K 2011
21:22 - 6:52 pace
166/1115 - overall 14th in age group 19-29
Do you typically have a race plan (i.e. pace strategy) for all your races?
hmm...not so much...
How do you reward yourself after an accomplishment of note?
In the past I have had dessert, drinks, new running gear, massages - but no set reward :)