Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Classic 5K - race report

So I know I threw a little surprise out on Friday, that I was going to be running a 5k this weekend, my first race in almost 2 months post-marathon! I didn't even  realize there was a 5k around the city this weekend, because in all honesty, I stopped looking for races because my knee was bugging me again and my Achilles was a pain in the neck, and I was, well, in a rut of sorts.

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)
So on Sunday morning, I woke up, had some oatmeal, checked the chill factor (still hovering around or below 30) and promptly put on top/bottom layers of Under Armor, knee high red/green striped socks (with faux fur!), christmasy boxers, fleece pants (for the commute) a long sleeve red T, and a Santa hat and I was off to meet up with the bloggers and get my race on...sort of...

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 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!
As we were still chatting away, we were interrupted by the bullhorn signalling the race start, and we all dashed away to run our own races...I, of course, started out in a full out sprint around low 6's and promptly freaked out (mistake #5 = going out too fast)....The course was an out and back through a pretty section of Cambridge, MA, it was super flat, with only two slight hills, so I found a pace that felt semi-comfortable/semi-pushing and stuck with it...

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 :)

haha the blackberry pic Julia sent me definitely looks like I am morfing into an actual elf! I had to ditch the boxeers because I fell over after the finish onto muddy grass (my legs were seriously exhausted) and it looked like I had a small accident, so I stripped those off! 
Post-race, I met back up with Julia and Dutch and could not locate Steph or Robyn or Meghan anywhere, so we decided to head out to our brunch date with Jessie, at the 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 :)


  1. That is a freaking awesome pace! I can't believe you didn't win an age group medal for that, it must have been a huge 5K!

  2. Loved the race report. Congrats on the PR!

  3. Um Rockstar!!! Congratulations girl I am so incredibly proud of you. Woo hoo!!

  4. you are a freaking rock star!!! holy amazingness! you are speedy and totally rocked this obviously! and love your outfit! congrats!

  5. Lady that is soo freaking amazing!!! You are so fast! I am so happy for you :) I am sad we lost each other poor planning I am sorry! Sounds like you had the best plan of all didn' mean to call u out lol u rock!

  6. CONGRATS, what a fabulous race!!
    You are so very speedy, I can't believe you pulled off such a phenomenal race after all your achilles issues....this means you are for real on the road to recovery :)

  7. You are crazy fast - I am SO impressed! If I could ever break the 25 minute mark I would buy myself the biggest reward known to man!!


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