I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.
Monday: off to rest up for the race
Tuesday: the final race in my holiday racing bender. In the past 5 weeks I've run 4 races: 5k on Thanksgiving, 10k in early December, 5 miler on Christmas Eve, and a 5k on New Years Eve. This 5k had a few "firsts" associated with it: first afternoon race and first race in a snowstorm.
A few hours before the race, stepdog and I went out to assess the outdoor conditions. The temps were in the low 30s, there wasn't much wind, the roads weren't slippery, and snowflakes were flying. Overall it was delightful.
By race time, it was still snowing, the temps had dropped into the high 20s and the wind had kicked up. Being outside wasn't pleasant. I drove to the race site, which was a high school, and the round trip of taking my race packet to the car and back was sheer misery. My thought process was that I'd already put in the work of putting on a sports bra and showing up, so unless the race got canceled, I was going to at least start.
A good crowd had showed up, including quite a few dogs, and we all hung out in the cafeteria. No one, including the race organizers, was interested in going outside until we had to. They did the national anthem and all of the pre race stuff indoors. The 400 racers all went outside at 3:58:59 and the race started at exactly 4:00:00 with a confetti bomb (FYI, the new standard by which I will judge all races going forward is a start line confetti bomb)
As with every run in the history of time, the weather just wasn't that bad once we started running. The only extra winter gear that I added was a neck gaiter and I carried sunglasses just in case I needed them for (wind/snow) eye protection.
The course was an out and back on a back road and Holy Hills Batman. Every time we went up, I thought how much fun it was going to be to go down on the return. I didn't run with any time goal in mind, I just ran with my standard 5k protocol of not killing myself in the first mile, picking it up a bit in the 2nd, and going all out in the 3rd.
By the 3rd mile I was starting to feel spunky and started racing with other runners. I started picking them off and my eyes caught a bright orange shirt a good ways ahead of me. There was no way I could catch him...or could I? I coasted on a downhill and gulp, all of a sudden there was a huge hill in front of us. I swear to you with a perfectly straight face that there wasn't a big ol' downhill going out but there was sure a big ol' uphill coming back. I don't know what the appropriate mental reaction is, but I can tell you that I was PISSED and I used my anger to charge up the hill after Orange Shirt. By the time we were up the hill and mile 3 was finished, Orange Shirt and I were close. I was going to get him...and then the biggest headwind showed up and didn't let up until we crossed the finish line. I felt like I was being driven straight backwards. Because the finish was so close, I didn't bother to put my sunglasses on, but I was glad that I had them because the wind plus snow was rough on my eyes.
Orange Shirt beat me by a few seconds, but I had the satisfaction of catching up to him and making it a close race. And that's really the takeaway here. My 5k PR is 30:41 on a perfectly flat course on a race that's held in early May, so pretty much perfect conditions and perfect weather every year. The New Year's Eve 5k of 34:29 is my PR for a hilly 5k in a snowstorm.
Secondary Takeaways: Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now New Year's, I am now addicted to starting holidays with a race.
Swag Recap: The race was put on by the same company that did the last half marathon that I ran, and back then I gave them a little shade over their stingy swag bag. They Leveled Up for this race.
The company has an unbelievable special for a season pass to their 2020 races, and I snapped that up in a heartbeat. Looks like I'll have a steady supply of Zone Perfect bars on hand this year if you need any.
Wednesday: off. It would have been nice to start the New Year with a run, but I was kind of tired, the weather was kind of awful, and as I was writing up my 2020 State of the Run, one of the big lessons that I learned in 2019 was the magic recharge of the cutback week. And though I've dropped my mileage lately, I haven't had a true cutback in a while. So I decided to start the New Year off right and take it easy for the rest of the week.
My only fitness effort on New Year's Day apart from a few dog walks was a quickie body weight workout: 3x10 pushups, bicycle crunches, and squats. I'd really let the strength training slide over the holiday, and let me tell you that oof, I've lost game on the pushup front.
Thursday: eek, first alarm clock of the year. 3 easy treadmill miles.
Friday: no running, quickie body weight including 3 minute mountain legs. The pushups were still awfully hard but I had a little more game to throw at them.
Saturday: 6.25 miles outside! I pushed myself a bit and came in well under my normal 12 minute pace, which is a nice change from pushing myself a bit and coming in at my normal 12 minute pace. I did the extra quarter mile to get January's Strava 10k challenge done. Outdoor runs in January are not to be taken for granted and there may not be another one. If you're asking why I ran 6.25 instead of 6.20, it's a safety net because sometimes I've seen either Garmin or Strava drop 6.20 to 6.19 and anyway why not end on the even quarter mile.
Sunday: off, though I have ambitions to get some quick body weight stuff in.
I'll start increasing my weekly mileage very gradually over the course of January, but my primary focus will remain on speed. My next race is a 5k in February (weather permitting) and my next half is in early April.
Happy Sweating Everyone!