Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Race Report: Run Santa Run 5K 12.13.15

On Sunday, my husband, son, and I ran Lake Health Running Series' Run Santa Run 5K. This was the first time the three of us have done a race together since June so I was excited it was going to be a family affair. Once again, I went into this race with very low expectations on the account I've been sick the last two weeks and once again, I surprised myself and finished my last race for 2015 with a smile on my face. And not because I was still able to keep my husband at bay. LOL In all honesty, I really thought this was going to be the race he finally took the lead but apparently that wasn't meant to be, not this race anyway.
We're famous: paparazzi caught us pre-race
Since I had to forego my goal of running a sub 25:00 5K by the end of the year when I got sick, I decided my three goals for this race would be:

1. To do better than I did at Thanksgiving's Trot to Stop Trafficking 5K. My time for that race was 27:30 but the course had a monster hill at the end (and I don't have much experience when it comes to running hills because my training runs are all relatively flat), it was cold, and it was extremely windy so I'd like to think those factors came into play for my 2nd worse time of the year.

2. To beat my time from last year's Run Santa Run which was 26:34.

3. To finish sub 26:00.

Considering this race had two things going for it; it was flat and the weather was warm, I had a pretty good feeling I'd at least meet goal #1. If I didn't, I was in trouble.

The weather was in the low 60's, so atypical of December in Cleveland, a freak of nature literally! When I heard how warm it was supposed to be on race day, I realized I was going to be waaay too hot in my get up from last year so on Saturday, I hit up the thrift stores, the party stores, any place I could find in a desperate search to find something festive. Not so easy to do when everything in the stores is geared toward freezing temps. Luckily Walmart and Target saved the day and after adding a couple of other items, my race outfit was complete.

The race was crowded with 1,005 in attendance, almost twice as many runners as last year. I'm not sure if it was the warm weather, the race swag (which included a Brooks long-sleeve tech shirt, a pint glass and Christmas Ale, and a Santa hat), the flat course, or a combination that made it so popular this year. Lots of kids from the XC team were there so shortly after we arrived, our son went to find his friends. People were already starting to line up when my husband and I were finished with our warm up so we decided we better find our places. Several yards from the starting line seemed like a good spot. We were packed in like sardines and with the crazy warm weather, it actually felt almost TOO warm but thankfully we were only standing there for about five minutes before the race began.
Our son at the starting line with some of his XC teammates
For the first mile or so, I really thought my husband was going to out run me. I'm not sure at what point I passed him but every time I looked over my shoulder after that and would see a red shirt, I fully expected it to be him. I finally decided if it happened, it happened, I just needed focus on running and keep moving.

This was only my second race using my Garmin watch and I found it to be both a blessing and a curse. Having the ability to set high and low pace alerts is really nice but I was feeling so unmotivated during this race that I was more concerned with where I was mileage-wise and dreading that I had only gone "so far" and still had "so much farther" to go rather than what my pace was. One thing that really helped this race was having my music. I know a lot of people find running with music to be a hindrance but for me, I don't think I would have done as well as I did had it not been for the carefully selected songs on my playlist to keep me motivated.

Around mile 2, I started getting a side stitch. I've never had one racing before so I was a little concerned it would get to the point I would have to stop running but it was also at this time I noticed the official blogger of the Lake Health Running Series, whom I follow but have never personally met, had just passed me. She's not only an experience runner but also a running coach and six years younger than me so I decided I was going to try to keep up with her as best I could. Timing couldn't have been any more perfect because my focus shifted from side stitch to her.

At 2.5 miles, we went around the last turn and it was a straight shot to the finish. By this time, I was exhausted but determined to keep up with my "pacer." It just so happened the strategically placed song "Push It" by Static X came on and that's exactly what I did and was actually was able to get ahead of her. When I saw the clock at 25:45, I pushed myself as hard as I could because I was determined to finish sub 26:00. I crossed just as the clock reached 26:01. Dang it! Feeling defeated, I went to save the race in my watch only to find my time read 25:49. I completely forgot there was a timing mat at the start and we crossed it several seconds after the race began so it was just quite possible that I DID finish sub 26:00! I went over to check the live results and sure enough, 25:49 was my time. Whoohooo! I did it! Goals #1 and #2 were both met. Now it was time to check my time from last year's race. Sure enough, I met that goal, too! I didn't get any AG, as a matter of fact, I was 12 of 85 but I met all three of my goals and that was good enough for me. Negative splits, too! (8:33, 8:27, and 8:24). The icing on the cake was with a time of 25:49, I was only 13 seconds shy of my PR! Happy dance all around!

So thus ends a year with many races, as well as AG awards, under my belt. 2015 was a great year and I can't wait to see what 2016 brings!
A family affair to end a great racing year!