Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas at the Beach - 5K Race Report

Normally I am out of town for Christmas, but this year we were home alone and with no big plans for Christmas day. So the DW suggested that I do the local 5K, which was set on the sand at low tide, just after sunset. Well, you don't have to say "race" to me more than once, and I was in on the plan! However I didn't want to adjust my training schedule for upcoming marathons, so I went ahead and did my 18+ mile run on Saturday. So this race would be for fun, and I wouldn't worry about chasing a PR on sand.

Saturday night after my long run, we went to church and out to a friend's house, and I started getting a drippy nose. By Sunday morning I was definitely feeling like a cold was setting up shop in my face. Lots of sneezing and sniffling and general misery. I guess that long run wore me down. I had a nice 2-hour nap, and still felt like poo, but I figured a little sea air would be just the thing anyway.

So I found a Christmas t-shirt (cotton!) and a Santa hat and we headed to the beach, arriving just after Sunset.

It was a perfectly beautiful night. Temps probably in the high 50's. The race started under the pier, and would be out and back along the water. They had candle lit luminarias all along the way. We were told to stay to the right of them, so we wouldn't be dodging each other. I did a short warm-up of 1/2 mile and it was time to start.

By this time it was very dark. And we're off!

All runners got glow sticks to wear as necklaces, and that made it easier to see people. It was dark enough where I couldn't really see my footing, and just had to hope there weren't any dips in the sand. Luckily it was perfectly flat and hard - excellent for running.

Look at that perfect sand. (and the perfect DW)
I felt fine - the cold didn't bother me at all as far as I could tell. My loose goal was to run sub 7, but it was so dark I couldn't see G without pressing the light, so I only checked it twice in mile 1 and then just ran. Seems I know my pace pretty well, because when I checked at 1/2 mile, I was at 6:52 pace, and at mile 1 I was still at 6:54.

There were only about 200 people so it thinned out pretty fast. I caught a few people, but the last mile I was mostly running alone. Mile 2 was 6:55. I felt really good. It was a hard speed workout, without the serious pain of going for a PR. The Kinvaras felt light and fast as usual as I cruised over the sand. The experience of running fast in the dark at the ocean's edge was fantastic! The little line of candles along the way was unique. And the happy Christmas vibe of everyone made for a really fun time.

Mile 3 I went ahead and picked up the pace and ran a 6:41. Finished up at 6:21 pace for a final time of 21:29. Here I am emerging from the dark.

Woo Hoo!

I finished around 20th and got 4th in my division. We hung around in the dark waiting for a medal, but instead they gave all winners a ski hat. I don't have much use for those around here, and kind of wanted another medal for my new medal rack, but oh well.

New avatar perhaps? I don't want to cause any nightmares. Kind of Blair Witchy.
Afterwards I went home and resumed being sick. But for 21 minutes, running gave me a break. Now for a rest day. I think I'll join these two in another nap.

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