Monday, January 7, 2019

Race Into the New Year

We continued our New Year's Eve tradition of racing into the new year for the 5th year in a row. Read about last year's race here, 2016's race here, 2015's race here, and 2013's race here. We also ran the race in 2014 but I sat the race out since I was hugely pregnant and couldn't stay up that late so no recap and in 2011 but that was before the blog so I don't have a recap from that year. This race is so much fun with fireworks at midnight and champagne at the water stop. This year's 34 degrees with a feels like temp in the 20's seemed so nice after last year's 10 degrees with a feels like -5. The wind was still pretty strong this year but not bitingly cold like last year! We were still in Topeka on New Year's Eve and ate lunch at a burger joint before leaving town. I didn't think much about the race since I had hours before running until I was polishing off my basket of onion rings and thought, this probably isn't the best pre-race food to fuel my race. We drove home from Topeka after lunch and were in the car for 4 hours. After unloading the car my parents took us out to Panera where I had soup and salad to settle my somewhat upset stomach, thanks to my poor choices at lunch! Normally for this race once we hit 10:00pm I start to kind of wish I wasn't running the race. This year I was excited to run all day and my excitement continued even as we neared and then passed my usual bedtime. We all had light up gloves we got from my parents for Christmas so I was extra excited to run in them for the first time! We headed for the race start around 11:15 and arrived with about 15 minutes until the race start. I had planned on a 2 mile warm up but cut it short to a mile and a half. I saw a woman out running her warm up while I was warming up. She was wearing shorts and compression socks and doing strides. I could tell just by looking at her and seeing her do strides that I would be racing for 2nd place this year. It's always fun to win, especially since I'd won the past 3 years, but it all depends on who shows up on race day/night. I was making my way to the starting line when they announced 25 seconds to the race start. I stopped next to Jeremy and Thomas just in time for the gun to go off, I definitely cut it a little close but remembered this race typically starting a little late which was not the case this year!
Everybody after the race.
We took off and the woman I'd seen was way out in front. I took off a little faster than I was expecting but felt good so I figured there was no need to pull back. I had expected the woman I had seen to be ahead of me, but I didn't expect her to be so far ahead of me so early on. I ran 21:13 at the Ugly Sweater 5k and was just hoping to beat my time from that race. I was also hoping I might be able to sneak under 21 minutes but I haven't started back with speed work yet so I knew that might be a stretch. My confidence was a little higher after accidentally running 7:27 pace for a 5 mile run a few days earlier. I ran with my watch under my jacket so I didn't see my mile splits and had felt awesome on that run! I figured I was still in good shape from my fall racing season but I also knew my speed wasn't back yet since I've only done strides once and a 5k since the marathon as far as speedy runs go. I pulled up beside Jeremy at some point in the first half mile and we ran side by side for a bit. On my warm up I'd seen lots of puddles from the rain earlier in the day so I knew where I wanted to run to keep my shoes dry. That involved a little bit of weaving around but not too bad. By the time we hit the bridge to cross over to the east side of the river the race had thinned out and I wasn't passing anyone. Jeremy pulled away around in there and then we crossed to the other side of the river for a bit before the mile mark. My watch showed I went through the 1st mile in 6:32 and I was thrilled. I had just been hoping for around 6:45 pace or a little under so I was really pleased. I couldn't believe that pace felt as comfortable as it did! I told myself that was much faster than I had expected but it felt manageable, just try to hold it together for the 2nd mile and then try to pick it up for the last mile. When the top female was coming back my way after the turn around I saw her face and recognized her as a local high school stand-out who now runs for Oklahoma State University. She was a 4-time cross country state champion and won the Gatorade Award for Oklahoma all 4 years in high school so it made much more sense that I was getting seriously smoked!

During the 2nd mile I started catching up to a guy wearing an Incredibles onesie, the race theme was onesies which is what they were calling footie pajamas for adults. I felt like I had slowed down after the first mile some but not considerably. We made it to the turn around and I decided to skip the champagne. I told myself if my position as far as females went seemed pretty set and I was going to be around 21:00 I'd grab some champagne, but since I was having such a good race I decided to go for a fast time instead. I caught up to the guy in the Incredibles onesie right after the turn around. When I pulled up beside him he sped up so I just stuck with him for a while. I missed my 2nd mile split but guessed I was around 6:40. I was hopeful I hadn't slowed down too much and felt like I really hadn't. I knew I'd be under 21 minutes but wasn't sure by how much, I was assuming not that much, maybe 20:40ish. I took off during the 3rd mile and felt great. I was excited that I was feeling so good. I wished I knew what my 2nd mile was but just pushed as much as I could even though I didn't have a really good idea of what time I might be able to finish in. Jeremy was wearing his light up vest and gloves so I could see him really well and focused on maintaining the gap between us.

As I was crossing the bridge to go back to the other side of the river the fireworks started going off. I remembered watching the fireworks on the west side of the river as I ran toward the finish line the year I finished in 20:29 so I thought I was going to finish slower than that. The fireworks were still going off as I made it to the other side of the river which was awesome because it was like I was running to the fireworks to finish! They were still going off when I had a half-mile to go and I was feeling really strong. I started picking the pace up some more. I went through the 3rd mile in 6:30 but I don't remember seeing that mile split either, I don't think I looked at it. I turned the corner toward the finish and saw 20:04 on the clock. I was really excited and took off sprinting. I finished in 20:24, an average of 6:32 per mile. My 2nd mile split had been 6:37 and I ran the last portion of the race in 6:10 pace. I was really excited that I ran so much faster than I had expected! That was a course PR for me! My previous fastest time was 20:29 and that was a year when I was already doing speed work! I think my time shows that I haven't lost fitness from this fall, just some speed and I'm picking that back up pretty quickly. That makes me really excited about what lies ahead this spring. Last spring I didn't run that fast in a 5k until the St. Patrick's Day 5k which I ran in 20:25! I'd really love to be able to bust a sub-20 at the St. Patrick's Day 5k this year. I've never put together a really solid race there and I'd love this year to be the year!
Mom and dad with the fireworks in the background.
Jeremy and I watched Thomas finish together and then I took off on my cool down. I had taken my gloves off and tucked them in my waistband and some girl stopped me and asked me to give her my gloves which I thought was odd. I ran past mom and dad and cheered for them. They ran together and stopped for champagne as well as during the fireworks to take pictures. It was fun running along cheering for everyone as I ran my cool down and I was extra pumped up after running almost a minute faster than my last 5k just 2 weeks ago! We stayed around for awards. Jeremy was 8th out of 319 overall and 1st in his age group, finishing in 20:00. I was 10th overall and 2nd female. Thomas finished in 22:49 which put him 16th overall and 3rd in his age group. Mom and dad finished together in 38:59, 178th and 179th overall. Mom was 6th in her age group and dad was 9th in his. We didn't get home until 1:30am. By the time I'd showered and read a little to help myself fall asleep it was 2am! We went to a friend's house at 11am on New Year's Day for a brunch which was a lot of fun!
Cool picture of Thomas with his light up gloves before the race.


  1. And that same girl asked Dad for his gloves too. Pretty odd.

  2. Your posts about this race always make me want to run it...until I remember that even an 8 p.m. for fun track race wrecks my sleep! You had a really strong race, which I think definitely predicts great things for your spring. It's that marathon strength showing through!

    I want some of those gloves, but I wouldn't ask two people I didn't even know to give me theirs...weird.

    1. It is so much fun but it does make for a late night! I'm hoping it predicts a strong spring!!! I think the marathon cycle definitely left me stronger!