Beat the Ball 5k (19:50)

Instead of going out for New Years Eve, dad and I ran a local road race. We ran this race twice before (2011 and 2012).  It is always fun to finish the year off with a festive race.  Plus one of my friends Marie, was doing the race and I wanted to see her (ultimate peer pressure).

Dancing pre race with Marie
Dancing pre race with Marie

The race itself started at 11:15 pm.  I ran 8 miles that morning (around 8 am), then relaxed the rest of the day.  To be honest my nutrition wasn’t the greatest before the race but it happens.  I didn’t do anything special for the evening race and ate normally throughout the day.  It was the day I went out to eat at Citrus and then had pasta for dinner.  A lot of people worry about eating perfectly before an afternoon or evening race, I am not one of those people.  Normally at 11:15 pm I am sleeping so I thought eating normally was my best bet.

Dad and I arrived to the race at 10pm.  We signed up and I did a 2 mile warm up.

I felt good during the warm up.  Whenever I feel good during warm up, it’s normally a sign the race will not go well (at least for me…the worse I feel warming up, the better I seem to race).  It was pretty dark out and I focused on avoiding pot holes and not falling.

At 11:15, we were off.  It was cold out and I spent half the race trying to warm up.  Since it was dark out I couldn’t see my Garmin.  It was on but I couldn’t see the splits or time unless we passed through light.  During the first 1/4 mile, I found myself in third place overall. There were two males in front who were far ahead.  Around the half mile point a woman passed me.  I was discouraged but not upset. The woman and I played leap frog for the next two miles.  We went back and fourth for first woman overall.

We passed through light so I saw the mile time of 6:26. I thought to myself “right on track to break 20 this time…until I lose my energy (like my previous 5k)”.

The second mile was out and back.  I was able to get a full view of the entire race.  I saw the leaders (the two males in front), my general standing with other racers as well as those behind me.  I tried to side five as many people as possible including my dad!  Dad and I are never coordinated enough to get a side five during a race. After a few side fives, I went into the third mile and left the other female.  I felt more confident at that point.  The side fives made me run faster and I (unknowingly) ran a 6:19.

The last mile was riding the pain train.  I never have a strategy for 5ks, I normally just run as fast as I can until I get tired…then I positive split.  It was a dark, painful, lonely mile. The mile was painful in an exhausting way not an injury way.  I knew the finish line was getting close, so I focused on that. I don’t have a lot to say about the last mile other then I just wanted it to be over. I admired the views of Norfolk across the water.  It was a stunning view.  My last mile was a 6:30.

I heard my watch click three and I sprinted to the finish. I collected my 5k medal and hung out for the New Year.

Happy New Years!
Happy New Years!

Overall thoughts:

My 5k a few weeks ago left a very sour taste in my mouth.  I had no idea how Beat the Ball would go and my only real goal was to beat the previous 5k time of 20:35.  Although the two races were under different circumstances, I thought I could better my previous time.  I’m pleased I did and I might actually like 5ks.  While I felt strong during the race I didn’t feel overworked.  I believe with more 5ks, I can get back down to 19 and then hopefully below 19 minutes again.  I could have better prepared and possibly run a few seconds faster by training at midnight or eating better but I didn’t.  I had a great time and have no regrets.

Questions for you:

How did you spend New Years?

Have you ever done a night race?