Christmas Carol 5K {PR!}

I usually don’t talk about time goals on the internet. I never talk smack about my time goals on the internet. Except this one time. I got a little cocky on Twitter and Facebook about my plans for the Christmas Carol 5K that went down Saturday morning. I will never do this again.

Some call the little voice in the back of your head saying “how will I spin an excuse for not being fast enough” motivation. Not me. I hated that voice. It did not make me want to run faster. It made me want to punch geese. Not that punching geese would have been the worst thing ever, there were oodles of geese milling around City Park!

Once again I committed to this race at the last minute – last Tuesday night. I figure if I don’t have time to adequately prepare I can’t get too upset when I don’t meet my goal. Not the best logic ever but its been working for me. Not sure how long it’ll keep working, but I’ll take it!

2013 Christmas Carol 5K - Denver City ParkA cold, overcast morning in City Park before the race start.

A huge perk of winter races is the 9am start. This makes race day a “sleep in” day for me considering I’m usually at work by 7:30am! We got to City Park about 45 minutes before the race started then stood in the packet pickup line for a solid 20 minutes. It was cold. I don’t think it officially got above freezing until well after the race was over. It was also really foggy so there was no sunny warmth to soak up – this cloudy below freezing race felt SO much colder than the sunny below zero run I did a few weeks ago!

The race started about 5 minutes late and as usual I started out too fast. I wiggled my way toward the front so I wouldn’t be weaving through children and dogs which always results in me starting out way too fast. As in I hit the 1/2 mile-ish mark with an average pace of 6:26. Yea, that’s a realistic pace for me to hold for 3 miles. Not.

2013 Christmas Carol 5K - Denver City ParkA frosty start!

In that first mile of “hey stupid head, slow down or you’ll hate yourself later” a random dude came up beside be and introduced himself as Brian, a Twitter friend that I’ve been just missing at every race for the past two months! Finally! Gotta love the neon BRC gear that makes me noticeable! Brian is a much smarter racer than I am, wished me good luck on my PR then said he was dropping back to a more manageable pace. I should have followed suit!

2013 Christmas Carol 5K - Denver City ParkI had no idea at the time, but the guy behind me in blue zip up/black pants is Brian!

By the time the Mile 1 marker rolled around I had reigned it in for a 7:13 mile. Still a fair bit faster than I needed to be but at the moment it felt good. Until we hit the water stop around mile 1.75 I was feeling good trotting along at a low 7:xx. I decided to hold on as long as I could, which wasn’t that long. By the time I came upon the Mile 2 marker my average pace had dropped to 7:20. I desperately needed a 7:20 pace to PR. This was way too close for comfort!

I consoled myself by blaming the teeny tiny uphill we were on…but when we turned around it didn’t feel very down hill. On that stretch Brian went cruising. I knew I was slowing down too much! I needed to move it! I chased him for a half mile or so and finally caught up. I knew this course, I knew how long that last half mile felt, I knew I’d hate myself if I tried to push it too soon. So I was happy to chase Brian. Until he figured out I was the one wheezing along behind him.

2013 Christmas Carol 5K - Denver City Park
that guy…by that tree…is my husband…smile…it’ll end up online…

He asked where I needed to be to PR – 7:20 pace. He asked what I was at – 7:20 pace. Then he told me to move it. I was trying, I swear, but the numbers on my Garmin were not dropping! Brian stuck with me for the last half mile – I’m pretty sure he even slowed a bit when my “push” died off. Having him – a relative stranger – supporting my PR attempt was amazing. As we approached the finish line he moved left to continue onto his second loop for the 10K and I stared down the clock as it ticked off numbers – 22:10, 22:12, 22:13… As long as I didn’t trip I’d PR! I said “thank you” to Brian as many times as my breathing would allow and finished the last 5K I may ever force my body to run! I PR’ed!

2013 Christmas Carol 5K - Denver City Park

As soon as I got across the finish mats I slumped down in front of a volunteer clipping timing chips then rolled under the finish chute tape to lay on the ground surrounded by frozen goose poop. I hated the 5K. I never, ever, ever wanted to run another 5K. Short, fast races are stupid.

Chris came over the laugh at my stupidity then helped me crawl off the ground to get my finisher’s medal. Ha. For the first time since he started running in September he opted out of a race I ran and it was the first to hand out finisher’s medals! He should have gotten one for being a good supporter/spectator!

We hung around for a bit manning the BRC tent and waited for the final results to come in. I finished with a 22:21 time, putting me at a 7:12 pace. When I hit the stop button on my Garmin it had me at 22:20 and a 7:19 pace but I am not arguing with the official results, not this time. Instead I’ll give myself kudos for running tangents properly and call this an official PR – because it is by both the course results and my Garmin results. So there!

We finished off our morning with a trip to Culver’s for an early lunch then Chris headed to work while I ran errands. Don’t run errands the weekend before Christmas, even if you avoid retail you’ll hate traffic!


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