Monday, April 8, 2013

Race Recap: 5 Miles & 5 Lessons

CZ, MEF & I post race. Love these ladies!

Yesterday two of my girlfriends and I ran the Cambridge CityRun 5 Miler.  It started out as a clear, crisp day - really nice.  By the time the race was wrapping up it was grey, windy and significantly colder - not so nice.  The race itself was a good one.  Despite its size (800 runners and 800 walkers) it was incredibly well organized.  The course was pretty flat except for the final hill which I should have known was coming since we went down at the start.  I foolishly hoped we might be avoiding the uphill part all together.  Not so much.  It was my first race since the Albany, GA marathon that I ran in March and I was really pumped to be out there again.  As you can expect, I went out way to fast.  You'd think after 20+ years of running I'd have learned not to do this.  You'd think.  Overall, the race went well for me.  I was pleased with my time and place and felt like it was a solid start to my spring racing season.  As I always do in when I race, I learned a few valuable lessons.  In a bizarre way, this is one of the main reasons I keep going back for more.  That and knowing I typically get to have brunch with the ladies after the race!


1. Perfect running weather is very rare.  In general, I like running in the spring and fall better than the winter and summer.  But, that said, I'll take 20 degrees and calm over 45 degrees with wind whipping in my face any day.  In running, it's almost as if each day it has its own weather system and aside from those 3 perfect days a year, we will always be braving the elements, whatever they may be.

2. A five mile race is a very tricky distance and, personally, not my favorite.  With a 5K, once I get through the first mile I'm basically done.  Thus, the pain in that last mile is a bit more manageable.  In a half marathon, when I hit mile five I tend to find my groove and zone out and then enjoy the ride for a bit.  With the five miler today, I hit mile 2 and and I was like, crap, I still have almost a 5K to go...and I'm tired.  Really tired.  So, moving forward, I'll be sticking with shorter or longer than 5 miles in my races.  Good to know.

3. I really like running with friends.  I love that we gabbed away on the drive over and did not even remotely focus on the fact that we were about to voluntarily torture ourselves for 30+ minutes.  I love that my friends know how important these races are to me and don't question my pre-race routine, which to some may seem a bit odd.  I love having friends around me at the start; even if we aren't talking it just feels good know they are there.  And I love knowing that the first thing I'm going to do when the race is over is track them down and head off to breakfast at which point we will pick up where we left off in the car on the way over.  Bottom line, it's just more fun to race with friends.

4. Oiselle arm warmers* are by far the best running accessory that I own.  Every runner should own a pair of these babies.  I have worn them probably 5 out of every 7 days this spring including during yesterday's race and during my marathon in March. They solve SO many problems.  If it's chilly but you don't want 2 layers, you wear the arm warmers.  If it warms up, you roll them down.  If it gets windy and your hands get cold, as it did for me in both races, just slide them back down and put your thumbs in the thumbholes (this is the feature that sets them apart from all other arm warmers and makes them that much more amazing).  After I crossed the line yesterday, a man came over to me and said, "I sure wish I'd had my warmers today.  Smart call."  Indeed it was, sir.  Thank you, Oiselle.
*Note: I love them so much I will be giving a pair away in the next few days.  So, stay tuned.

5. I love running and racing today more than I ever did in high school or in college - eh hmm - over 20 years ago.  I'm not saying I didn't enjoy running back then.  I did.  But today, appreciate it more.  I love the camaraderie of the running community. I love the personal challenge each workout and race presents to me.  And I love the mental release that goes along with all of it.  Back then I worried about how my performance would effect the overall place of my team.  Today, I stress about making sure I can get a coffee AND get to the race on time and then finding my family or friends afterwards.  Much less pressure today.  And much more fun!


Listen to this:
Sun Blows Up Today - The Flaming Lips  Sun Blows Up Today (Non-Album Bonus Track) - The Terror (Deluxe Version)

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