Cheers to the New Year 5K RR

Today, I ran the Cheers to the New Year 5K in Indianapolis, IN in 30:33 and 12 seconds faster than my last one in Thanksgiving.

I wanted to continue re-learning to race 5Ks, even if I cannot get close to my PR of 24:03 from way way back in the last decade, lol. Especially, I wanted to be able to race them without crashing and burning sometime during the race. At the Thanksgiving Jog 5K, I was done and burned by Mile 1 because I started out too fast. I finished there at 30:45 and I suspected my time was soft. I know I am not in PR shape but I think I might be able to break 30 minutes in the next few races, so I wanted another chance at it. Hence this race.

I have been eyeing the race for a few weeks and I knew that if I registered too late I wouldn't be able to get this year's shirt and/or this year's medal (if they run out, they give you a prior year's shirt and/or medal). But of course, I forgot about it and remembered to check the race this last weekend. I was able to secure a medal but no shirt from this year.

Last week, the weather was in the 50-60F range (I know, I broke Indy!) which is rare for December. But Tuesday woke up in the low 30s with windchills as low as the teens and super windy. I ran 6 on Tuesday night and the wind was still brutal, with gusts in the 30s, so I was hoping the winds would die as predicted before the race.

I woke up just before 8am after waking up several times due to cat issues (cat vomited, cat wanted love, etc.) so I wasn't in the best of moods. Got ready, grabbed my KK donuts and Mtn Dew and checked the weather. Since it would be 32F at the start with a windchill of 24F, I opted for capris and a LS, but I really wanted to wear shorts. For some reason, I don't run very fast with my legs covered. For a marathon, I would wear shorts and a tank with a throwaway in this weather, but for the 5K, I kept it to the capris, LS, and gloves and hope I wouldn't get too warm.

I arrived at the packet pickup at 8:45am for a start time of 10am. I had to do a warmup of 1-2 miles after the packet pickup, so I picked up my packet, froze on the way back to the car even with a hoodie on top of the LS, used the bathroom at the bar that was the base of the race and ate my donuts and Mtn Dew. Then headed to the Monon Trail to warmup.

The course was an out and back on the Monon Trail. I've heard great things about the Monon but had not run on that long trail since I got here, so this was my chance. Even with the hoodie and gloves, I was freezing and felt the winds which had lowered a bit but were still at 10-11mph. I debated whether to remove the hoodie during the race, but after the warmup I felt pretty warm so I left it in the car and headed once more to the restroom before the start. At least it was sunny, so I wouldn't freeze.

At the start, I chatted with some walkers and runners, but didn't realize I was too far back and would get stuck behind walkers. The Monon is a trail, but not single file. More like 2-person file each way. So once we started, it took me a while to pass the walkers and get behind some runners, but apparently I got too impatient and started out too fast trying to pass them. Of course!

During the turkey trot, I started at 9mm and finishing the first mile at 9:20mm and too fast. This time, I didn't start at 9mm but started at 9:50mm and by the time I finished mile 1, I was at 9:29mm getting faster the more I ran. So I thought OK, let me try to keep this pace. Mile 1: 9:29mm.

As we start Mile 2, I see the winner heading back and the course got a bit more crowded and single file-y as the people coming back took over half of the course. Now it would be very hard to pass anyone. I was going at a good clip, running 9:13mm by the time I got to the turn around. I was like woah, maybe I can pull this off. And that's when the wheels came off. I didn't realize the first half of the race was a slight downhill and the second half of the race, coming back, was the opposite and into the wind. When I made the hairpin turnaround, I slowed down to the 9:20s and for some reason I couldn't even hold that and finished Mile 2 at 9:38mm.

Mile 3 felt eternal. My legs wouldn't move. I felt like I was walking on quicksand and the sand was not letting me go. I wanted to walk so bad but I knew that if I stopped pushing even for a second I wouldn't improve on my time from November, so I kept pushing even though I felt like I was running at a walking pace. I was surprised, though, that I kept with a couple ahead of me for 3/4 of that mile and kept two paces behind them until they kicked my ass, lol. Mile 3: 10:30mm. 

I saw the Mile 3 marker, and I had nothing to give. Or so I thought. I saw the finish line and I felt like I was running under water. I kept pushing and giving my all and apparently that must have worked because I finished with a 9:08mm kick so apparently I got my legs back at some point. And I was done in 30:33. I stopped and didn't need to gasp for breath but was super winded. 5Ks suck or I suck. Maybe we both suck. But I was done.

After the finish, I met this girl and we talked for almost an hour about her wanting to run marathons and we even exchanged numbers so we can meet at the next race. One more new friend here, yay.

I finished 14th of 47 in my AG, which is Top 30%, and 165 out of 639 runners which I was surprised with.

This racing company always has free photos and, although there were not many, I loved these two. And yes, I beat the dog.

Definitely running this race again in the future.


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