Sunday, January 6, 2013

Starting 2013 with a Brrrrrr - Week 1 (January 1 - 5, 2013)

I decided to start 2013 with a bang, but it ended up being more of a BRRRRR!  Within the first 5 days of 2013, I did two 5Ks.  I have not ran much since the marathon on December 2nd since I had to let my body go through recovery as well as those pesky blisters that took two weeks to heal then reformed in Vegas.  It was physically quite tough to get going again after about a month off, but I have been mentally ready for weeks!  

My biggest challenge this week was my pace.  Since September, I had been focusing so hard on controlling my pace in all of my runs in to to prep for the marathon.  My pace had gone from 11:00-12:00/mile to 13:00-14:00/mile during training.  Now that the marathon is over, I now have to start focusing on getting my pace back to where it once was - especially for my shorter runs/races.

PT Solutions Resolution Run 5K (Kennesaw, GA) - January 1, 2013

The PT Solutions Resolution Run 5K/10K is a Atlanta Track Club sponsored event that takes place on New Years Day.  Thank goodness the race acknowledges the fact that it IS New Years Day and most people have been up late the night before to ring in the new year, so this race has a "later than normal" start time.  In order to prevent significant bottlenecking at the start, the 5K race started at 11:00 while the 10K took off at 11:10.  Since this would be my first race in a month, I decided to opt for the 5K distance.

Mom decided to start off her new year with a 5K as well, so we planned to leave the house around 9:30 to get to Kennesaw in time to get checked in and stretch.  Well, mother nature had a different plan for us!  There was a little chill in the air (around mid 40s), but it was POURING DOWN RAIN!  Well, races are "rain or shine" and mom's motto for the past 9 months has been "no excuses" so off we went to the race.  Needless to say, we went to the race...

We arrived to the race around 10:00.  We were greeted by countless smiling (and soaked) volunteers working the parking lot, setting up the start line, and handling check-in.  Nothing makes a race more enjoyable than wonderful volunteers - without them, the race would not be possible.  Mom and I walked up to the check-in with umbrella in hand and received our bibs and t-shirts.  The race shirts were great - long-sleeved Brooks technical shirts.  However, there was no goodie bag given out.  A lot of races have started doing "virtual goodie bags" which have coupons and race advertisements emailed to you.  I am not a huge fan of these, but I like to put the fliers/cards in my race stuff and look through them when searching for races.  I do see the reasoning behind this - it helps save money and best of all it helps the environment.  Overall, the check-in process was very well organized and went smoothly.

After we checked-in we decided to sit in the car where it was dry and warm.  Around 10:45 we decided to brave the elements and go to the start line so we can get warmed-up and in line to start.  The start took off on time (which is always a huge plus - especially when raining).  Despite the weather, there was an excellent turn out!  I was hoping that with the races taking off at separate times that the bottle-neck at the beginning would be minimal.  With the rain, many people decided to take umbrellas with them.  As if dodging other people during the first 1/2 mile isn't challenging enough, add umbrellas into the mix.  

I hit my first mile in about 12:30 which I was alright with.  I run the course several times a year and I knew I could make my first mile in about 10:30-11:00.  Considering the challenges at the start, I accepted the time.  Most of the course was like running through rivers.  My shoes were completely water-logged before I made it 1.5 miles.  While still dealing with healing blisters, my wet shoes/socks were not helping.  Every step taken felt like Lake Superior was in my shoes. After 39:52 I made it to the finish line.  Even though this was about 4 minutes slower than what I am used to, it was still about 3 minutes faster than my time last year and a great first race after a month hiatus.

I was a little disappointed with the post-race options.  There were excellent Panera bagels (one of my favorites), however past that the options were limited (bananas and water).  There were very few vendors set-up which is perhaps due to it being a holiday and the weather.

Mom and I were both SOAKED from head to toe, but we were both glad that we did it and did not make excuses to not do it.

PT Solutions Resolution Run 5K was a great way to start off 2013!  I cannot wait to see where my 2013 running schedule takes me.  I have a lot of exciting races on schedule to run, and I cannot wait to share my experiences with you.

Race Pros:
Great shirt!
Energetic volunteers!
On-time start (always a plus)

Race Cons:
Lack of vendors in post-race area
Virtual goodie bag
Weather (I realize the race director could not control this)

Overall race rating: A-

Wonderful Days of Winter 5K (Marietta, GA) - January 5, 2013

I often enjoy choosing to run smaller local races.  They are a great opportunity to really interact with other runners/walkers and race organizers.  Last year I ran the Wonderful Days of Winter 5K which is hosted by St. James Episcopal Church and benefits their preschool program.  After a wonderful race last year, I decided to run it again in 2013.

It was yet another COLD morning here in Metro Atlanta.  Friday night I was upset because the forecast showed that it would be in the low 30s at race time.  Well, mother nature decided to play a dirty trick on me yet again!

Check-in and restrooms were inside - HUGE plus in general, especially when it is 28 degrees.  Check-in went fairly smoothly - the volunteers were great.  My only complaint was the way the room was set up there check-in area was a little tight (the race day registration table was very close to the check-in tables).  

This is another race that you get your shirt at check-in.  The shirt design stays the same each year, but the color of the shirt changes yearly.  Last year we received cotton long-sleeve red versions of the shirt, and this year it was a cotton short-sleeve light yellow version.

The race had about 300 people in it.  A majority of the racers were church members and a lot of them walked the 5K.  Before the 5K began, a fair number of people were anxious about the 5K an whether or not they could do it.  As I put it to a group of three ladies:  Can you walk around the mall for a hour?  Then you can walk a 5K.  The women gained quite a bit of confidence at that point.  

Everyone made their way to the start line and we took off on time!  LOVE IT!  The course is quite difficult.  Some describe the course as "rolling hills throughout" - I call it "mostly uphill."  I hit my first mile in about 11:30 so I was pretty pumped at mile 1 - I was back!  However, the hills of the course took their toll on me and I finished in 39:13.  Once again, this was an improvement of about 3 minutes form last year.  My biggest competition is myself, so improving from last year is a big accomplishment. I finished 6th in my age group and 113 out of 300+.

After the 5K there was a 1 mile fun run.  A lot of the children and families from the preschool participated in this race and it was great to see the families being active together.  This just shows that it is never too early or too late to get active!

The post race area was held inside - AMAZING!  The post race food consisted of food prepared by church members.  Yummmm, home cooked food!  The biggest hit was the chili.  I am not a chili fan, but I did enjoy the post race party.

After the race, I decided to see if it ever did warm up during the run......

NOPE!  The entire 5K was done with it being 28 degrees.  Once again, this goes back to the motto of "no excuses."

I have some great races lined up in the up coming weeks.  Next week I am doing the Hot Chocolate 5K (there is a 15K too).  I have waited several years for this race to finally come to Atlanta and I cannot wait to share my experience with you next week.

Inside check-in, restrooms, and post race
Smaller/intimate race
Inexpensive race fees

Weather (race directors have no control over this)
I wish the shirt was long sleeved like last year

Overall rating: A-

Question of the Week:
How many miles did you get to run/walk this week?  Did you partake in a Resolution Run/Commitment Day race?

Time to Run,

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