Race report: Max’s O’Hartford 5k

The first 5k of 2014 is in the bag.
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This is my only photo from the race because it was too cold to think about anything else but start to finish.

The temperature was officially 30 degree but a strong windchill making it feel like 19, according to the weather app. Ouch! I wore a t-shirt, fleece jacket, and an old St. Paddy’s Day race shirt on top of the fleece. I just wore normal pants instead of my thermal tights, but it turned out ok. The fleece was a good decision. Instead of a t-shirt, we got these beanies:
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It will come in handy for next year’s St Patrick’s Day theme race, wherever that may be.

My niece (5 years old) was signed up to run the half mile kids race and I was running with her. It was one of those days where she woke up in the wrong side of the bed and was very whiny before we even left the house. Great. Can you parents out there confirm whether this is a normal thing? She was in good spirits as we waited inside for the race to start and even when she was lining up outside. We were off and running and life was good. Then the wind gusts started and she stopped dead in her tracks and began having a meltdown/panic attack. We were dead last and not even at the half waypoint. She started to cry and said she couldn’t breathe, which I was confused about since I have run with her before so I know it wasn’t from running too hard. We paused for 30 seconds while I calmed her down; meanwhile I am praying that no one is watching me and thinking I’m an asshole parent forcing her kid to run, lol. I wanted to yell, “She ran 1 full mile with me yesterday, I swear!” I think maybe it was a combination of the extreme cold plus anxiety about the environment (nervous energy, the crowds, and we saw a lot of kids falling). She got herself halfway together and walked/jogged the rest of the way with tears in her eyes, 1 hand in mine and the other hand covering her mouth because it was too cold. She promptly declared “I never want to race outside again.” Girl, we’ve all been there.

I had about 15 minutes of waiting and then it was time for us to go. By the way, there were people near us at the starting line who were taking shots of Fireball! That’s one way to keep warm I guess. The course itself was boring – a little rough and in-scenic but hey, that’s Hartford. We couldn’t exactly just run laps around Bushnell Park right? It was also hilly. I swear it felt like most of the course was uphill.y strategy was to keep jogging by very slowly up the hills, and I allowed myself to walk once I got to the top if I needed it. This way I would be able to catch my breath but lose less time.

This was my first race using my new Garmin that I got a couple of weeks ago. When it beeped saying that I had hit mile 3, I looked at the watch but runner brain didn’t quite put “1+1” together to realize I only had .2 miles of running left (the Garmin was ahead by .1 mi). The finish line didn’t have a huge overhead banner, just a small yellow flag. So I was caught by surprise when suddenly I could see the finishing chutes ahead of of me. I thought, “dammit I have more gas left in my tank!” I sprinted in but hit a traffic jam in the chute. I could have finished a minute faster if only I had started sprinting before mile 3.

Oh well.

The medal is so cute:

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My official time was 36:44/average pace 11:36. That’s only 1:23 more than my 5k PR so I’ll take it. I’m annoyed that I haven’t improved my 5k time in an entire year but I also ran 7 miles the day before so I knew it wasn’t likely.

They gave out corned beef sandwiches and beer after the race but Brian already told me the sandwich was bad, so I grabbed my free Thomas Hooker beer and ran inside to my waiting family & chug the beer before they kicked us out of the convention hall. I’m not sure what the other post race food there was because I was just focused on getting inside.

This was my coldest race ever. March 16 and still 20 degrees out! definitely will rethink trying to do any New England race before March, such as those crazy ones that pop up in January. No thank you!

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