I decided a few months ago to sign up for the Crystal City Twilight 5K. I have never done an evening race before and thought it would be fun. I also had my eye on a 30 minute 5K PR this month!
After I ran a very nice 6 miles after my 10K last week, I decided to tack this 5K onto the end of the day after running 12 miles in the morning. The weather was decent and I was averaging 11-12 min/mile on the (well groomed) trail so I thought I was on track for my PR. It started raining around 5 PM but the skies cleared by 6:30 so we we decided to stick to the plan.
Right exactly when the race began, the skies opened up and we were subjected to torrential rain for the first 10 minutes. Seriously, they couldn’t have coordinated it better if they tried! Luckily, my family made the best of it by ducking into a nearby yogurt shop for a little treat. The runners weren’t as fortunate. My first mile, I was running partially blind because it was raining so hard but I was able to make out the people ahead and stayed on course. My first mile was 9:20. Then the rain stopped. And I was hot and wet. And my glasses steamed up like crazy. I literally couldn’t see a thing. I had to stop repeatedly to wipe them off because I was terrified of dropping them if I did it on the run. The dark plus fogged over glasses and the train tracks we obviously ran by as a freight train rolled through created a sensory nightmare for me. I was very agitated and even felt mildly claustrophobic. My second mile was 10:20 and my third was 11:30. Overall pace of 10:35. No PR for me.
I don’t know what it is but this is the second bad race I’ve had with Pacers. I can’t put my finger why, though. The Pacers races do draw a very different crowd than what I’m used to (super high tech race gear, all sorts of crazy warm up drills, etc.) and I just don’t feel like I’m with “my people” there. Luckily, there are enough other local races that I won’t miss too much by not running theirs.
I did learn a few things at the race, though:
Always wear wool socks and use Body Glide, even if it’s a short race, if there is even the HINT of rain or puddles.
Always bring a water bottle for afterwards, even if it is a short race.
Know your comfort zone. If it was dry and I had brought my Knuckle Lights, I would have had a much better race because I’m used to early morning runs like that. Total dark and wet, not so much.
I still think I could have nailed my PR. Luckily, I have more opportunities ahead!
I wore an Athleta tank, Champion compression-ish shorts (I don’t know if they are true compression shorts but those babies don’t move! I love them!), thin (non-wool) sock, and my “current’ pair of Saucony Ride 5.
Nice race shirt design
Super easy packet pick-up at the Pacers running store
Start/Finish near a variety of stores and restaurants so the family has a place to wait
Food tent with pretzels, bananas, and Lara bars. There were also vendors with free Coco Vita and other items.
The course map wasn’t even close to accurate. I still have no idea where we were running!
I couldn’t find the water at the finish
Pretty crowded field (1900 finishers) and we were all in one massive corral
B – but I won’t be repeated this one.