Snowstorm Classic

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning compliments of Nemo. It was beautiful to see the glistening snow sparkling in the sunlight. However, this is not the snowstorm I’m referring to. I loosely decided I would like to try to run at least one race every month. February’s calendar filled up quickly and I was having trouble finding a race to fit into my schedule. At the last minute I found that a local running group holds a series of races from December through March called the Snowstorm Classics. They alternate between 5Ks and 10Ks. Last Saturday happened to be a 5K which was perfect with my training schedule. I haven’t run a 5K in almost 2 years.

The races are really low key and take place in and around a local park. Registration takes place on race day and it’s only $5. There were 81 racers. A great turnout on a chilly Saturday morning.

I don’t love 5Ks. There I said it. When I go for a long run or run a distance race I have time to find a good pace, get my breathing even and fall into a comfortable rhythm. The 5K distance is short and I don’t pace myself well during a 5K race. I usually start out too fast and lose steam towards the end.

We got started and immediately ran up a hill! Talk about getting your heart pumping. I felt good and was really hoping for a 5K PR.ย The uphill start prevented me from going out too fast. At the top of the hill the course flattened out. We did a loop and a half around the athletic fields and then headed out of the park. As we turned onto the road in front of the park I neared the man in front of me. I soon passed him and pushed closer to the woman ahead. She was long and lean. It seemed as though she was running a speedier pace than I normally run. I stayed behind her and came close to catching up to her a couple of times.

My legs felt good during the race. I wasn’t sure of my pace, but I felt like I might be running my way to a PR. I had a feeling the finish line was near when we came towards another hill. Fortunately we didn’t have to go up that hill. There was a slight incline as we approached the finish line and out of the corner of my eye I noticed the man I had passed earlier closing in on me. I thought to myself “oh helllll nooo! He’s not going to pass me now!” I started running like I was being chased by a band of zombies. I pulled it out at the end and beat my imaginary competitor. He came up to me and congratulated me on a great race which I thought was very cool. There was no time clock at the finish so I actually had no idea of my race time.

I stayed for a bit, watched and cheered as others came through the finish. I listened as some of the runners discussed their upcoming races, training and for some preparations for the Boston Marathon. I’ve never been involved in a running group, but standing there amongst other runners I did feel as though I was part of a unique club. There is the running lingo – PR, BQ, chip time, splits, Garmin and the like. I smiled to myself as I headed to my car. I still get a charge out of my new life. I run races or go for long runs on Saturday mornings when years before I remember sitting on the sofa all morning watching reruns of 90210 (do not judge!).

Being a small, no frills race I knew it might be a while before my time was posted. My current 5K PR is 28:53 which I have declared is false for a few reasons. I had major stomach drama that morning and I felt sluggish through the entire race. At that time I was not consistently running a sub 10 minute mile for any length of time. This race was definitely a better test of my abilities. Though I knew I ran a strong I was still floored when I saw I ran it in 27:02!!

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”ย 
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

18 thoughts on “Snowstorm Classic

  1. Hi Aimee! I love your race stories. With the twists and turns and hills, I think that I, perhaps, don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But the back burner of my mind says, “This is your friend Aimee, she’s going to do great!” And then you do! When all of your hard work meets opportunity, that’s what happens. Congratulations!

    I do not think I’d like a race that started with a steep hill. I recall walking up a very steep hill in Pittsburgh after a grueling yoga class, and I grumbled!

    Your quote is perfect–especially the part describing the challenge this way– “It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what itโ€™s all about.” I think my absolute favorite part of fitness is *not* being good at it (which always surprises people) but that I learned exactly who I was, when I tried with some amount of uncertainty. People always think it is about the win, but I think it is about feeling brave, alive, willing, and capable. It is about somehow understanding that you have more potential than you can grasp.<–And I feel that way about you, ๐Ÿ˜€

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Marion

    1. Marion you have such a way with words. I love what you wrote here. I agree that the improvement is what I strive for and there is always room for more. I love running because I am really competing only against myself in each race, each training run and even each leisurely run. My son used to ask me if I won the race. I explained that I did win because I finished. I am in awe of what my body is capable of doing and it is exciting to try new things and push the limits even further. After years of not believing in myself I am finally opening up to my true potential. Thank you Marion.

  2. Congratulations on the PR Aimee! I ran a 5K a few years ago and I remember it was HARD! Even though I kept telling myself, “it’s not that long” it felt like I was running forever, but I still had it in me to finish strong ๐Ÿ™‚ I have no idea what my time was for that race (my only one!) but I remember the feeling of finishing and that was great. I think that is what I’m trying to accomplish by trying to run again and what you always make me strive for when I read your racing stories!

    1. I remember not being very excited to enter another 5K after my first. I loved the race environment and the excitement of being cheered on and crossing a finish line. I think that’s why I went from 5K to training for a half marathon and 10K. The nice thing about the 5K is that there are so many local races and many of them are really laid back, just for fun races. Have you considered maybe trying one of the color runs? They are so much fun and there is no time pressure. Carlos and I are doing Color Me Rad again only this time in Hartford this April.

    1. Thanks Jacky. I love setting PRs, but isn’t it sometimes daunting to think of going any faster. I’m not sure how much more these legs have in them!

  3. Excellent and congratulations! I’m not only not fond of 5Ks, I pretty much avoid them. I don’t like the feeling that I have to all out sprint from beginning to end.

  4. Woo-hoo! I agree too with you and the above, 5ks are tough. I always cut my warm-up too short for some reason, so it takes me a while to find my stride. But for some reason a 2-3 mile warm-up always seems counter-intuitive on race morning, so I always abandon my warm-up plan, only to pay the price later. Haha, each distance seems to have its own nuance! I have a feeling 2013 is going to be the year of the PR for you!

    1. I think it could be the year for both of us. I am so curious about your secret PR. I definitely haven’t figured out my warm up plan for any race distance. Warming up and post run stretching are a priority this year.

  5. “I started running like I was being chased by a band of zombies.” – that’s hands down my favorite line of this post – until I got to your PR time – woop!! GREAT JOB!! And for the record, 5k’s are the greatest distance I’ll run!

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