I didn’t have high hopes for the Halloween Hustle 5K (Saturday, October 27). It all began the night prior to the race. I don’t normally pay close attention to what I eat in terms of carbs/fats/protein/etc, even if I have to run longer distances the following day, but I had a mini panic attack as I was falling asleep on Friday night. It’s recommended to limit dairy intake a day or two before races, but of course that day I consumed every form of dairy imaginable – yogurt, milk, and cheese. I don’t have a stomach of steel and was slightly concerned.
But let’s back up a few hours to Friday afternoon. On a brighter note, packet pick-up was at the happiest place on Earth:
(for those who thought of Disney World…come on now…)
You know it’s going to be a good race when your goody bag is a Whole Foods tote!
Highlights include a white long-sleeved tech shirt and a packet of Emergen-C. I’ve been lusting over white runner shirts and loved the feel of this one. I initially received a size small but ended up trading it for a medium on race day because it felt oddly tight.
As per tradition, I laid out my clothes for the following morning:
I awoke on Saturday at 6am without much whining and complaining. My legs were ready to race! My mom, being the awesome mother that she is, insisted on coming with me to cheer and spectate. She rocks ♥
I foam-rolled, ate my traditional pre-race breakfast of ½ a sprouted cinnamon raisin bagel topped with sunflower seed butter and banana slices, sipped on some foamy coffee, got dressed and was ready to go.
The big concern of the morning was whether or not the cape would be bothersome during the race. I ran out to the end of my block and found that I couldn’t even feel the cape. However, my right knee had a random ache and I could only hope for the best.
(I’m wearing: Lululemon Wunder Unders, Brooks PureCadence, pink ProCompression socks, Lululemon Run Swiftly top, Armour Bra, Buff Wool Wrap (not shown because I put it on later), sparkly pink Superman cape from Six Flags)
I loved my costume! It was simple, bright, pink & sparkly, and represented me well. Not to mention, the pink theme fit in perfectly with Breast Cancer Awareness month.
The race start was in Palatine and the drive took about 25 min total. We had no problem finding the race as the “race expo” took place in the parking garage near the start line. There were a few tables set out but we didn’t visit any of them.
I realized my mistake the moment I stepped out of the car. I didn’t bring gloves or a jacket and my body protested with shivers and shakes. It was freezing out! I ended up swapping my shiny pink headband for the Buff to keep my ears warm.
Even though the wide open parking garage did little to protect us from the bitterly cold morning, I loved the fact that the runners had shelter over their heads. Music was blasting and everyone was in high spirits. It was infectious and I was reminded of why I loved participating in races so much.
We eventually made our way to the start line, which was about a 2 minute walk from the parking garage. I lined up semi-close to the front of the pack and at 8:30am sharp we were off!
I didn’t take any photos during the race but I will say that running along the tree-lined streets was beautiful and entertaining. Truth be told, I started pushing myself immediately after crossing the start line and my mind was too preoccupied with my pace to notice much else. I told you…I wanted to race this race!
People passed me left and right but I didn’t mind. I learned long ago to run my own race and ignore everyone around me. My mom waved me off as we rounded the corner into residential streets. I spent the first quarter mile swearing at myself for forgetting gloves. My fingers were numb and I wasn’t happy. The remainder of the first mile zoomed by with only one issue – my heart rate monitor slipped down and nothing I tried would get it to stay in place. It was annoying and I mentally prepared myself to run with it dangling around my stomach, but luckily one side was trapped beneath my sports bra and held in place the remainder of the run.
After the completion of the first mile, my entire body starting feeling the speedy pace. I couldn’t believe that I was holding a 8:20 min/mile pace! It certainly wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t killing me, so I just pushed on with each step. I started noticing the small hills and every increase in elevation made me huff and puff. I obviously couldn’t rely on my heart rate monitor to guide me, but I decided to trust my body anyway and test its limits. I knew that once I would see the 2 mile marker, I was in the clear.
My pace finally caught up to me. Despite my aching legs, I was determined to maintain the pace until the end. I struggled and cursed until I turned the corner and saw the finish line. I feebly attempted to sprint the final 0.1 mile but it turned out to be more like a very fast run…my legs had nothing left in them! I heard my mom scream my name and felt a burst of energy. As I approached the timer at the finish line, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.
One of my running goals for the remainder of this year was to conquer the 5K distance. After the half marathon and my laid-back approach to it (i.e. ignore time and speed/pace), I wanted to work on my speed without wearing myself out.
This is exactly why I registered for only shorter distances that wouldn’t lead to burn-out. My secret goal was to run a sub-27 min 5K by the end of the year.
With this race I smoked my goal and snagged a sub-26 minute 5K and a shiny new PR!
Final Time: 25:49:84 (8:20 min/mile pace)
Age Division: 4/21
I am so proud of my final time. So proud. It’s truly amazing what the body can be trained to do and it’s exciting for me to see of what else I am capable. More importantly, I am amazed that I was able to shave off over a minute off my previous 5K time by simply adding some minor speedwork and basic core/strengthening exercises into my routine.
After the race the runners and spectators headed over to Durty Nellie’s, a local bar/pub where the award ceremony was held. We decided to stick around because I wanted to see if my time would win me a possible 3rd place age division medal (no-go though) . Plus, free food and drinks were served!
(Bagels & cream cheese, fruits, and coffee)
I snacked on a rice crispy treat and sipped on coconut water (both brought from home):
There was also plenty of coconut water to go around at the bar and of course I snagged a few bottles!
And of course it wouldn’t be a Halloween race without candy! I don’t think I like Pez candy though…
The timing company had some problems reporting the division times, so the organizers handed out medals for best costumes and skipped the age division award ceremony.
First Place: trees
(These two were tied together by a string and ran side by side the entire time!)
Second Place: Romney’s comment on the 47%
(I thought this costume was hilarious! The people literally ran the entire race pulling the man in the recliner. They were also all dressed in business clothes while the “lazy” man lounged around in pajamas with a real 6-pack of beer!)
Third Place: Pac Man
– Race day setup: tables were setup, music was playing, port-a-potties were plentiful, and hot coffee was even being served prior to the race start.
– The runners: probably about 85% of the runners dressed up in costume, which was great because it gave the race a festive feeling and made it worth spectating! My mom and I really enjoyed costume watching.
– The course: it was completely residential but very nice thanks to the wonderful colors of Fall. There were some hills that were challenging but they just made the course that much more interesting! There were even some spectators along the course.
– Tech shirt: I’m a big fan of white, and it’s long-sleeved…perfect for winter!
– Post-race party: The after-party at Durty Nellie’s was fantastic. Alcohol was available to those who wanted a celebratory drink (not sure if it was free but probably not), and a free spread of food was available for the runners and their friends/family! I’ve never seen such a generous 5K race.
– I had to sit and think about cons for this race because there wasn’t really anything that came to mind! The only thing I could think of was the delayed awards ceremony and the lack of winners by age division. However, this wasn’t even the fault of the race organizers as they were simply waiting on the timing company.
Overall, I loved this race! It was festive, well-organized, and a lot of fun. Everything was well-thought out and I can definitely see this race becoming a yearly tradition. My mom even said she wanted to do it next year!
Do you enjoy themed races? Have you ever dressed up in a costume for a race?