What: Light the Night 5k; proceeds to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
When: Saturday, April 19th at 7pm
Where: Shelburne, VT
Pre-Race: This was the inaugural “Light the Night” 5k and I could tell that the organizers were still figuring things out. The race set out from the Shelburne Field House, and there was a dog show happening on the indoor field, so pick-up was happening up on a mezzanine. It was kind of loud and crowded. The post-race snacks and water were already sitting out, so lots of runners were just grabbing them during the waiting around period. One of the race organizers kept yelling over the crowd about not eating the stuff until after, and about how there was going to be a pre-race meeting outside in x number of minutes. I was a little disappointed that there was no swag–no coupons, no samples, no t-shirts… Nothing but race bibs and glow necklaces. I understand that it was a smaller race for charity purposes, but I felt a little unloved. There were some ladies offering massages, but nobody knew it was there until the yelling guy yelled about it, and it also wasn’t clear if they were free or by donation or cost money or what.
Race: Originally the race was supposed to be out on the Ti Path, but the organizers were concerned about people running on a trail in the dark, so it went along a road instead. The road wasn’t closed off from traffic, but there was a police escort. There were almost no spectators, but there were a couple of volunteers cheering runners on at the turnaround. The route was mostly flat and very well-marked. I started out going pretty fast and had to pull myself back a little–my first mile was actually my fastest. I felt great for all of mile one and most of mile 2, but the turnaround was at the top of a small hill, and that definitely hit me hard. On the way down, I developed a nice stitch in my right side, which was quickly joined by a stitch in my left side. Usually this is my cue to walk for a while, but I pushed through. For most of the race, I was closely following a girl dressed as Wonder Woman, which was absurdly inspiring, and kept me going. I wasn’t feeling so hot by the end, so I wasn’t able to do a sprint-to-the-finish sort of thing, but I was able to go a little faster at least.
Official Time: 29.17.3–PR! Sub half-hour! Woo!
35th place overall out of 73 runners
9th out of 17 in my age group
Post-Race Reflections: First of all, this is the first time I’ve ever done a race in the evening, and I have to say, I’m not really a fan. On a normal race day, your preparation period is usually really short and focused. You get up, fuel, and run. This time, I had to stay prepared all day. Stay hydrated. Eat right. Be rested. Stay excited. It’s hard to do all of those things all day. By the time race time rolled around, I was tired and antsy and bored. There weren’t a lot of racers or spectators, so it was over pretty quickly. The whole “Light the Night” thing didn’t really make sense, because the race was over before the sun set, and the glow necklaces were popping off people left and right as soon as they started running.
Post-race snacks were meh–water, oranges and bananas. I wish they’d had bagels or granola bars or something. Also, my GPS app said that I actually ran 3.2 miles, not 3.1. If I had been doing a lot of weaving around people, I could see my actual distance being different from the race distance, but I definitely didn’t do much, if any, weaving. According to my GPS, I actually finished 3.1 miles in 28.52… While I’m super happy I PR’d, I was pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing. I feel kind of snotty saying that, but it’s true. I guess I’ve been spoiled by other 5ks I’ve participated in, and since it was a much smaller race I shouldn’t have been expecting a lot.
Now that I’ve achieved my sub-30 minute 5k, I feel like I need to set a new goal, but I’m not sure what that will be. And just so I don’t come off as a callous jerk, I would like to say that the race organizers and volunteers were all extremely helpful and excited to be there. It seems like they really want to make this race an annual event, and I think that it will definitely get smoother with time.
Have you ever been underwhelmed by a race? Have you met a goal recently?