Before I get to the race report, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for my life.  I just got home from taking Ruthie for a walk.  It’s 24 degrees out with 20 mph winds, which of course, are gusting much faster than that. It’s pretty dark and snowy out there (this is one of those weekends where it seems to be snowing nonstop, but luckily the accumulation is not too crazy. Yet, it still is enough to remind you that Old Man Winter is really here and has packed his bags for a long stay.) Ruthie is now snuggled up under her favorite blankie across from me in the living room while I watch TV and blog, and Bill is over at his friend’s house, hanging out with the guys he doesn’t get to see too often.  Knowing that I had a warm house to come home to, that both Bill and I have jobs that allow us to keep our roof over our heads, and food on the table, fix the cars when we need to (Bill’s car wouldn’t start last night), made me very grateful for everything I have. Along those lines, I really liked what some of my favorite bloggers wrote in the last few weeks: Anne from RUN-DMZ and KCH from Running-Faster.

Here are some photos of Ruthie, for whom I’ve just bought a nice, warm outdoor jacket that keeps her warm on nights like tonight.  Bill’s embarrassed because it’s pink, but it’s reversible and it keeps her dry, as well as reflects in the evening. Thank God for sales at Petsmart!

 Anyway, since this is a running blog, at least in theory, here’s the race report on the Lowell 1st Run.  As the name sounds, it took place on January 1st. It was also the inaugural running of this race.  Incredibly well organized.  I will definitely do it again.

Runners had a choice of doing a 5K or a 10K.  For runners looking for a fast and flat course, this is it.  The 5K was the same course as the Lowell Super 5K, which is held on Super Bowl Sunday (another incredibly well organized race I plan to run for the second time this year.)

How well organized was it?  Well, there were 404 runners in the 10K, and 400 in the 5K.  There was a bag check (please remember this is a 5K and 10K, this is not a normal perk in races around here.)  It was hosted by the Lowell Elks which has a large facility with a lot of bathrooms for both men and women (and they had extra porta potties.)  There were Chrono D tags for runners, with a timing mat at the beginning and end of the 5K, and a midway 5K-split mat for the 10Kers.  We were given those aluminum blanket things at the end of the race, making us all feel like we’d just completed a marathon.  For pre-registered runners, they had their names on their bibs.  Runners had their names announced at the end of the race as they crossed the finish line. Ample parking. LOTS of food at the end, including awesome chicken noodle soup, salad, pasta with chicken, and beer (I know, Penny, you’re cheering right now, all the way in LA!)

The 10K was basically the same thing as the 5K for the first loop. I thought we’d do the the same loop twice, but it did veer off for about .25-.4 of the second loop.  I know some people don’t like that kind of setup, because you’re running next to 5Kers, who start to speed up at the end, and you try not to do the same thing, knowing you’ve got another 3 miles or so to go, but personally, I like it. I like knowing what’s coming ahead of me (i.e., the one small hill), where the water stop will be the second time around, etc.  Plus, we had different colored bibs, so it was easy to tell 5Kers apart from 10Kers.

Anyway, the only bad things about the race were my own personal problems. I didn’t run the tangents as well as I could have, and on the second loop, my Endurolytes fell out of my pocket. A kindly runner got my attention (headphones on, of course) and told me I’d just dropped my “candy” – he’d seen me eating my Sports Beans, thus making me run back and losing precious time, while adding distance! I never did get to catch up to that guy again and thank him. So Anonymous Runner Guy, thank you!!  The other concerned my music.  Those of you with iPods will understand.  You buy some new music on iTunes. You create a whole new playlist and sync it up. You don’t check your playlists like normal, because you’ve never had a problem in the past, so why start now, right?  Only to find out, literally 5 minutes before the race, that when you go to turn on your playlist, all you’ve got is the On-the-Go list, which of course, you’ve added nothing to. So, you’re left with over 300 songs on the shuffle. (I’ve got an older Nano, limited to 2 Gigs.)   But you know what? Worse things could happen in life, so I just decided to run with it, literally.

Alright, this post has already gone on long enough, so I’ll just leave you with the stats of my PR 10K time.  I only wish I knew what my actual 10k time really was, because I ended up running 6.35 miles by the time I was done.  You can probably tell what was going on through my mind just by looking at the mile paces:

  • Mile 1=8:50 (oh crap, too fast)
  • Mile 2=9:26 (oh crap, too slow, but need water!)
  • Mile 3=9:13 (halfway, yay! go for negative splits – first 5K= 29:16)
  • Mile 4=9:28 (ah crap, dropped the Endurolytes!)
  • Mile 5=9:23 (yep, still thirsty, need to stop for 5 oz. of H2O)
  • Mile 6=8:52 (finally, passing that guy in the red and black in front of me!) Don’t let anyone else pass you – pass them!
  • last .35=2:49 (pace of 8:07)
  • Average pace overall: 9:09

By the way, when I passed the official Mile 6 Marker, it said 56 minutes flat. At that point, I think my watch said 6.15.  So what does that make my real 6.2 time? Something like 57 minutes? Less?  That’s what I’ll go with as my next time to beat. Something between 56:30 and 57.

Official stats:

Overall: 291/404.  First 5K split: 29:16.  Total time of 57:59, average pace of 9:22.

Oh, and by the way, the guy who won was Dan Vassallo. I think you’ll be hearing a lot about him come the next Olympic Trials.  He’s hoping to qualify for the marathon, which I think he can do. When he ran Boston, he came in 24th OVERALL.  Yep, as in that includes the Kenyans, Nigerians and rest of the elites.  That was a few years ago.    He won the 10k in 32 flat.  The guy who came in second did it in 36:05.  A woman who was walking the 5K said she had just reached the 2 mile marker, and he went flying by her, on his second lap. Can you imagine?!