Most of these race roundup posts I’m making are about races that happened months ago, I’m only a little more than a week removed from this race, so it is a bit fresher in my memory. I’m going to try and keep up with timely race-related posts next year.
On December 3, 2011, at Seaford High School around 1,000 people took part in the Seaford Hot Chocolate Run. I haven’t done any other 5K races with that kind of turnout.
This is one of the few races that I’ve done before, so having some experience and familiarity with the event made an already smooth event even smoother for me. I picked up my number, shirt and goody bag the night before at the high school, which is a nice convenience.
Already having my number meant I could just show up and race. I tried to get there a little early so I could get a spot in the high school parking lot, but ended up parking down the street in the neighborhood anyway. Like I said, there were lots of people at this race.
If you like a fast, flat course, this is it. The run is a rectangle that overlaps itself slightly between the start and finish. As I found out last year, a straight course with only four turns does make for fast times. I think the Garmin Connect map speaks for itself:
The weather was terrific for early December. It was in the low 40s and sunny. I like my running jacket, but would rather race without it, so I just wore an Under Armour ColdGear shirt. For fast running, I also prefer shorts, and it was warm enough to run in shorts too.
At the start of the race, they were pretty insistent that only 6 minute milers and faster should be at the front. As I’ve stated before, this would be a great courtesy if people actually did it, but as I moved back a little, an older woman in front of me was saying that the faster runners could just trample her if they wanted. ”Great”, I thought and moved somewhere else.
Being a little farther back than usual, I didn’t have a good start. Every time I try and do the right thing and move back to about where 7 minute milers should be, I get off to a slow, crowded start. I got to the first mile in 7:04 with my ForeRunner 610 alerting me to the mile exactly as I passed the clock.
Let me pause here and talk about my goal for this race for a second. I was looking to break a 7-minute pace. I don’t know what made me think I cross this particular barrier on this day, but that was the ultimate goal. My best 5K pace is currently 7:09.
So, I knew I needed to pick it up a bit to catch up. I was pretty happy that I was able to hit the second clock in 14:06, making the 2nd mile split slightly faster than my first one. (The watch also nailed this mile exactly too, ringing just as I passed the clock.) I felt good and figured if I kept it up and added a big kick to the finish in the last quarter mile, I could do it.
I concentrated and didn’t look down at my pace again until more than halfway through the 3rd mile, but when I did, all the air came out of my race. I was running that mile at more than a 7:20 pace. I didn’t think I had slowed down, but I started thinking about how many seconds I had now to make up in less than a half mile, and it just didn’t seem feasible. I kicked it up a bit to the finish, but fell well short of a 7-minute pace and I watched my best 5K time tick off the clock too as I approached the finish line.
Despite not hitting my goal, I felt I learned a great deal during this race. I made an effort to stay relaxed and I think I ran one of my most even-paced races. I sometimes go out really fast, get overwhelmed in the second mile and then recover in the third making for some wildly inconsistent split times.
The Seaford Wellness Council does a great job providing hot chocolate and bagels in the high school cafeteria and just like last year, they had a great raffle during the awards ceremony in the auditorium.
I finally got to say hello to Terry Bisogno, who ran the race instead of announcing it. He was very nice and had some encouraging words for me. After our brief chat, another runner asked me to take his picture with him.
Oh and before I forget, the full results are here.
It seems that my race calendar is going to be busy next year too because this is yet another run I will do next year.