Happy New Year To One And All! :)
Since 2011, I have made the commitment to myself to kick off each New Year's Day with a 5k - whether I would have to walk it or able to run it.
We moved back to Boston in 2012 and I was on the hunt for my new New Year's Day race. I found the Lowell 1st Run and have been running it since 2013.
The Lowell 1st Run offers a 5k and 10k option, but the 10k is 2 loops of the 5k course... so I opt for the 5k each year. ;)
The wife and I drove up to Lowell, which on a holiday is only about 30-ish minutes away thanks to empty highways. We would be meeting a few of the Slumbrew Happy Soles there as well.
I love that the race offers a ton of parking options and a warm Elk Lodge to hide in if necessary. Luckily this was the warmest of all of the 1st Runs I have done - it was in the 30s! #HeatWave :P
I already knew I was Bib #30 so I headed straight to bib pick-up then wandered across the hall to retrieve my swag: a hat and running gloves.
I love these gloves. They are great "throwaway" gloves for my winter races.
Usually I would head back to the car to drop my stuff off, but with the wife there she was able to hold everything for me. This was the first year I realized there was a bag check. Clearly I am not quick on the uptake there.
Since it was already 10:30am, I made my way outside to wait in the port-o-potty line. Last year I missed the start of the race because I was in line and didn't want that to happen again this year.
Once I took care of that - and got over being in line behind Big Bird - I met up with some of the other Happy Soles.
I gave the wife a kiss and headed to the corral about 10 minutes before the race started so I could get in the position I wanted. While I was standing in the corral, a blog reader came over and said how much she enjoyed my blog. Awwww that made me smile! Thank you so much that really made my day! (sorry I couldn't get your name)
A local young man played the trumpet for the National Anthem. He struggled during the song, stopped and opted to start over. The second time around the entire crowd starting singing while he played and he rocked it on the second try! It was an awesome thing to witness and be a part of.
Before I knew it the gun fired an we were off. Well not that quickly. The start chute was covered in ice and water puddles thanks to a snow/rain storm the day before. So it was more of a shuffle, I can only go as fast as the person ahead of me is going.
Once out of the chute, I was able to break to the left and get into my own groove.
Since this was the 5th time I did the race, I have the course down by now. :P We come out of the chute, take a right and start going up the first incline of the race. Isn't it nice when the race does it right away! :)
As I crested the incline, I spotted Team Hoyt!! One of the best parts of racing in New England is being able to race with these legendary inspirations on a regular basis.
With a quick dose of motivation, I was off. That duo makes me smile every time I see them.
Mile 1: 7:28
This part of the race is through a quaint local neighborhood. I also savor this because the final mile is a tough one, but I will share why momentarily.
I turned to the person next to me and said: "Oh the turn I dread is approaching" and he ran faster to get away from me. Hahahaha! Okay I guess he wasn't in a chatty mood. It's okay you all appreciate my random chats. :)
While I crossed the halfway mark, I realized the big turn was coming.
See at this point we make a right on to Pawtucket Boulevard. And you know what you are met with...
Oh boy it is tough. The final stretch is all along open water.
Mile 2: 7:23
Now I knew I would have to dig deep. Every year I start to fade after Mile 2. The headwind usually gets me especially since I did 12 miles on Heartbreak Hill the day before.
But I told myself to just keep picking landmarks on the street to run towards - water stop, Dunkin Donuts, next pole, etc - and that is how I slowly made my way towards the final turn.
I felt like I was moving in quick sand or was stuck on a treadmill, but soon enough I was making the final turn towards the Mile 3 marker.
Mile 3: 7:43
I saw the wife in the Finish chute and gave it all I could... while ducking ice and puddles down the final stretch.
FINAL TIME: 23:63 (7:33 min/mile pace)
WOO!!! My seventh New Year's Day 5k was complete. It wasn't a PR, but I was proud that I got up and out on a morning where I could've hidden in bed.
I ended up 60th out of 869 overall, 14th female overall and 4th out of 98 in my division. I missed 3rd by 5 seconds. So freakin' close... yet so far away! Haha
Once I grabbed my water and my medal, I met the wife along the Finish chute and we cheered the rest of the Slumbrew Happy Soles into the Finish.
I was wicked proud of everyone for rocking the 5k. We headed inside where folks grabbed their free beer and soup, but I took the opportunity to rock all 5 of my 1st Run 5k medals. Thanks Disney for all the practice of wearing multiple medals.
Overall it was a great morning and a great race. I will continue to take part in the 1st Run 5k as long as I am able to and it is offered.
So my New Year’s Day races are:
1/1/11 – I had a herniated disc and had to walk the New Year’s Day 5k in Chicago so the wife and I finished in 48:37 (15:41 min/mile)
1/1/12 – I was healthy, besides a small knee injury and was able to run the New Year’s Day 5k in Chicago in 25:27 (8:13 min/mile)
1/1/13 – I ran in honor of my Grampa and hopefully made him proud in the 1st Run 5k finishing in 23:07 (7:27 min/mile)
1/1/14 - I had such a fun time at the 1st Run 5k in 2013 I came back for more finishing in 23:43.1 (7:39 min/mile)
1/1/15 - I went for a New Year's Day PR at 1st Run 5k and it happened in 23:01.2 (7:25 min/mile)
1/1/16 - Apparently consistency is the name of the game at 1st Run 5k as I posted a 23:13 (7:29 min/mile)