Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Hustle 5K

My BF Mike and I and our friend Rae ran in the Halloween Hustle 5K at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, CO yesterday. It was Rae's first race and my third. Mike ran cross country in high school, so who knows what number race it was for him.
Me, Mike and Rae - pre-race
The temperature hadn't cracked 40 degrees when we left the house (I'm pretty sure it was actually still around freezing). Littleton isn't that far from us, so we got there with plenty of time to pick up our shirts and bibs and head back to the car to warm up.

Mike models the race shirt
Ostensibly it was a costume run, but I'd say about half of us didn't bother (I can barely run in normal clothes, I'm not about to make it worse with a costume). However, we did see an awesome Scooby Doo Mystery Machine costume for a kid in a wheelchair; the construction and artwork was quite well done. Mario and Luigi showed up with blow-up sledgehammers and were going to town on each other during the race. There were a few other interesting costumes but nothing so incredible that I quite remember them today.

Luckily the sun started warming us up just before we started lining up. My long sleeve tech shirt, capri tights, calf compression sleeves, fingerless gloves, and fleece headband were pretty much spot on for me. Mike usually runs quite a bit faster than me (over 2 minutes per mile faster), so I was expecting him to take off and leave us in his dust. His knee was acting up a bit, so he stuck around with us for maybe 5 minutes while he waited for it to loosen up. Then it was just us girls!

Our first mile was way too fast at 11:51. I was feeling great, but we weren't sticking to our plan to start slow and then pick up speed. In fact, even with that first mile coming in too speedy, we continued to pick up the pace until about halfway through the second mile. I told Rae we should slow down and she said she was thinking the same thing. The second mile was a bit better at 12:06. Unfortunately that first mile speed came back to bite us; Rae developed a side stitch going into mile 3 and we had to slow it down for a while and ended up with a 12:25 third mile. At this point, I looked at my watch and knew I could get a PR, and Rae was okay with me taking off. I took off in a sprint that I couldn't sustain, had to let up just a bit, and man I was wheezing coming into the finish line - the first time I had an issue with my breathing all race. The last 0.1 mile was at a 9:27 pace. I got my PR... time was 37:26. Beat my last race in mid-September by about 15 seconds and feel like I can break that 37 minute mark next race. Shortly after, Rae came in and we enjoyed some water and gathered ourselves. We learned some lessons about racing; I enjoyed my first race with a running partner.

As we left the finish chute volunteers handed us our goody bags and we took a peek. The bag felt awful light... yeah... a coupon to a sports store and some brochures. What?!? That's it?

No food was offered. Just water or gatorade. There were two vendors handing out stuff; one was FRS energy drinks, and the other was 5-hour energy drinks. While those were nice (even though I don't really do energy drinks),  it was a bit disappointing. We left fairly quickly since there wasn't anything to stay for.

Mike and I headed to a diner near home for some good post-race greasy breakfast. We discussed the race and how it went. The course was beautiful; the location was easy to get to and parking seemed ample (although we got there early enough for it not to be an issue either way). We were disappointed with the swag but I guess the money that would have gone toward food went toward the tech shirt instead of a cotton t-shirt. There are other races held at this venue, and we'd be happy to check them out. We're not sure, though, that we'd return to this particular race. All in all, it was a good day and we enjoyed beautiful weather and beautiful views.

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