New Years Day 5K Recap

January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

I hope everyone had a nice New Years!

A snippet from yesterday…my friend Debbie decorated her wine glasses with wine glass markers-they wash off too!  Isn’t that a cute idea? image

So I’ve been itching to run a 5K since I ran the SOME Trot for Hunger 5K in November. Knowing there would be races on New Year’s Day, I used Run Washington’s website to search for a 5K.  Having run Potomac River Running’s Perfect 10K (or 10 Miler) this past September, I decided to sign up for their New Year’s Day 5K in Reston, VA.


Logo: Potomac River Running 

Packet Pickup

I got about 5 hours of sleep (less than ideal) before waking up to get dress and head to Reston Town Center for packet pickup at the PR Running store. They had an option to pick it up in their store on Tuesday, but that would have been a little out of the way for me.

The 5K started at 10:00am (nice!) but I wanted to get to the store at 8:30am (when they opened for pickup)…because I am paranoid like that.  I figured I could sleep in the car once that was done (yeah that did not happen).  Dressed with a banana and water in hand I left DC at 8:00am and arrived at the town center in about 30 minutes.


Packet pickup was painless.  If you forgot your bib number, they had them posted right when you walked in.  I double checked mine and headed towards the back of the store in which they gave me my bib, gender specific long sleeved shirt (soo soft), lanyard, and a commemorative race pin.



Race Goals

One of my goals for this year is to create “A”, “B”, and “C” goals for my runs-with “A” least probable and “C” most probable. 

  • A – Break 32:00 (lately running 10:XX/mile, this would also be a PR from 2007 – hello 20-young Jennifer, can’t wait to see you again)
  • B – Finish somewhere in the 34:XX
  • C – Break 36:39 (my 5K time from the SOME 5K)

The past two weeks I’ve been running 31:XX-32:XX 5Ks on the trendmill, but I know conditions would differ on race day (see: temperature, dress, elevation, people).

New Year’s Day 5K

The 5K start was right off Market Street.  I had not been to the town center since my cousin’s wedding rehearsal lunch in 2009. There are definitely more stores and restaurants now. 

How cute are the holiday decorations?


Before the race started a Crunch gym instructor led warmups for the runners. 


At 10:00am we were off! My first of fourteen races in 2014 #14in2014.


Below is the course map PRR provided on their website.  The course took us through the town center and the W&OD trail (a popular running/biking path in the area, although this was my first time running it).


As with any race there was a bit of congestion and weaving in and out for the first five to ten minutes (especially when we merged onto the W&OD).  That did not bother me – it was a small race, a “fun run” for many people, and even a first 5K for others. Below were my splits:

  • Mile 1 – 10:00min (woah!! too fast?! HR was 160-170ish)
  • Mile 2 – 12:08min (paying for it after Mile 1?)
  • Mile 3 – 12:55min (walked up 2 hills at 30 seconds each, uh oh)

I would not call this course hilly, it is relatively “flat”, however there were some long gradual inclines that tired me a bit during miles 2 and 3.


I finished with a time of 35:04, besting my “C” goal (an average of 11:19min/mile).  I improved a little over 1.5 minutes from my November 5K (yayyy).  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed at first for not reaching my “B” goal.  I missed it by 5 seconds (thinking about those 2 x I walked for 30 seconds)!  I quickly reminded myself I am faster than I was in November, it was the first 5K of the year and came away with a few good lessons learned:

  • Hills, hills, hills – need to add more to my training (which were non existent in December)
  • Pacing – I think I started out too quickly.  When I ran the 31:XX-32:XX at the gym, I started out at a 11:XX for the first mile and negative split each mile)
  • Planning – correlated with pacing, I think I should have a better race strategy for each mile for my next 5K

Final Thoughts

  • A friendly and positive running atmosphere
  • Fellow runners were generally happy – a New Year’s high?
  • The field of 700 runners was ideal based on course logistics (I believe it sold out sometime the week before race)
  • There were water stops at miles 1 and 2 (thank you volunteers!)
  • I liked the 10am start and race day packet pickup option
  • Plenty of options for post race brunch/lunch or shopping

I would definitely run this 5K again, not necessarily every year (may not be in the area this time of year), but it was another well managed event by PRR.

How was your New Years?

Did you participate in any New Year’s Day runs or activities? 

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