Monday, January 2, 2012

Eve on the Ave 5K: Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Saturday evening I gathered with the Redhead, Spike, and the Engineer for a decidedly nontraditional New Year's Eve celebration: a 5K road race. I am old and crotchety and running three miles at 10:00 PM is, to me, a much better way to ring in the new year than getting drunk in a loud bar far from home, staying out until who knows when, and waking up with a terrible hangover the next day. No, at the advanced age of 38 I have embraced my preference for low-key evenings close to home with people dear to me, concluding with fluffy pajamas, a warm blanket, cats, the Engineer next to me, and a sensible bedtime. Oh sure, I had sparkling wine on hand for the big moment when the clock ticked over to midnight...I'm not that much of a curmudgeon.

Anyway. The Eve on the Ave 5K was in downtown Jackson on New Year's Eve, and we congregated beforehand for some conversation and silly pictures with Christmas decorations.

Red and Spike demonstrate why reflective safety vests are so cool.
The conditions for Saturday's race were favorable: clear, dry, and 35 degrees, much better than two years ago when I ran this same race in an ice storm. Spike decided he was going to lead the race for the first 50 meters, so he took off sprinting and yelling while the rest of us hung back. I quickly settled into my cruising pace, which was boosted by the gentle downhill of the first half mile. The route was two loops around downtown Jackson and then a half-mile uphill climb (the start in reverse) to the finish. There were plenty of celebratory revelers on hand to watch the crazy people running in the dark. When late-night race spectators are drunk and bar crawling or standing around on porches with music blaring, the commentary directed at you will be less of the "woo! all right runners!" variety and more like "fucking losers, get off the street!"

All righty, then. I managed to "get off the street" in just over 29 minutes, averaging a 9:19/mile pace, which is as fast as I've run since April 2011. The nasty headwind and long uphill grades nibbled at my pace a little, and the pasta dinner I consumed 2.5 hours before the race was making its presence known in an unpleasant fashion, but I finished the race feeling strong and fresh, sausage-y burps and stomachache notwithstanding.

After Red and Spike finished together about 8 minutes later, we all fled indoors for warmth and to await the results. When they were posted, both Red and I placed second in our respective age groups.

We're number two! We're number two!

Lest ye think this was a fluff race devoid of competition, the top two overall finishers were both female and ran under 18:00 (17:58 and 17:59). The race winner, a local high school senior, recently finished 14th at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, thereby earning All-American honors. The second-place female won the Grand Rapids Marathon in 2010. Maybe the second-place lady was a bit off her game Saturday night because she won the Belle Isle New Year's Eve 5K earlier the same day in a time of 16:44?

Sadly, they only awarded homemade pies to the top finisher in each age group, which meant Red and I missed out on some seriously awesome AG swag. Nevertheless, we celebrated our second place-ness with gusto.

We parted ways soon afterward and the Engineer and I were back in Chelsea with time to spare to warm up, throw on the aforementioned fuzzy pajamas, and herald the arrival of 2012.

Saturday's race marked nine days in a row of running for me. Yesterday was 10, and today's run made it 11. Eleven days in a row of running. I don't know if that's ever happened. Tomorrow, however, reality returns in the form of work, and I will see how long The Streak lasts once I am back to getting up early. I hope that the momentum I built up over the past week and a half carries me forward.

In other news, I am a devoted player of Words with Friends, and today I conjured up my best (as in highest-scoring) word ever in a game against my good pal Mr. E. (whom I have decided to call the Birdmaster, which refers to his (and my) love of all things avian, and also because of a terrible movie called "The Beastmaster," which is a joke from our shared graduate school past. HAWK VISION!)

BOO YAH! Of course, my next batch of letters sucked. I also need to charge my battery.
Onward into 2012!


Holly said...

Great job at your race! Best time since April is definitely impressive.

I am only 26 but would also prefer the night in on NYE. Hehe.

ee said...

I cant believe you posted this on your blog. The shame and humiliation may never go away.

Sun Runner said...

Birdmaster: try harder next time. :)

BrianFlash said...

Nice job on the race! Good way to celebrate the recovery from injury.

Morgan said...

I had so much fun on NYE, we def need to make this our tradition!

That is a serious word smack down!!!!

Viper said...

Nicely done! I'm a stay-at-home celebrator as well. Happy New Year. Cheers!

joyRuN said...

Great job at the race - congrats on the AG!

I think I'm more impressed with your 119-point word though. DAAANG.

BeautifulDisaster said...

Great way to spend NYE!!!