The first of the year has also become a traditional day for me to race.
Last year I ran the Frosty 5K in Guilford on a miserably cold day, after taking a couple of weeks off.
This year I ran the Frosty 5K on a much nicer day- high 30s and humid. I was coming off having rested since basically Christopher Martins. Eric had told me to take some down time and I'd limited myself to a light spin every day except for a once a week long run with Michael D'Addetta and Dropping the Hammer with Margit (Spinervals) the day after Christmas.
I felt pretty much like I usually do on January 1st- overweight, vaguely out of shape. However, instead of a mild hangover, I'd not slept the night before. We had guests over for New Years Eve and I'd made some evil coffee that was about 150% normal strength. I'd drank two cups and I slept less than an hour total.
Because it was warmer I was determined to wear just bike shorts and a singlet, plus gloves and a winter hat. Maybe it was just because I'd shaved my arms and legs for the first time in three weeks, and that made me feel, and it's very silly, like an athlete again.
I ran half a mile and then did a bunch of strides. because of the lack of sleep I wasn't expecting my A effort. Between last year's race winner, the high school kids, and John Tolbert, I was hoping just to run fast enough to not look like a complete idiot wearing a tri-kit to run a 5K on January 1st. I can tell you I was the only one out there.
The race is flat. THere's one bridge over the train tracks that you have to cross, and that's the only hill on the course, although it's a decent one and you have to climb it both ways.
We started on verbal commands and headed for the first intersection, running down the back side of the green and hanging a right, then a left and down towards the wharf.
Like most 5ks, initially, there were an awful lot of people around me, but the crowd thinned out pretty quickly. I found myself in 9th place, right behind John Tolbert. I kind of expected that he'd run away from me.
That didn't happen. We went down the road, up and over the bridge and towards the turn around at the wharf. He and I were right at 5:40 or something at a mile, and pretty soon after we hit the turn. JT took the turn easy and so did I. Neither of us was taking a spill early in the race.
We were right on each other through 2 miles at 11:38 or whatever, and then finally, JT started to pull away by the fair grounds, a little at first but enough to get separation.
Still, staying with him for two miles was a surprise for me. I reached a little out of my comfort zone to stay with him as long as I did, but the reward was catching a couple of people and having an outside shot at breaking 18:00 for the second straight race.
That didn't happen. I saw when I turned the corner and was back at the green that I was at 17:40 with about a tenth of a mile to go and I dug a little, but I neither caught JT, who beat me by seven seconds, or broke 18:00- I ran an 18:10.
But for a January 1st race, on little training and no sleep- I'll definitely take it.