Yesterday was the second-to-last 5k race for me in 2014, the Winter Classic 5k. This year has been a bummer for me with the Classic series, which I typically like. I skipped the Spring Classic due to feeling under the weather (which may have had something to do with celebrating my wedding anniversary that same weekend, but I’m not confessing anything), and ended up on a plane to China during the Fall Classic. So the Winter Classic was the first race in the series I actually ran this year, despite paying to enter all three.
The good news is, because I paid for both the Fall and Winter Classics, I got an awesome new fleece to keep me warm this winter! Yay for great race swag! The Classics series also includes a technical race shirt, which this year was long-sleeved for all three races. I like these shirts because alone, they’re perfect for cool temperatures, and they layer well for when it gets really cold. AND, if you register early, you get a pint glass. Which is good because we certainly don’t have enough pint glasses in our house.
Race day was cold, as I knew it would be because December in Boston. It was about 30 degrees when I left the house. I live about a mile and a half from the start line, so decided to jog to the start in order to get in a little warm up. I was really proud of my timing because I arrived at the start line at about 9:25 for a 9:30 start, which meant I didn’t spend too long shivering in the cold.
This race had staff holding pace signs throughout the start corral to help seed people, which did help with congestion at the start. Of course there are always some people who push to the front even if they are slow runners, but there didn’t seem to be too many of them at the Winter Classic. What the race staff couldn’t prevent, however, was a very congested start just due to the large number of runners (about 2600). It was a slow start.
The race course is a really nice one, mostly flat and on mostly wide roads with lots of room for passing. The Winter Classic folks did a good job keeping auto traffic off the race course and making sure runners knew where to go. Mile 1 was marked with a digital clock showing gun time and Mile 2 was marked with a sign, so there was some indication of progress along the course.
I was surprised to see so many costumes in this race. There were elves, Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, a giant candy cane, Where’s Waldo, reindeer, and a Scooby Doo, among others. I was jealous of the runners who thought of the costume of fleecy Christmas pajamas–a smart way to be festive but also warm and cozy. Although I never run in a costume myself, it’s fun to see what other people come up with, and I appreciate the good people-watching to distract me through the race.
I finished in 26:30 (8:33 miles) and felt fine about it. This is about how fast I’ve been doing 5ks lately, and while I’d love to get closer to my PR pace, I’m also not going into these races in peak shape. This time, I was dealing with some sore muscles due to a double workout on Friday and an almost-7 mile run on Saturday, so the 26:30 was actually pretty good.
The Winter Classic features a party afterwards with beer from Jack’s Abby, but I was too cold to even think about it. I headed directly from the finish line back home, where I made a pot of coffee and went through my post-run warming rituals.
I’m glad I actually made it to one of the Classic series races in 2014. Between the excellent course and quality swag, this is a race series to add to your calendar.