December 21, 2015

Celtic Solstice 5 Miler 2015 Race Recap

I'm FINALLY done with my first semester of grad school! I survived ::does little dance:: This week included lots of eating out and beers and whiskey and even a a few good runs. I'm really excited to celebrate the holidays, and then finally get back to a really solid running and training schedule. Things have pretty much been off the rails since after the Chicago Marathon with lots of missed runs, late nights, and many cups of coffee. I know this little winter break will fly by so I'm trying to enjoy every second!

This weekend was the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler, a fabulous race put on by Falls Road Running which was mentioned in Runner's World a few years back and is famous for still being held in 2009 when there was a freaking blizzardIt always has a fantastic premium. with this year it being a really nice and cozy Brooks Running half zip which I picked up earlier in the week. For packet pick-up you grab your bib (and if you ordered it, the premium) and then get your timing chip at the race start.   

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It's a race I love and hate all at the same time. I mostly "hate" it because I sign up months in advance tempted by the premium or peer-pressured by friends and because it's around the 2nd week of December it's always freezing cold or snowy or both.  In the end I always have fun, mostly because of the awesome post-race party. 

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Despite being in the 50s and 60s last week and now this week, the weekend was a little taste of winter with the temperatures around the low 40s. 

Now, Friday night was my work holiday party with lead to stopping at a few bars afterwards with co-workers and in short, I didn't get to bed until 2:30 AM. Yikes. So I woke up the next day, surprisngly feeling okay, and chugged a big glass of Nuun Energy lemon-lime  and ate a Yummari bite before bundling up.  

The weather said it was 32 degrees outside. I wore Under Armour cold gear tights, festive holiday socks, Feetures! socks, an Under Armour short sleeve shirt under a turtleneck, ear warmers, NP buff, gloves and a Bondiband plus my Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 shoes.
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They have a big tent at the start at Druid Hill Park with pre-race coffee so I tried to stay warm for a while before heading out to the start line. This start line is always crowded so I tried to get as far up as I could. The race starts with a procession of bagpipers in kilts, which I love.  

I manged to find some November Project friends right before the start of the life. As is usually the case, my feet were so cold I really couldn't feel my feet for the first two miles.  I had my iPod and used a friend as my rabbit for the first couple of miles. I was surprisingly feeling pretty well and holding my pace just faster than 7:30 min/mi according to my Garmin. There were a few little hills along with a larger one around 2.5 miles, but after mile 2 I definitely felt like I had fallen into a nice rhythm.  

I haven't been running as much or as fast as I'd like lately and had a rough half marathon a couple weeks ago due to a tight hamstring so having a good run was an awesome surprise. Since the weather has been so mild, it also took me some time to get used to breathing in the cold air while running. 


I picked up my pace around mile 3 and once we got to mile 4 the race loops around Druid Hill Lake.  I really like the 5 mile race length, and it was easy for me to pace myself throughout it.  After you get around the lake, which feels much bigger than it looks when running it, the course is pretty much all downhill to the finish. I was booking my last mile and finished it in 6:59 pace.  

I finished 189 overall (of 2797) and 8th in my division with a time of 36:46 (7:22 pace).  I was so freaking happy and especially shocked to find out that this was my fastest time running this race, despite being my 5th time running it. It was especially surprising since I'm not feeling particularly fast or in shape right now and was up way too late the night before. 

After the race, I headed back to the tent and straight to all the goodies. I had multiple cookies from Trinacria Italian bakery, cups of vegetable soup, and cups of hot wassail wine from Boordy Vineyards. I also snagged a cup of hot chocolate because it's just the best cold weather drink.  

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 I eventually met up with my November Project friends and warmed up post-race. It's a great event because I always bump into so many people I know afterwards. 

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Overall it was another great race. I love the premium, the course, and the post-race goodies. It's something I'll probably find myself signing up for again next year to keep the tradition alive!  

This post was linked up with Weekend Snapshots, MIMM

Do you run any holiday or winter races? What's your favorite cold weather drink? 

19 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to run this race for years and allllways forget about it until I see a post on it. Ah! Maybe next year, lol. For someone out of shape and not as fast you did an amazing job! ;) congrats :) looks yummy!

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    1. I'll send you a reminder next year :)

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    2. Ahhh same with me! I put a calendar reminder for next year haha. Nice job on wrapping up grad school for the semester and the course PR!

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  2. Great run you had! I love, love, love this race. I've been doing it since its inception and have run it fast, pregnant, everything in between, and this year, alongside my daughter. It's the best holiday race going!

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    1. Thanks so much! It's a great holiday tradition even though it's always so cold!

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  3. Amazing job! I have heard awesome things about this race!

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  4. Awesome job! I loved this race when I did it two years ago. Maybe one day I'll do it again... sad I was out of town for it this year since so many people were running it that we know!

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    1. Haha having other people there to run with makes dealing with the cold a little easier.

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  5. Great race and recap!The after party sounds spetacular! I definitely want to do this next year. I remember seeing many premiums at a race and I fell in love with them.
    Also, congrats on finishing your first semester of grad school!

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    1. Thanks so much, lady! Definitely sign up next year-I'll probably be there.

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  6. I love that half zip! I always appreciate when races step it up a bit from a basic t-shirt haha. Congrats on an awesome race!

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    1. I agree! It's nice because for this race you can choose to pay more and get the premium or pay less for just the race.

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  7. I'd sign up for that race just for the shirt!!!! Sounds so fun! Nice job on the pace!

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    1. They always have a great shirt or halfzip!

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  8. Umm, I totally want to do this race just for the premium! That is awesome! Congrats on a great race!

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    1. Thanks so much. I especially love this year's premium!

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  9. HUGE congrats to you! Sounds like you are still in amazing shape! This race sounds like it's really fun, I might have to check it out next year.

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    1. Thanks so much! It's really fun but register early if you want a premium because they always run out of sizes!

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