Last 5K of the year! Yay! The Bright Nights 5K makes it race #9 of the year.
This race was supposed to be on Monday, but we got a ton of snow Sunday into Monday, so it got postponed until Tuesday. But, because I live in New England and Mother Nature does whatever she wants, we got more snow Monday into Tuesday. But the race still went on. (I think we got well over a foot of snow.)
The race took place in Forest Park, which you can read more about here. I grew up going there to walk around the rose garden and duck pond area, and I’ve also been to the zoo. (The zoo had a monkey escape in 2016, and I was obsessed with the story. Fortunately, Dizzy was found a few days later.) It’s a really great park, and it has a lot to offer.
They do Bright Nights during the winter, where they set up light structures throughout the park. There’s a section dedicated to Dr. Seuss (he was born in Springfield, MA), there are animal structures outside the zoo, and most of them are Christmas-y. Normally cars drive through at night to see the lights, but they shut down the entire area for the race.
We got to Forest Park a little before 6:00 p.m.; the race was set to start at 6:30 p.m. Bib and swag bag—which included a quarter-zip pullover, pass to Bright Nights, pass to Festival of Trees and pass to the zoo—pick-up took a long time, and the race ended up starting at 6:50. OH, and it was like 30 degrees. SO COLD.
One of the awesome things about this race is that people dress up in holiday attire. In addition to the antlers and tutu, I wore Christmas-y socks, which aren’t pictured. Some people were in full Santa suits, someone was dressed up like the Grinch, and a lot of people opted for head pieces and festive leggings.
Things felt good. I had to make sure my antlers stayed on my head haha. It started out flat and went by the zoo, and then went downhill by the duck pond area. That was also flat, and then we took a right up a gradual hill that I ran all of.
Mile time was 10:30.
After running up that hill, we took a left and then another left up a hill, which wasn’t bad. We ran up by the carriage house, and then down the hill back by the duck ponds. Next was the “big” hill, which I was nervous about. It’s incredibly steep, and although I’ve been doing hill work in my neighborhood, I was still worried about not being able to run all the way up it.
BUT I did. It was quite an accomplishment, and the nice thing was that we turned around at the top and ran back down it. On my way back down, I noticed there were a lot of people walking up the hill, and I don’t blame them. Just before the two mile mark, we started running on the dirt/gravel path back down by the duck ponds.
Here are some pictures of the duck pond area that I took two years ago:
Mile time was 10:53.
Once we were out of the duck pond area, we went back up the first hill we went down, and that’s when I had to stop to walk. I got halfway up before walking until the road flattened out again. We ran back past the zoo and through the start line before taking a left to the finish line.
Mile time was 11:50 (from the walking…)
Folks, this was an actual 5K length, not like the 3.20+ miles I had been running in past races. The very end of the race went down a hill and then you finished at the top of another.
My final time was 34:17, which I’m completely happy with considering the weather and hills.
I’m glad I only walked a little bit—probably like .20 miles—and I wasn’t wheezing at the end, either. I felt good at the end.
Post-race included a soup bar! The soup on the left is cheeseburger chowder, and the soup on the right is tomato basil. (There was also chicken noodle.) Both were really good.
After I got some pictures of the lights near the starting line. We started under the Seussland arch. I wish I could have gotten some pictures of the ones by the zoo because there were dinosaur ones that were really cute.
I was freezing by the time we got to the car and even when I got home. It wasn’t bad during the race, but when we were leaving after eating, I was so cold and my fingers were almost numb even with gloves on. I came home, took a hot shower, and went to bed in long pants and a hoodie and slept with a blanket on top of my comforter.
This race was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again next year!
Female 20-29: 17/29
Next race: St. Patrick’s Day 10K