A few weeks ago on Feb 24 I did my first night time run - the Freeze Out 5k to End Homelessness. The race is at a park very close to my mom's house. She told me about it in early February and I figured it would be a fun event to do.
I've been running much longer distances than I normally do lately, and in general running more than I normally do. But, I almost never change my pace - even if I run 3 miles or 9 miles my pace pretty much is the same. I didn't particularly "train" to run faster in this 5k but I did want to try to run a bit harder than I normally would for a training run.
I headed down to my mom's house after work on Friday and we went down to the park around 6pm. We didn't register ahead of time, but the day of registration was super easy. Cost was $30 and the event was to raise money for the Binghamton Rescue Mission. There were a lot of community sponsors and we got a lot of free stuff - everyone got a long sleeve shirt, glow sticks for the race, a finisher's medal, and free food after the race.
Since this was a charity event there were a lot of people walking too. My mom signed up and was going to walk the course while I ran it, but she happened to bump into a few of her coworkers while we were registering so she ended up walking with them. I was glad she had someone to walk with!
All of put on our glow sticks and hung around near the start/finish line waiting for things to get started. Typically, since this race is in February, it's really cold. This year, it was around 60 degrees at 7pm. Lots of people were in shorts and tank tops. Pretty weird. I wore running leggings and a short sleeved shirt, and had a long sleeved shirt over it which I ditched just before the event started. I was slightly chilly standing around in short sleeves but as soon as I started running I was actually HOT.
As I said, I've never done a night time run but I figured there would be lots of lights. I was kind of wrong. The course was 1.5 mile loop that went through Highland Park and the neighborhood next to it, which we did two times. The park was not well lit at all! Right at the start of the race you run down a short hill that is on a road that goes through the park, but there were no lights on it. The glow sticks we were wearing didn't help light things up at all. There were votive candles in bags along the road that kind of let you see where the road went, but you couldn't see if there were any potholes or drains or anything in the road. As I was cautiously jogging down it I thought about how annoyed I would be if I sprained an ankle or something in this event. Luckily, no issues - just had to slow down at that part both times I went through it.
Once we got into the neighborhood it was a bit brighter. The glow sticks still don't really help you be that visible - I noticed it was hard to see other runners who were wearing dark clothing. I wore my light-up vest that I made last year and got lots of comments on it. I was happy I wore it since there were cars driving on the course and runners and walkers were all over the place and hard to see.
I finished the course in 26:39 with a pace of 8:35 - my fastest 5k! I was happy with that, especially considering it was at the end of a workday, I had to slow down in the really dark spots, and I hadn't been training to run faster. My normal pace is usually between 9:30-10:00 minute miles. I ran with my new smart watch - the New Balance RunIQ. I'm not sure that I really like it and if I will keep it, perhaps I will make a blog post about the watch sometime.
After I finished I jogged to where my mom was walking and finished walking her last loop with her. Afterwards we hung around and ate some pizza. I ended up getting 3rd place in my age group and got a hat for that. It wasn't a huge race so there probably weren't that many people in my age group, but, I'll take it.
All in all, a very nice local event to raise money for a good cause.