Happy 2015! I hope your New Year is off to as strong of a start as mine. Wednesday night for New Year’s Eve I took it real easy. Dinner with family and family friends – a 13 year tradition now – and hung out at a couple of friends’ apartment for a little while, home in time to see the ball drop. My little brother had mentioned during dinner that “the first word everyone says each year is ‘happy,'” and that got me thinking. Instead of shouting “happy new year!” with a crowd of people, I decided to quietly ring in the first few minutes of 2015 saying aloud the words I hope are more the theme of 2015 rather than the constant pursuit of that elusive concept of happiness.

“Love,” I said.

“Peace. Forgiveness. Hope. Healing. Love.”

2014 was not a bad year for me, but it was a rough one to observe. And I felt more frustrated by the things that were happening to other people I had no control over helping than I did by anything that happened to me. So I put those words out there, like blowing dandelion seeds into the sky, hoping they reach some far ends of the universe and touch lives that have been hurt in 2014.

“Do. Act. Do.”

Instead of observing and being frustrated, now is as good a time as ever to be more active. Not just fitness-wise, but to really walk the talk of what I believe in and feel strongly about. I’m anxious to get organized and start diving into action this year.

But enough New Year philosophizing. I’ve already run a race in 2015! Thursday morning I drove out to Reston, VA to run the Potomac River Race Series’ New Years’ Day 5K with my friend Jescie and her husband Zac.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 1.02.06 AM
What’s a New Year’s race without a little sparkle?

We did packet pickup that morning at the PR Running Store in Reston Town Center. I’m a fan of the long-sleeved blue tech shirt – I have plenty of blue tech short-sleeved t-shirts but no dark blue long-sleeved. One can always add more color to her options. Also in our packets was a collectible pin, something that comes with all the official PR Running races. I collected a bunch in 2014 on my lanyard, and am always happy to fill in the gaps of their yearly races that I’ve missed.

We sought warmth in Cosi until it was time to stick our bags in our cars and head to the start line. It was terrifically cold that morning, but I’d remembered this time to bring gloves and a Bondi band to cover my ears, unlike my last 5K where I totally forgot how to winter.

16166449855_ea85e022ac_zYou can see me sort of in the middle ground a little to the left, with the blue gloves over my face. Julie, those are the ones you gave me a month ago. I still treasure them. 😉 We all tried to stay warm until the gun went off. Jescie and I both prefer to run with music so while we stayed within each other’s sights for most of the race, we were off in our own zones.

The course took us around and out of Reston Town Center and quickly down a sharp turn onto the W&OD trail.

No, behind her. THERE I am.
No, behind her. THERE I am.

I did several of my marathon training long runs on the W&OD trail, but not as far down as Reston. I started further back in Herndon – I might have made it to this stretch in Reston had I made it to my 20-miler and gone another mile out for the 10 mile out-and-back, but alas. Either way, it was bittersweet to say hello to the W&OD trail again after what I gained and lost last fall.

I didn’t stop to walk until just after the turnaround point at 1.5 miles, about 15 minutes in. This was improvement for me as I’m building back up my stamina and endurance cardio-wise, but that stop did sort of mess with me mentally as we made our way back up the hill. I didn’t have a chance of PRing at this race and once I got it in my head that I could stop and wasn’t really going for any sort of time goal, I didn’t push so hard. I amped it up on the downhills, but definitely could have pushed harder. Fell out of the mental zone, that’s all.

After passing the 3 mile sign I kicked it up a little higher and tried to come in under net time of 33 minutes, but missed it by 9 seconds.

I look so fast, right? -_-
I look so fast, right? -_-

Jescie found me quickly after I crossed the finish line. She’d passed me on my first walk and I never caught back up to her. My watch told me I’d kept a sub-10:30 pace and hers, a sub-10 pace, but of course Garmin loves to make us feel good about ourselves. My pace was actually about 10:41/mile, and it was definitely a positive split.

But the most important thing was that I did it. I didn’t sleep the first day of 2015 away – well, until later when I napped like a champion – and got my run in. I promised myself this past September I’d never take “just a 5K” for granted again and a pain-free 3.1 miles is better than any pain or zero miles.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 1.19.19 AMEasily the best part of the race was the finish line hot chocolate. PR Races always has a great variety of food and often has coffee for its colder races, but this was the first one I’ve found to have had hot chocolate. I may be wrong and just haven’t looked close enough in other races, but I was STOKED to put my hands around some delicious Dunkin Donuts hot cocoa.

So here’s to 2015! Pain-free, action-taking, full of love 2015.

Official time: 33:09
Overall: 393/684
Female: 194/416
F25-29: 23/37