Light Up the Night 5K Race Report- a surprise {Unofficial} PR!

Light Up the Night 5K Race Report- a surprise {Unofficial} PR!

Last night I ran in a race that I must admit surprised me.  I had very low expectations for this local night race which was probably a good thing.  All week I was getting nervous but I tried to tell myself it was just for the Little Rock Marathon- which is now one week away!  But in the back of my mind I knew there was one race/ workout that stood between me and LRM and it was this 5K.


I have not raced a 5K since October.  At that point I had done 3 in one month and was a little burned out on them.  5K’s are always a bit intimidating to me and I tend to positive split every time.

On Daily Mile I mentioned that I was planning to run in a nighttime 5K and my main concern was safety.  This is true.  I wasn’t sure what to expect pace-wise from a race run outside in the dark.  I carried a little flashlight with me the whole way because I did not want to trip or fall and possibly injury myself just one week out from LRM. I told myself I could run at 10K, 15K or even half marathon pace and it would be fine.  I could just count this as a tempo run.  I just wanted to run safe and not put any 5K pace pressure on myself.

Total chaos. I had already picked up our packets on Friday with bib numbers and t-shirts. I thought I wouldn’t need as much time outside before the race.  I didn’t want to wait outside in the cold with the my older two (who were running in the race as well) very long so I just had John drop us off at 6:30 while he parked and set up a cheering area with the little two.  It was not enough time! Even though we all had our bibs on I still needed to find the timing chip table and our family friend Sarah who was going to be running with the kids until I met them on my cool-down.  Then there was a table full of glo in the dark necklaces, bracelets and wands.  I had 4 bib numbers (Sarah’s too) which resulted in 16 glo in the dark trinket sets which all needed snapped and put together.  I had not planned on doing this time-wise at all and I still couldn’t find Sarah.  Music was loud, there were hundreds of people and it was DARK OUTSIDE so everything seemed to be taking longer.  It was like the bad dream where you can’t seem to get ready to get going and everything just moves in slow motion.  I still had not run one step of a warm-up.  I looked up at the chip timing table and happened to see Sarah in a crowd of people.  It was a miracle! She had been trying to call me but I don’t race with a phone so I’m so glad we met up.  I just had not anticipated this many people.  Sarah stayed with the kids and finished up the glo in the dark gear while I warmed up.  I had time to do a little over 1 mile before it was time to line up.  I was amazed I was able to do that much.

The Race:
The race itself is basically two loops.  I had jogged one loop on Friday but didn’t know the little details like where they would put the finish line, etc.  There were car lights, police lights, house lights etc. along the course but there were still areas of darkness.  This is why I brought my flashlight!

Mile 1- 5:51.  Really?  I didn’t feel like I was going that hard at all.  In fact, I felt pretty good.  At this point I was in third place overall but I could tell the guy in front of me was slowing his pace.  I was enjoying the quiet calm streets during this lap.  I knew in my 2nd lap it would be filled of runners and walkers and I wasn’t sure how I was going to try to race around them.

Mile 2- 5:56.  This mile surprised me.  I was still feeling good and I knew I could just hold on for another mile.  Could I actually PR at a night race?! I was not running for a PR but at this point I decided to go for it.  During this mile I passed the guy who had been in second and moved onto my second lap.  I knew the hardest part was to come once I had to start lapping people.

Mile 3- 6:04.  There were a few challenges in this mile but only two instances where I feel it might have slowed me a few seconds.  The first was when I tried to make a right turn and there were about 30? walkers so I had to go a long way around them.   Most of the time I could get around smaller packs of runners and walkers without too much effort.  After my watch beeped at the mile 3 I had to break through a wall of walkers.  Someone saw me coming and tried to get them to move and they did at the last second but I had to adjust my speed a little.

Mile 3.27- 1:30 (5:38 avg. pace).  I was cruising on this downhill finish.  The only problem was that I knew it was going to be way long.  My potential PR was out the window because of the longest 5K course I have ever run.  Oh well. 

Overall watch splits: 19:22 for 3.27 miles- 5:56 average pace.  2nd overall/ first female overall.  Once I saw my watch splits I was ecstatic.  I honestly didn’t mind that my overall time was 19:22.  Well, I guess I minded a little but not too much because I had just run the best 5K OF MY LIFE!! This was even better than my college 5K days (and that is something I NEVER thought would happen).

I talked to the Race Director for a few minutes after the race and she said the course was not certified.  This was a first time race and they weren’t sure what to expect.  She said they will be working through some of these kinks next year. 

During my cool-down I caught up with Sarah and Anthony.  Abi had gone ahead so I saw her first.  She looked like she was having a great time.  When the kids finished we found the refreshment table. There was the usual bananas and water but also cookies and hot chocolate which was a hit with my crew.  I also won a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants in town so John and I will be having a date night soon!

I should mention that this race raised money for a very worthy cause- The White County Children’s Safety Center.  They were raising money to help support 250 children in our community who have been abused.  This organization provides medical exams for these kids and also provides crisis counseling which most of them need.  I run in a lot of races for many different causes but my favorite races to support are ones that the funds support children who cannot help themselves.

Overall, great race.  On the drive home Abi said that this was her favorite 5K she’s ever done.  I thought for a second and I am inclined to agree.  It’s a new {unofficial} PR in my books and I won’t forget this one.  The atmosphere was fun and the race itself was different than any 5K I have ever done.  We will definitely be back next year!

Sarah and I with the kids after the race
some of our glo gear!
Have you ever run a night race?  

14 thoughts on “Light Up the Night 5K Race Report- a surprise {Unofficial} PR!

  1. You are so fast! I can’t believe you ran that fast in such intimidating conditions. Good for you! Congratulations on another killer 5k. This should give you loads of confidence for your sub-3 marathon next week 🙂

  2. I love that your husband looks after the kids so you can go run and win a date night for you both. That’s really working together for a common goal.

    Congratulations on putting together a really good race. All that marathon training has really worked for your speed.

  3. Amazing, Tia! Can’t believe you went into this race thinking you might run as “slow” as half-marathon pace and then ended up with a PR…at night…with very little warmup…a week before your marathon! I really can’t wait to see how you do next weekend. Hope you relax and enjoy the next week knowing that you have done all you can to prepare. 🙂

  4. Thanks! I’ve never gone into a race with low expectations pace-wise. I ALWAYS get to the starting line planning to gun for it but it actually worked in my favor this time. Maybe I normally put too much pressure on myself?

  5. Holy cow, Tia!! That is absolutely incredible!! I can’t believe you totally kicked your previous PR like that!! =)
    SO SO SO excited to see how you do with your upcoming marathon – you are SUCH a huge inspiration and motivator for me. I love how you kick your butt with your workouts – xoxo

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