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Flashing back a few weeks to August 5, I raced in the Orange Night Run 5k. It was a good opportunity to see how my legs would feel after racing in the Cornhusker State Games 5k a week before. Fortunately, thanks to Mizuno and BibRave, I had some orange clothes and shoes to wear for the race to match the color theme. Neon orange seemed appropriate for a night race for safety reasons. The race was held in the Fallbrook neighborhood (northwest part of Lincoln), mostly on the former Cornhusker State Games 5k course.

The start and finish of the race moved from the Fallbrook YMCA to Schoo Middle School. Not a big change but it did change about the first mile or so of the race course. The rest of the race course seemed to be the same.

Arriving a little early, there was a kids mile race so I watched some of that, cheering on the speedy youngsters, some of whom raced with their parents/siblings. It was interesting to see the overall winner of the mile was a girl, who beat a boy by about 5 seconds.

The parking situation at the new location was a little chaotic. And there were not enough portable restrooms for the number of people who showed up. I ended up parking in the grass with some other folks, the parking lots were full.

After resetting my Garmin for the right altitude (blogpost coming soon on the Snapchat altitude fix) at the race site, I settled into my pre-race routine of stretching and light jogging.

The weather for this race was amazing. Cool, cloudy, and very comfortable. Cool enough to race in a long-sleeve shirt in August in Nebraska, almost unheard of compared to the heat of previous summers.

After all of the milers had finished, we shuffled our way down to the starting line. I thought about my goals for the race: run 7:00/pace and to beat the Cornhusker State Games time if possible. The latter goal was a little more daunting as Holmes Lake is more kind and less hilly than the Orange Run course. Nevertheless, I needed a tiny (orange) carrot or two to encourage myself. We always need to aim for something or we never arrive at our intended destination.

With the slight uncertainty of the course changes, I decided to run the first mile fast and then settle back to 7:00/pace. My legs were a tiny bit more tired than the previous week, perhaps partly because I had run a very slow 5k in the morning.

The national anthem was played and then someone from GSK (race sponsor) spoke to us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hear what he said, his mike wasn’t working. I looked around and wondered if I could place in the top 3 in my age group, forgetting that I was in the 40-49 and not the 45-49 (more favorable for age-group awards). But I decided not to make that a goal due to the slight fatigue I was feeling.

The race began and I quickly maneuvered to pass people to get my pace to where I needed it to be. I started slightly too fast, around 5:30 pace but pulled back when I remembered I didn’t want to burn all the energy in the first mile.

My run-walk strategy was to use about 1 15-30 second walk break and I did take one quick 15-step walk break during the race.

There were a little more hills in the beginning of the race than before (comparing it to Cornhusker State Games 5k races here) but near about mile 1, the course began to look very familiar. We reached the one-mile split and the mile split was 6:51, right on target. Under 7 a little bit.

After this, I settled into the race a little more, recognizing landmarks from running this course before. I attempted to keep the pace as close to 7:00 as possible but I knew I had 9 seconds to work with banked from mile 1.

By this point in the race, most of us were pretty spread out. The leading pack was way ahead of me. Occasionally people would pass me and I did pass some as well. The new course was a two-loop course so close to the halfway mark we could see the finish but had to run downhill and run the same loop again before we could fly through the finish chute. It did help to have a downhill segment to make up a little time before the 2-mile split. I accelerated down the hill. I didn’t take any water stops as I was carrying my OrangeMud single hydraquiver vest.

We reached the 2 mile point and I was at 7:05 here, just a little slower than target but acceptable.

During the last full mile, the fatigue caught up with me a little and I realized that my sinuses were not having a good day either (stuffed up, clogged and draining). Not really feeling sick just feeling run down, fatigued, and ready for a nap almost.

As hard as I tried, I could not find the energy or juice to propel a fast last mile. It just wasn’t in the tank. The last uphill felt more difficult than I expected. I tried to take advantage of a long downhill stretch heading back to the finish but had already lost more time than I could catch up quickly.

We reached mile 3 and my split was 7:33, off the target pace. Still under 8:00 but for how I was feeling it was all I had left. I did have a tiny burst of speed at the end (6:32 pace) but it was too little too late to achieve the results that I was hoping for in this race.

The watch said 22:40 at the finish. Unfortunately, it also read 3.18 miles so either I didn’t run the tangents very well or my maneuvering to pass may have added a little distance. Then I realized that even though this didn’t seem fast to me now, it might be a course PR by a couple minutes comparing it to my Cornhusker State Games times here. (I will have to check on that.) Of course, with the course changing a little, it’s automatically a course PR. Although the Garmin says 7:07 pace for 3.18 miles, officially the race results say 7:18 pace for 3.11 miles. Close to the target but a little slow due to the last mile.

Checking the results for the race, I learned that I finished 41st of 166, 10th in my age group (of 21). Middle of the pack. On site it said 10/13 which doesn’t sound as good as 10th of 21. 28th place of 73 men. Interesting that the finisher in front of me was a speedy 16 year-old girl who bested my time by :10. These kids run fast! They are good pacers.

After the race, I didn’t feel too well (couldn’t stop sneezing due to allergies/sinuses, a little nauseous maybe from overexertion in the first mile) so instead of staying to partake in the post-race food, I returned home to recover.

Overall, it was a good race, it was well-attended and people seemed to enjoy it. (They should play up the orange a little more in my humble opinion for marketing purposes.) It was a good learning experience and I enjoyed it too.

Running this a week after another 5k, I knew I was maybe pushing myself a little, especially on a day when I wasn’t feeling great. But we all have days like this when something is off slightly. Live and learn.

Soon I will review the race on BibRave so I will add a link to my race review here->

Happy trails and enjoy some oranges!