Thursday, March 7, 2013

A perfect 5 (kilometers, that is)

If you’re having a bad day, you should probably stop reading now, because what I am about to say is going to make you insanely jealous of my life.

This past Saturday, I experienced a perfect race.

I used to think of a perfect race the way I might think of a mythological creature—something that simply does not exist outside of fairy tales and Nicki Minaj’s sexual fantasies. In my mind, a perfect race was like a unicorn, or a good Nickelback song, or a bag of microwave popcorn with no burnt pieces—it just wasn't possible.

Granted, “perfect” is a pretty subjective quality. One man’s perfect is another man’s 1994 Toyota Tercel. So, to clear up any confusion about my definition of “perfect,” below I have listed my Personal Parameters of Perfection (oh yeah, that just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). Obviously, these parameters are tailored toward racing scenarios. I think we could all agree that a general, all-encompassing Parameters of Perfection would include only one parameter: Brad Pitt.

My Personal Parameters of Perfection for Racing Scenarios

1. Temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wind so light it feels like a flock of sparkly fairies continually fanning your face with tiny palm leaves.
3. Flat, smooth course with very few turns.
4. Geographic location at or near sea level.
5. Field that is large enough to warrant chip timing but small enough that it is feasible to make multiple pre-race bathroom visits.

The Litchfield Park Friends of the Rec 5K satisfied all of these criteria. Plus, there was bouncy house at the finish! The only negative aspect of the entire affair was that I had to start behind a shirtless man with so much back hair that I can say, with 95 percent confidence, that he was related to either Sasquatch or the Kardashian family. Unfortunately, I was unable to snag a photo of him, but this detailed illustration should give you a pretty good idea of what I was dealing with:

To top it all off, I felt incredible! Seriously, if you train in a cold, miserable, high-altitude location, I highly recommend racing exclusively in Phoenix, Arizona.

Unencumbered by bulky layers of fleece and spandex, I felt light and free. In fact, I found myself intermittently looking down to make sure I was actually wearing clothes. (Although I would hope that my friend Kim—who, by the way, gets all the credit for finding this amazing race—would quickly alert me to that type of situation if it were to occur.)

I went out fast and worried that my unbridled excitement would end up biting me in the butt sometime during the last mile. Instead, I held my pace and felt invincible. I don’t mean to brag, but come on, how many perfect races do you get?

I sprinted across the finish line in 18:07 to grab first-place honors in the women’s race. To be fair, I have a sneaking suspicion that this 5K was missing a few meters. My pal Kim finished close behind me to snap up the silver medal.

I feel obliged to mention that although I edged out Kim for the win in the race, she later destroyed me in the tan-off that took place by her pool.

So even if you’re on the fence about the existence of unicorns, Sasquatch and perfect races, you now have irrefutable evidence that vampires are totally real.  


  1. what??? No bouncy house pictures?

    Congrats on placing first - and on beautiful weather!

    Tan on!

    1. Thank you! I didn't come home with much of a tan, but I will say that I am (slightly) less pale than I was before I left.

  2. The perfect race: I've only ever had one. It was a half marathon... maybe, just maybe, I'll get one this spring too? Sounds like fun!

  3. Nice! I disagree with you temperature preference, though. (But I live in PA, my winter is not quite up to your winter.)

    I don't have criteria for a perfect race, but I know one when I run it.

    I've run two races that I would call my perfect races: One was a five-miler that I just ran completely at max effort and smashed my PR by a little and my expectations by about 5 minutes, the other was my first half-marathon, where I just paced myself perfectly to finish right at my goal and be able to really, really enjoy the day.

    Great race and well, at least you got to try to tan!