Festival of Lights 5K & New Years Eve

Yesterday afternoon on New Years Eve, I ran the Bull Run Festival of Lights 5K. I ran this race two years ago and was excited to do it again because it goes through the Festival of Lights, which is one our favorite family traditions. I also love the idea of ending the year with a race to wrap up my 2012 running season.

My friend Danielle met us at Bull Run Regional Park where the race took place. We both got new Garmins for Christmas and were excited to test them out! It was chilly and the sun was nowhere to be found. The race started at 3:00 p.m. and we had about half an hour to kill before that. I couldn’t wait to start running and warm up a bit.


My two boys were our support team. They were bundled up and ready to cheer us on.



Real men wear baby carriers!

The race started at 3 p.m. on the dot and we were off!


The course was different than it was 2 years ago, and it had us running on a “road” that was covered in large rocks. We also went straight up a hill for the first tenth of a mile or so, followed by some more hills. Right off the bat I knew this wasn’t going to be a PR for me because of those 2 things. The rocks made it hard to run fast because I was afraid of falling, rolling my ankle, or hurting my knee more. We ran on the rocky road for .50 miles, then we were on smooth road for about .20 miles, followed by more rocky road after that. I was relieved to see the rocky road ending up ahead, until the runners were diverted the other way to go do the same exact loop that I had just done AGAIN! Ugh. It was frustrating to say the least.  I passed the 1 mile marker while on my second loop and hoped that the whole race wasn’t just repeating this over and over again.

  • Mile 1 – 8:32

Right after completing my first loop, not looking very enthused.

Kevin got this photo of Danielle starting her second loop a little bit behind me. She was also not very excited about the course, because I had told her it was a flat, fast one based on two years ago. Sorry D 😦


Finally at mile 1.5 I got to the end of the second loop and was diverted toward an out-and-back part of the course. I’m not going to lie, by this point I was pretty annoyed after doing the rocky hilly loop twice in a row. I was mad that the course had changed to this one that I wasn’t prepared for and I was afraid of hurting my knee more. I was also disappointed because I had really wanted to run hard and try for a PR to end 2012 on a great note. I was not happy.


After a few minutes I realized it was stupid to be mad and decided to change my attitude. I was running a 5K on New Years Eve after the best year of my life! So what if the course was hard and I wasn’t going to PR? I told myself to stop being a baby, suck it up, ENJOY myself, and push it for the rest of the race.

The out-and-back section went through the part of the park that I was familiar with- the lights! This made me happy, especially because they were already turned on and glowing against the sun-less sky. I progressively sped up, especially after I turned around to head back to the finish line. It felt good to finally be able to run fast.

  • Mile 2 – 7:55
  • Mile 3 – 7:40


I turned to run the straightaway to the finish line and was once again running on the rocky road. I was afraid to sprint to the finish like I usually try to do because I felt unstable on the rocks. Instead I just ran carefully and smiled at Kevin and the baby as they cheered for me.



I crossed the finish line in 25:25 (8:11 average pace). Even though this was far from a PR for me, I felt proud of my effort and the change in my attitude when things didn’t go my way.

Danielle came through a few minutes later looking strong!


I am so proud of her! She is new to running and did her first race ever, the Gender Defender 5K, back in August. In the 4 months between then and now she has run 10 races, including the Army 10 miler! She is going to do a race every month of 2013 with me, and we are both running the Nike Women’s Half in DC this April- her first half!


After the race was over we didn’t stick around for too long because of our New Years Eve plans. But I did have time to get some baby kisses and snuggles before getting back into the car and driving home.

DSCN9607       DSCN9608

photo 1

Once we got home we showered up and got ready for a small NYE get together at our house. We didn’t really dress up, but I couldn’t resist dressing the baby in this cute outfit. I was waiting for a special occasion to put him in it and it was too big for a while, but all of a sudden it’s getting too short for my tall baby (75th percentile!) He looks very fancy in it 🙂

photo 2

Our wonderful friends Mike and Alicia came over with their brand new baby girl, born on December 19th. Watching them with her reminded me of when baby Kevin was that small. It was only 3 months ago, but it seems like SO long! I can barely remember him being that little and having that newborn cry! Mike and Alicia are doing a great job as new parents, and I’m so excited for our babies to grow up together.


A year ago on NYE Alicia and I were at a party having many drinks without another care in the world. We both had no idea we’d be holding our babies this year on New Years Eve! Oh how things change. Thanks to FAM charting I know that baby K was conceived only a few days later. This year on NYE we sipped on some wine while discussing breastfeeding, our birth stories, and baby poop… and I  loved it!

photo 3

Kevin’s sister and her husband came over too. They are expecting a baby in March and she just entered her third trimester! Her and baby K had a hard time staying up until midnight… 🙂


It’s nice to spend time with people who are at the same point in their life as we are. They are understanding about babies crying and needing to nurse and change diapers. It’s very refreshing. My friends without kids are understanding too, but it’s just at another level when you are with someone who is currently going through the same thing or has gone through it before.



It was a wonderful day and night! Here’s to 2013!


3 responses to “Festival of Lights 5K & New Years Eve

  1. Great job on your race despite the rocks. I don’t like unstable footing at all. You and your little family look so happy! I completely understand how you are enjoying friends in the same place as you–I’m so excited one of my best friends is due in April {with their 1st} and it will be so fun to be able to have that in common 🙂

  2. Pingback: Frozen 5K | Run Inspired

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