New Year’s Day: to Run or Ride

Torn between a New Year’s Day race or bike ride, and sad that I’d missed the previous year’s New Day New Year 5K, I texted my friends to see who was running. Three friends were running so I registered. My decision turned out to be a good one as New Year’s Day brought blustery weather which is better handled on foot than on a bike.


Same Race, New Location

In it’s sixth year, the New Day New Year 5K  moved its location to Dynasty Brewing Company after the closure of the previous host brewery. Only a few miles from the previous location, it was still an easy 10-minute drive from my house. The new course was flatter and took us on a large easy-to-navigate loop.


Packet Pickup

Packet pickup began at 8:45 AM in the front of Dynasty Brewing. I arrived at 9:10 and easily found parking out front. Once in the brewery, packet pickup was a snap with only a few people in line in front of me; however, after a quick trip into the ladies room a line had formed outside and down the sidewalk to the end of the building. I took my bib back to my car, pinned it on, and sat in my car while waiting for my friends to arrive.


Obligatory Pre-Race Photo

The temperature outside was 42° (feels like 38°) so I stayed in my warm car until 9:45 when I walked to the start line to meet my MRTT friends for our pre-race photo. Once we’d taken the picture, we hung out in the starting area for the National Anthem and then cheered on the 10K runners as they took off on lap one of the two-lap 10K course – the 5K would start 10 minutes after the 10K.


Ready to Run

The wind was starting to pick up, so rather than standing around shivering for 10 minutes until the 5K began, I did a few easy laps in an adjacent parking lot. Too late, I realized I should have run in the opposite direction and made one last pit stop at the nearby porta potty.

Back at the starting line I easily found my friends and we snapped a few pictures…


Runners in front of us…


Runners behind us…


And We’re Off!

With a backwards countdown from ten we were off!


I immediately had to restart my music which I’d turned off while chatting at the start line – it’s always something with me. I maneuvered around a group of slower runners until I found a good position among others at my pace.

I gradually tried to pick off runners, especially if from behind they looked like an older woman. I spent the entire race playing cat and mouse with one particular younger lady and appreciated how much she motivated me to stay strong when I wanted to slow down.


The Course

The race course ran in a large loop of left turns. Other than a quarter mile section through a communtiy of homes, it ran along three different divided parkways.


It was a very flat course with only 78 feet of elevation gain.


Fighting a Headwind During Mile 1

As soon as we turned onto Loudoun County Parkway from the Dynasty Brewing parking lot we faced a strong headwind. I immediately regretted grabbing an old throw-away white jacket instead of my nylon shell which works as a great windbreaker. By the time we turned onto Malden Place we were out of the wind and I immediately had to remove my jacket. Rather than throwing it away, I tied it around my waist to wear after I finished the race. During the process I missed taking a picture of the 1 mile marker so I snapped a selfie.


  • Mile 1 – 9:15


Getting Lapped During Mile 2

The second mile took us from Exchange Street to Marblehead and past the 55+ community where I teach a few classes and train several clients.

I continued to hold a steady pace and set my sights on a couple of other “older women” to pass. A guy came sprinting past us and I assumed that he’d arrived late to the race, but later realized that he was probably the lead 10K runner lapping us.


  • Mile 2 – 9:09


A Case of the Dropsies During Mile 3

While trying to take a picture of a deputy directing traffic, I dropped a glove tucked under my arm. It wasn’t until I put my phone back in my SPIbelt (affiliate link) and got ready to put my gloves back on that I realized I’d dropped one of them. I promptly turned around just in time to see a guy picking it up. I ran back to meet him and probably lost 10 or more seconds in the process. By the time I turned back around, the lady I’d been playing cat and mouse with all race was way ahead and I just didn’t have it in me to catch up.


Two more 10K runners flew past us just before we turned onto Loudoun County Parkway for the home stretch. That’s the Washington Commanders training facility bubble in the background.


  • Mile 3 – 9:10


The Final Stretch and Crossing the Finish Line

Once we made the final left turn onto the lane leading to the brewery and the finish line, I kicked it into overdrive. My overdrive these days isn’t that fast, though.

  • Final .27 Mile – 8:41 pace


My official time was 29:51 (9:38 pace) which put me in 2nd place out of 21 women in my age group of 60-69 year olds. It’s worth noting that our age group was won by a 69 year old lady at the top end of our 10-year age group who soundly beat me by 1:08. She didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony so I didn’t get a chance to meet her.

My Garmin (affiliate link) stats showed the distance at 3.27 miles with a time of 29:58 and an average pace of 9:09. The 7 second difference in my time versus the official time was the result of me failing to stop my watch immediately upon finishing. On the plus side, though, I’m not looking at my watch in my finish line photo.


How’d We Do

Race results were available immediately by scanning the QR code at the timing tent just beyond the finish line. Just after learning that I’d placed 2nd in my age group, the lady with whom I’d been playing cat and mouse came up to congratulate me. I thanked her for being my carrot and told her about dropping my glove. It would have been fun to push each other across the finish line.


Before leaving the finish line area I said said a quick hello to Lesley whose company puts on the race (and several other area races).


I also snagged a quick picture of my friend Cheryl who was one of the finish line photographers.


Post Race Treats

Post race refreshments included an assortment of bars, chips, and water bottles; however, adding waffles to the race registration was an option (one I skipped), and of course, beer was being sold in the brewery. I grabbed a water bottle and waited until I got home to eat something more.


Race Swag

Another option I skipped was adding a blanket or race shirt to registration because I already have several New Day New Year 5K blankets; and shirts, well, how many race shirts can one person collect? I love that several of our local races give us the option to save money by skipping on the swag.


Post Race Fun

After finding my friends, we stopped for another picture before heading into the brewery to hang out – by now the temperature had dropped to 39° (feels like 34°) and we couldn’t wait to get inside. Those who had pre-purchased the waffles said they were amazing – they were on a stick and had a variety of syrups and dipping sauces.


Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony didn’t start until the 10K race finished so my friends and I had plenty of time to catch up while waiting.

Photo courtesy of Angela

Photo courtesy of Angela

My award for finishing second in the 60-69 year old age group was a Dynasty Brewing Company glass and a certificate for $10 off my next Run LoCo Races race.


Wrapping it Up

I’ve run several races directed by Lesley, and her races are always fun, well-organized, and well-attended by my running friends. The option at registration to skip purchasing the New Day New Year 5K blanket and race shirt is a welcome treat for this runner with a closet full of race shirts.


  • • Did you run a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day race? ~ yes
  • • What’s the best race swag you’ve received? ~ winter hats, gloves, and scarves
  • • What big plans do you have for 2024? ~ My first epic adventure of 2024 is going on this week. We’re riding our bikes east to west across Florida!


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.