I’ve been running the Hot Cider Hustle 5K for three years now! After the brutal cold the first year, I said never again. And then I somehow found myself running it again last year. Of course it was even COLDER in 2018. I wrote this race off yet again. And lo and behold, I found myself signed up again for the third year in a row. But you know what they say, right? Third time’s a charm! And a charm it was. The 2019 Hot Cider Hustle 5K was not only the best organized it’s been, it also delivered mild temperatures and near-perfect running conditions.
I usually run this race because it’s a good excuse to log some miles and grab brunch after with girl friends. Plus it’s almost always right around my birthday so an even better excuse for a mini birthday party. What’s better than birthday run and brunch? Not much if you ask me.
Hot Cider Hustle 5K 2019 Race Recap
I had a bit of anxiety leading up to the Hot Cider Hustle this year. Not about racing, not about the distance, but about parking and being cold. I tend to chill very easily after a run and I was terrified I would be teeth-chattering cold after I finished. I knew there was very limited parking at the school, but instead of taking the shuttle, I opted to risk it and park at the school. Luckily when I arrived there were plenty of spots.
The shuttles began dropping off runners around 8:00 am or so. I flagged down friends and we hung out in my car until just before the race. Unfortunately our laid back attitude seeded us at the very back of the pack. We weren’t at the starting line for more than five minutes before we saw runners starting the race. We couldn’t hear what was being said on the PA but apparently they were announcing the start!
Truth be told, being at the very back of the pack literally meant nothing to me. I had zero plans for racing — I was truly there as a fun run. This season has been amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t done speed work at all. Like none. I think I ran one single tempo run from April through October. And one single tempo run does not a fast runner make. So expectations for the Hot Cider Hustle 5K were nonexistent. Having said that, being at the back of the pack meant a lot of weaving for the first… — well, the whole race, really.
Lucky for me, I had a couple friends who also had no expectations so we ran together. We stuck together until the third mile when they smoked me, of course. But by then I was just enjoying the miles. I ran past a 6 year old completing her first 5K with her mama. It was so sweet. And reminded me that my son asked to run this race next year. We’ll see, buddy!
I crossed the finish line, met up with my friends where we regrouped and snapped some pics, and then we headed off to birthday brunch.
I’m a sucker for the Hot Cider Hustle 5K. My friend Julie and I joke that it’s the race we love to hate. It’s true, though. The weather usually sucks. And we’re usually coming off of Marine Corps Marathon. It’s a nice way to shake things out, though, and the swag keeps us coming back year after year.
I will say this — the 2019 Hot Cider Hustle 5K was so much more organized than in years past. The half zip is fabulous. And the mug is enormous. The weather isn’t always the best but we certainly lucked out this year. Had I been in better running-shape, I definitely would have raced this one hard.
I’m not sure I want to admit this out loud, but I’m inclined to say I’m looking forward to the 2020 race. I would be sad to miss it, after all!
All jokes aside, I really enjoyed the Hot Cider Hustle 5K this year. I’m kinda, sorta thinking about maybe even running shorter and faster next year. If I do, maybe I’ll add this to my “race” list and not just treat it as a fun run. We’ll see!
If you’re local, I hope to see you in 2020! You should join us for birthday brunch, too.
What’s your race you love to hate?
Do you race 5Ks often?
I received a complimentary entry to the Hot Cider Hustle 5K.