Nobody was more surprised than me that I attended the 2022 Tessitura Network Convention – I went from contracted employee to full time and on a plane to the Mile High City in the blink of an eye. Was I excited to go to Denver for the first time? Yes! But was I more excited for the conference 5K? Duh.
THE TESSITURA CONVENTION 5K EXPERIENCE
I’ve run the Tessitura 5K before, and can tell you from experience it’s very informal. There are no bib chips, the winner is determined by gun time only, and sometimes the course doesn’t even add up to a full 3.1 miles. But hey, a race is a race as far as I’m concerned, much less one included in the convention festivities. Obviously I didn’t hesitate to put my name on the list.
The 7:30am start time gave me pause – isn’t that a bit late for the middle of August? – but upon arriving at the start line I discovered the Colorado summer morning to be a shockingly reasonable temperature. A bit brisk, even (although that may be the part of me that lives in Puerto Rico talking).
This race being a more casual affair, there wasn’t a ton of hubbub around the start. I don’t even remember music playing. No water and no snacks, either, although there was a table with bibs for last-minute signups. Heck, the start line was a piece of poster paper.
We were given instructions in advance, however. A guy with a bullhorn laid out some basic ground rules; namely, runners line up in the front, walkers in the back, and on the few occasions the course crosses the road, don’t get run over by a car if one decides to be a jerk about it. That and a shouted countdown, and we were off!
Off where, you ask? First down the sidewalk and along a road before turning onto a paved trail. This was my favorite part of the race from the onset for sheer views alone, with the Denver suburbs and downtown silhouetted in the distance.
So you can imagine my delight when, already pleased, I caught sight of an even greater beauty: TYRANNOSAURUS REXES! Two Tessitura employees had dressed up in those inflatable dinosaur costumes and were doling out the high fives. Now, I love a good race high five (I will particularly swerve for children), but a dinosaur race high five?! Now we’re talking!
Bonus: while the next portion of the course proved to be an out-and-back, it meant an additional dinosaur high five. Petition to add one to all races going forward.
The out-and-back concluded at the head of the trail, at which point we turned back onto the sidewalk and ultimately surged down a long, straight road to the parking lot where we started. The finish was indicated by another poster board, except it wasn’t really the finish according to my Garmin: I clocked in at 2.9 miles. No problem! I just ran a few loops around the parking lot until I got my solid 3.1.
As for my own personal race, it went well! Like I said, no chip times or anything, so it’s all about personal goals. I arguably went out a little too fast, but in my defense, I was listening to the Harmonious soundtrack and I think we can all agree it absolutely slaps.
That, and/or the altitude. They don’t call Denver the Mile High City for nothing, and I’m used to sea level or below.
That, and/or hills. The course wasn’t mountainous, but it definitely was NOT flat. I tackled all the hills with my usual ferocity, but it probably did slow me down a bit.
That, and/or alcohol. I had a couple drinks at dinner with some coworkers the night before. Nothing at all crazy, and I drank a bunch of water afterward, but apparently the aforementioned altitude can increase alcohol’s effects.
Despite all this, I must reiterate that I had a good 5K! These are reasons I didn’t perform my absolute best, but I was still pleased with my performance. Also, double dinosaur high fives. And I didn’t even pay to participate!
At first I thought it odd that there were no snacks at the finish, only to discover water bottles and a bunch of Naked-brand smoothies waiting for me just inside the hotel. I snagged a mango smoothie and bopped back to my room, still jamming out to Harmonious. It’s an affliction and I don’t want a cure.
I’m so glad the Tessitura 5K came back after back-to-back years of virtual conferences. As long as I’m an attendee, you can count me in. And the conference is in Orlando next year, sooooooo…
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