I have to be honest about something.
I really didn’t want to run this thing. I mean, I wanted to run it when I signed up for it. I was excited to do a race with Sara R. We hadn’t run together in about 5 years and it was going to be a fun race. An added bonus was that it motivated me to start running regularly again after my half marathon, since I had lost my running mojo afterward.
So, I started really running routinely about a month ago. That was actually really great timing since I started a weight loss challenge around the same time. Don’t you LOVE IT when your worlds come together! Anyway, I was focusing on just running 3 miles with emphasis on trying to get faster. I figured if I could get faster on a 5K, then when I started training again for the half marathon this fall, it would all translate.
Well, it all paid off, let me tell you! This race was the St. Patricks Festival 5K in Ada, Michigan. The race raised money for St. Patrick’s school, a Catholic school in the area. It was scheduled for Friday at 7pm. So, I worked all day, and miraculously got out of work at 2:30. That NEVER happens! So, I turned off my pager, and high tailed it out of there :) I was able to go home before the race and get all my running gear situated. I had not planned on taking my Garmin since it was going to be a fun race, so it was not charged. But, at the last minute I decided to take it anyway so I would have a watch to make sure I made it to the start line on time. I am a stickler for punctuality.
I ended up getting excited about this race again, about 3 days before we were scheduled to run it. I’m not sure why, but I was just really excited to see Sara R and run with her again. It’s been SO long!! Funny what kids and career will do to friendships :)
I wasn’t sure where the race actually started. Sara R was volunteering at packet pickup prior to the race (her children go to the school). I arrived at 6pm, about an hour early. I easily found a parking spot and picked up my packet. I milled around for a while. They had a live band there, so it was nice to just soak in the sun and listen to the music. Sara had invited another friend along for the race as well ( her name was Alyssa?), so we got acquainted and chatted for a while.
obligatory pre-race selfie
After a last minute port-a-potty visit (one can never have enough of those before a race) and obligatory selfie (don’t I look fabulous?), it was time for the race to start. As we thought we would be kinda slow, we picked a spot at the end of the runners but before the walkers to start. They had a short prayer and we were off. It was a small race, only about 200 to 250 people had registered for it, which was nice that there were enough people to make you feel like you were racing but not enough to make it really congested at the start. We started running together at a pretty good pace, not too slow, not too fast. All three of us had our earphones in, so there wasn’t a lot of talking, but it was nice to run together. I ran about half a mile, intermittently commenting to Sara who I thought was a step behind me about the funny things I noticed during the race. Then, I happened to look beside me, and wouldn’t you know…I was talking to a complete stranger!! Somewhere I had lost Sara in the crowd, and now I was the crazy girl who says stupid things to complete strangers. :) GOTTA LOVE IT!
I looked back and couldn’t see Sara or Alyssa (I don’t wear my glasses when I run, so honestly they could have been 200 feet behind me and I wouldn’t have recognized them), so I decided to go for it and honestly race it. And that is what I did. The course was an out and back course on a small road next to the church. It has 2 slight hills in it, and then after about a mile we made a left turn and ran on a hard packed gravel road next to farm fields for 1 mile. It was nice to have the change in terrain. My knees have been hurting lately, so I welcomed a little dirt to run on. The scenery was great. I love running down dirt roads (I like to hear my footsteps in the gravel) and I absolutely LOVE to run through farm fields. They are so solitary and so pretty, especially when the sun is low and shines across the lush green.
It was a really humid hot day, with temps in the mid 80’s. The course had quite a bit of shade for the 1st and last mile, but the second mile was grueling. To make matters worse, the sun was directly in front of us, so it shined directly in our eyes, making it very clear how hot we were :) There was only 1 water stop and it was right in the middle at the 1.5 mile mark. I had brought my hand-held water bottle but decided to leave it in the car at the last minute, and that was a mistake. Note to self….next time, take a water bottle!
At the finish line, there were quite a few spectators and someone had a loudspeaker so they could call out your name and shout uplifting comments to you. That was fun. Then there were 3 ladies that were handing out ice cold water about 10 feet after the race finish. I think they were angles! ….Truly…Water has never tasted so good :)
After the race, there was live music. You could get drinks if you wanted to at the concession stand. There were prizes given out to the top 3 male and female finishers. I finished, and waited for Sara and and Alyssa to finish so I could cheer them on. We sat on the grass, cooled down and stretched. It was nice to talk for a while. I never get to see Sara, so it nice to catch up. I didn’t stay for the festivities afterward since Nathan and I hadn’t eaten yet, and it was late. I ended up getting home at about 9pm, so I picked up Chinese food on the way home.
And finally, lets talk about race times!! I hadn’t anticipated racing this course, but over the last few weeks I have been trying to increase my speed in general. So, when my watch beeped to signal the first mile was done, I was stunned to discover that I had run my first mile in 10 minutes, 28 seconds. My goal was just to keep running at that pace. I tend to run the first mile fast, then peter out and have to walk at the end. My second mile was 10:48, and my third mile was 11:03. I finishing time was 32:51!! I was 4th in my age group. That is a 5K PR my friends. So, apparently running with the neighbors (who are super fast) has paid off.
I would totally run this race again. The atmosphere was fun and it was a really easy race to run on a Friday night, without taking up too much of my weekend. The only thing I would change is that I would definitely take my handheld water with me next time!
Sorry for the long post you guys. I wish I had taken pictures of the race, but my phone battery was low and I realized it just prior to the race, so I wasn’t able to snap any pictures! I am such a bad blogger :(