The Komen 5K in Hunt Valley, Maryland was the second 5K I ever ran. It was back in 2010 and I was so not a runner then, but my work at the time was a sponsor of the race and I was convinced to join a team of my coworkers. In preparation I ran 1 mile on the treadmill just to make sure I could do that much without passing out. The hills were pretty brutal and I ended up finishing in right around 30 minutes, but I will never forget the swell of pride I felt when I passed the 1 mile clock and it read 9 minutes. (That was me going out WAY WAY WAY too fast and had to walk a lot after that.)
The following year I signed up again and then didn’t show up because it was cold and snow flurrying that day. Funny how a little weather kept me from running back then.
Anyway fast forward to now and I’m at a new job that just so happens to also be a sponsor for the same race. And they just so happened to offer me a free race registration in case I wanted to run it. Race for free? Twist my arm why don’t you.
I arrived to the event at zero dark thirty to help set up our sponsor tent. Besides running I would also be handing out freebies to thousands of pink-clad people. I was feeling festive and much more wide awake than my coworkers in my pink ProCompression socks and pink Swirlgear. My coworkers are wonderful people, but they aren’t morning exercise people.
My warm up consisted of running around hauling heavy boxes of pads and pens, not that I’m complaining about the extra strength training. 8am started to sneak up quickly and I headed over to the starting line. It was a beautiful morning for a race with temps in the mid-50s and no wind…yet. (That would pick up a little later.) I was hanging around minding my own business when a girl came up to me and asked what my 5K time was. She wanted me to pace her because she had some kind of bet going with someone that she could finish in a certain amount of time. Great. No pressure or anything.
The race was supposed to start at 8. I was tying my shoe and adjusting my headphones when suddenly they were telling us to take our marks…4 minutes early. WTF? Not that I mind an early start, but a little more forewarning would have been nice. There is a short downhill at the start and I was so flustered that I practically tripped myself right over the timing mat. I’m sure the girl that intended to follow me was super impressed.
The first mile felt really easy (and it was pretty fast too at 6:40). After that I struggled a bit. Just past the mile 2 marker I slowed down enough so that the girl who was following me would go ahead. She was all up on me and breathing down my neck the whole time and it just wasn’t worth it. I hope I have never made another person feel like that in a race and if I have I am truly sorry for being so obnoxious.
Because I had done Komen before and am really familiar with the area anyway I knew exactly where the course would take me which I liked and hated all at the same time. Liked because I never had to look at my watch. Hated because I knew about the hills that were in front of me when my legs started to feel like lead. I think there was one water station right around the halfway point, but I was so focused on what I was doing that I barely noticed it. One thing I did not remember from my previous run was all the entertainment along the course: cheerleaders, a guy playing guitar, lots of spectators. It was probably the best 5K I’ve ever run in terms of crowd support.
I didn’t really have a time goal, but as the end came into view I saw that if I kept moving I would finish in under 22 minutes; shocking because I didn’t expect to do that well. I stumbled over the finish line, feeling a little like I might throw up and then jogged directly to the sponsor tent…after all I was technically at work!
My coworkers were excited to see me back, joking with me that they had expected me much sooner. Ha. Funny, you guys.
Sweet! Not a PR, but still much better than I expected to do after being forced to slow down so much over the past few months. 7/791 women and 1st in my age group.
I have to give Komen credit where it is due. This is a really well organized event with good entertainment, lots of vendors to visit and a warm, celebratory (very, very pink) atmosphere. I especially like how much attention is placed on the survivors, who have their own special area of the race village among other special recognitions throughout the day. The biggest cons were the lack of actual AG awards, which I thought was a little weird for such a big race that I could see was the parking…I got a great spot because I was there so early but others were not nearly so lucky and getting out of there was a huge PITA because of the road closures.
I probably wouldn’t have minded being stuck so much if I didn’t have very important plans for that day.
I headed home to shower and then it was off to DC to catch the tail end of the Marine Corps Marathon! And I thought the traffic in Hunt Valley was bad!! The road closures were obviously out of control down there, but I was treated to a spectacular view of the marathoners as I tried to exit 301 (numerous times).
Quite a few wonderful people I know were running: Sue of This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, Mar of Mar on the Run, and Nevie of Writing, Reading, Running among others. And most especially I was excited to FINALLY meet my BRF…the one and only HELLY!!!
I managed to snag myself a pretty good parking space less than a mile from the finish line thanks to my super small car that can fit in spaces that other peoples’ cars cannot just as I received the text that Helly had finished her race! Armed with a homemade sign, I attempted to run to the finish festival and…yeah I know it’s only 3.1 miles, but after the 5K and then sitting in the car for so long my legs weren’t working the way they are supposed to.
It didn’t take me too long to find her once I got over there though!
We started gabbing away like we hang out with each other every day. I LOVE friends like that. Plans are already in the works for race meetups next year!
I guess you can say that Sunday was a very good day. :)
Did you run or race last weekend? Do you have a BRF that lives far away? (Dammit why are Maryland and Arizona not closer to each other!?)
I hope everyone has a happy Tuesday and is enjoying Halloween week!