Time for a race recap!
Yesterday was World Run Day and just to spice things up a little, I decided to sign myself up for a 5K. The Restoration Run raises money and awareness for the Jones Falls conservation efforts. The Jones Falls is a well known local watershed and I can always get behind an environmental cause.
The course itself took runners on a lovely out and back trek along a road that bursts on all sides with beautiful fall foliage and the stream running alongside it really completes the picturesque image. I wish I could have stopped for some photos, but…well…I was running. I was already familiar with the route – after all I’ve lived around here for the vast majority of my life – and I knew it was pretty challenging with some rolling hills. I wasn’t expecting anything in the way of a PR. This run was just for fun.
The start time was 8am and my alarm went off at 6:30. I checked my weather app to see what kind of temperatures we were dealing with and it was currently in the low 40’s. I figured that I would be alright in a long sleeved heat gear shirt, track jacket, my compression pants and calf sleeves, a headband over my ears and gloves. What I did not anticipate was that it might be colder where I was going. And it was. By like 10 degrees. The therm in my car read around 30 as I huddled in there with the heat blasting waiting for other runners to arrive.
About a half hour before start time, I emerged from my warm cocoon to stretch and jog around the parking lot for a bit in the hopes that I could warm myself up. I had run a VERY cold 7 miles early on Saturday morning and I don’t think my muscles really warmed up properly the entire time. I didn’t want that to happen again. About 10 minutes prior, I downed some Hammer Gel, hoping it would give me a little extra burst of energy. Promptly at 8, we were gathered around the race organizers as they welcomed us, gave a few little speeches and an overview of what we would be doing. County police were on hand to block the roads from traffic. Because this is normally a heavily traveled area, the race was limited to 45 minutes. They couldn’t keep everything closed down any longer than that.
Then we were off. As soon as I was moving, I felt a lot warmer and it was actually somewhat pleasant in the sun. The pack spread out quickly and I could tell pretty much right away who was going to win this thing. Spoiler alert: It was the guy with the least amount of clothes on. My first mile was fast…right in line with the fastest mile I’ve ever run. I was pleased with this because some of the worst uphill was during that first mile. I fell into a little more of a groove during mile 2. It was beautiful and peaceful out there and I let myself look around a bit and take it all in.
For more than half the race, I was running in third for the women, but as we were heading back I got passed by this lady who was TRUCKING. I’m guessing she is smarter than I am and conserved her energy for the later part of the race. I didn’t care. As I said this run was just for fun and I was already doing a whole lot better than I thought I was going to.
One thing I don’t like about 5Ks is that it feels like it takes me that long to get warmed up sometimes. One thing I do like about 5Ks is that they are over fast. The whole thing was a blur. Before I knew it, I had turned back onto the main road and heading back to the park. Mile 2 was my slow mile, but I managed to pick it up a bit for mile 3. The people that were already done were gathered around the finish line cheering for the new arrivals. I crossed knowing that I had finished 4th of the women. Pride swelled in my chest, especially after seeing that the women who came in 2nd and 3rd clearly knew each other and had been running for a long time. I was able to hold my own with people that are far more experienced than I am and it felt really good.
I was sucking wind pretty hard at the end and totally forgot to shut off my Garmin right away, so I went to grab a coffee and a snack and went to see about my results. A friendly woman who was recording the times took my bib number and reported that my time was:
2 seconds off my previous 5K PR!! I wasn’t expecting that AT ALL. I happily settled in with the other runners at the finish line and cheered for everyone that came across.
I had already planned on going to hot yoga after the race, but because of the course time limit, I figured I could stick around and watch the awards presentation. The overall winners of the women and men were called up and received a cool looking and very event-appropriate engraved stone. Then they moved on to age group awards that I had no idea existed until just that moment. And when they got to women 30-39 group MY name was called! NO WAY!
The Restoration Run was one of those races that makes me feel so good about being a runner. I didn’t know one person there, but all the volunteers and other runners were so welcoming and friendly. The event had such a family oriented vibe that I just loved, plus with the added benefit of being super well organized. It is their 4th year doing this, so they have it down to a science.
Despite the chilly start, it was wonderful. I will definitely be participating in this race again next year!
I hope everyone had a spectacular weekend (and World Run Day!)