On Saturday I ran the 14th annual Sharon Timlin Memorial 5k Race to Cure ALS (well, that’s a mouthful!). It was my first 5k after having Mr. Baby, and only my second road race in that time. I didn’t technically train for this, but I haven’t ever done specific training for a 5k, so that’s nothing out of the norm.
The race was paid for through a program at my work, which is fantastic, but was a little weird this weekend. The last time I ran a race with the program, we all got matching t-shirts, and met up for a picture before the race. This time, there was no pre-race organizational email, and I didn’t end up seeing any other people from work at the race. I don’t actually mind not having a meet-up; I just felt like I had missed some communication.
Jeff stayed home to watch Mr. Baby and get the house together because we had plans to celebrate Father’s Day with his family at 11:30 (at our house). I’ve run races alone before (a lot actually), but I can probably count on one hand the number of races I’ve gone to alone, without Jeff or another friend or family member to spectate or run another distance. Honestly, it felt strange and was less fun this way. And it made waiting around for the race to start feel like FOREVER.
After getting my number, checking out the post race party area, and visiting the start line, I stopped back at my car to pin on my number and drop off my tshirt. I then took the long way back to the start line and lined up between the 9 and 10 minute per mile signs. I really wasn’t expecting to go that fast, but directly behind the 10 minute sign was where the walkers and jogging strollers were lining up and I wanted NO part of that.
I had gotten to the race pretty early, and was in the corral about 20 min before race time, so the corral slowly filled up around me. I eavesdropped on conversations and took a few pictures for groups of runners around me, and then FINALLY the race started! It was pretty much right on time, but I’d been lined up for quite a while. It took a minute or two to cross the start line, and then we were off!
My plan was to run “comfortably hard”, an effort level where during the last mile I would be eager to reach the finish line, but I wouldn’t be desperate to stop until the last quarter mile or so. I had no time goal in mind, and I forgot to wear my Garmin so I checked the time on my watch as I crossed the start so I would have some reference point during the race.
The first mile was mostly downhill, so even though I kept the weaving to a minimum and tried to settle into an even pace, I still finished that first mile fairly quickly (about 10 min according to my watch time). Mile 2 had a few hills and some flatter stretches. I haven’t been running very long distances lately, so in addition to the hills I was feeling that first mile and I slowed myself on the flatter sections so I would have enough left in the tank for mile 3.
In the second half of Mile 2, I was getting tired and a bit cranky. People around me were starting to get on my nerves! There was a water stop where they were handing out water on both sides of the fairly narrow street, which made it difficult to run through the water station. There were jogging strollers catching up to the rest of the pack by this time and taking up a lot of space with their “wide loads”. Also, this point is where the many, many kids running the race were starting to poop out, and do things like abruptly stop in the middle of the street to take walk breaks. I also ran for a while near a lady who had external speakers playing music. I don’t care if you want to listen to music while you run, but why force everyone to listen to YOUR music? Ugh.
None of these things are out of the realm of what I’d expect for a race, but I was tired and OVER IT, so I was happy when I hit the next mile marker and only had a mile left to go. My watch said the second mile took about 11 minutes, which seemed spot on with the hills and other slow downs.
The last mile of the race had a fair amount of twists and turns and some more downhills. I was feeling ready to be done for most of this last mile, so I really appreciated the downhills. With about a half mile to go I got a side stich which only made me more anxious to get to the finish line. When I turned the final corner and saw the finish line, I pushed myself to bring it in strong. I crossed with the timer reading 33 minutes, but forgot to check my own watch. I promptly got myself some water then headed to the after race party and grabbed a cookie and some yogurt before heading back to the car.
The after party seemed like a good one, but I didn’t stick around long since we were having guests. They were also holding a color run for kids that hadn’t started yet, but seemed like it was going to be a big hit.
All in all, I had a pretty good time at the race, and I would definitely do it again. But with other people. I don’t think I’m a solo 5k runner, at least not unless I have a specific goal.
In the end, my race time was posted as 32:59 which is a good time, but a little disappointing. This was the time on the clock when I crossed the finish line, but I definitely did not cross the starting line until at least a minute or two after the gun went off. I’ll take it, since it’s official, but I know I’m faster ☺
Tell me: Do you like to run races alone? Do other racers ever get on your nerves? And, what’s your favorite snack for them to give out post race? I took the yogurt for later, but the cookies were perfect!