I ran my first race since the spring on Saturday, and it felt good to be back! Local races and very few and far between way down here in the summer, and early fall brought lots of changes and extra work so I have not been running as much. Actually, in November I am pretty sure I ran a total of 11 miles, so I was a bit nervous about the race. On the other hand, I have been going to boot camp, so I was excited to see if it was paying off.
Of course the one race I sign up for happens to be when it’s 32 degrees outside at the start! We bundled up and headed out to the local high school. This race had a 5k, 10k, and half marathon.
I was very thankful I had only signed up for the 5k when I realized how cold it was! At the last minute however, I decided to shed my top jacket, and I am SO glad I did. I get warm very quickly when I run, and I would have been dying in that extra jacket/third layer.
The start of this race was very…interesting. They had the half marathoners start up the hill first, then had us back behind them about 35 yards, then had the 10k runners behind us about 100 yard, but we were told we would all be starting at the same time…ok?
No one was told “if you are walking start to the back” or anything like that. I got fairly close to the front when I realized there was no starting mat, only a finishers mat, so our timer would be started on the gun even if we didn’t cross the start when the gun went off. Well, the gun went off rather abruptly, and a bunch of people just casually started walking or slow jogging. You can see in the picture below, it was like “oh, let’s go for a stroll! As we stand at the FRONT of the 5k RACE!” I can’t blame the participants though, because they didn’t tell everyone where to line up.
Anyway, I luckily didn’t have to do much weaving because we immediately were out onto a divided highway and we had both lanes to spread out in. I hugged the median because I didn’t want to run any extra distance (insert ominous music here). I warmed up fast, and actually felt really good. Then I realized why I felt really good, we were practically going straight downhill! This of course made me feel amazing, until I remembered we would have to go back UP the hill coming back to the finish! I really wanted to just let myself fly down the hill, but I reigned it in and saved some energy for the last half. Even so, I was having a good time and felt really strong. THANK YOU BOOTCAMP! I was so happy that it was working. I ran mile one in just over 9:00, and was happy with that, considering I was holding back a little. I came to a flat part where the turn around was to the other side of the highway, and tried to speed up a little bit before having to go back uphill. I also snapped a photo of the people in front of me on my side after the turn and the people still coming. There were 1000 people in all signed up between the three races.
Apparently, while I was running, so was Emma Kate.
I took this next one after the race but thought it might break up some of the text to insert here.
I made it to mile two in 8:59, and couldn’t believe it. I was going UPHILL and running a sub nine after running 11 miles over the last month? Yes please! I made it to 2.5, and still had not stopped to walk once and just kept pushing up the hill, but not TOO hard because I didn’t want to burn it out before I got too close to the end. When I got to 2.75, I started to get a little concerned. I know this road very well because I drive on it every week, and knew that we were way farther away than a quarter mile. Uh oh. I kept looking at my watch as it crept closer and closer to 3.1 miles, and the school still was not in sight! When I hit 3.13 I paused my garmin because I knew the course was long and wanted my true 5k distance time. I kept running, and will admit I did slow down because by then I was frustrated that I wasn’t going to get a “true” finish time.
I made the turn into the school, down the hill, and towards the finish and there was Bobby and Emma Kate cheering me on!
My sad attempt at waving as I went by.
I was happy that I felt so good and so strong but bummed about the length. I finished and told Bobby the course was long, that it measured 3.45 miles!
My finish time for the 3.45 was 31:20, but my time for 3.13 was 28:30, which I am happy with! (I ended up with 6th place in the 30-39 age group out of 56 women in that age range).
I got my medal and some water, found Bobby, and caught my breathe. I went over to the guy with the bullhorn who had been giving instructions at the start and asked if the 5k course was long. His answer was “I hope not.” Oh. good….. I asked if it was certified and he said no…then I asked if anyone else had said anything about the course being long and he said “well…it might be a little long””. Alrighty then.
We were freezing so we decided to head on home pretty quickly. Oh, I forgot to mention, this race was to raise money for the children’s cancer hospital in Mississippi, a very worthy cause!
Later that night I went to check the results and came across the race’s Facebook page. A lot of people (who ran all the different distances) were complaining about the race being long. Then someone pointed out that in VERY small numbers, the organizers had put the true distances in the results. Look closely next to the work “5K” and you will see it says (3.45). Ha! I was right!
Aside from the course being long, I really did enjoy this race, and it was just what I needed to boost my running confidence. If I can run a 28:30 with no miles hardly, then I know I can do well combining the boot camp with my running if I can get on a good schedule after Christmas. I’m excited!
QOTD: Have you ever run a long or short course?
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