What a race!
Amanda and I arrived in Clarksville the night before the race and picked up our race packets at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. Then we joined my parents for a nice carby dinner at Olive Garden. Mmmm, pasta and breadsticks!
We got up at the awful hour of 5:30 the next morning. (I really shouldn’t complain about that, since that’s the time my next race STARTS.) We got dressed, downed a cereal bar, and headed out to Liberty Park.
Since the 5k was entirely inside the park, that meant that you had to park in one of two designated parking lots about a mile down and then get shuttled to the start line. It was a little chilly, in the lower 50s and overcast, as had been predicted, but we waited for the shuttle and arrived at the park just as the half marathoners were taking off.
Amanda had worn pants and a tank, but it had started to sprinkle, and she decided the tank was a poor decision. So we went inside the event center to the expo and bought her a nice long sleeved shirt instead. Then we had our final bathroom break, met up with Jessica, and gathered at the start line.
I’m used to races starting about 5-10 minutes after they say they will, so it was a surprise when the gun went off about 2 minutes early. I didn’t have a real time goal for this race, figuring I’d come in around 35 minutes like the Oktoberfest 5k. My main goal was DO NOT WALK.
For the first half to three fourths of a mile, I jogged next to Amanda and Jessica. They typically run around a 13 min/mile, and I didn’t want the mistake of starting off too fast, so I stuck with them. However, after that, I settled in to a nice pace around 11-11:30 min/mile. And I stayed there.
There were three points on the course where you loop back and get to pass all the people running behind you. I was running with them through the first of these, but on the second, I passed them and they were running together. I waved and continued on, probably just a minute or two in front of them at that point.
About a mile and a half in there was a water station. I grabbed some Powerade and tried to chug it down as best I could without walking and without spilling it all over myself. I succeeded at not walking through the water stop, but failed at not spilling the drink. Most of it went all over me, but it was a downpour of rain by this point, so I didn’t really care. I was just glad that I had decided to go with long sleeves.
The third loop back was just after the start of the third mile. I was feeling strong, so I picked up my speed a bit. I kept an eye out and saw Amanda, but Jessica wasn’t with her.
Here I am looking way too happy to be running in a cold downpour:
I passed through the water station again without grabbing anything as I was only about a quarter mile from the finish at that point. I was still feeling pretty strong, but going up to the finish line was virtually the only uphill in the race. I pushed through and sprinted through the finish line with an official time of 35:15, two seconds faster than I had done in Seattle. Except this time it was better because I did the whole thing WITHOUT WALKING. Yay!
I grabbed a glazed doughnut and a banana and stood by the finish line waiting for my friends. Jessica came through about five minutes after I did, and Amanda followed about three minutes later. Woohoo!
After checking our official results and taking a photo, we went inside to relax our legs a bit. We ended up over at a chirpractor booth, where Amanda and Jessica had their upper backs and shoulders worked on, and I got him to use the Stick on my legs. Hurts soooo good! I felt like a million bucks after that. I think I could have run another 5k at that point, ha!
We headed over to Blackhorse for a celebratory lunch, then Amanda and I headed back to Nashville.
Despite the rain and chilliness (it dropped about five degrees between the start of the race and the finish!), it was an awesome time with great friends. While staying with them for some of the first mile might have slowed down my overall time, I’m glad I did because it’s a lot of fun to be able to talk and laugh while racing. Now to push Amanda a little more to get her up to my speed… 😉
As always, here’s my quarter mile splits. Go go, negative splits, by the way! Mile 1 was done at a 12:38 pace, mile 2 at 11:08, mile 3 at 10:15, and the final 0.1 at 9:10. Yep, I shaved off about a minute each mile!
And the medals (yep, a medal for a 5k…I could get used to this) were pretty awesome. My favorite medal of the year!
Maybe I’ll go for the half next year…
Shoes: Skechers GoRun 2