Sorry this is light on photos. I tried waiting around to see if they were going to post any, but I haven’t found any yet.
I don’t remember where I first learned about this race, but when I saw that it was a five miler on a Saturday that benefited the greenways, I was immediately in. First of all, I almost always do my five miles on Saturdays, so the distance fit perfectly. Second, I run on the greenway A LOT, so anything I can do to give back is great! (Can someone earmark my money towards some water fountains? Or a bathroom?)
I didn’t really know what to expect time-wise out of this race. My easy pace 5 mile runs usually come in a shade over an hour, between 1:01-1:03. The McMillan calculator said I could do 52:06 based on my last 5k time or 55:02 based on my 15k time. The best 5 miles I’ve ever done was the end of the Hot Chocolate 15k, where I ran 5 miles in 53:26. I decided to aim for 55 minutes, starting with 11 minute mile splits and seeing how I felt from there.
I arrived at the race with plenty of time to spare. I got my race bib, pinned it to my shirt, then sat in my car for 10 minutes or so because it was COLD outside. It was in the lower 40s, and I had decided to wear a skirt with a long-sleeved top. Finally, I got out and started my warmup about 20 minutes before the race was scheduled to start. My warmup was not terrific. My legs had been sore and stiff all week long (I had cut my previous two runs short), and that day was no exception. I trotted along slowly to get the blood flowing to them. My hands, on the other hand, felt like ice. After half a mile, I decided that I wanted to make a final bathroom stop before heading to the start line. The best thing about this race was packet pickup was inside the Cohn building, so there were actual restrooms instead of portapotties. Yay! The line wasn’t bad, so I was in and out pretty quick. I spent my remaining time trying to stretch out some of my stiff areas (my calves).
Soon we were off. I knew I started too fast, but I couldn’t seem to make myself slow down since we started on a downhill. I ended up completing the first mile in 10:09. There was oddly a water stop around half a mile in, which I didn’t stop at. But by the end of the first mile, I kind of wished I had. The second mile put us on the Richland Creek greenway, and I consciously made myself slow down. However, I still couldn’t seem to get down to my planned 11 min/mi splits. Mile two was done in 10:41. At this point, I was really wanting some water.
Mile three was perhaps the most scenic. There were a couple bridges we crossed, where I kind of wanted to stop and take photos, but I didn’t. It was also very hilly. Luckily, I came across a water station just after the halfway point and happily slurped down some water. Then it was up a hill to the start of mile four.
The thing I remember most about mile four was one of the volunteers who was cheering us on clearly said there were no more uphills. This was about 3.5 miles in. And he was a liar. Because practically all of mile five was uphill. I mean, really, what evil person puts a finish line at the top of a hill? I guess I should have realized this seeing as the start and finish were the same spot and we started out going downhill, but it didn’t click until I rounded the corner for the final half mile. I fought with myself for that entire half mile, wanting to walk so bad but not letting myself since I could literally see the finish line. There were two girls running just ahead of me and with about a tenth of a mile to go, I found some untapped energy and surged ahead of them up the hill and across the finish. Then I thought I might throw up, so I walked around for a while before grabbing my banana and water.
Is that how you know that you ran to your full potential? If you want to throw up at the end? Because my official time was 51:32, or 30 seconds faster than what my 5k time predicted, at an average of 10:19 min/mi pace. I even managed to run a sub-10 minute last mile despite all the torturous uphills.
Amusingly, my watch measured the course at 4.98 miles. It’s a certified course, so I don’t know exactly how I came up short. Usually watches read longer on certified courses because it’s hard to run every tangent. So I guess I did excellent on my tangents.
My biggest complaint about the race (other than that last hill) was the water stations. There were three: one half a mile in, one around 2.6 miles in, and one 4.25 miles in. The odd thing is the first one. First, I didn’t see anyone stop at it at the start because it’s only half a mile in. Second, you pass it again on your way back, which is only a quarter mile after the 4.25 mile stop, so, again, I didn’t see anyone stop at it. I would move it to around mile 1-1.5. I also think the 4.25 mile station could be pushed back to 3.5-4 miles. That would even them all out a bit more. It wasn’t a huge deal today, but if it had been hotter, I would have been dying by 2.5 miles with no water.
One plus about this race is they separate the runners and the walkers. The runners start at 8am and the walkers start at 8:05 (and I don’t believe they were chip-timed), essentially having two corrals at the start. So I hardly saw anyone walking the entire five miles (and those that were mostly stayed to the right), which meant I didn’t have to do a lot of weaving to get around people (which probably helped my tangents). I wish more small races would make that distinction.
Another thing I liked is that our goodie bag was a reusable Publix shopping bag. Yay for not giving us something to just throw away! (Now if I could only ever remember to bring my reusable bags into the store…)
The rolling elevation chart, for the curious:
And my quarter mile splits:
Overall Place: 182 out of 244
Female Place: 87 out of 134
Division (30-34 F) Place: 23 out of 31
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 3 (first time wearing them in a race)