Race Report: Barrel Fest 5 Miler – June 7, 2014

According to my training plan, I was supposed to sign up for a 5k on the June 7th weekend, but I couldn’t find any I was remotely interested in paying the money for. I did happen upon this five miler, however, in its inaugural year. I decided to sign up for it, planning on treating it kind of like a 5k pace interval run to gear up for my two 5ks in the next couple months.

And then my knee happened.

I took it easy for the few weeks before the race, but that meant I wasn’t in quite as good of shape as I had been for my past few races. I taped up my knee, took some Tylenol, and wore my most padded shoes, in hopes that one or more of those things would help me finish the five miles–a distance I hadn’t run since the half marathon over a month ago.

Race Day

Lori arrived at my house promptly at 6 am. We had originally been planning to ride up to Coopertown together, but I needed to go up to Clarksville afterwards, so instead we caravanned. It took us about 30-40 minutes to get there.

It was a small race, around 100 people, so packet pickup was no problem. I was pleasantly surprised by the shirts provided: a lime green sleeveless tech V-neck in a woman’s cut. Nice for such an inexpensive, small race!

We used the restroom for the final time (inside the city hall building…no portapotties for us!) and did a quick warm up. Soon it was time to start.

barrel fest 5 miler

Lori and I pre-race

Mile 1: 10:26
The first mile went by quickly. Probably because I started too fast. With my knee having issues, I was aiming for 11 minute miles. I knew I probably wasn’t going to get a PR and I wasn’t trying to get one. It seemed like no time before I happened upon the first water station (which oddly no one else seemed to be stopping at).

Mile 2: 10:54
I knew I was going too fast, so I tried to make myself slow down on mile two, which had a nice downhill section and more shade than the first mile. Actually, the second mile was probably the most pleasant (heat-wise) of the entire race. Although it seemed to drag more than the first mile had.

Mile 3: 11:34
Soon after the beginning of the third mile, the girl in front of me dropped her headband. She didn’t notice, so I picked it up and ran to catch up with her. (Luckily, she decided to take a walk break.) She thanked me for finding it, and I continued on my way.

And then we hit the sun. After a relatively cool (in the 70s) morning with cloud cover, the sun decided right as the race began to come out and warm everything up. This became apparent right before the halfway mark of the race. I took my first non-water station walk break on this mile. When I finally got to the water station at the end of the mile, I dumped most of it on my body. It. Was. Hot.

Mile 4: 11:17
After running the first half of the fourth mile without any extra breaks, I took them liberally on the second half, which was entirely uphill. I officially hit the longest distance that I had run since the half. My knee had been dully aching throughout the whole run, but it still wasn’t killing me, thank goodness. I dumped more water on my head at the water station, which meant I was pretty much soaking wet at this point, but it still wasn’t keeping me cool enough.

Mile 5: 11:25
This mile continued the upward climb started on the last mile. My goal for the last mile was to not let anyone else pass me. I walked quite a bit, as the majority of the mile was in full-force sun, but I did run some, just to ensure I had a good lead on the people behind me. With a quarter-mile to go, I picked up the pace and ran into the finish!

Finish Time: 55:37

Overall, it was pretty rough. I did good on the first two miles, but fell apart after that, mostly due to the heat but somewhat due to my knee and the lost fitness from taking time off because of my knee. I was really just glad I finished without being in complete pain. I took the tape off my knee as we were waiting for the awards ceremony and the pain immediately surged the area. I have no idea if the tape was actually helping that much or if my painkillers just wore off at the same time, but wow…world of difference.

So, speaking of the awards ceremony…I got third place in my age group! I knew it was possible that I could place because I had looked up some of my competition ahead of time (the sign up website listed all the registrants). It was kind of a it-would-be-cool-but-I-don’t-expect-it type goal, but I somehow pulled it through! In fact, the two girls that placed ahead of me had registered that day (so I hadn’t been able to stalk their race times, lol). The girl who came in fourth was only a minute behind me, so it was good that I didn’t let anyone pass me on that last mile. Yay for small races with non-speedy runners! That’s probably the only time that will ever happen, but it’s definitely something cool to put in my race scrapbook. Not too shabby for being four minutes slower than my PR.

barrel fest 5 miler

Placed in my age group!

Race Review

Overall, it was a pretty nice little race, especially for its first year. The shirts were nice and the wooden medals were locally-made. An earlier start would help out with the heat, I think. I’ve also determined that I think I like races with lots of crowd support, which you don’t necessarily get in those through the country. But it was pretty!

barrel fest 5 miler finishers medal

Race Analysis

First thing is that I did good on my tangents because my watch clocked in at exactly 5 miles. (Well, really, 5.01, but I didn’t stop the watch till I was past the finish line.) A small field helped with this, since there weren’t a ton of people to get in the way.

A five mile race should be paced towards the lower end of my 10k zone (although I was wanting to run this one slower than that because of my knee). Here’s my quarter mile splits, which you can see are all over the place:
Barrel Fest 5 Miler Pacing

Compare that with my last five miler, which was much steadier (and also 40 degrees cooler…):
Richland Creek Run Pacing

Overall, even though I was four minutes slower, I can’t complain too much. I did the race on a bum knee, after all, and hadn’t been running a lot beforehand.

Happily, even though I was limping around for the rest of the day after the race, my knee was fine the next day. I hope that means it’s getting better!

Race Report: Richland Creek Run – April 5, 2014

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).

pre-race selfie

Selfie from my car!

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:

Richland Creek Run elevation chart

Limiting the range from 420 ft to 495 ft makes this look way more dramatic.

And my quarter mile splits:

richland creek run quarter mile splits

Believe me when I say that 9:45 at the end WAS a finishing sprint.

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)