Race Report: Go Commando 5k – October 18, 2014

I went back and forth for the longest time on this race. Do I run the 5k so I can directly compare my race to last year’s? Or do I run the new 10k since it’s the first year they are doing it?

I finally made my decision sometime in July. I had started to believe that I wasn’t going to meet my sub-30 goal in August’s race, so I went ahead and signed up for the 5k as a backup race. Of course, then I did get sub-30 in Smyrna, so…

It worked out all for the best. My cousin Gillian emailed me a few weeks later and said she was thinking about training for the 5k, her first ever. Yay, a race buddy!

I had no real goals for this race. I wanted to be faster than last year (35:15), but other than that, I just planned on running by feel. I definitely didn’t plan to do another sub-30, since my ankle was still gimpy, and I was doing a running streak.

Race Day

I had spent the night at my parents’ house in Clarksville, so I got up at 6am to get ready and tape up my ankle. I arrived at the race location a little after 7am and parked. I met up with Gillian and we took the shuttle over to the start line. After checking a bag, I was ready.

before the start of the go commando 5k

Gillian and I before the start.

It was a little chilly before the start, but the sun promised to come out. It turned out to be great running weather: in the low 50s with the sun peeking through. I wore shorts and a tank, but a lot of people were dressed for cold-weather running. I wondered if they got hot.

The race started promptly (my Garmin data says exactly 8am) after the national anthem and a prayer.

Mile 1: 10:17
Gillian and I started together and placed ourselves around the middle of the crowd. It was pretty congested starting out, so there was a bit of weaving around people and not being able to run the pace that you wanted to. Her shoe came untied right before the end of the first mile, and she told me to go on without her.

Mile 2: 9:34
Once most of the congestion cleared out, I settled into a good pace. I still had to weave around some people, as a lot of the race path is very narrow and it’s hard to get around someone slower. Mile two starts you on an out-and-back portion where the lane is split between those headed in and those headed back, so sometimes you have to weave into the other lane and dodge those runners to get around people.

Mile 3: 9:12
Knowing I was on the last mile, I started to push it a bit. However, I knew the only incline of the race was right at the end and that I needed to save something for that. A quick glance at my watch when I was about a half mile away from the finish told me I was going to come in really close to 30 minutes. I had been running by feel and not looking at my watch until then. I started to push a little more.

Final 0.1 (0.13 to my Garmin): 1:04 (8:05 pace)
I pushed with absolutely everything that I had to get across that finish line. It was another I-think-I’m-going-to-throw-up finish. (And the closest I’ve come to actually doing so. There was some dry heaving.)

go commando finish line

This is what an 8 minute pace looks like.

Official Time: 30:05

go commando finish

Stop Garmin. Don’t throw up.
Photo: The Leaf Chronicle

So close to sub-30 again! But I’m happy with this time, especially considering my ankle. And you know I ❤ negative splits.

Gillian did fantastic! She ran her very first 5k in 31:19, 11th in her age group! Much better than my first.

Race Review

Go Commando is always a well put-together race. I like that they provide shorts as an option, instead of a shirt, although this year’s shorts are exactly the same as last year’s, except blue instead of black. If I run it again, I might opt for the shirt.

The post-race food is always amazing. This year we had mini muffins, candy bars, pizza, sandwiches, some delicious cake bars with chocolate chips, bananas (of course), Nesquik (Thin Mint flavored!), and coffee.

thin mint nesquik


My only complaint is about the congestion at the beginning. The race is starting to get big (I think they had a record 2000 people this year between all three races), so they might want to think about putting up some pace flags at the start to help people figure out where they need to be. I don’t think it’s big enough to warrant actual corrals with a staggered start, but just some direction would make it better.

Race Analysis

Here you can see my quarter mile splits. Notice the first half mile was much slower than the rest, due to the congestion. After that, I settled into a very consistent pace, until I started to push on the last mile!

go commando pacing

Could I have come in sub-30 again if the beginning of the race had been faster? Maybe. I don’t know. I wasn’t planning on pushing that hard. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance.

Age Group (30-34 F): 8 out of 52
Overall: 120 out of 488

Go Commando for 3.1 or 6.2?

If you recall, last year I ran the Go Commando 5k in my hometown of Clarksville, which was a lot of fun. The 5k course was great. Flat and scenic (from what I could tell in the rain) and completely contained inside Liberty Park. The 5k was the shorter of the two race distances they offered with the half marathon being the other distance.

This year, in addition to the 5k and the half, they are introducing a 10k. While they haven’t revealed the course yet, when I asked on their Facebook page, they said it would start in the park (as all three races do), then continue on an out-and-back along River Road. I checked out the elevation map along River Road, and it looked a little hilly but not too bad. But reading race reports from the half marathoners (who run down that road as well) said it was the hilliest part of a very hilly half, yet also the prettiest. Hmm…

The question is: do I run the 5k or the 10k this year?

5k Pros

  • I know the course, having run it before.
  • I can directly compare my race effort to last year’s, since the course is the same.
  • It’s flat.
  • It’s $10 cheaper.

5k Cons

  • I’m already running (or have run) four 5ks this year. I’m only currently scheduled for one 10k.

10k Pros

  • New courses are fun.
  • It’s the first year for the distance, so I’d get to be a part of the inaugural race.
  • If I have a bad race at the Franklin Classic 10k, I can try to better my time here, since I’ll have an extra month and a half to train.

10k Cons

  • Hills.
  • It starts half an hour earlier than the 5k. (I’m not a morning person.)

The first price increase happens at the end of June, so I have some time to decide (as long as the 5k doesn’t sell out and make my decision for me). I could, theoretically, wait until after the Franklin Classic 10k in September and see how that goes, as the price increase is only $5 and doesn’t go up again until the end of September.

What should I do?

2013 Race Awards!

I decided to separate this out from my 2013 in review post, but I want to talk a little about the races I ran last year before I get too far into this year’s races. I ran in a total of nine events last year, six of which were timed races.

Best Medal

Winner: Go Commando 5k

go commando 5k medal

I loved the Go Commando medal! It is very solid, with a good weight. And, bonus: the middle part spins around and has different things on each side. One side shows the name of the race and location, while the other side shows the year.

Runner-up: Music City Fourth of July 10k

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

This medal has a great design. The only thing I really dislike is that the year of the race isn’t included on it, so I hope they don’t hand out the exact same one this year.

Most Fun

Winner: Rockin’ Marathon Relay

This one was so much fun because you were on a team! So if it wasn’t your turn to run, you got to relax and hang out with friends. Once you were out there, it was all you, but it was only 1.9 miles at a time and then you were back to relaxing and hanging out. And crossing the finish line with your entire team was a blast! Plus you can say that you’ve done a marathon (relay).

Runner-up: Go Commando 5k

While just a pretty standard 5k, I had fun because I got to run with friends! (Are you noticing a trend here?) Even if I just ran the first half mile or so with them, I loved seeing them on the out-and-backs and waiting at the finish line to cheer them on.

Best Course

Winner: Music City Fourth of July 10k

A lot of Nashville races are held downtown and this one was no exception. However, just before the race, the new convention center opened up, which meant we got to run on the road that goes through it, which was pretty cool, and gives this race the Best Course award, despite all the hills.

Runner-up: Fremont Oktoberfest 5k

While the course wasn’t really an awesome thing of beauty, I’ll give the runner-up spot to the Fremont Oktoberfest 5k, just because it was in Seattle!

Best Shirt

Winner: Go Commando 5k

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

When you signed up for Go Commando, you got a choice: did you want shorts or the t-shirt? I figured I had plenty of race t-shirts that I never wore, but I might get some use out of the shorts, so I opted for those. And I do love the shorts. But when I saw the shirt design at the race expo, I shelled out another $12 for it. That’s right. I actually paid extra money for this race shirt. That’s how much I like it. And it does have the distinction of being the only race shirt I really wear around.

Best All-Around

Winner: Go Commando 5k

The Go Commando race was a great event! It was the only race I ran that had a real expo, which was pretty cool. (And, YAY, for free Stick massages after the run!) The food spread at the end was awesome and extensive. They had real race photographers out on the course (the only one I ran last year that did). I am planning on doing it again this year, although now they’ve added a 10k so I don’t know which to run!

Runner-up: Music City Fourth of July 10k

While it rained the whole race, which made me high-tail it out of there after it was over instead of sticking around for the post-race festivities, I did have a lot of fun at this one. The course was great, although I would like it if they had a different course for the 10k, so you weren’t just doing two laps of the 5k course. But I liked it enough to sign up for the 5k this year!

Race Report: Go Commando Clarksville 5k – October 19, 2013

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!

olive garden chicken parmesan

Carb time!

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.

go commando 5k start

And we’re off! Can you spot me?
Source: ClarksvilleNow.com

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!

go commando 5k finish line

Crossing the finish line!

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!

clarksville chiropractic

Amanda getting worked over by the chiropractor.

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!

Go Commando 5k quarter mile splits

And the medals (yep, a medal for a 5k…I could get used to this) were pretty awesome. My favorite medal of the year!

go commando 5k medal

Maybe I’ll go for the half next year…

Shoes: Skechers GoRun 2

It’s finally fall!

I have been monitoring the weather for tomorrow’s 5k all week long. Now, with less than 24 hours to go, here is what it is looking like:

fall weather

I really have no idea how to dress for this race, and I’ve got a few outfits packed in my bag. Runner’s World’s What to Wear guide suggests a short sleeve tech t-shirt and shorts. My constantly cold body says, “Brr!”

On my run yesterday evening, it was about 64. I wore a tank and skirt, which felt cold heading out and felt okay while running. I definitely think that I’d be too cold wearing that with a ten degree drop.

I’ve packed a long-sleeve top and a short-sleeve top with shorts. (I know! I just had the urge to wear shorts, which I will probably regret.) They have a bag check next to the start, so my plan is to wear one, bring the other, and switch out if I think I need to before the start of the race. I’m leaning towards the long-sleeve, though that might have something to do with the fact that it’s cuter. Although I’ve never run in it before (since it’s been 80-90 for the past month), so I’m therefore breaking cardinal rule number one of racing: never wear anything new. I did wear it to a concert, though, so maybe that counts?