This morning was one screwed up pre race. I woke up at 6:00 hoped in the shower and we were off by 6:30. The plan was to stop at Panera Bread for for some coffee and a pastry but they weren’t open yet. So we stopped at 7-11 and just got coffee. As we got closer to the race, the road traffic increased and we ended up sitting in line trying to park for a while. We got to the site and since I registered later, I had to pick up my bib. Jen had registered a long time ago and hers was mailed. Jen and Connor waited at one location while I went to grab my bib and shirt. That was a nightmare. I was standing in line to pick up my bib (line for A,B,C last names) and waited for over 30 minutes. Once I got up there, I was told my bib was in the line for timed racers and was directed towards another line that would have been 30 minutes or more. At this point it was already race time and thankfully I found a lady that went and grabbed mine from that line. Of course by this time, the gun has already gone off, Jen and Connor were no where to be found, and I wasn’t exactly sure where the starting line was (very poor organization and signage). I saw some other people running towards the start so I followed them and got up to the start.
When I crossed the starting line, the race had already been under way over 4 minutes. Not too big of a deal because this race was PACKED! I’ll have to look up the number later. Anyway, I took off, already winded from sprinting to the starting line, and having to pee. Not the best way to start a race. Settling in to the first mile I ran continuously. Dodging walkers all over the place. Having decided last night that I was planning to run the first mile before walking, I was feeling good about the race so far. The pack was horribly crowded and I kept getting cut off or having to slow down because the entire road was taken up by a group of walkers. Come on people! Just because you want to do it as a group doesn’t mean you have to be side by side! I came up to the first mile with a pretty good time (9:54). A bit faster than I was planning but overall feeling good.
I ran another couple of minutes then decided to take a walk/drink break. Having packed my fuel belt with a Nuun, I enjoyed some berry goodness, put the bottle back onto my makeshift belt (two elastic straps held together with velco, which worked awesomely by the way) and started back to a run. A minute later someone tapped me on the shoulder and said my bottle fell out. The pouch/strap that the bottle itself is in was still there, but the bottle was no where to be seen. I said screw it, not turning back in this crowd and kept going (Jen said she thinks she saw it on the ground, lol).
This area was even more crowded than the beginning because the road narrowed. It became increasingly hard to maneuver between people and I spent most of my time along the sidewalk or grass next to the road. Frustration was setting in but I had some great songs to listen to and kept at it. Hitting mile two at 10:56. Slower than I’d wanted but still under the 11 minute mark.
The next mile was a bit better maneuvering. I kept to the left side and only had a few times where I was stuck, but I also took a couple of walk breaks here. Feeling tired because I haven’t been running continuously in a long time, but otherwise doing well. I came to the three mile point at 10:33. Still doing pretty well considering the crowd.
The last .1 miles was cool. I was exhausted so didn’t have much of a push at the end, but the spectators were awesome and came in strong at a finishing time of 32:26 (watch timed). The shoot was horrible. As soon as I crossed the finish line I came face to face to people going the other way. There was no organization, it just ended and people were standing around in a mindless daze. Most people weren’t being timed, so nobody was taking numbers and nobody directing you where to go. I grabbed some water and waited along the sidelines for Jen.
She came in around 52 minutes on the clock, but she didn’t start at the beginning either. It was a great accomplishment for her (first 5k ever!) and even though she walked the majority of it, she did run some of it. I have a feeling she’ll be running it strong next year.
So…. everything considered, it was a good race, for a good cause. Better organization would be great considering most people that do it never run 5Ks or run at all, it was great. I came away with a better understanding of how huge races go and hopefully can adjust my strategy for the Army 10 miler in 3 weeks.
FYI, I did PR by a whooping 5 seconds!