I woke up Saturday morning hearing the pitter-patter of rain on the skylights in our bedroom. I got dressed, drank plenty of water, ate a banana with some peanut butter on it, and packed my car with my racing essentials. My friend Erin met me at our house and we took off in the rain to run The Fit Foodie 5K.
I had picked up our race numbers and shirts the night before at packet pickup, so we didn’t have to worry about standing in the long line in the rain on race morning.
Parking was a breeze since there was plenty of room in the parking garage, and as soon as we walked the short distance to Strawberry Park, we set out to find the porta potties. Shockingly, there were no lines! The difference between porta potty lines at 5K’s and longer races still blows my mind.
Erin and I headed back to Strawberry Park and found shelter under the overhang of the Matchbox restaurant where we were having an MRTT multi-chapter meet-up before the race. Sue is a fellow MRTT sister, but runs with a different chapter. Our meet-up location put us in the perfect spot for the 8:30 group stretch.
Yoga warm-ups started with Kristin McGee in the rain at 8:30. We were standing behind her “on the stage” so I’m sure everyone got a good laugh out of my yoga form!
Kristin’s yoga stretch was followed by a cardio warm-up which took place when I usually like to go out and do a one mile easy run for my warm-up. I bounced around a little bit and called it a warm-up!
Before heading over to the start of the race, we decided to take a quick #tweetyourfeet picture. While taking the picture, Sue’s head suddenly popped onto the screen as she photobombed the picture. Apparently, she’s well known for this particular stunt!
We asked Erin to take a group picture before we headed over to the start of the race. During the course of the day, I promoted Erin from friend to media director of Deb Runs! I think she did a very good job of keeping me focused and making sure I got all of the necessary pictures; and taking pictures when needed!
It stopped raining just before we left our little protective overhang and the rain continued to stay away throughout the race. While we were walking to the starting line, Amy caught up with us, so we had Erin take another pre-race ambassador picture, minus Lauren who was out warming up.
The ambassadors were asked to meet next to the race announcer ten minutes before the start of the race so we could be introduced, but that didn’t really happen. He thanked the ambassadors and went on with his announcements. We quickly jumped into the sea of runners ready to start the race. Since there were no pace signs we made a random guess as to where we should be… big mistake. We should have seeded ourselves closer to the front.
Due to the large number of runners (over 1,100) the race organizers decided to start the race in waves which was a very good idea, but there were no signs for the start of each wave. The first wave took off and we moved closer to the starting line. We were in the second wave and we started about a minute and a half later.
The second our wave started, we were jockeying for a spot to run as the street narrowed down past the tents set up for the post-race Love DC Chefs Experience. At points we were running so slowly that it reminded me of the start of a marathon with 25,000 runners.
I immediately decided that I wouldn’t be racing this 5K, so I relaxed and decided to make the best of it. But then a few hundred yards down the course, the street widened and we were able to pick up our pace.
Many 5K’s have inexperienced runners who don’t realize that if they plan to walk they shouldn’t be at the very front near the starting line. It’s not their fault really, it’s just a lack of experience; and I passed many walkers from the previous wave during my first mile.
About 3/4 miles into the race we ran through the parking garage and everyone’s Garmins and RunKeeper apps lost satellite… Since I was still convinced that I wasn’t racing, I did a few sprint photo fartleks and turned around to take pictures of the other runners. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about conserving my energy. This was just going to be a fun run!
As you can see from the course map at the top of the page, we had a few out-and-backs which made it fun to see my friends along the course. At around the one mile mark, the guy in the blue shirt (right side of photo) said I looked fast and asked me at what pace I usually raced. I told him I was hoping for an 8:00 minute/mile pace, and somehow saying that out loud motivated me to push it. I grabbed a water and then kicked it into high gear!
Shortly after the water stop I saw Erin and stopped long enough to take her picture. There were no photographers along the course and I knew she would love to have a picture.
There were police officers on the course, but I didn’t notice any sentries (I could have missed them). At one of the turnarounds it would have been helpful if we had been told to stay to the left while meeting runners coming our way because when we went straight a little while later as runners coming toward us made a left turn, we ran into each other.
Another time, just before I took this picture, I almost ran straight instead of making a left turn to head home. There was a policeman there and I think he might have been blocking the arrow pointing left. Runners way behind me in a much later wave were coming down the hill and turning left and as I came in the opposite direction, I almost followed them. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed people running up the hill, so I asked the office which way to go. Missing that turn would have been disastrous to my overall time!
I continued to push myself pretty hard, but could never catch the guy in the blue shirt. He got a little ahead of me when I stopped for water and then again to take Erin’s picture, but I kept him in my sights and used him to push me the rest of the race. I tried to find him after we finished to thank him, but I couldn’t.
Immediately after crossing the finish line I found Lauren who had totally kicked butt and won her age group. She’s been running less than a year, and I’m so impressed with how crazy fast she is!
I looked for water, but couldn’t find any so I went back to the finish line to take pictures of my friends as they finished. First across the line was Erin. Keep in mind as you look at the clock on the left that none of us started in the first wave, and most of my friends were in the third wave or later so it was very hard to keep track of our times until we checked the official results.
Next I saw Cynthia heading toward us…
And then Courtney setting a PR!
Followed by Amy!
Soon after we finished we bumped into Kim, another ambassador whom we hadn’t seen yet during the weekend…
At some point I went over to the results tent and looked up my time. WHAT??? I finished in 23:49 (7:40 pace) and won my age group! The combination of the wave start and losing satellite in the garage totally threw me off so I had no idea what my official time was. If you remember one of my 2014 running goals was to run a sub 24:00 5K this year, so now I can cross that off my list.
If you live in Austin, TX (September 12-14) or San Diego, CA (November 14-16), I highly recommend you run this fun race! If you do, let me know what you think!
- Do many of the 5K races you run have water stops? ~ For me it’s always a pleasant surprise to see one!
- Did any of my local readers run in this race?
- What are your vacation plans for this summer?