Last week's race was quite large to say the least - about 16,000 finishers between the 15K and 5K. I decided that this week would be a good week to do a smaller race. I have ran races put on by FiveStar NTP previously and I knew how smoothly they run. Through Five Star I found out about Bring on the Snow 5K in Cumming.
After running the Hot Chocolate 5K last weekend, I have developed pain in my right shin. At first I thought it was just a "runner's ache", but after a few days of it hurting I came to accept I probably got hit with a case of shin splints again...great! I took it easy most of the week and laid off the miles to let things calm down. As the week went on, I was questioning whether or not I was going to do the race Saturday morning - I have way too many bigger races that I cannot afford to have injury for. Then, I remembered my good friend from the past - kinesiology tape. I went to Big Peach Running on Thursday to get a fresh roll then watched the tutorial video online about how to tape for shin splint relief. Thank goodness for my kinesiology tape or I probably would not have been good to go.
I thought the race started at 8:00 so I left early enough to get to the race around 7:00 to get through all my pre-race activities (check-in, port-a-potty trip, stretch, etc). Well, I quickly found out that the race had a 8:30 start! Note to self: double check your start time before setting your alarm the night before a race. Since I had extra time to kill and it was 28 outside, I decided to hang out in my car for a while.
As I sat in my car and watched other participants arrive, I quickly felt OLD! About 1/3 of the 300 participants were under the age of 21! Most of them were high schoolers with their soccer, cross country, and track sweatshirts on. I knew then this would be a pretty competitive race. I couldn't let that get the best of me. I kept reminding myself that my #1 competitor is myself and to just run my best and if I have to slow up with my leg, it is ok.
While waiting for the race to start, I met a woman that was doing her first 5K. She told me she wasn't sure if she could run the whole time and didn't know if it was ok to walk. I told her it is 100% ok to walk and to just do what she can and the best she can. The night before as she was putting her 6 year old daughter to bed, her daughter told her "mommy, you know you won't win the race right." I reminded her that even if it takes her over an hour to finish, she is still beating everyone on the couch. After talking for a bit, we decided to head to the start and I wished her luck with a few last minute words of encouragement.
The start line was not easily marked and not organized well (people were starting in a very wide line that quickly had to narrow into the road), however it started on time. They advertised the race as a "fairly flat" course, however I would say it was moderately hilly. It was an out an back course with some good down hill sections on the way out, which we would soon be running UP. I hit my half way point in pace to beat my PR by about 30 seconds - WHAT?!?! I was on quite a high at 1.5 miles. Since the back half was a little more challenging, I did not PR. On a happy note, I FINALLY got back to my pre-marathon training time! This is exactly the boost I needed going into my longer runs getting ready for 3 half marathons within 8 weeks.
What about the lady I met at the start? Since it was an out and back, I knew she was just a few minutes behind me. After I finished, I ran back a bit to find her. Around 38:30 she crossed the finish line of her first 5K. Even though I hardly knew her, I was so proud of her! She did a wonderful job and is looking forward to finding more 5Ks to run.
Post race food can be a hit or miss - either you get just a banana and water or you get some amazing food. Since this was a smaller race, I did not expect too much. Well, they had one of my favorite post race indulgences - PIZZA! They knew the way to this runner's heart for sure!
Post race food (yummm, pizza)
On time start
Not an well-marked/organized start
Overall race rating: A-
Question of the Week:
What injuries have you had to overcome in your running/training? How did you overcome it?