My 2nd 5K (but the first one that I felt like running!) was called The Hair of the Dog 5K and began and ended at the Silver Decoy Winery in Robbinsville, NJ. It benefited various dog rescue organizations. Bestie and I made shirts for this one too:
Dear spare tire: please go away!
I think May 20th will probably go down as one of the most beautiful spring days in history. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, there was a lovely breeze, and the temp was hovering somewhere around 70F. The event was huge compared to my first 5K, there was about 900 people participating in the race. Some were walking, some were running, some were walking or running with their dogs. The backdrop was simply lovely:
The race was due to start at 10am on Sunday. Saturday we had driven there to make sure of where it was (about an hour away) and to pick up our race packets, but we still got there at 8:40am on Sunday, just to make sure. This was my first race using a chip timer (the angle of this shot makes my ankle look huge!):
And we just wanted to make sure we had done everything right. We also wanted to make sure that we were there for the community warm-up they had on the schedule. That was really great. The leader wore a mic and took us through some simple stretches and knee lifts and the like. The only part I didn’t participate in were the jumping jacks. I was afraid if I did those, I’d be too tired for the race, for pete’s sake!
The start line was crazy. We went to what we thought was the back and looked behind us after a few minutes and realized it had become the middle. I was nervous about running with so many other people, but honestly my main thought was “surely with all these people I won’t come in last this time!” The gun went off and people started crossing the start line. Bestie jogged to it, but I figured I’d save my energy and walk until we hit the start. The feeling of excitement was pretty palpable, I had some adrenaline going as we got started, navigating around the people with dogs (and this one small boy who kept crossing directly in front of me–where were his people, anyway??). After I had found my stride and a spot on the road and settled in for a bit, I pushed the button on my iPod Nano (it has Nike+) and it told me I was running at a 10 minute mile pace! What? I decided to slow down and let bestie go ahead if she wanted to, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up and I didn’t want to run out of gas early on. I’m still only running about a 13 minute mile normally.
This time, though, bestie stayed pretty much in my sights. The beginning of the course was on a regular (blocked off) two lane road through rural homes. It was pretty flat with some sneaky grades. The first water station was just a ways after the turn around cone. It was crowded (Bestie said she didn’t stop because it was so crowded, but ended up wishing she had.), but I squeezed in and grabbed a cup off the table and had a sip. Back down that part of that same stretch of road I went. This was not nearly as demoralizing as my first 5K because although people had gotten to the turn around before me and passed me on their way back, there were plenty of people that I passed in the opposite direction after I had made the turn around. Also, it wasn’t a true out and back because we took a side road through a swanky housing development. At this point I was starting to feel like I really needed some water. I hadn’t drank the whole cup just took a few sips at the water station. My mouth was so dry my tongue was sticking to the roof my my mouth. But I tried to focus on my pace and my breathing. I walked off and on here, but I tried to keep my walks really short. There were people from the houses out on their font lawns with their kids cheering us on, that was really nice to see!
As we came off the side road I could tell we were back on the road that the winery was on. I was feeling kind of low just then. I really think it was just not having water. They truly could have used one more water station than they had. But I knew we were almost there. I couldn’t see bestie anymore, but I didn’t think she was too far ahead of me. There was a girl nearby who seemed to be at about my level so I focused on keeping up with her. The last .1 mile was on the grass straight through the grape vines. I’d never run on grass before and I thought I would be worried about ruts and holes, but as soon as I saw the finish clock in the distance, I gunned it! Whatever I had left took me to the finish line. I finished with my best time ever 41:30.21. And that’s counting all the training runs. I do know that this is a very slow time, but I can improve on that, I’m just horribly excited that my race time exceeded even my training. Oh, and I wasn’t last! I wasn’t even close to last. Bestie came in about 2 minutes ahead of me.
And now I get to look ahead and set new goals. I’m done racing until after the summer heat. I don’t do well in the heat at all. And if I got dehydrated at 73F or so…
All in all, this was a lovely day! We spent a couple of hours at the festival afterward, had some wine, had some beer, laid around on the grass being proud of ourselves and already planning our next adventure.: