Ok, so this past weekend was the BIG RACE. It was the first race I put on my calendar this year and since I decided to run one two weeks ago, it’s now officially my 2nd 5K of the year. But it’s been the one I’ve technically been ‘training’ for for the past 9 weeks.
I had to adjust my original training schedule to fit our busy lives, but I feel like I got in enough running to work up to the big race. I did slacked off the last week of training because I went to the Redsox game on Tuesday and had to pack on Thursday. Excuses, excuses. I was still pumped to run!
On Friday, Avery and I trekked up to Vermont for the weekend to run the race with my family. We had checked the weather and knew we were in for a wet one. So when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was no surprise that it was still raining. Irritating, yes, but it wasn’t going to stop us! We geared up early and drove to the town school where we met up with my Aunt and we all took a bus to the course start. It was Avery’s first bus ride and he was shy….
…as he usually is around new people (a full bus of runners) but he had an even more skeptical look on his face when the bus started moving – like, hey people, why am I not strapped into that horrendous car seat? He quickly realized it was a good thing and had a blast on the bus ride.
When we arrived, there was a fair share of people gathered, and man did they do it up good… a tent with a band playing, a post race tent with drinks, food, and massages! The rain had stopped, and even the port-o-poties weren’t gross. The start line was outside the JMMY Center - A youth center all the race proceeds go to. My sister, Mom, and I signed up to run the 5K (There was also a 10K and half marathon) while my Dad, Avery, and Aunt were signed up as walkers.
As with all small towns, we ran into a bunch of people we knew. My Dad’s boss was running the 10K, his wife was running the 5K, a few others we knew were walking it, and a guy from my high school class, Joey, was trying to PR for the 5K. It was a much more exciting and fun atmosphere compared to my first 5k, where we didn’t know anyone else racing (although I found out later someone I did know ran it).
All pumped up, we headed to the start line. There must have been 200-300 runners & walkers – I couldn’t even see Dad behind us with the stroller. So exciting! And before we knew it, we were off! The first 1/2 mile was on pavement and a slight downhill. Mom, Sarah, and I started off together but I knew Sarah was itching to pull away so I gave her the nod and she powered off – so jealous of those long legs! Mom and I stuck together. Oh and did I mention, it started raining. Ugh. Had to wipe my eyes of a bit, and luckily it let up almost as fast as it came on. I could hear a group behind my say their pace was a 9:21, so I kept it steady, but didn’t go crazy fast, knowing there were probably hills up ahead.
And man were there hills… the first one wasn’t too bad, but the second huge one, oh my. My mom was up ahead and had stopped to walk. I caught up with her and walked, chatted a bit about how much we LOVE hills (not) and we picked it back up again. But what goes up, must come down, and on the downhill, we could see the turn around point – which I think is weird because I’d rather run a loop. Anyways, we could see it and almost at the bottom of the hill, the lead runner passed us going the other direction – and it was Joey. Yay! But there was a girl right behind him, so we cheered him on and high five’d the people passing us that we knew.
At the turn around point, there was a water station and I apparently missed the BIG SIGN that said 5K runners turn around here – hey, it was confusing cuz the 10k and marathon runners were going past it. After a few people yelled at me, I got the hint and turned around… to go back UP the darn hill. Close to the top, we walked again for a few seconds and then picked it back up when we saw Dad, Aunt Denise and Avery at the top coming our way. Avery was passed out, big surprise.
We pushed along for the next mile, up and down those annoying hills on dirt! Oh how I wish it had been pavement… with the rain and dirt, I felt like I had zero traction! But the last 1/2 mile or more was on pavement, and a very slight uphill. We chugged along. I tried getting Mom to pick up the pace, “you see that truck parked up there? when we get to it, we’ll pick up the pace.” but Mom wasn’t buying it, so I tried again… ”you see that truck up there? we’re going to pass it!” I could hear the band playing and felt the energy surge… although we were exhausted, we rounded the corner before the last stretch and ran faster. I challenged Mom to beat her and we sprinted to the end-finishing at the same time. They grabbed our bib numbers and the first ones to greet us were boy scouts handing us our medals. Medals?! I get a medal?! How cool is that?!
We walked around to cool off and quickly found Sarah. Then we made our way over to the finish line to cheer on the runners coming in. We didn’t know any of them, but it was fun being their motivation to pick up the pace before finishing. We kept our eyes out for my Dad’s boss, doing the 10K and when he came down the last stretch, Sarah and I ran on either side of him to finish the race. Dad, Aunt Denise, and a sleeping Avery strolled in and just like last race, Avery woke up just as they finished.
We stuck around for waters and fruit – Avery especially enjoyed the oranges, awaiting the race results. They posted a board with our bib numbers and times. Joey had come in 2nd (he said that girl passed him on the last stretch that he had to stop and walk a bit) with like 23 minutes or something, crazy! Sarah had come in under 30 minutes and 3rd in her age group! Mom and I had a time of 32:09, yay! That’s like 10:30 miles, eek! I could have swore it was going to be a slow time because of the hills, but I guess you have to factor in how fast you go down those same hills. Either way, it was better than my first 5K by 2+ minutes, yay! So excited and proud of myself (and everyone else that ran!)
What we didn’t know until later that night, thanks to a phone call from Dad’s boss’s wife… apparently Dad had got 3rd in his age group too! And he walked! Such a fun race. We have to find another one to do together… preferably a flatter course!
And more later this week about the rest of our weekend in VT… which includes Avery petting a bird, playing in a wood pile, and taking the dogs for a walk….
Do you prefer to run on pavement or dirt?