Saturday, September 10, 2011

Race Report: Operation Soldier Support 5K

I have to give you a bit of background on why we decided to run a 5K in the middle of our 16 mile training run. My BFF and I have run at this park ever since we started running "longer" runs. It's a wonderful paved trail and the hills aren't too bad. It's longer than most of the trails in the area and it's usually quite busy so I don't have to be worried if I have to run alone. Well, every now and then, we would be doing our regular run and suddenly we'd start to see people running towards us wearing race numbers! It was just so funny to find a race happening in the middle of our regular run. We decided that one day we would have to find one to participate in. Well, that day came today! My BFF found a 5K run that benefits Operation Soldier Support - a ministry of the church across the street from the park that serves deployed soldiers and their families.

We arrived at the park at 6:30, ready to get in a few miles before the race started at 8 AM. The sun is coming up later now, so we didn't get on the trail until 6:45, but we got 2 laps in (about 4.5 miles). We ran across the street to the church, picked up our race bibs and goody bags, ran them back to our cars at the park, and ran back to the church. Then we ran around the church parking lot until time to start.

The race was very, very small - maybe 100 people? I had just told my BFF that morning that we were going to focus on running OUR pace in a race setting where others might be going much faster. It would b good practice for the MCM. Well, that totally did NOT work. We just joined in with the other speedy folks who were out for nice, short 5K, and went out way too fast. By the time I realized what happened, the damage was done. We settled down our pace and took our walk breaks - but still I nearly ended up with a 5K PR. @@

After we finished our race we wanted to keep walking while we waited for the raffles, so we went back to find our friend who was running her 2nd ever 5K. We found her and ran her in - she took 6 minutes off her previous 5K time!! We continued to walk in the parking lot, adding on to our required mileage for the day. We knew it would make our overall pace slower but the time is not the important thing. We did stop walking long enough for the raffles, which we didn't win, but our friend did. Then it was back over to the park to finish up - we had about 5.5 miles left to complete 16.

The starting and stopping 3 times was NOT easy on the legs. And the fast beginning to the 5K was a BAD BAD thing for my legs. My calves were burning. :( And it was dramatically warmer at 9:30 than it had been at 6:45. But we muddled through, keeping a much better pace (not that we had much of a choice! LOL), and finally we MADE IT!! 16 miles - 16.15 on MY Garmin (we use my Garmin for intervals and BFF's for distance) - and it is DONE! Felt awesome, or as awesome as it could be considering that we had to stand around and do a lot of waiting for the race, and the fact that I have had a cold since Wednesday.

The only disappointment was when I got home and realized that my race shirt was way too big. I had asked for an XS but the bag had my name on it and "No XS" written next to it. I guess they ran out of XS or didn't get any to begin with - so they gave me a Medium. That's WAY too big, so I was really bummed. But I gave the shirt to my hubby! He suggested we go out and do the traditional race shirt picture - and he immediately struck MY pose! LOL
Then he needed to redeem himself so he did a "manly pose"! See? There really is never a dull moment around my home! LOL
Overall this race was very nice and I'm glad I ran it. The proceeds go to a great cause and we're nearly always at this park on Saturday mornings anyway! I will definitely run it again next year if I'm able! :) And hopefully the next time I will be able to wear the shirt!

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