The best part about this race was that it was only 1/2 hour away from my house, and the race did not start until 9:30am. So I did not have to wake up in the wee hours of the dark morning in order to get ready and then drive. I got up at 6:45am and didn't leave the house until 8am. I arrived at the parking area and then hopped on a school bus that ferried us to the start for the 5K. Made my pitstop at the porta-potty and then took a walk around the gathering area. Not much to see, really. Maybe three vendor tents and that's all.
I saw a lot of people wearing their Hot Chocolate race jackets, which was cool because I was wearing mine too! It was a very overcast, windy day (again), and the HC jacket is a great windbreaker and keeps you pretty comfy (and if it rains, which was expected, it will offer protection from that as well). So I spoke to several people before the race, using the HC race as my convo starter. It was a fun way to meet people since I had no buddies running with me.
The race was both a 5K and a Half Marathon, with the 5K starting after the Half runners. The race was being held in a large park area, with the start of the race on the grass. I hate to say it but this race was just not all that memorable. It started on time and I started at a 9:45 pace and pretty much kept that pace for the whole race. It started raining right before Mile 2, which wasn't too bad. But I was glad it started with only a mile to go.
What I didn't like about the race was that it was on a bike path that was very narrow. The 5K runners had to stay to the left of the path because the Half Marathoners were running on the right. That meant we were running on a 3-person wide path! It was not optimal, and it made it hard to pass people -- you had to run in the grass to the left of the path to pass, or, push through people who were running alongside one another. Very annoying!
I finished the 5K race with an official time of 30:02. Not as fast as my Thursday time, but I still felt good about the run overall. I was 181st out of 550 runners, and the finish time was my second fastest to-date (my fastest was two days earlier). After the race, I was pretty much ready to leave but the buses were all for Half runners for some reason. So I decided to run to where my car was parked -- probably a 1/2 mile away.
Well, this was my last race for 2011. Since April, I have run a total of 13 races for the year. It is still hard for me to believe that I am actually running between 10-20 miles a week. Even as recent as this February, I would have never given running a second thought. But look at where I am now. Another example of how God works in our lives, making the impossible a reality.
This will be another high mileage/activity week for me. I plan to run 18+ miles this week and put in 3 hours of Cross Training (strength training and swimming). I have two more Long Runs scheduled for December before I start tapering down in preparation for the Disney Marathon weekend. Let's do this!