This race was a great one. Not only did I PR (first 5k so far), but my daughter also ran her first road race ever (she PR'd as well :-)! She did great for her first race finishing in 47:31. I am very proud of her. She hasn't trained at all so her goal was to finish and enjoy doing it. She did both! Pre-race photo:
We hadn't pre-registered, so we got there plenty early. Since Annalee hadn't trained for it, I told her she had to pay 1/2 the fee as her punishment. It was a pretty cheap race, so she was happy to pony it up, especially when she saw the very cool shirts they were giving out. :-) She has 3 race shirts now (one she volunteered at, one she got because they had extras and she had come to that 10k with me, and this one she earned). She wanted to have 4 race shirts to take to EFY in July, but I don't think there's another 5 or 10k in the next couple weeks near us.
We talked about our strategy before we began the race and I decided to run with her until about the .5mi mark when I would then start cruising. Once I finished, I'd jog back to find her and would help bring her in. We talked about the course and how the strategy would be to take the first mile easy, then stay in control on the down hill and not try and go too fast, then tackle the hill the best we could. I thought it would be cool to get a picture of her at the finish line, so I agreed to carry her cell phone on the condition that it was on complete silence so I didn't get distracted by the buzzing or sound from texts from one of her friends every 3 mins during the run. haha
We started about 3/4 of the way back. There were 350 runners this year (their 15th year) so it's a pretty small race, but it's nice and well organized. Weather was great and it's through a park setting so it's beautiful as well. The race started and it took us a little while to get to the starting line and down the one side of the street since it's quite narrow. The groups of runners in front of us were slow and there was really no way around them without being rude. Once we hit the .4mi we began up the first hill to the observatory. Annalee slowed down to a walk so we bumped fists and I told her I'd see her at the end. At this point, I had lost some fairly significant time, but knowing that I'd PR no matter what, I really didn't care. I passed her on my way back down from the observatory and she looked like she was doing OK.
I had questioned the length of the course since when I had run the course a month ago as a test, it measured a little over 3.2 mi. They had two water stations - one at 1mi and another at 2mi that gave out splits. My Garmin had registered 1.1 mi at the first water stop, so I kinda figured my assumption was right. At the 2.0 mi mark, it was right on. Weird! It was about 3.15 mi at the finish, so who knows. After the first mile, the course is completely tree lined with heavy coverage - especially the last mile, so my Garmin would show some erratic paces and that could account for the distance discrepancy as well, I suppose.
Garmin Splits: 9:44, 7:44, 8:43, 0:46 (0.1mi)
After leaving Annalee, the hill up to the Observatory was narrow and they had cones down the middle to allow for 2-way traffic. Not until I got up and down from there did it open up to where I wasn't having to weave in and out, etc. This was about the 0.9 mile point. I bypassed the water stations since I wasn't going to waste time on a short run like that. Once I got past the first mile, it's downhill for the next mile. I tried to hold back some and just kinda cruised down. Everyone knew what was coming the last 1.1 miles, so I think everyone was kind of holding back. I had maybe a handful of people pass me after that first mile, but I caught every one of them in the first half of the final climb. The last 1.1 miles is just a long hill. Not particularly steep, just a long incline.
The hill is where people started to drop off. I started far enough back that I knew I'd be passing more than being passed, but I also knew that the hill would slow a lot of runners down. It slowed me too, but I was quite happy with my ability to keep pushing and keeping a good steady pace all the way up. The 8:14 pace is quite good for me on a hill like that. I actually thought I was more around the 9:00 pace and the Garmin wasn't much help at this point pace wise. I encouraged a lot of runners as I passed them on the way up and I think they appreciated of that.
I thought I had another corner, but then I saw the parking area and was surprised to be so close! Crap! I kicked it to the finish and wished I had pushed a little harder on the hill to get closer to 27:00, but I finished strong and that was important to me. After finishing and as I was walking down to meet Annalee, I had someone tell me how I kicked butt on the hill. She had tried to hang on to me from the bottom, I guess, but after 0.5mi she said she had to slow down. She was impressed I could keep a steady pace all the way up. That felt good to hear that. :-)
I finished (actually 27.29 but the timer dude marked me as 27:31) and then started walking back to find Annalee. I kept telling everyone how much further they had to go since I had my Garmin running. They seemed to appreciate that since after the 2mi aid station, there weren't any more markers. I found Annalee with about .5mi left. We walked and talked as we finished the hill together. I told her I wanted to take her picture as she crossed the finish line with the timer in the background. I had planned to cruise back up at about the 2.9mi point so I had time to get in position. Again, I was shocked that there wasn't another curve. Deja vu! So I took off running and she had planned to sprint the last .1 mi so just as I got to the finish line and turned around, she crossed the line! Dang! After they took her strip off her numbers, I had her rush over to the timer and I snapped a couple of pictures. Bummer, but I got her at 47:59, so that was pretty good.
Annalee was suffering (not in silence) after the race and so we hung out on the lawn, ate oranges & chips and drank water & Gatorade. We hung around for the awards ceremony. I got beat by the winners of both the girls and boys Under 10 groups. That was humbling and Annalee made sure I heard their times. Those were speedy little buggers! There were 8 in Annalee's AG and she came in 8th. I came in 12th, but I don't know how many were in mine. I would have had to run a sub-22:00 to have even placed in the top 5 for my AG! (They gave out awards for the top 5 in each AG) Maybe next year...
Overall, it was a great race. I had almost skipped it and if Annalee wasn't planning to run it, I might have. I was tired and had worked long hours this whole week. I'm glad Annalee got me out and that we had a great time! Such a fun adventure with my daughter! We'll definitely have to do that again!
Here's the elevation map from throwing the route into the Route tool: