Freihofers 5k Race Recap 6/4/16

It’s a 5k — that means the recap ought to be short, right? Wrong! So wrong!

This photo proves why you need a nigh angle to get flattering photos!

So here’s the short story: always a fun race that starts too late on a hot day (usually); plenty of water, thank goodness; and while no PR, it was a PB (personal best) for me, for this race.

Read on if you want all the gory details (glory details?).

Packet Pickup
Packet Pickup is either the Friday before the race or day of. I always go Friday — since I don’t work, that works for me. I went with two friends from my Weight Watchers meeting.

Pickup is easy, except that they don’t give you a bag. I kind of like that, except there used to be an expo with a fair amount of vendors and you picked up your cookies and bread there, so a bag was usually useful; this year they gave you the cookies after you finished.

The expo has gotten smaller and smaller every year and there wasn’t much there.

I really needed new sunglasses so I bought a couple pairs. And some charms from BeeCause. I also bought a Honeystinger salted caramel waffle, since I hadn’t tried that flavor and the race doesn’t start until 9:30 am, so I usually want a snack before the race.

I did want to get stretched out, but there was a line and none of us felt like waiting in it. I’m sure my friends would have been fine with waiting, but I also hadn’t eaten lunch yet and we’d headed down at noon.

Baking in the sun before go-time

My Race Plan
There are about 4000 runners that turn out for this all women’s race, including elite runners because there’s prize money. It’s in downtown Albany and many of the streets are narrow. Many runners are new or casual runners who often have no clue about race etiquette.

It’s not the race to PR at, and I didn’t have any aspirations to do so.

My walk breaks did not come at scenic moments — there are some!

What I did want to do was just come in under 39 minutes — yes, that’s a slow 5k even for me, but this was my first 5k way back in 2010 and the second time I did it in 2013 it was even hotter than usual — and both times my finish time was about 39 minutes.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 11:31. A good start. The congested start probably made it easier not to go out too fast. The race starts on a small uphill, but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. They changed the course a couple of years ago, and I guess a lot of people don’t like the new course, but this was the first time I’ve run the new course. One of my Weight Watchers friends caught up to me here and we ran together for a few minutes; then she took off.
  2. Mile 2: 11:30. Mile 2 starts with a nice downhill, and then there are basically rolling hills. It also turns into Washington Park (designed by the same person who designed Central Park), where there was a lot of shade. There’s a water stop at approximately 1.5 miles and a band or two.
  3. Mile 3: 10:53. Another water stop approximately mile 2.5. It’s also downhill to the finish, which is always great. A lot of runners just throw their cups on the path (boo!), and some lovely ladies were throwing it over their heads — but not dumping it over their heads, in a way that meant I got splashed with water too (bad thoughts ensued).
  4. Last .15: 8:11. How I wish this was my pace always! I can do it in a short burst, knowing that finish line is in sight.

35:03 –Official Time
11:17 Average Pace

2010: 39:19 (first 5k!)
2013: 39:02
(hot day, at least it was faster than the first!)

Firetrucks spraying us with water after the finish — thank God!

I’m very pleased with this race. Given the right circumstances could I run it faster? Sure! But I was really pleased with my negative splits and sprinting to the finish and meeting my goal — actually, surpassing that goal.

The weather & dressing
This time I knew exactly what the weather would be and yeah, dressing properly for it makes a huge difference! It was a warm one — thankfully not too humid, but low to mid 70s with very little cloud cover.

I wore the Skirtsports Eclipse Tank (in Razz) and Gym Girl Ultra Skirt (in Psyched). And the Kelly B-DD Bra, which I adjusted to racerback for the first time. You know how you’re not supposed to run in new stuff, well, I was a bit concerned about the bra and my new sunglasses, but all was good.

And a Skirtsports visor! Don’t forget code CRJ20 for 20% off any regularly priced item.

I swear the more I wear Skirtsports, the more I fall in love with their clothing. And I love that they go way beyond just cute athletic/running clothes — they really empower women, too!

I can’t leave without a word about the Gym Girl Ultra Skirts. The shortie material is a bit thinner than the Happy Girl Skirts. Twice I’ve had bad chafing from the pockets (including this past Thursday), and I think I’ve figured it out (there was no chafing at all in the race).

If you put anything sharp in the pockets, and I do mean anything sharp, the material is thin enough for it to cut/rub through. In my case that means a gogosqueeze packet — I think gels could be problematic too, and this last time was a Mama chia pouch (which I didn’t like, sadly).

It might not be a problem for you, but it has been for me.

I also applied a lot of anti chafing cream. Before I left, again when I got there . . . there’s not such thing as too much anti chafing cream!

Was the race well run?
Sad to say, for the first time, it was a mixed bag — but still, not as well organized as it’s been in years past. The expo was tiny and disappointing. We talked to one vendor who’d been told the expo would be open on Thursday; it wasn’t (it has been in the past). Apparently the same confusion for some of the volunteers.

Darlene and the friend I drove in with are both part of the Challenge Training teams (I am not; I never train specifically for this race — I’m either just coming off a half, gearing up for one, or I miss it because I’m running a half). They have a VIP tent with refreshments and seats.

We actually just “ran” into each other

I couldn’t find the location where my own running group was meeting up, so sadly I didn’t see those friends, but I did find the VIP tents. So I hung out with Darlene before the race. I’m pretty sure I could have walked right into the tent, too; no one seemed to be checking.

We were told there would be water at the start, but not told that the large signs for “water” in the corrals was where it was. Yeah, that should have been really obvious, but it just wasn’t (and it wasn’t really all that easy to get to, either).It would be nice if they had water for the runners somewhere outside of the starting chute before the race.

Damage was done with those cookies

Your entry fee allows you one box of Freihofers chocolate chip cookies and one loaf of bread. No one got any bread, not even Darlene who’s speedy. They were also supposed to have apples and bananas afterwards. There were some apples (but not many) but no bananas in sight. There were granola bars and gogurt, but I didn’t particularly want that.

I had a Healthy Warrior Chia bar with me — and I like them — but those cookies called my name and I succumbed. Way too much. They became lunch.

And then there are the results on the official Website. I have no idea what went on with them, but while my bib number is listed, it’s not me and it’s not my time, either (and yes, my bib had the correct information on it).

Luckily there’s a link to a site with more detailed results, and that site is correct. Did they not update the list on the race Website from last year? It’s got the right date — no idea what went on with that.

What I learned
Hydration really makes a huge difference in a hot race. Well, I learned that one at ZOOMA Annapolis last year (they ran out of cups at one aid station, water at another) and, of course, in my last half too.

I made sure to hydrate really well Friday, and Saturday morning, as well. I drank more than I normally would on race morning:

  • 2 glasses of water
  • 3 glasses of green tea

All before I left the house a bit before 8 am!

Did I get tired and thirsty and hot? Yes! You can see in that photo of me near the firetruck that my face almost matches my shirt. But I didn’t feel like I hit the wall, as I have in some other hot races, and the fact that I was able to sprint to the finish (although of course it was downhill) says a lot. I do think hydrating more than normal helped.

This next part is for the locals. I had always assumed that parking in the Visitor Lot, which is underground and costs $5, would be a hassle or be too full, but my friend did it last year so we did it again this year. Much better than parking in the East Lot (I think it once took us an hour to get out of there!).

Heading back to the car, that’s the Egg (a theater) in the background; almost looks like a UFO

If I’m here for the race again next year, I’ll be parking there again. It’s slow going in, but we didn’t rush to leave, and pretty much got right out.

It also allows you to come up through the Concourse, and there’s a bathroom to the left of where packet pickup is. It wasn’t even crowded. So I was even able to use a real bathroom before and after the race, which is always a plus.

Not to mention the expo was also set up Saturday, and I bought another Salted Caramel Honeystinger Waffle because I’d left the one I bought the day before at home. Score!

Final Thoughts
I will admit I was on the fence about running this race again this year. The late start, the heat, the hassle with parking, the fact that we just got home 4 days before it.

I’m so glad that I did; that my friends basically talked me into it (despite the fact I didn’t see those particular friends!).

Would I feel the same way if I hadn’t met my goal, or felt like I did after the race in 2013 (the only time I’ve had to sit down after a race and obviously it wasn’t a fast race!)?Probably not.

This time the stars aligned to give me a good race that I enjoyed, and could share with friends.
I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

33 thoughts on “Freihofers 5k Race Recap 6/4/16

  1. Like I said, love your outfit!!
    I hate when races run out of “stuff” that all runners are told they can expect. Makes me not want to be very nice to the RD. 😉 But, even with the heat, you did an awesome job!! Congratulations!! How’s the ankle?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ankle is almost back to normal, but then again, I cut my mileage in half. I’m not training for anything right now. I have a 4 mile race on the 4th, but I don’t train for the shorter races.

      How’s your foot doing? I realized when you asked about my walking the half that you were probably thinking of walking your next one, or walking more than normal.

      You can totally do it. But you might find you’re still sore in places you don’t expect.

      It would mean more time on your feet, though, so I’m not sure if that would really help, but then I haven’t battled that one. Yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just don’t know what to do about RNR, Judy. My foot still hurts, but I’m so freaking stubborn, especially knowing this is the only time the races are lining up for me to qualify for Half Fanatics. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it. 😦


      2. I am not a half fanatic. Of course I have also run halfs injured, but aside from the first time, I knew I wasn’t going to do any real damage by doing so.

        I haven’t yet dealt with PF, knock on wood, so while I know a little, I don’t really know much. I know Wendy says that it’s ok to run with it, and yet she’s still struggling with it.

        I guess you have to consider which race is more important to you. How would you feel if you felt worse after RNR & couldn’t do Tulsa (although you have a long time between the two, so I think you probably could). But it’s something to consider.

        Is it worth having a miserable race experience for the perks you’ll get in Tulsa?

        Any chance of trying a sports massage between now & then? I’ve no idea if it would help PF, but I do know it helped me a lot.

        Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great time, I haven’t managed to get below 36 mins for a 5k, although I haven’t done one for a while, so be proud of your result! Also you look great, you must be a weight watchers success story😊 Do your skirts have built in shorts or do you wear something separate? You don’t see many inthe UK?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, I was very happy with my time.

      I’m a WW lifetime member, but most of the time I’m just barely hanging onto that and I’d really like to lose a few more pounds. I’m very short, so even a few extra pounds are really noticeable.

      The skirts have shorts built in. And pockets on each leg of the short! They’re awesome. It’s one of the few brands of running skirts that don’t ride up on me.

      They do ship interenationally, btw, but they are already rather pricey. But they have good sales & they’re totally worth it.


      1. I know what you mean about being short! I will google the skirts, they look like they might be more flattering than shorts for summer.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on beating your goal time–you kicked that 39 minute goal’s butt!! I love that there were so many runners for the 5K distance-you don’t see that much anymore since everyone seems to be into the half distance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a lot of 5ks here in the summer, because unlike you, our summers are not unbearable and prime running time.

      But this is one of the bigger ones.

      I think the new course was kind to me!


  4. I was reading last year’s recap and there was no bread and the expo was as much smaller than the year before. I guess most of the sponsors such as MVP pulled out.

    Judging from the post race survey, they may change that. I usually don’t buy things at the expo and just run in on a work break to get my bib.

    I love the race and hope to keep my streak alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never bought much at the expo, but I would usually buy something. I always look for socks, but nobody really had a good deal on them.

      I actually like the healthy screenings & missed that.


    1. Thanks, Marcia.

      I always think it’s so nice to not have to get up at the crack of dawn and be relaxed in the morning.

      Then I get there, it’s sunny & warm, and I’m like oh crap!


  5. WOO HOO – congratulations and way to push through on a day where the weather conditions and course crowding looked very challenging! I would love to run a race where they give away cookies and bread (even though nobody got the bread – what’s up with that?). That is weird about the race times on the website not posting correctly, but glad the more detailed results are correct. I absolutely LOVE that skirt. I’ve never tried any Skirtsports merchandise but I hear consistently rave reviews! Yes, hydration is HUGE. I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to hydrate properly. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The races I’ve had problems with hydration have always been because they ran out (or out of cups). 😦

      Usually I don’t drink as much, though, because I know it’s a long time between bathroom breaks. So glad I decided to get in some extra liquids!

      Skirtsports really does rock!


  6. Your finish is fantastic!! Look at that great improvement 🙂
    Even better you did it in the heat. That late start time would kill me. I am not used to mid day running.
    I love that can get cookies! Now, that is some good swag.
    I am with you hydration, it needs to begin a few days before the race for me always.
    Oh, I am cracking up over your DD – I usually deal with a’s lol I do love a racer back though, I always feel more supported.
    True- I can not put on enough body glide lol I need to buy stock in the stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They changed the course, and Darlene thinks it’s easier, so that might account for the better time. Plus I was closer to the start than I have been in years past, which also helped.

      Whatever caused it, I was happy. 🙂

      I probably could’ve lived without those cookies . . .

      The bra fits B-DD — I most definitely am NOT a DD — barely a B! I like racerback in the summer, tho, so the bra straps don’t show.


    1. It’s funny, I’m an early riser but there’s such a difference between being up and being out the door. So I think I like the late start, until I get there and I’m like oh no! It’s hot!


    1. LOL about you clapping for them spraying us down. 🙂

      Well, our “hot” is quite different from yours — I’m sure you’d be quite happy to see 70s in the morning right now.

      Today it’s 50s and really windy & this back & forth weather is driving me INSANE!


  7. I love your skirt, it’s really pretty. If any race here offered a free box of chocolate chip cookies at the finish I would be all over it. However, a late start time and summer heat make it pretty tough, even for a 5k. Congrats on your race and glad you got to see some of your running buddies.

    Liked by 1 person

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