Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap 11/24/19


Girls on the Run (also known as GOTR) is an awesome nonprofit that helps train young girls to run a 5k, but more importantly, also helps them with their self esteem. The lovely Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner runs one of these groups, by the way.

This was my third time running this 5k (not in consecutive years) and it’s always been kind to me. In fact, it’s my “real” 5k PR. I say real because technically I have one a few seconds faster, but I also know that course was short. Like at least a quarter mile short.

Love the color; not so much the 100% Cotton

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was Friday night at our local Fleet Feet, from 4-7. The locals know how crazy busy that road gets on a Friday afternoon, but I knew it would make my life simpler not having to go back and forth to my car on Saturday.

I ran some errands in the vicinity and got there just a tad before 4, and they were enthusiastic, all set up, and ready to go. I had signed up on Wednesday, so they had to make me a packet, but it was quick and easy.

Not a lot of swag: some True Lemon drink samples and a lip balm. I actually used on of the True Lemon samples last week. The 100% cotton tee was a pretty teal color — of course I prefer a tech fabric, but sometimes in the winter I like to wear cotton tees under a sweater to keep warm.

The river is why I love this path

Getting There & Hanging Out
Since I had picked up my bib the night before and was going solo, I didn’t feel the need to get there super early: only an hour before, LOL. I parked in the Riverfront parking garage, which is free on weekends, and a short walk over a bridge to the race start.

We run in this area frequently, and it’s actually one of my favorite areas to run (but only in a group, as there have been several attacks there), so I knew where other free parking was, but I was unsure how far from the start the alternative parking lots were. Note to self: only a quarter of a mile.

I stayed in the car and meditated a bit. I had a really good feeling about this race. It was sunny, but still cold out. Eventually I got out and used a portapotty, walked around a bit (asking a stranger to take my photo), and then did my warmup.

I almost went back to the car to get my slightly heavier jacket, as my teeth were literally chattering as I walked over to the race start — but in the end, after I warmed up, I was fine.

Loving the Skirt Sports High Waist 7/8 Tights!

The weather & dressing
The weather was on the chilly side, but really, it was pretty darn nice. Partially sunny. Wind not too bad. 36F (which passes for warm this time of year here).

I chose Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Long Sleeve , Light-ish Jacket, and High Rise 7/8 Tight. (Skirt Sports Ambassador). I had light convertible gloves on as I walked around and did my warm up, but by the first half mile or so my hands were warm and I put them in my pockets. Newton Motion on the feet.

I might have been okay with a Watch Me Go Top instead of the Wonder Wool, but all in all, I was happy with this outfit.

I lined up close to the start to try & avoid too many girls (they can stop suddenly in front of you!)

My Race Plan
I put a little thought into how to handle this race. Yes, I wanted to run hard and chase that PR (this race being my 5k PR, after all, and flat, too!). I haven’t been training super hard, of course, and I slept horribly the night before.

I always knew it would be run in positive splits, and I was okay with that.

  • A Goal: PR
  • B Goal: How fast can I comfortably run that first mile and what could I hang onto after that?
  • C Goal: Run Naked
  • D Goal: Finish with a smile on my face feeling good

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 9:49. My Garmin Vivoactive 3 can be wonky on the first mile. If I just go by what it says, sometimes I’ve slowed down thinking I was running too fast — and I wasn’t. So I just wanted to go comfortably hard. I think that’s the fastest mile I’ve ever run in a race, so mission accomplished. Obviously I decided against the run naked goal.
  2. Mile 2: 10:13. I knew this mile would be slower. I don’t walk at all the first mile, so the second, when I take a short walk break to drink some water, is always slower.
  3. Mile 3: 10:31. I wish I could’ve held on to mile 2’s pace. Even just a tiny bit slower would have snagged me that PR.
  4. Last .10: 9:44. A sprint to the finish. Yes, indeed, finished with a smile and feeling good (well, feeling spent when I crossed the finish line but overall happy with the race after I caught my breath).

31:31 — Official Time
10:09 Average Pace
33 out of 159 (remember, lots of young girls!)
1 out of 6 F55-59

2016: 31:28, 10:08 Average Pace
2015: 31:37, 10:11 Average Pace

The official time is Gun Time (man, I hate when they do that). Net time was 31:27 (which would have been a 1 second PR, LOL!).

There was some ice on the course in several different spots, and I chose to slow to a walk over those spots. I’m quite sure I could have eeked out those few extra seconds for a PR had the course been ice-free, but you do what you do and if it’s not an actual PR, it’s not. No whining. I am very happy with this race.

Don’t get too excited about the fact that I was first in  my AG (whether you did 5 or 10 year AGs), because this isn’t a race that draws the speedsters. This race is about the girls, and a lot of people don’t enjoy dodging around them. Oddly enough, almost all my fastest 5ks have been ones that are geared to girls.

Was the race well run?
The race started exactly on time and miracle of miracles, my Garmin showed it was also exactly 3.10 miles. There was a warm up (geared to the girls) before the start. It’s a simple out and back on a narrow path, and yet there are plenty of course marshals to cheer the girls (and adults) on.

The swag and the after race refreshments were underwhelming, but at least there was something, and it’s a good cause.

Final Thoughts
Was it a PR, or wasn’t it? I guess it wasn’t. So tantalizingly close. Much like my recent 15k, I think it could have been without the icy spots, but there’s no prize for could-have-beens (or PRs, for that fact).

There might still be a couple of 5ks in the next few weeks. One is strictly a fun run. The other depends on weather, again. PR or not, I am so, so pleased with this race. I have been running roughly 11 years now. I don’t think my PR days are behind me, not yet, although you never know.

Are PRs important to me? Yes and no. Running is still about challenging myself, being the best version of me under the circumstances given to me on race day. Some day inevitably I will slow down and my PR days will be behind me. I’ll keep running, as long as I’m able to. Maybe I’ll race less. Maybe I’ll run less in general. As long as my body can run, though, I will run.

This race is for a good cause: using running to help young girls feel better about themselves. I wish I’d been exposed to something like this as a young girl, although chances are I would have hated it. I encourage you to see if there’s a chapter near you here.

There are definitely days I wish it hadn’t taken me until my mid 40s to find my inner athlete, although on the other hand, there are days I’m thankful that I started so late, because running may be good for our bodies, but it also is hard on them.


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


23 thoughts on “Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap 11/24/19

  1. Congrats on a great effort.

    I had a race last year where it would have been a 5k Pr but they used gun time. So no not a PR. 😦

    But if you run for yourself and did your best, that’s more important.

    I bet you get faster. You are still young. (To me 9 years is a lot.)

    Me. Slowing down most likely but I don’t care as much. We’re all different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very happy with the race. I’m sure I have a few more PRs in me, just not so sure about the 5k distance.

      But maybe my loosey-goosey HR training is paying off, as I’ve also only been running 3 x week but running has been generally going pretty well.


      1. No big plans. I seem to do fine with less & more when it comes to mileage. Since I have no big plans, I’ll be keeping it on the lower end (and maybe get a bit more strength training in there).


  2. Well, I am going to get excited about you being 1st in your age group! And your net time counts as a PR!
    Starting in your 40s has many benefits: you’re less likely to get injured as you know your body better than a young person. Also, it’s more likely that you can smash old PRs.
    A runner I knew started in her 40’s, she is now 70. She made it to the Senior Olympic championships!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure you’re never going to see me in Senior Olympics. 🙂

      Heck, most people shoot for a 30 min 5k (or under). I’d still be super happy with 31 minutes. And really not sure that will ever happen — but that’s ok.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome job! I love that there are so many chapters of Girls on the Run and that they have a race at the end of each season.

    I’m celebrating your AG win 🙂 I always tell myself that even if there was just one person in my AG, I still won, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job! My daughter ran with GOTR when she was younger and it was truly the tipping point she needed to put some confidence in her as far as running. She’s since then gone on to run many other 5k’s, a 10k, and a few half marathons (she’s 14).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You said it perfectly…running as good as possible with what the day brings you (paraphrased LOL). Honestly, that’s all we can ever ask of ourselves….and if you finish feeling strong and pleased with your efforts, that is a VICTORY. And, oh-so-close to that PR!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry about the ice – you handled that very well. And well done on your AG win whoever else was there bulking up the younger AGs! It’s a lovely organisation and I know one young woman who has learned to run with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, there are definite benefits to starting later in life. Sometimes I do wonder what I could have done if I’d started earlier, but OTOH, I do think that things come to us at the right times in our lives. Just doesn’t always feel that way, of course!


    1. It’s such a great organization Deborah. I can’t even imagine how busy you are with all the groups that you run! I would never have guessed that you were a less social person before running. I’m still somewhat antisocial, ask my running friends, LOL. 🙂

      Well, not really antisocial, just an introvert who needs her alone time.


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