It’s definitely been a hot minute since I did a real life race — not since the end of 2019. This race was put on my radar by a running friend, who shared it because they donate a book to a child for each registrant — and it’s on the way to my moms.
You’ve been warned: I mostly write race recaps for myself, so I can look back if I choose to do a race again, and I tend to get long winded. It was just a 5k, after all!
Kingston is roughly a bit over an hour from my home, so it was an early wakeup call. I’d slept okay — until I had to get up to use the bathroom. I got up before the alarm I’d set on my watch, and was able to to do all my Yoga, foam rolling, etc. and eat my oatmeal (which I had waiting for me in my mini crockpot — Amazon Affiliate link here). I made a brief pitstop at the Ulster Service Area on the drive down.
Online registration had ended on Wednesday, but I wanted to wait longer to make sure the predicted weather held. Race day registration ended at 9:30, plus I wasn’t sure of the parking situation, so I left home at 7:30 — 15 minutes ahead of schedule, but it worked out great — I got a parking space right by the start/finish (which wasn’t blocked when I left, either).
I had contacted them since the Website said that parking instructions would be emailed once you registered — so obviously I wouldn’t get that and I told them I didn’t know the area. They said there would be volunteers directing you — maybe later, but not when I got there. I was appreciative of the quick response, and thankfully it was a non issue.
Registering was easy and there were no fees so I could just hand over the cash I’d brought. Of course I’d missed the cut off for a race tee, so they said check back after the race. It’s been a long time since I earned a RL race tee, but it was also no big deal if I didn’t get one.
Side note: when I (and a few others) went to check if tees were available post race, one person said they’d just gotten yelled at for trying to take one. A volunteer said she’d look me up, apparently to make sure I ran the race, but I explained I had registered that day and wouldn’t be in the list. For whatever reason she relented and gave me my tee.
Despite the late start of the race (10 am), the weather was perfection. About 57F at the start. And finally no wind!
Before the race
I had plenty of time to explore and warm up before the race, which was quite nice, since it was also a very nice day. I walked along the waterfront, taking photos. This is when I discovered there were real bathrooms (in addition to the portapotties)! The line wasn’t long so I made another pitstop. Later the line would be much longer.
I had time to read the positive affirmations on my phone, use my stick, do my normal dynamic warmup. run to warm up a bit; I even did some skipping! Then it was time to gather, and I wore my mask. No one else did, although I’d seen some people wearing masks at various points before the race. I took it off after crossing the start line and just put it on my wrist.
My Race plan
I didn’t really have much of a plan. Try not to go out too fast or too slow (yes, I’ve been known to go out too slow and regret it!). I did have some goals:
C Goal: finish faster than my first 5k. This was setting the bar extremely low, as my first 5k was very slow.
B Goal: finish around 35 minutes. This would definitely be faster than most of my easy 3 mile runs, even the ones with strides.
A Goal: finish around 33 minutes. Highly unlikely knowing how I’ve been running currently and lack of training, but hey, you never know. The race atmosphere!
As always the main goal was to enjoy the race and finish uninjured with a smile on my face.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 11:18. I started out faster than I planned to. It felt so easy . . . I tried to reign it in, and help was coming: I should have read the FB page closer — there’s a big, steep hill just a half a mile into the race. Most people were walking up it, but I did my usual run/walk. Seriously, it was only 52 ft (I’d read that) but it felt so much tougher!
- Mile 2: 11:45. Despite coming back down the hill, I slowed down this mile; it was another steady climb “up”, but I run routes like that all the time. I don’t regret that first mile, though. This mile was still below 12 minutes so I was happy with it.
- Mile 3: 11:21. I was able to pick the pace back up — I guess I’d recovered from the hill by now!
- Last .1: 10:12. I sprinted in to the finish line.
35:19 — Official Time
11:22 Average Pace
3 out of 7 in F60-69
77 out of 144 Runners
Was the race well run?
This race, despite not being put on in person for 2 years, was like a well oiled machine. It was easy to register day off. There were plenty of volunteers and course marshals. It started right on time and was exactly 3.1 (okay, my Garmin said 3.09). When I messaged my questions on Facebook, I got a very quick response.
What I learned
- I learned where I am right now. This was way off my fastest 5ks. I was not at all expecting a PR — even my A goal was several minutes off my 5k PR.
- I learned the little training I did in preparation paid off — especially those hill repeats!
- I learned that I really should read a bit more about the course. Had I read further into the Facebook page, I would have known about the hill. I’d looked at the course elevation chart, but I was still surprised by how steep that hill was.
- I learned the power of those positive affirmations I hawk all the time. I used the ones I’d created for Spring into Action all week long and I think that really helped my mindset.
My litmus test for races is always: “would I run it again”? That’s a maybe. I’m not so sure I’d drive over an hour just for a 5k, or even for a 10k for that matter — this worked well for me since I was able to drive to my mom’s after the race (and use her shower).
Apparently the real draw for this race is the 10k (there’s also a 1.5 mile race for the young’uns). I know I could have run a 10k, but I also like to be prepared for races — so that I don’t injure myself — and since my longest run this year was 6 miles, I definitely didn’t feel prepared for a 10k. Plus it would have taken longer, and it was already a long day. I left at 7:30 and didn’t get home until almost 5:30. Almost 4 hours of driving. Doing my mom’s meds (she gets 13 pills in the morning!).
I chose this race for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but I also chose it because I didn’t have to be inside with a lot of people and because it was a small race. It was a very pleasant surprise to find myself in the middle of the pack rather than BOTP!
So would I do it again? The stars really aligned for me for this race. If my mom is still here next year and the weather is decent, that’s a maybe. I did definitely enjoy the race!
Did you care which race you ran first after COVID canceled most of them?
If you’ve raced in 2022, what was your favorite race?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.