Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap 11/19/16

If you’re not familiar with Girls on the Run, you should check them out. I wish I’d had a program like this when I was a girl! This was my second year running this race, and it was also the second year the race was ran — got that?

 

Packet Pickup
While there was an option to pick up the packet at the Athleta store in the mall (and I would have loved to!), I didn’t have the time on Friday so just picked it up the day of the race. No problems.

Unfortunately because I signed up so late, I could only choose between a L or XL race shirt. I took the L as a throaway. I do love the bright yellow color!

Race Plan
Yes, I had a plan for this race, too. It is my last serious 5k of the season, and one of my goals was to run a 31 minute 5k this year. Although the race is chip timed, we only got our gun time for the official results.

The race is meant to be a fun run for the girls, and more serious runners were encouraged to line up near the front, which I did. I still ended up with a lot of girls in front of me, and even though I was gunning for a PR, I was fine with that — as I wrote on last year’s post, I love this group and wish I’d had something like it when I was a kid.

The course is relatively flat with just a few little inclines and declines — mostly declines on the way out, inclines on the way back. It’s one of my favorite paths by the water, but it’s also quite narrow and that makes racing difficult.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:13. Well, darn. I was shooting for a consistent 10mm pace. But still, I know that I tend to be slower the first couple of miles.
  2. Mile 2: 10:13. Wait, what? How in the world did I run the first two miles at the same pace?
  3. Mile 3: 10:04. I knew I needed to pick up the pace if I was to reach my goal. I did pick up the pace, but obviously, I fell short on my goal.
  4. Last .1:  8:03. Sprinting for the finish, as usual!

I can’t blame weather — it was just perfect for racing. I can’t blame anything. I tried my hardest. I did shave 9 seconds off of last year’s time, and last year’s race fell a little short of 5k — this year was spot on.

2015: 31:37
2016: 31:28

Negative splits, though, baby!

The weather & dressing
It was a foggy and chilly 30 something when I got there, and probably around 40 by race start. I dressed much lighter than last year (although I never took a photo of the outfit, bad blogger!). I wore a Skirtsports free flow long sleeve top (love this top!) and lotta breeze capris in frolic with CEP compression sleeves and my Newton Gravity IIIs. I topped it all off with my I Run Like a Girl jacket (it seemed appropriate).

What I Saw/Felt
I didn’t get there as early as I did last year — and parking was already going quickly by the time I got there. But I got my spot, my shirt, put them in the car, then ran into Darlene on the way to use the portapotties.

We chatted a bit and made plans to meet afterwards for more miles, but she was there with a group so I used the potty and wandered around for a while, until I bumped into a friend from my running group and we hung out together until the start.


It had been very foggy (and cold!) when I arrived, but the fog was lifting and the sun was peeking out and it was promising to be a lovely day.



The race was supposedly chip timed (there were chips on the bib), but the results see, to be gun time. I also knew that the path is quite narrow, so if you’re aiming to race, as I was, you need to be near the front — so I got pretty near it.

I always dither a bit about lining up near the start and having to take a walk break just 2 minutes into the race. Especially on a narrow trail! I try to be very courteous and always be over on a side so I’m not stopping abruptly in front of anyone, and I try to be aware of people behind me, too, for the same reason.

I tried hard not to weave much, but it was hard, as there were quite a few points where the path was blocked with girls — and it’s their day, after all. It didn’t make me angry, but sometimes it was just a wee bit frustrating.

My friend thought she would finish far behind me, since she hadn’t been doing speedwork. I know she is a naturally faster runner than me. She was ahead of me for much of the race, but in the end finished just seconds behind me — although she was expecting a much worse finish time.

I didn’t run by feel this year. I watched my pace — sometimes — and I dug deep and really tried. I did my run/walk intervals, but I didn’t take any photos during the race. Someday I hope to run my 31 minute 5k. I hope I can do it before age slows me down!

Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll do it running a 5k by feel, but I don’t run a lot of 5ks. I think this was the third 5k I’ve run this year.

My first race — a 5k — was in 2010. I’d been running about a year by then, mostly on my treadmill. I finished in 39:19 (that race is also in early summer, so I’ve never set a 5k PR running it), so I’ve taken almost 8 minutes over that time in the last 6 years. Of course, some of my 5ks are much slower than my PR too!

 

Was the race well run?
I’d say it was actually better run than last year, with the exception of there being more runners and therefore parking went quickly! I got there at 9 am (for a 10 am start) and parking was almost filled already.

Final Thoughts
So this is what I wrote at the end of last year’s race:

What is my 5k PR, anyway? One of these days I’ll hit 31. Maybe even 30 although seriously right now I don’t feel capable of sustaining 10 mm for 3.1 miles (I guess you’d actually have to be just under 10 minutes).

Techinically my 5k PR is 31:23, but that was at a race that also fell short on distance. So is that really a PR? My Garmin says this race was 31:25, but my official time is 31:28. Except either one would be an actual PR, because this race was 3.1 miles. Do I claim 31:28 as my 5k PR?

I do know that while that 31 minute 5k seems so close, it’s still so far. I also know that while I ran few PRs this year, I feel very strong and I’m really happy with my running this year.

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I’m linking up with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup; because the more, the merrier, right?

Girls on the Run Inaugural 5k Race Recap 11/21/15

Today’s TOR topic is runner’s gifts, which is a great topic and I’ll be reading blogs with interest. Somehow this diehard shopper didn’t feel like writing about stuff, so I decided to recap last weekend’s 5k instead.

A new race
Darlene of My 1st 5k & More has been invovled with Girls on the Run and had sent me the link to their inaugural 5k a while ago. I’ve been waiting to the last minute to sign up for races because I never know how Chester will be doing.

I did sign up for it midweek, and good, thing, too, as it sold out. I had already donated to this organization before Darlene got involved: it’s an organization devoted to inspiring young girls to lead healthy, active lives.

I’m sure if my mom had signed me up for something like that when I was a kid, assuming it existed which it didn’t, I would have balked. My older self wishes I had had something like this in my life.

Chilly morning to race

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was day of race and was easy-peasy. Of course I got there very, very early. Too early, considering it was a very chilly morning. But I knew parking in that area is not overly abundant.

Plan — what plan? — again!
I’ve been so busy with Chester and Thanksgiving prep and decluttering that I had little time to really think about this race. I run this path occasionally so I did know that it’s flat (or so I thought).

My basic plan this time was not to go out too fast and keep it under 11 mm for every mile.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1 (10:48): It was incredibly easy to start out slow — it’s a somewhat narrow paved path and there was simply no room. As frustrating as that was, maybe it was a good thing.
  2. Mile 2 (10:24): It probably took over a mile for some space to open up and I could finally stop weaving. I probably shouldn’t have spent my energy weaving at all but oh well. I kept a lookout for Darlene, figuring she’d be coming back as I was still going forward. The only water stop was at the halfway turnaround, which was kind of awkward (I did not partake).
  3. Miles 3 (10:02): I saw Darlene as I was headed back — she was with her work friends who were running their first 5k. It is probably the only time I will ever beat her in a race. Don’t get too excited by the time; this mile was a little short.

The weather & dressing
The forecast was for high 30s in the morning, warming up to about 40 by the time I thought I’d finish. The race runs along the Hudson River on one of my favorite paths; the downside is that it’s always colder next to a body of water. It was cloudy, too.

I wore light tights, a light quarter zip, and my medium weight running jacket. Yes, I did get warm (the sun finally decided to make an appearance right before we started), so maybe I could have gone with my windbreaker instead.

But it was really cold waiting for the start!

And that’s why I love zippers in addition to pockets. Temperature control.

 

If only it were 3.1

What I Saw/Felt
I hung out with Darlene before the race, but she had a ton of friends there; some of them I met and hung out with.  Then I went off to do my dynamic stretching (yes, I was good), and I even jogged around the parking lot a few times.

I met up with some friends from my running group, and chatted with them a while, too.

Like most 5ks, it’s mostly a blur. Most of the first mile was a total bottleneck. I really didn’t know if I planned to use it as a fun run or a “real” race, knowing that with the young girls, it was bound to be a challenge.

Slow people like to race, too, and this is only the second 5k I ran this year. So of course I tried to race it. That first mile was really frustrating though.

I wore my Garmin, but it was covered by my jacket sleeve, and I wasn’t checking my time at all, although I saw my pace after mile 1 and mile 2.

I’ve raced here before, but they started the race further back where there’s more space (I guess, it was actually a few years ago); all I know is it didn’t seem as hard to find some space to run.

I like this path because it’s on the river and it’s flat. Except of course it really isn’t. As courses around here go, it is flat, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t inclines and declines. Of course it declined going out, and you know what that means.

Oddly enough I really felt that I was running out of steam that last mile. And yet it was my fastest. I guess there’s something to be said for racing by feel sometimes.

 

There was great energy before and after the race; good music, too. I loved that girls were bopping to the music at the finish line and cheering everyone in.

Was the race well run?
I would say it was very well run for an inaugural race, with the exception of the course being a little short. It was timed by a local company that is usually very accurate, but my 5k “PR” was timed by them and was also short.

What is my 5k PR, anyway? One of these days I’ll hit 31. Maybe even 30 although seriously right now I don’t feel capable of sustaining 10 mm for 3.1 miles (I guess you’d actually have to be just under 10 minutes).

The water stop at the turnaround on a narrow path was awkward, but then again, where are you going to put it?

 

Will I run it again next year? Definitely if it works in with my schedule.

31:37

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I’m linking up with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup; because the more, the merrier, right?