I have a little race recap for you today! It’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts – it’s been almost 100% recipes lately. Of course I love talking about food with you, but running also feels like a big part of my life in the brief seasons between hot and cold spells here in Utah. So if it’s OK with you, let’s briefly switch gears to fitness!
I actually feel a little silly posting a race recap about this totally casual charity “race.” Most of the participants were definitely there to show support for the cause, don their most obnoxious pink outfits (never have I seen so many hot pink tutus!), and walk or jog the course. My company was running a booth and had organized a team for the race. I wasn’t too involved in the fundraising side of things, but I did think it would be a good excuse to run my first 5K of the season.
On Saturday morning I drove downtown to the start of the race, found my teammates, used the port-a-potties, and did a little warm-up jog. I would guess there were about 2,000 people there, roaming around the booths and registration tents. But on my warm-up, I noticed that I was the only one warming up. I started to think, hmmm, is anyone else actually going to run this race? And it turned out the answer was no – most people were not actually going to run.
Eventually I headed to the starting line with the other girls on my team.
We wove our way towards the beginning of the pack, figuring that there would be many walkers. We should have known it was going to be almost ALL walkers, and inched up much further! Once the gun went off, most of the people in front of us started a leisurely stroll with baby carriages, small children, etc. in tow. Ugh. I am the first one to become frustrated in a situation like that, and spent the first at least quarter mile dodging and cutting people off to get away from the crowd, totally ditching my teammates in the process. Oops! I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to do that in shorter races where there are a lot of casual participants. It’s frustrating for me, makes me start out faster than intended, and also tends to lose my running partner, so I’m going to make an effort to start further towards the front in my next race.
So yes, I started out faster than I had planned. On Friday I had mentioned that I’d be satisfied with an 8:15 pace. Well, I was really hoping for more like 8:00 flat, but considering I hadn’t prepared for that by doing much more than hoping, I figured somewhere between 8:00 and 8:15 was more realistic. My natural pace for everyday runs is around 8:45. Yet glancing at my watch in the first mile of the race, I was at around 7:45! Yikes, too fast! I felt pretty good though, so I decided to just go with it, knowing I might die toward the end. Oh well! That’s the kind of thing that can happen when your last 5K road race was… high school cross-country.
The race was totally untimed, so I was relying solely on my GPS watch. I was alarmed when it beeped at the first mile, and showed me a time of 5:47. That was clearly not right, especially because I’d been glancing down at my pace from time to time, and knew it was roughly 2 minutes slower. Then, about 2 minutes later, I reached the first mile marker on the course and realized what must have happened: My watch started timing, but the GPS didn’t kick in until later. That was a little annoying, but I’m pretty sure that the overall time was still correct. Of course, I was so confused by my watch that I totally missed Nate, who was cheering for me around the 1-mile mark. He also missed me, because neither of us had realized I would be toward the front of the race. That’s OK – at least that means he didn’t have a chance to take any action shots. :)
The race started and finished at Salt Lake’s downtown public library, with a (nice and flat!) loop on the city streets in between. I definitely started to feel tired around 2 miles after starting out so fast. I slowed down a bit – there were probably a few minutes where I was running slower than an 8-minute mile, but I knew I could more or less maintain my pace for the last mile.
Salt Lake’s streets are on a grid system (with the Mormon temple at the center of the grid – true story!). I’m a huge fan of the grid – it makes directions easy, and was a total blessing when I moved here and was first learning how to navigate the city. But it ended up being kind of torturous during the race, because I knew exactly how much further I had to go. And Salt Lake blocks are LONG – there is a reason everyone drives here! I kept groaning to myself during the last mile or so of the race, watching the blocks tick by sooo slowly, and knowing that I still had a ways to go. Torture, I tell ya! There were lots of people cheering toward the finish, though, so I was able to finish fast despite being tired.
And just like that, it was over. I timed myself at 24:14, a 7:49 pace! I was super happy to have run sub-8:00 miles, and just wished I hadn’t started out so fast, so that I could have felt more consistent.
Nate met me at the finish line and told me he was proud of me – awww. We headed back to my company’s tent, and I hopped in the photo booth with the other girls:
The middle picture was supposed to be “tired.” I think I did a little too well acting that one out! Luckily I managed to cover up my sweat-stained shirt with that sign.
So, my first race of the season: done! And I think it was a good benchmark. I’m hoping to do a few more 5Ks and 10Ks this summer, and I’d love to do another 5K road race in November or so to measure my progress speed-wise over the course of the season.
What about you? Any races coming up or training plans for the summer?