My options for running this weekend were either do another 8:00 min/mile pace for 2.5 miles around the track or . . . go do a 5K race.
Guess which one I chose?
I prefer racing over running, so it was a no-brainer. I actually found this inaugural race for the Fit & Healthy Mamas 5K in East Meadow, Long Island a few days ago when I was looking to see if there were a race that went over the Robert Moses Causeway to Fire Island (answer: nope! This needs to be fixed). Because this race wasn’t far away from me and the thought of running someplace new cheered me up (I’m getting a little bored with my usual routes), I registered. A friend was supposed to race with me, but unfortunately she had to back out. I went out to Long Island by myself.
The 5K took place at Eisenhower Park, in Field #5. There was plenty of parking right by the field in Parking Lot #5. Only 101 runners came to run so getting my bib was quick and easy. There were plenty of real restrooms, which were working and clean. Eisenhower Park is a huge park that has several events going on each weekend. While I was running, I noticed that another group has having their walk to fundraise for ALS research. A couple baseball games were going on too.
Yesterday it rained so much that I declared it was Monsoon Friday. Luckily the rain died out by Friday evening. There was the barest of trickle of rain as I was driving out, but it was dry by the time I arrived. Although the pavements were damp and there were a few puddles, running conditions were quite good. It was 60 degrees and no humidity. Cool and overcast, I could not ask for better running weather. I ran a few quick sprints to warm up.
I was a bit worried about the course because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the route was. Once we were shepherded over to the start line, I saw the signs and the lead bike. We were also told that there would be volunteers who would make sure that we stayed on the correct path. The course consisted of two loops around the southern west most corner of the park. The race was supposed to start at 8:30, but we had a late start. Long Island Timing provided the chips. There was no start timing mat (only one at the finish), so I made sure that I was up front.
Ben warned me in advance not to start too fast and to go no faster than an 8 min pace. I told him that I would try, but unfortunately my feet don’t have ears. As the first five runners blazed out, I ran, er . . . no, chased after them. I could feel that I was going too fast, but I was too excited to slow down. Knowing my penchant for starting too fast, Ben told me to go no faster than the third female runner. I started behind the third female runner, but she clearly also started too fast because she slowed down a lot around a quarter of mile. I caught up to her easily and passed her. I could have slowed down, but I forged on ahead. My first split was 7:37. Oops.
Just before the first mile marker, I got passed by another woman and a man, so I once again was the fourth overall female runner. I remained in that position for the rest of the race. A couple more guys passed me a little later on, but for the most part I was alone. There was a small pack of runners ahead of me (I estimated that the last runner of the pack was about a minute ahead) and the rest of the field behind me (I estimated that the first runner of that group was a minute behind). I knew there was no way that I could catch up to being the 3rd overall female runner and I knew that I could safely slow down without jeopardizing my spot, but I wanted to run a sub-25 min 5K, so I concentrated on that task. I was glad that I brought a handheld water bottle with me, so I could have water whenever I wanted it and not have to slow down to get water. There was a single water station on the course, which we went by twice (1 mile mark & 2.5 mile mark). The mile markers were placed too early, so I was getting worried that the race would be a little short. This concern was for naught as the actual course length was fine, but I was glad that I had RunKeeper keeping track of the actual distance while I was out racing.
The course was flat, except for one small incline (or a huge mountain as Ben would call it, he hates inclines) that we went up twice. I ran fast enough that I actually lapped a few of the walkers in the race. My other two splits were much slower, 8:10 and 8:26. I don’t quite know what I got for my last .1 because I didn’t stop RunKeeper until much after I had crossed the finish line. I imagine I ran pretty much the same pace because I could see the finish line and I was doing my best to have a kick. I was a bit disappointed to see on the race clock that I had crossed the finish line around 25:30.
It was cool that they passed out Power Ice, which is essentially a frozen Gatorade in Otter Pop form. I was absolutely sure that I would get an award, so I stuck around for the award ceremony. While waiting for it, I helped myself to the post-race goodies. Ben laughed when I said that the best thing about the race was the bagels. I don’t know which bagel company provided the bagels, but these were GOOD bagels. Not the cheap supermarket stuff that I often see. There was also coffee and tea (good for a cool day), cookies, and your requisite bananas and apples.
The award ceremony was supposed to be at 9:30, but there was some sort of problem, so the overall male and female winners didn’t get announced until 9:50. The age group winners didn’t get announced until 10:10.
I GOT SECOND PLACE FOR MY AGE GROUP (30-39).
The woman who won my age group sounds beat me (20:43), so I had no hope of catching up to her. I also firmly beat the woman got third place by well over a minute. I felt a little sorry for the woman who got 4th because she got edged out of 3rd by 1 measly second.
As the medals were being passed out, it was discovered that the guy who printed the labels on the medals did a lousy job. Some place medals for certain age groups were missing, including mine. Because they couldn’t find a 2nd place medal for 30-39 (actually I think the entire age group might have been missing), I got 2nd place for 70+. Hahaha, I told Ben that he was dating a geriatric.
When I asked Melissa for my (un)official time, she told me it was 25:31, but that my actual time was faster. Apparently the timing officials started the race clock much too early. When I got home, I calculated what I thought my actual time would be (something like 25:03). I couldn’t use my RunKeeper to know for sure because 1) I started it a bit early so I couldn’t have to fiddle with it by putting it in after I started racing and 2) I stopped it significantly after I had crossed the finish line. I figured I probably ran the last .1 near the same time as the previous mile. Nonetheless, a time of 25:31 is a new PR. I beat my old time by almost a minute (26:30). Later in the afternoon, when I check the results on the Long Island Timing page, I saw a little note that the first four runners accidentally ran a longer distance because they were misdirected. Ouch.
Clearly this race had some problems and has some growing pains. It’s never easy putting on a large event (a small race with a hundred people is still a large event), but for the most part, I was happy with the organization with the race. I hope that from this race, they’ll learn and put on a better event next year.
This Sprigs Banjees Reversible Wrist Wallet was a part of the swag. I’m quite delighted with it. I normally rely on my SpiBelt, but I could definitely see myself using this on a run. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, you can use this code Fitmom20 to get 20% off. The code expires 12/31/12.
I thought I ran a solid race and I’m pleased with my performance. I wish I knew what my real time was. I’m a little sorry that I didn’t meet my goal of sub-25, but this means that I’m pretty much guaranteed another PR when I do my next 5K.
Edited to add: I unfortunately found that one of the sponsors/vendors for this race runs a pyramid scheme. The company is not listed on the website. I am not sure if the race director is aware of this. I cannot in good consciousness support an event that has a partner with unsavory business practices. I will not attend this event in the future as long as the event is aligned with this particular sponsor.