My goal this year is to run at least one live, official race every month. I had a really hard time finding a June race because most sane people living below the Mason-Dixon line do not want to race in the heat and humidity of the summer. Luckily, my research paid off and I found a 5k that had originally been scheduled for early May but which had to be delayed to June 1 due to bad weather. It may have been bad luck for the original registrants, but it was awesome for me.
- A race in June.
- Within 45 minutes of home.
- Supporting a charity I believe in (hospice does amazing work at the toughest times).
So, I got in the car at 7:15 am and had a quick jaunt up 441 and I-75 to Lake City, FL. I got a nice shady spot in the courthouse parking lot, just a few blocks from the race area:
The courthouse is really pretty and is nice and big, so I knew I’d be able to find my car after the race!
The race was three laps around this lake/reservoir right behind the courthouse. There was a nice paved road around the lake for pedestrians and cars.
And we had some extra spectators making sure no one jumped the course:
Packet pickup was smooth and easy and I found “real” (non porta-potty) bathrooms that were open (score!). I ran a few blocks to shake the nerves out, ate a banana and drank a little water and then it was time to line up. There wasn’t an official start line, we just all kind of congregated in a start area.
The gun went off about 5 minutes early (the race was scheduled to start at 9am, which honestly was a pretty late start for a race in Florida in JUNE). It was an orderly start with a nice wide road area so people quickly settled into their paces. The majority of the race was around the lake, but to get the full distance in, we had to do a brief detour onto some sidewalks and up to bigger street. Then we turned back to the lake. The best part was that turn back because some kind homeowner had their sprinklers on and they weren’t well calibrated so they sprayed a lot of water onto the streets and therefore the runners! Nice and refreshing.
The way the laps worked was that at the end of each of the first two laps, you got a popsicle stick (although they could have gotten the same effect with more happiness if they’d just given out actual popsicles each lap!) and then when you completed the third lap, as long as you had two popsicle sticks in hand, you could go into the finish chute area. Not too bad, although I HATE running with things in my hands. These are my hard earned official popsicle sticks:
I got off to a pretty fast start and felt really strong. I was worried I was going out too fast, but I was able to keep a pace around 9:20 for the whole race, which I was really happy with. I passed quite a few runners and was only passed by one guy. I did get lapped by the first and second place runners, but I lapped a lot more runners and walkers, so that felt pretty good.
It was very hot by the end of the race and I was happy to veer into the finish chute area with a time of 27:20. that would have been a PR for a 5k, but the race was really much closer to 3 miles than 3.1 miles. Still, all in all, I was thrilled with my performance.
After finishing, I got a bottle of water, cooled down and got the free breakfast provided:
I only ate about 1/4 of that bagel, but the fruit was great. Then a nice stranger who I was chatting with took my photo:
And I waited around for the awards ceremony. I like to stay to cheer for the winners and in smaller races, I like to stay to see if I won anything. The top three women finishers were pre-teens in this race. Crazy times too, like 17 minutes.
When they got to my age group, they called my name FIRST! Yay, this is my second first place age group award. They don’t have the official results online yet, but the results list they had printed out showed seven women in my age group finishing. I was so happy to get an awesome BLUE RIBBON!
The cupcake is because this race also served as my run for my very first virtual race which required you to run a 5k and eat a cupcake before, during or after. I wisely chose “after”. I upgraded to this fancy cupcake since I won my age group! It was pretty awesome. I should be getting a nice cupcake medal in the mail for the virtual race so I can include it with my blue ribbon.
It was a nice run, the volunteers were great, the course was pretty and the charity was worthwhile. And I’m keeping with my goal of a race every month. Six down, six to go!