Seems like many of us are in the same boat of rushing around these days. I keep thinking things will slow down, but need to just roll with it. It’s life. It will slow down when I die. This weekend was just as busy as ever, but I had all of Saturday to hang out with the fam bam, and that was exactly what we needed. I did, however, slip a fun run into the mix.
I’ve been so focused on my longer runs that I can’t actually recall the last time I ran a 5k race. When a friend was looking for her first race, I mentioned this one to her, but debated whether I wanted to run it or not. I didn’t want to shell out the cash for a short run and knew it would be on the heels of a lot of time away from home. On the flip side, some friends ran it last year and I heard nothing but good things about it – especially the brunch afterwards. 🙂 I decided that if I woke up early enough, I would go and
enjoy the bottomless mimosas support my friend, Shirley. She has never run more than two miles – and that was during a fun run with me where she took a little spill. Whoops. She has plans to run a half marathon a year from now, and wanted to run this 5k without stopping (or falling).
The run had a late start, 7:30am, and less than 800 runners. I forget how much I love these smaller races – we showed up around 7, parked close enough to enjoy a stroll to the start, and registered with a good 20 minutes to spare.
A small, local 5k is a great way to get a taste of the race bug (and inevitably get hooked!). It was big enough for my friend Shirley to experience the buzz of a race morning with ample tine to get her bib pinned on, get the lowdown on timing chips, and get the lowdown on where you should place yourself in the crowd based on your expected pace. It was a small field, so we opted for the middle of the pack – behind the single digit mile runners and in front of the strollers.
The course was one big loop that took you past the finish line, so you were able to catch the first finishers heading down the home stretch. There was just one water stop that you passed twice – another great opportunity to learn how to drink from a cup on the run:
- Make eye contact with the volunteer you’re taking water from/hold your hand out for them to hand off to you
- THANK them for volunteering as you grab the cup
- Pinch the cup on top, leaving an opening just wide enough to drink from to prevent spillage/pouring all over yourself
- Look before you toss your cup off to the side – especially if there’s still liquid in it – volunteers & other runners will appreciate it
My girl did good, and managed to slow down just enough for the water stop, but kept on running. Once we got to where the finish line was in sight, I told them I would run ahead so I could snap a picture of them crossing the finish line. I was all for enjoying the pace and hanging since it was my first run in a week, but hey, a girl’s gotta have fun, too, right?
I made quick work of picking off this guy, then the volunteer was kind enough to let me hang in the finisher chute so I could catch my friends cross the finish line. Excuse the bit o’blurry iPhone pic, but i just LOVE this picture. Seriously. Love. It. I’ve only been running a couple of years, so that feeling of finishing my first 5k is not too distant of a memory.
There was no bling to be had at the finish, but there was quite the spread.
Rather than hunt for table seating, we opted for a patch of grass conveniently next to the hydration station
also known as bottomless mimosas. Ha. Yummy food, great company, and some much needed down time, all for a good cause.
The race benefitted Homes for Our Troops. Who are they? From their site:
We are a national non-profit organization founded in 2004 who are strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country and have returned home with serious injuries since September 11, 2001. We assist severely injured Veterans and their families by raising money, building materials and professional labor, and by coordinating the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently. The homes provided by Homes for Our Troops are given at NO COST to the Veterans we serve.
While veterans can receive adaptive housing grant, Homes for Our Troops picks up the tab for everything beyond the grant so there is no fine print, the assistance covers it all. How awesome is that? You can even check out the breakdown of where the help is happening, including stories of the veterans that have served our nation and how our donations help them rebuild new lives.
This will be one of those races I would do again in a heartbeat. It was well organized, unhurried, well supported, and was for a great cause. I paid zero attention to the spectators, but I know they were there and cheered runners through the finish. Watching my friend finish reminded me that no matter the distance or the time, we should be sooo excited to celebrate the victory of crossing the finish line. It makes me excited to run my next race in a couple of weeks!
What was your first 5k? Have you run a race that ended with a buffet instead of the bling? When was your last FUN race?