Can you tell I’m out of writing material? I thought I’d go back in time and review the races I’ve done in the past for posterity’s sake. I want to make sure I record my thoughts about them before I forget!
The 2012 Virginia Running Festival Alumni 5k was my first road race EVER.
It’s put on by Flat Out Events and was on the campus of my alma mater, Christopher Newport University during homecoming weekend. Its a pretty small race so it wasn’t too intimidating.
I stayed at my friend’s apartment, which in hindsight was probably not a good idea because I didn’t sleep well the night before. I got up early, headed out there and stood around in the cold (it was November).
I distinctly remember the REALLY long lines for the porta potties because they didn’t have very many. The half-marathon start was about 15 minute before the 5k start…I let a few half marathoners cut me so they wouldn’t start the race too late.
I watched them start, then headed to my start. No corrals, just a gun start (we did have chips). My chip time was only 15 seconds off from the gun time if that tells you how few people there were.
The first mile of the race I chatted with a former hall-mate of mine. At about 1.5 miles I pulled away cause I was wanted to go faster. The course was not wonderful – there was an out and back section that was torture, and we spent a lot of time weaving through campus.
I was way too talkative with the volunteers along the course, which meant I should have been able to go a lot faster, but hey, it was fun. The race ended on the track, and one of the volunteers would run a couple paces with each runner she could and encouraged them. I finished in 36 flat…which for my first race EVER was so awesome!
The after party was great. No medals, but as an alumni I got to go in a special tent with coffee, Panera bagels and Moe’s burritos. I hung around to watch the first half marathoners finish – then headed off to get ready for Homecoming festivities!
In 2013, I decided I wanted to do this race again. However, this time they had it on Sunday, which sucked because then I couldn’t enjoy the game the night before (aka, not drink). Also, I signed up to pick up my race packet at the tailgate and they left early, forcing me to pick up my bib on race morning – then they lost my personalized bib and I had to get a generic one.
I got there early because my friend Erin was running the half and I wanted to see her start. Her father and I watched her start, then I went through my prerace bathroom ritual and got in my corral. Finally! Corrals! We took off on a slightly different course this year (they adjusted where the race started). I struggled a lot more than I thought I should have. It was a pretty cold day but I opted for a short sleeve shirt and capris and I’m so glad I did. I can’t imagine how I would have done in long sleeves and being hot!
I finished 10 seconds slower than the previous year, but my Garmin also said I ran 3.3 miles. I’m convinced the course was not the right length. Truth be told, I had not trained, so I probably wouldn’t have done fantastically anyway.
I got my food and drink and waited with Erin’s family for her finish. She was hoping for around 2:15 but didn’t feel like she had trained enough so she was thinking she might be a little slower. I mentally did the math and noted when I should see her.
Sidebar: she always wears one calf sleeve (she had compression syndrome in one leg) that is bright blue.
So I’m looking around and looking on the opposite side of the track from the finish line at the runners coming in, and I see that bright blue calf sleeve….a full FIFTEEN minutes before we were expecting it. I pointed her out to her family and watching as she secured a sub-2 hour half.
She later told me she was with the the wrong pace group, realized her mistake, thought she’d stick with them as long as she could and did so much better than she expected!
The food is good. Organization is ok. The shirts are nice, but there are no medals for the 5k. With the move to Sunday and lack of medal, I’d have to think about doing this race again.