Saturday, October 4, 2008
I think I have said before but it is funny how once you get into running longer distances a 5k seems like a warmup. Nine months ago I would have never thought I would feel that way about any distance so it seems so odd for it to be a non-event now. Even after being off for 6 + weeks, I was not nervous at all and just completely relaxed at race time.
I woke up this morning at 6:30 to give myself some time to eat a little something, shower and head downtown for the race (about a 30-40 minute drive). I wasn't sure what the parking would be like so I allowed myself plenty o' time. There was a fun run kicking off at 8:30 so I figured I could watch that to make the time pass. Again, I am not nervous at all, I am all about just finishing without any issues. No biggie. Cool as a cucumber.
As it turned out, parking was a breeze. The last few races I have done were uber popular so I had forgotten what a low-key race scenario was like. This was a "1st annual" race so the word had not really gotten out and was somewhat small. I am going to guess around 300 runners, maybe more. This was definitely not the Peachtree Road Race and there were no corrals or time chips involved which made it even more perfect for someone who has not run to speak of in quite a while. I picked up my number and milled about the sponsor tents. For such a small race, there were a lot of sponsors. The race was put on by Ted's Montana Grill. A chain restaurant here in Atlanta co-owned by Ted Turner so I am sure that had some influence in pulling in some vendors.
After affixing my number (and noticing how many gadgets I have for a 5k race - between the foot pod, heart rate monitor and I-pod I looked like wired for running!), I parked myself on the sidewalk to watch the kids run their mile. A few announcements from local celebrities (including a frightening looking Captain America and weird looking 4 foot tall purple penguin), they were off. Would you believe a little over 4 minutes later they started trickling back in? Ah youth, they must have just went all out the whole way. You gotta love youth. (I know, that makes me sound old.)
At 8:45 they lined everyone up for the 5k. The same celebrities, more announcements. Bang. We are off. I take off like a bat out of hell. What??? My cool as a cucumber game plan out the window. I don't know what changed. Mostly just not thinking - I am a lemming, following the running mob off the cliff. At about 3/4 of a mile I stopped the mad dash and fell into more of a normal pace. I really felt good and ran the whole 5k. I had initially planned a short walking break somewhere around 1.5 miles but didn't feel the need which was a good sign. It was a good route, a gradual uphill in the beginning but not as hilly as it could have been. I crossed the line at 27:00 which was a decent time for me. As it turned out I came in 3rd in my age group (which in all honesty there could have only been 3 of us since it was a small crowd). Either way, I medaled and I had a decent time :)
The race finish was nice, great goody bags, free beer, free bison burgers (which were AWESOME!), free key lime pie and larabar samples. All my favorite things :) I would highly recommend it for next year to anyone looking for a low key 5k.
After the race, I dashed home to take a quick shower and head to a volunteer meeting for a tennis tournament and a hitting session with my Tennis Pro friend. (TPF had to make up for cancelling on me yesterday.) I got in about an hour of practice and feel much better now that I have worked out the cobwebs from my non-activity. Thanks, TPF. :)