(subtitled: the PR that came out of nowhere!)
the race i originally wanted to do for the month of april was the "run the vineyards" 5 miler at heritage vineyards in new jersey. i was excited about this race for so! many! reasons!
first, it was in south jersey, close to where i grew up and near family members who were actually excited to come out and cheer me on. second, my sister was thinking about running it with me. third, it a chance to redeem myself after my less-than-stellar performance in the brian's run 5 miler back in december. and finally? POST-RACE WINE. uh...sold!
and then, it sold out before laurel and i could register.
i was still gung ho about my "run a race every month" goal for this year, so i started scrambling around to find a backup race. my search led me to a local 5k happening the last weekend in april that benefited an organization i love - mommy's light. (having lost my father at a young age, i personally know how important organizations like this are.)
so, i signed up! the morning of the race, i was dragging a little, thanks to a late night and not enough sleep.
(no cars were actively being driven in the making of this photo.)
i got there crazy early (the benefit of running races less than 10 minutes from your apartment) and picked up my timing chip, shirt and swag bag. since i still had a bunch of time to kill, i headed back to my car to keep warm and look through the goodies inside the bag.
when it was closer to go time, i headed over to the start line and joined the crowds.
while waiting for the race to start, i heard the girl in front of me telling her friend that she had practiced the course a few times and was just hopping she wouldn't have to slow down to a walk for "that one killer hill". once I heard that, i decided to just run this one for fun. i turned on my garmin, did a few jumps/butt kicks and then it was time to run!
almost immediately after starting, the course turned left and started heading uphill and i thought, "nope...no PR today!" one other little hill during the first mile seemed to confirm this, but then my garmin beeped for mile 1 and i looked down and saw a number that started with a 9.
at that moment, i decided to just run as hard and fast as my body would let me and see what happened. and what happened was a SUB-9:00-PACE for LARGE PORTIONS of this race. i was amazed at how "not awful" it felt to run that fast and how long i was able to maintain it. and despite dropping to around a 10:10 pace when i finally did hit "that one killer hill" (and not picking up my pace until after the first mile), i still finished 20 seconds faster than my previous 5K PR!
my official chip time was 29:34 and i finished 145 out of 334. my splits are below:
mile 1 - 9:59 (this was before i decided to actually race this one.)
mile 2 - 9:16 (i was feeling soooo good during this mile!)
mile 3 - 9:20 (the mile with that "one killer hill")
last 0.13 - 1:00 (7:41 pace!!)
after i caught my breath, downed some water and stretched a little, i headed over to investigate the food setup.
i was really impressed with the spread - there were hot breakfast items, sweets, lots of fruit, hot coffee and tea. the eggs and bacon were definitely tempting, but once i saw the sour cream donuts, i knew i HAD to have one. i figured that setting a new 5k PR earned me a donut, but i grabbed a banana as well to help balance it out and be somewhat healthy
after housing my donut, i walked around and checked out some of the booths. they even had a children's musician set up to entertain the younger ones in the crowd.
overall, this was an AWESOME race experience. the entry fee was pretty low, i got a super comfy long-sleeve t-shirt and a bunch of other fun goodies and coupons, the food was awesome, there was a lot of stuff to check out after the race and i set a new PR! and most importantly, all of those who walked and ran raised a bunch of money for a really great cause. i'll definitely consider running this race again next year!