If you have read some of my previous posts you know that this is a race I have been looking forward to for some time. This was the first time I have ever participated in a night race, and I was very excited about the prospects of a little bit cooler weather. Additionally, I was excited about getting to go to an event put on by Run-N-Tri. The only other event I had attended that they were affiliated with was the Nutri Hut Race in May and it was a well put together race and a lot of fun. I also prefer to run in events that raise money for good causes and what could be a better cause than The American Heart Association?
There were however a couple of things, I did not consider. The first thing I did not consider was my schedule. Most races take place early in the morning, since this one did not, it didn't seem to conflict with anything else I had going on; however, after working in the morning at the bank and then hosting an alumni event in the afternoon, I was a bit tired by the early evening. The other thing I did not consider is that I would happen to be experiencing a bad case of the "training blahs." Not sure if that is a real term, but it pretty much sums up the discouragement and malaise I was feeling last week.
My training partner Will decided to run this race as well, and he met me after the alumni event to ride over together.We thought we would be pressed for time,but actually arrived at Run-N-Tri before they were ready to start registration.
It had rained earlier in the day and it wasn't super hot, but there was a heaviness in the air, that I could feel as we watched the workers continue to get everything set up and listened to the band go through their sound check.
Will and I were the first 2 registered. In addition to the shirt and bib at registration you also received a glow in the dark bracelet and a key chain. Unlike many of the shirts I have received, this shirt was actually pretty cool. It was a technical material and was black with gray and red designs ( I might would actually wear this shirt somewhere besides running).
|Picture stolen from Lisa|
People begin arriving and at 8:00 it was time to get started.There was a fairly large crowd for a first year event (according to the results 268 runners, I would have guessed more than 300) and they were all in festive spirits. As you can see from the picture on the right it was just before dark when the race started.
The course was a little different from other races I have run. It was an out and back course but it wound through a nice neighborhood with several twists and turns. The organizers did a great job of marking the course with signs and with volunteers. The volunteers had flashlights and the glow in the dark batons to help guide the way.
I felt pretty good for most of the race, but the air did seem extra heavy as we got deeper into the subdivision. As usual I found someone to pace with; I never got her name but I referred to her as "Gold Shorts" because she was wearing, well... gold shorts. Gold Shorts and I were passing people and keeping what seemed like a pretty good pace. She was the first to comment on how heavy the air felt, a sentiment I could not disagree with. Even though I felt like I was keeping a good pace the first mile seemed to last forever. It was close to the first mile when we came upon the first water station that I lost Gold Shorts (she slowed for water, I never do).
Finally got to the turnaround, which was well marked with a flashing light, still feeling pretty good. I know I am not on a course for any type of personal record, but I am feeling pretty good. It is getting pretty dark now and it is kind of cool watching the other racers who were clad in various degrees of reflective and light up clothing and accessories. Some were wearing the glow in the dark bracelets and others had on bright reflective clothes. A few even had on little flashing lights on their clothes.
About 2.5 miles in; I begin wondering if this was really a 5k or if someone had measured it wrong, because I was really beginning to struggle to keep up my pace. It was about this time when Gold Shorts caught back up with me. We agreed to help each other finish and thankfully she pushed me to the end. When I saw the 3 mile marker I was surprised by how much I still had in reserve and I was able to get one last kick in. This was good since Gold Shorts and the other lady that was with us also kicked in for one last sprint at this point.
I was a little disappointed to see my time of 28:06 because I have done so much better than this in the past; but it was still below 30 minutes and I never stopped running. As we crossed the line, I turned and shook hands with Gold Shorts and thanked her for the push. I turned and looked for Will and to my pleasant surprise he was only a few seconds behind me. 28:15 was his time. pretty impressive for his first run in many years.
There is a difference in just a race and an event, and this was a great event. Not only was the atmosphere great, but the after party was amazing as well. There was Papa John's Pizza and Chick-Fil-A as well as water, Gatorade and Michelob Ultra. Jacob Blue was the band and they did a great job of entertaining.
It was a long day and Will and I were sure we did not place high enough to win any awards so we headed home. Before we did, I was able to steal a few moments with Lisa McCombs, Marketing Director for Run-N-Tri and friend of the blog. Lisa was pleased with the turn out.
"We had a blast putting the race on, and we're so proud of all of the finishers and contributions to the American Heart Association."Lisa, Thanks for all you did to put this on... we had a blast as well. I also want to say thanks to all the people who helped out, especially Tish & JG and their "children."
The next race I am running will be August 13 in Vancleave. I wasn't sure there was a place in Vancleave to run a 5k, but I am looking forward to it, I am also excited that it will be the first race The wife participates in as well.
Thanks as always for anyone who might be following along, I will try to put up a better time next race