It’s a 5k — that means the recap ought to be short, right? Wrong! So wrong!
So here’s the short story: always a fun race that starts too late on a hot day (usually); plenty of water, thank goodness; and while no PR, it was a PB (personal best) for me, for this race.
Read on if you want all the gory details (glory details?).
Packet Pickup is either the Friday before the race or day of. I always go Friday — since I don’t work, that works for me. I went with two friends from my Weight Watchers meeting.
Pickup is easy, except that they don’t give you a bag. I kind of like that, except there used to be an expo with a fair amount of vendors and you picked up your cookies and bread there, so a bag was usually useful; this year they gave you the cookies after you finished.
The expo has gotten smaller and smaller every year and there wasn’t much there.
I really needed new sunglasses so I bought a couple pairs. And some charms from BeeCause. I also bought a Honeystinger salted caramel waffle, since I hadn’t tried that flavor and the race doesn’t start until 9:30 am, so I usually want a snack before the race.
I did want to get stretched out, but there was a line and none of us felt like waiting in it. I’m sure my friends would have been fine with waiting, but I also hadn’t eaten lunch yet and we’d headed down at noon.
My Race Plan
There are about 4000 runners that turn out for this all women’s race, including elite runners because there’s prize money. It’s in downtown Albany and many of the streets are narrow. Many runners are new or casual runners who often have no clue about race etiquette.
It’s not the race to PR at, and I didn’t have any aspirations to do so.
What I did want to do was just come in under 39 minutes — yes, that’s a slow 5k even for me, but this was my first 5k way back in 2010 and the second time I did it in 2013 it was even hotter than usual — and both times my finish time was about 39 minutes.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 11:31. A good start. The congested start probably made it easier not to go out too fast. The race starts on a small uphill, but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. They changed the course a couple of years ago, and I guess a lot of people don’t like the new course, but this was the first time I’ve run the new course. One of my Weight Watchers friends caught up to me here and we ran together for a few minutes; then she took off.
- Mile 2: 11:30. Mile 2 starts with a nice downhill, and then there are basically rolling hills. It also turns into Washington Park (designed by the same person who designed Central Park), where there was a lot of shade. There’s a water stop at approximately 1.5 miles and a band or two.
- Mile 3: 10:53. Another water stop approximately mile 2.5. It’s also downhill to the finish, which is always great. A lot of runners just throw their cups on the path (boo!), and some lovely ladies were throwing it over their heads — but not dumping it over their heads, in a way that meant I got splashed with water too (bad thoughts ensued).
- Last .15: 8:11. How I wish this was my pace always! I can do it in a short burst, knowing that finish line is in sight.
35:03 –Official Time
11:17 Average Pace
2010: 39:19 (first 5k!)
(hot day, at least it was faster than the first!)
I’m very pleased with this race. Given the right circumstances could I run it faster? Sure! But I was really pleased with my negative splits and sprinting to the finish and meeting my goal — actually, surpassing that goal.
The weather & dressing
This time I knew exactly what the weather would be and yeah, dressing properly for it makes a huge difference! It was a warm one — thankfully not too humid, but low to mid 70s with very little cloud cover.
I wore the Skirtsports Eclipse Tank (in Razz) and Gym Girl Ultra Skirt (in Psyched). And the Kelly B-DD Bra, which I adjusted to racerback for the first time. You know how you’re not supposed to run in new stuff, well, I was a bit concerned about the bra and my new sunglasses, but all was good.
And a Skirtsports visor! Don’t forget code CRJ20 for 20% off any regularly priced item.
I swear the more I wear Skirtsports, the more I fall in love with their clothing. And I love that they go way beyond just cute athletic/running clothes — they really empower women, too!
I can’t leave without a word about the Gym Girl Ultra Skirts. The shortie material is a bit thinner than the Happy Girl Skirts. Twice I’ve had bad chafing from the pockets (including this past Thursday), and I think I’ve figured it out (there was no chafing at all in the race).
If you put anything sharp in the pockets, and I do mean anything sharp, the material is thin enough for it to cut/rub through. In my case that means a gogosqueeze packet — I think gels could be problematic too, and this last time was a Mama chia pouch (which I didn’t like, sadly).
It might not be a problem for you, but it has been for me.
I also applied a lot of anti chafing cream. Before I left, again when I got there . . . there’s not such thing as too much anti chafing cream!
Was the race well run?
Sad to say, for the first time, it was a mixed bag — but still, not as well organized as it’s been in years past. The expo was tiny and disappointing. We talked to one vendor who’d been told the expo would be open on Thursday; it wasn’t (it has been in the past). Apparently the same confusion for some of the volunteers.
Darlene and the friend I drove in with are both part of the Challenge Training teams (I am not; I never train specifically for this race — I’m either just coming off a half, gearing up for one, or I miss it because I’m running a half). They have a VIP tent with refreshments and seats.
I couldn’t find the location where my own running group was meeting up, so sadly I didn’t see those friends, but I did find the VIP tents. So I hung out with Darlene before the race. I’m pretty sure I could have walked right into the tent, too; no one seemed to be checking.
We were told there would be water at the start, but not told that the large signs for “water” in the corrals was where it was. Yeah, that should have been really obvious, but it just wasn’t (and it wasn’t really all that easy to get to, either).It would be nice if they had water for the runners somewhere outside of the starting chute before the race.
Your entry fee allows you one box of Freihofers chocolate chip cookies and one loaf of bread. No one got any bread, not even Darlene who’s speedy. They were also supposed to have apples and bananas afterwards. There were some apples (but not many) but no bananas in sight. There were granola bars and gogurt, but I didn’t particularly want that.
I had a Healthy Warrior Chia bar with me — and I like them — but those cookies called my name and I succumbed. Way too much. They became lunch.
And then there are the results on the official Website. I have no idea what went on with them, but while my bib number is listed, it’s not me and it’s not my time, either (and yes, my bib had the correct information on it).
Luckily there’s a link to a site with more detailed results, and that site is correct. Did they not update the list on the race Website from last year? It’s got the right date — no idea what went on with that.
What I learned
Hydration really makes a huge difference in a hot race. Well, I learned that one at ZOOMA Annapolis last year (they ran out of cups at one aid station, water at another) and, of course, in my last half too.
I made sure to hydrate really well Friday, and Saturday morning, as well. I drank more than I normally would on race morning:
- 2 glasses of water
- 3 glasses of green tea
All before I left the house a bit before 8 am!
Did I get tired and thirsty and hot? Yes! You can see in that photo of me near the firetruck that my face almost matches my shirt. But I didn’t feel like I hit the wall, as I have in some other hot races, and the fact that I was able to sprint to the finish (although of course it was downhill) says a lot. I do think hydrating more than normal helped.
This next part is for the locals. I had always assumed that parking in the Visitor Lot, which is underground and costs $5, would be a hassle or be too full, but my friend did it last year so we did it again this year. Much better than parking in the East Lot (I think it once took us an hour to get out of there!).
If I’m here for the race again next year, I’ll be parking there again. It’s slow going in, but we didn’t rush to leave, and pretty much got right out.
It also allows you to come up through the Concourse, and there’s a bathroom to the left of where packet pickup is. It wasn’t even crowded. So I was even able to use a real bathroom before and after the race, which is always a plus.
Not to mention the expo was also set up Saturday, and I bought another Salted Caramel Honeystinger Waffle because I’d left the one I bought the day before at home. Score!
I will admit I was on the fence about running this race again this year. The late start, the heat, the hassle with parking, the fact that we just got home 4 days before it.
I’m so glad that I did; that my friends basically talked me into it (despite the fact I didn’t see those particular friends!).
Would I feel the same way if I hadn’t met my goal, or felt like I did after the race in 2013 (the only time I’ve had to sit down after a race and obviously it wasn’t a fast race!)?Probably not.
This time the stars aligned to give me a good race that I enjoyed, and could share with friends.
I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.