My original plan for this year was to actually train for a 5k for a change. Outside of my first (and my slowest), I’ve never specifically trained for one — I just run one every now and again.
Well, being sick on and off for January and February and some of March, too — that never happened.
The Cherry Blossom 5k was a new-to-me race. I’ve been away some years when friends ran it, and other years I think I was just too deep into half marathon training. One of my husband’s aunts passed away from ALS, though, so we have a connection to the disease (the charity for the race).
Just don’t ask us to show you any cherry blossoms!
There was Packet Pickup at the local Fleet Feet on Friday — no thank you: it was in the late afternoon and that road gets bogged down with traffic. I considered going to the race location the day before, as you could also pick it up then, but my friends assured me there was no need and that worked for me.
Packet pickup was easy, as we got there nice and early, except for the one person in our group who, as it turned out, had actually never signed up for the race. The tee is a nice soft tee, but not a tech tee; it runs true to size. I got a medium, because so often race shirts run small, and if they don’t, I’d rather have a shirt that’s larger than too small.
We had snagged a parking space close to the start — there is basically no parking for the race; some people park in bank parking lots; the rest park on the street. Thank you, Chris, for agreeing to pick me up!
My Race Plan
I actually looked up my 5k PR, looked at my splits, and made a simple plan to try to shave a few seconds off of each mile: 10:13, 10:13, and 10:04 (which Coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy approved).
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 10:03. Of course I was very happy with this mile — that’s almost the fastest mile I have ever run in a race. There’s a nice down hill in this “flat and fast” race in the first mile.
- Mile 2: 10:45. Well, maybe that first mile was too fast. But there was the water stop in this mile and yeah, I walked more than I probably should have. I was thirsty!
- Mile 3: 10:26. At least I picked up the pace. More likely less walking.
- Last .1: 11:06. I am not sure why that last little bit was slow; probably because I’d given it my all.
32:14 — Official Time
10:22 — Average Pace
23 our of 41 in my AG
287 out of 424 runners
I won’t lie — I was kind of disappointed. The cool weather was in my favor. I knew trying to PR was a reach, but if you don’t reach for the stars, how will you ever find out what you can do?
It is what it is, though. Not my best 5k, not a bad 5k time for me, and nowhere near my worst 5k time. Even before I ran this race, I was considering another 5k in a few weeks — another good cause and another flattish course. I think all my 5k PRs have come in the fall, though, after months of training for halfs, so redemption is questionable. Maybe with Coach Rachel’s guidance . . .
I still wonder about my 5k PR. It didn’t even feel hard! This race definitely felt hard.
The weather & dressing
The weather was not nice. Not nice at all. Rainy, 40s, windy so felt colder. On the plus side, it wasn’t pouring.
I wore with my Triple Pocket Leggings in Charmed, Wonder Wool Long Tee, and Double Take Reversible Jacket from Skirt Sports. It was the perfect outfit for me. Don’t forget to use code 522CRJ for 15% off of non sale items at Skirt Sports.
I knew I’d get warm during the race, and I did, but that’s what zippers are for. I was so cold both before and afterwards. A lot of people complained about having trouble breathing — allergies, I suppose — I was huffing and puffing simply because I was running hard!
Was the race well run?
I would say the race was pretty well run. Some people did some to have issues with their bibs, but none of us did (well, not once our friend realized she really never did sign up for the race).
No real bathrooms, but there really weren’t lines for the portapotties until shortly before the race. Most of us had already used them by that point and just walked in and out of them. Parking is an issue, but you’re warned about that — we stayed warm in the car until race time. There was ample volunteer support and the course was well marked.
There was water, chocolate milk, bagels, bananas, oranges — maybe some more stuff — post race. I had brought my own protein bar so I didn’t really look over the offerings. There were some vendors selling some stuff, too — more food, at least — but again, we were all cold and wet and not interested in looking them over.
Would I run this race again? Most likely only if there were a group of us going again. Although well run and a good cause, it’s not scenic and apparently the weather is almost always this bad.
Now, if we actually had cherry blossoms like you do down in DC . . .