After running The Glo Run last month, my new running buddies convinced me to do another night race much closer to home – the Illumirun 5K race. I’m pretty much down with any 5K race that is 15 minutes from home and is a mostly flat, fast course! It didn’t take much convincing as I signed up the day after The Glo Run. Plus, I’m finding that races are SO much more fun when friends are there running with you and cheering you on!
However, I will admit that I was a little disappointed with a few aspects of the race. First of all, in the emails leading up to packet pickup, they gave 2 days to pick up your packet, neither of which I could make. Thankfully, they did allow you to sign a waiver for someone else to pick up your packet. However, come to find out that there was in fact race day pickup. Ugh. Not very good communication there.
Second, and something I found really strange, when the girls and I put on our numbers, they were 3 numbers in order – 730, 731, and 732. Van Horn is definitely not close to the Ms, which both of my friends last names start with Ms. Stefanie even said that packet pickup took forever – apparently because she had to prepare the bags and numbers (which had the D-tag ON the bib) when she picked them up. I just found that really odd – usually you are assigned a number WAY before packet pickup.
Third, and maybe the reason I shouldn’t be surprised packet pickup was the way it was, it was a super small race. And I was really surprised that it was that small. The weather Thursday and most of Friday was really, really rainy, so they ended up canceling a lot of the other events (food trucks, band, etc.) that were to take pace after the run. Only, of course it cleared up and the trail was mostly dry by the time the race started. So, instead, there were less than 200 runners in the race. Yup, it was a small one.
OK, enough complaining because it really was a fun race! I went with my new running buddies, Stefanie + Emily, but was able to connect with one of the girls I coach, Lindsay, as well as one of Matt’s former runners and a girl from work. Knowing people running makes running SO much more fun! So, of course, I’m chatting with all of these people and almost miss the start of the race! We were lined up and I was talking to Lindsay about her race goal, and all of a sudden I hear them counting down and the horn go off! AH! So, I ended up spending the first quarter-mile trying to get in a good position.
During my warm-up, I was trying to think of a good race strategy. I really just don’t have a race strategy for a 5K. It’s mostly just “run fast”. I know, that sounds stupid, but I just struggle to find a good race strategy for a 5K. However, this race certainly helped me begin to figure one out. Once I got in a good position, my goal was to just move my way up and hope to be in 2nd place by the time I hit the 1 mile mark.
The 1 mile is right when you turn into a park and go into the woods for a bit. I passed the last 2 runners in front of me to put me in second right after the first mile. Of course, that meant that I was going to spend the rest of the race super lonely. I could see the first place runner a good 50-100 yards ahead of me (Matt’s former runner who I knew was going to beat me going in to the race), the golf cart in front of him, but I was all alone in the woods. And scared to death that I was going to roll my ankles – I just could not SEE! The entire race was lit up by really cool LED luminaries, but they really didn’t help you see the actual path very well.
About the half way point is the turn around point – and a 45-degree hill that lasts about 6 steps. It was not a pleasant surprise, and thanks to the rain, was super slippery. But, after that, it was flat and straight. I could no longer see Mike up ahead (although he did wave to me at the turnaround) and again, spent the rest of the race completely alone. I ran my second mile in 6:40 – 3 seconds faster than my first mile. After seeing that (and knowing I wasn’t going to PR), my goal was to make my last mile my fastest mile and get into the 6:30s.
Mile 1 – 6:43
Mile 2 – 6:40
Mile 3 – 6:34
Mile .06 – 18.59
Official Time – 20:16
Mission accomplished! I crossed the finish line 2nd overall (first female) and 25 seconds faster than my race just 3 weeks ago! I’m feeling super confident and SO ready to start focusing on the 5K and 10K again once RNRSTL is over next month! I can’t believe it is just 1 month away!