**Disclosure: I was contacted by All Community Events a few months ago regarding running one of their events. While my entry to this event was free, opinions (and finish) are all my own.**
I’ll be honest. Friday was a draining day. Every year at the beginning of the school year, we do a big behavior/character ed day (PBIS for my teacher friends) in which the Encore teachers (including PE) teach every student character ed activities, as well as other school-wide expectations. We only get a 30-minute break during the day and teach the same thing every 10 minutes for a 5-hour period. It’s exhausting for EVERYONE, not just those of us running it. So, after a draining day, plus an hour of cross country practice after school, I really was not looking forward to heading downtown to run this race. It probably didn’t help that I had eaten like crap all day long.
However, I do know that my body definitely prefers to run after being on my feet all day. It’s sort of funny really. But, I need that as a warm-up. I’m so sore and achy after I wake up first thing in the morning that I just can’t run as well as I do in the afternoon. Speed comes much faster and feels so much easier after a day of movement. So, I did have that to my advantage.
I had posted on Facebook after registering for the race and my friend Stefanie decided to sign-up as well. It’s funny – I’m so used to going to races by myself (unless I’m running with my big bro), so it was definitely nice to have someone to ride with downtown and chat with before the start of the race. Stefanie also invited her cousin Brittany and a friend from our high school days (Stef’s running buddy) Emily to join us at the race. So, I actually had a lot of company before the race started – including running in to one of my students, who thankfully was nice enough to take this picture!
While I had the day to warm-up for the race, I decided to go ahead and do an easy mile to warm-up my legs and get them used to running again. I was afraid of dealing with another hamstring injury after a race like I did back in February, so I figured a warm-up was probably the smartest thing I could do.
The race started at 8:10PM, so we didn’t even head to the starting line until 8PM. It was a very narrow starting shoot, and it was technically only supposed to be for those people who were being chipped timed. Of course, I end up with someone who doesn’t listen to directions and was planning on walking the entire race. PSA people: If you are NOT planning on RACING this for time or know you are not going to win, DO NOT line up in the front. While it wasn’t critical at this race, sometimes there are prizes and money on the line, and you will most likely get trampled since you are walking the race. Nothing against people walking, just don’t line up in the VERY FRONT. *Rant Over*
So, of course, when the gun goes off, I have to dodge people who are not trying to race and are just out there to enjoy a fun run. I had to run partially on the grass to get around some people before I found a good opening and was able to get a decent pace going. One thing I don’t like about running in Forest Park is that it is actually pretty hilly. The race started in the upper Muny parking lot, so we had a downhill to start the race. But, from that also meant there was going to be a fun uphill on the way back.
The course was really cool though. While I’ve run plenty of races in Forest Park, it was fun running through the park at night and there were fun 80s themed blowups and tunnels. Which really was needed as there were ZERO crowds cheering us on. The music and lights at least got me pumped up throughout the race.
My first mile felt super comfortable and I decided to just start trying to catch up and pass people slowly. Everyone in front of me was a male, so I already knew that I was the first female. I passed all but 1 guy in front of me in the first 2 miles, and I knew that it was going to be pretty tough to catch the first place male. And I was definitely OK with that.
Mile 1 – 6:32
Right around the 2 mile mark, you turn back toward the starting line the same way you go out. It was nice because by the time I got to that point, everyone was walking and I kept getting cheers. I really love getting cheered on – it pumps you up so much and make you feel great! There was a bicyclist in front of me the whole time (dropping glow sticks, by the way) who helped keep everyone going the opposite direction to the left side of the street, which was super nice for me since I didn’t have to dodge around people.
Mile 2 – 6:38
The last mile also was probably the hardest mile for me. I feel like it’s been awhile since I really ran hard + fast and I ended up getting a chest pain, which I knew would work itself out. I don’t know if it’s a lung issue or what, but I only get it occasionally, and it only lasts a minute or 2. But of course, at this point, it was pretty much all up hill. It was also super duper dark the last quarter mile of the race, which I felt slowed me down a little bit because I couldn’t really see where I was supposed to run!
Mile 3 – 6:46
I was really hoping for close to 20 minutes, but I knew I would be happy if I was under 21. Which I was and finished as the 1st overall female!
Official Time – 20:40
1st Overall Female
I did a little bit of a cool down as I waited for my friends to finish (you can check out the video of the course over on The Concrete Runner Facebook page!) and luckily, we didn’t even have to wait for awards! Once we met back up, we made our way out of the park and out for dinner and drinks! It was SUCH a fun night out with friends that I ended up registering for another Friday night race with them next month!