This past Saturday I ran the Rock ‘n’ Read 5k to benefit the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
I raced the Labor Day Funk Run 5k five days earlier and didn’t have the best experience. My only goal was to run this race smarter than I ran on Monday. Meaning no positive splitting.
Things were a little hectic before the start. My husband and kids came with me, and it took a lot longer than anticipated to pick up our bibs (my son did the kids’ dash), feed my daughter, and find a real bathroom for my newly potty-trained son (I don’t think he’s quite ready for porta potties yet – gag).
I only had time for a mile warm-up when I was planning two miles. But I think this ended up being a blessing in disguise because I didn’t get too hot and sweaty before the race. It was 75 degrees and 98% humidity by 7:30 a.m.
Mile 1: The first mile was mostly downhill. A few of my friends ran this race in 2012 and 2013 and they warned me it was incredibly hilly. I assumed the course must have changed because there were no uphills in sight. I felt strong, I thought a PR was inevitable, and I hoped I could place overall (it was a very small race). I thought there was one woman in front of me, but I honestly wasn't paying too much attention at the start so I wasn't sure. 6:33 pace.
Mile 2: As soon as we passed the first mile marker, I saw the first hill. A long, gradual hill – my favorite kind. I’ll take long, slow climbs over steep rolling hills any day of the week. The hill seemed to go on forever. Then we made a turn and I thought we’d finally get relief, but nope! The hill continued. My friends were right -- this course was not easy at all.
I needed to distract myself so I started counting how many guys I passed. This sounds awful, but I absolutely love chicking guys during races. I got mocked by guys fairly often in high school and college for having "thunder thighs", and I think I have some leftover anger. So, I get a kick out of using my thighs to pass men. I get zero satisfaction if I pass a woman, but if it’s a dude, I feel like superwoman. #girlpower 7:18 pace.
Mile 3: Seeing that 7:18 pace flash on my Garmin made me want to cry. I was blowing up just like I did on Monday. But despite the constant uphill and slowing pace, I felt fairly strong. I was beyond sick of the hill and prayed for flat road, but I didn’t feel like I was doing that badly. At 2.5 miles exactly we made a turn and the hill ended. I was elated, but when I tried to speed up my legs were tired. I just pushed as hard as I could to the finish line. 7:09 pace.
Finish time: 21:35 – first female overall -- 14 guys passed.
I didn’t look at my watch at all during the third mile, and I’m still kicking myself for it now. My PR s 21:33 and had I known I was so close, I definitely would have pushed harder towards the end. Oh well! I have mixed feelings on the race. On one hand, I feel like I should have held back in the first mile and ran smarter. But on the other hand, I'm not sure it would have mattered given the course profile. Negative splitting doesn’t make sense on every course.
I was really shocked to come in first. Yay for small races! I thought there was another female in front of me the whole time, but I was wrong. As as the first overall female, I won $150! I donated the money back to the library, though, since I was given free entry to the race.
Then the real fun began! It was time for Wyatt’s race! The poor guy had been up since 6:00 a.m. asking when he was going to get to race, and he had to wait until 9:00 a.m.
He did great! I love how much he loves running! He was a little distracted by the Chick-fil-a cow during the race, though – he ran over to the cow halfway through his run and asked the cow to pick him up. Thankfully, he regrouped and finished strong.
My poor little guy started crying afterwards saying he didn’t want his race to be over. I know how you feel, bud. Mommy prefers longer distances, too!
This past Sunday night, my husband, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I were sitting around my inlaws’ table chatting about running. I had 800m repeats on the docket for the next morning and was trying to convince someone to join me at the track at 5:30 a.m.
Somehow we got on the subject of 10ks and I realized I’ve only ever raced two 10ks. Crazy! Then Laura remembered that there was a race in my inlaws’ town the next morning, and she thought there was a 10k option. That sounded so tempting! Racing a 10k would essentially be the same thing as 9x 800m, right?
Except there was no 10k option for the Labor Day Funk Run this year, only a 5k. None of us had any interest in running the 5k until we realized the top male and female would each receive $100 cash. We looked at the participant list and saw there were only 80 runners registered. We may or may not have spent the next half hour Googling a lot of the registered runners’ previous race times. <--- I can’t believe I just admitted that publicly! #stalker
We decided that my brother-in-law and I each had a shot at winning (cheers for small races), and my husband and sister-in-law would probably place, too. The registration fee was steep – $30 each – but if two of us took home $100, it’d be worth it. Right?
Wow, that was the longest intro to a race ever! But that’s the story of how I ended up running a 5k on Labor Day. I literally had no plans of doing so until 12 hours beforehand.
We arrived at registration at 7:00 a.m. -- an hour before the start – and I immediately regretted my decision to race and skip my planned workout. I’m just not used to running when the sun is out! All summer, the heat and humidity haven’t bothered me one bit because I start my runs by 5:30 or 6 a.m.
And then I saw her. The girl who would beat me. At small races, I can always pick out the women who are around my pace or faster than me. (The other two women I was concerned about came in 3rd and 4th.)
Even though I knew I essentially had no shot of winning, I wanted to race well. I did an easy 2 mile warm-up and felt pretty good, despite the heat. I ran part of the course and saw that it’d be hilly, but it was similar to the hills that I was used to at home, so I wasn’t worried.
Finally, it was time to start. The first mile felt great! The speedy girl took off and I never saw her again, but I was in second place from the first half mile on. When my watched beeped 6:43 after the first mile, I felt awesome. My 5k PR pace is 6:57 and I had a feeling I’d PR, which I didn’t expect.
And then I fell apart. There were more hills and less shade in mile 2, and I just couldn’t hold it together. I was so mad at myself for going out so fast and getting my hopes up. Rookie mistake. Mile 2: 7:00.
I made it my goal to run mile 3 faster than mile 2. I tried thinking of every inspiring running mantra I know “you’re stronger than you think”, “you can do anything for a mile”. “it’s your choice to finish strong.” But none of them worked. I completely blew up on the final hill, and decided that 5ks are the worst race distance ever. Mile 3: 7:18.
I crossed the finish line in 22:01 – 29 seconds off a PR. I was pretty proud of my time because my PR is 3 years old. I was not happy with how I ran the race, though, but it was a good learning experience. I have another 5k on Saturday and my only goal is to run the race smart. These days I care more about how I feel during a race than the time on the clock. I feel a lot better about myself when I negative split rather than positive split!
I came in second place overall and while I didn’t receive the $100 cash prize, I did earn a $50 gift card to a running store! Sweet! Plus, I also received free Chick-fil-a lunch and an awesome framed record.
My brother-in-law came in third overall, and my sister-in-law and husband both snagged first place in their age groups!
No one set any speed records, but we each earned a fancy Funk Run record! It was a lot of fun racing with my family. We need to do more races together – preferably with more than 12 hours lead time!
I have a fun giveaway for my fellow Charlotte-area friends this morning: who wants to run the Rock n Read 5k?
The Rock n Read 5k run/walk, 1-mile fun run, and kids’ dash will be held in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte on Saturday, September 6. This 5k is unique because it offers live music along every mile of the course – hence the “rock” part of the name! At the finish line, there’s also more live music plus plenty of food and adult beverages.
The race benefits the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system. The goal is to raise $25,000 for the library’s books and materials budget. I absolutely love the cause because I take my kids to the library’s (free!) programs all of the time.
I’m going to run the 5k and Wyatt is going to do the kids’ dash – I’m so excited! I actually ran this race back in 2011 when I was pregnant with him so it’s nice to come full circle.
If you want to register for the Rock n Read 5k, you can do so here. The organizers of the race are also giving away a free entry to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you’d love to run the race! The giveaway will be open until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, August 21, 2014. I’ll announce the winner next Friday. Good luck!