This past Saturday, I participated in a small, local 5k. It was put on by the LGE Foundation
, which is associated with the LGE Community Credit Union and organizes fundraisers for local non-profit organizations.
The race was held at a local business park and only had 75 participants. However, I was impressed by how organized it was. Orion
was there to provide chip timing, there was plenty of food and drinks (water, bagels, oranges, and more), and we got a shirt and a goody bag filled with some pretty useful stuff - ibuprofen, Biofreeze gel, bandaids, chapstick with SPF, a small flashlight, and a pen. This is only the second race I've been in with chip timing and I was quite pleased that it was available.
|Start and finish line|
The course left the parking lot of the business park and circled around the business park. After running races in Washington where the courses were all in wooded parks or near lakes, I'm getting used to races in the suburbs and I appreciate the creativity in setting up a course where I never would have thought to put one. We had to do two laps. This course seemed longer than the last one where I raced on the road around the local mall. I had never been back in this business park before (just driven by it), and every time I thought I had turned the last corner, there was another turn and another stretch. I also didn't know we'd have to go behind the buildings in the parking lot a second time in order to get to the finish.
I was still dealing with my IT band during this race, and unlike the last 5k, it did start to bother me during the race. Luckily it was manageable and didn't slow me down or cause me to walk. Since there were not many participants and a lot of them didn't seem to want to be near the front, I was one of the first few people to cross the start line. It's the closest I've been to the start in a race and it was fun to be at the front! When my watch beeped at the first mile, I saw that my pace was 8:37 - very fast for me! If I could keep that up, I'd have a shot at beating my PR.
On the second lap around the course, I started to get tired. I was trying to keep up with a few people ahead of me, but they slowly got further away. I stayed within a few feet of one man who seemed to be going the same pace as me. We caught up to and passed the participants that were walking the 5k. I thought that the finish was near and that we'd go straight up into the parking lot towards the finish instead of going behind the buildings again, but the distance left according to my GPS watch didn't match up with that. It was because we did have to go behind the buildings again and then turn and run through the parking lot. This made me feel even more tired knowing I had a lot further to go than I thought, and it crossed my mind that it would be nice to just slow down or stop running. But I pushed on.
As we came out from behind the buildings onto the final stretch through the parking lot, I started sprinting. I could see that the race clock was in the high 26 minute range, so I was definitely going to beat my PR of 27:50. The man I had been near for most of the race sped up too, and a woman behind me did as well. I heard the announcer say that it was a three way race at the moment as he noticed us sprinting towards the finish. The man crossed a couple seconds before me, and I crossed a couple seconds before the woman.
After getting some water and walking around slowly for a couple minutes, feeling like I might die, I noticed that Orion was putting the times up on a screen as people finished. I saw that I was 13th with a time of 27:05! I beat my previous PR by 45 seconds - a huge improvement in just a week's time! My 5k goal time for the year 2016 is to break 27 minutes, and I couldn't believe I'd gotten that close to reaching my goal for the year this early in the year!
I then noticed that the other half of the screen was showing where people placed in their age group by gender. The results for the 20-29 year old women came up, and I was in first place in my group! I couldn't believe it initially and it took a couple minutes to process. I'd had a rough couple days before the race and this made everything seem better. I'd never got first in anything before. It didn't matter to me that it was a small race and that there ended up only being 7 people in my age group. I was so happy!
|Age group results - what a surprise!|
It got even better - they announced that everyone should stick around for the awards. They gave out trophies to the top man and woman, and then they gave out third, second, and first place medals in each age group. So now I have a first place medal - I never thought that would happen!
|I'm so proud of this medal!|
As I was walking back to the car, I got an email with my time and results. Overall, I was very impressed with the timing. I loved that they put times and results up near the finish so everyone could see how they did and where they stood, and I appreciated being notified about my results so quickly! I thought this race would be fairly low key and we wouldn't get much; that it would be more of a "show up and run and we'll write down your time". With the chip timing, medals, shirts, goody bag, and food, this ended up being one of the best organized races I've been to with the best goodies! I'm definitely doing this again next year.
|Email results. Very impressed with Orion! |