Remember how Dave and I race-crashed that 5K in Tennessee? Turns out the Oxbow Tower 5K on Sunday ended up much the same.
We got to the park a little late… about one minute before start time (whoops…). We ran to the start and saw the people already on their way. I started my watch and we quickly jumped in.
The good: if you start at the very end of the pack (AKA start late) you get to pass a lot of people and feel super fast and super cool.
The bad: in your anxiety about starting late and wanting to make up time, you sprint the first mile and then burn out.
The good and the bad both happened. Since we started late Dave decided to just run with me. The first mile he kept asking if I was going too fast and I kept saying “no, no.” Yes, yes. I think that first mile was about 7:30. Um, way too fast for me. Especially on slightly less than 100% lung capacity due to nagging weird sickness that has yet to ever identify itself as something full-blown. So mile 1 was crazy fast and miles 2 and 3 were gasping for air, slogging along. Throw in hills and trails – neither of which I’m used to running on – and I was hurting toward the end. Final time (unofficial): 26:53. I was disappointed, both because we didn’t get a proper start and because I knew I ran stupid and therefore wrecked my time. I ended up getting 4th place in my age group, but with the time on my watch I would have gotten third, if we’d started with everyone. Rats.
Also, we forgot to take any pictures.
But we did get some sweet medals! Dave decided since we ran together our medals should hang together. I didn’t realize he meant literally. Here are our super-glued together medals:
The race itself was great. The course was beautiful (in a county park, through the forests, on trails) and lots of people came out to watch and cheer. 275 people ran, and this was the first time they ever did this 5K. It was only $15 to enter and everyone received a medal and a drawstring backpack with some swag – Wheaties, a Larabar, coupons. Not bad!
There was a huge spread of post-race food: bananas, organic granola bars, Larabars, frosted animal crackers, leftover Halloween candy, Wheaties, muffins, brownies, homemade cookies, pretzels. To keep down the price the race directors opted not to do timing chips, which didn’t bother me. I don’t really care if I have an official time or not – my watch is good enough – and I’d rather do a 5K for cheap than pay more just for timing. I’m not sure how they’ll break down timing, but when you came in the shoot you were issues a popsicle stick with your place number written on it, which was then recorded.
I love races, but it was really fun to do a smaller, less organized one. It felt kind of like a cross country meet! In fact, a lot of the winners (both overall and in younger age groups) were middle school and high school cross country runners.
I love half marathons and marathons, but I can definitely see the appeal of a 5K. You can run faster and it only takes an hour or two out of your day instead of almost the entire day. My goal is still to actually run one – registered and there on time.
What’s your favorite race distance? Why?