Sunday, October 30, 2011

Race Review: Gray Ghost 5k

This was the first race I've done since May, when I was 24 weeks pregnant. And that race I didn't finish.

After Baby #3 was born in the middle of August, I decided to start the Couch to 5k program. I got through Week 6 before the Gray Ghost. I've been jogging at 11-12 minute miles and walking at 20 minute miles. The longest I've run so far is about 1-1/2 miles. I've been doing all my training on the treadmill in the basement while Kids #1 and #2 watch Sprout and Kid #3 naps. I've missed some workouts because the baby cries.

Race Day
We left home at 11 to get to Anoka before they closed the only road in and out of town at 12:15. I nursed the baby and then my sister & I hopped out of the van. My hubby and the kids drove over to park closer to the finish and past the parade route, so we could leave when we wanted to without being stuck in Anoka. 

We picked up our race numbers and decided not to wait in the super long bathroom line. The temp read 45 degrees but it didn't seem chilly at all. We got toward the back of the starting corral because I didn't think I was going to be fast. We met another woman who has a new baby and found out she and I had the same goal time: 35 minutes.

I kept my cell phone with me so I could find my hubby after the race. It was a good thing too. I had to call him minutes before the race to get instructions on using the Garmin.

The Start
The start was pretty funny: just a guy hollering "Here we go!" I started the watch right away because I didn't know if there was an official starting line or what. Turns out there was, so the watch was running for a minute or so before we actually got to the line. And we started too far back. Maybe it is better to start out in front to avoid the walkers and slow strollers. We spent a while walking and then slowly jogging around, trying to get through the crowd. It seemed like there were a lot more people this year than in previous years. The first mile or so of the race is along the parade route, which is super fun. The crowd along the street cheers a lot, and some kids were throwing candy at the runners. I almost stopped for a mini Butterfinger. 

The Race
After the slow start, my sister and I settled into what seemed to be my pace. We got through the first mile a-okay and even past that a ways. My sister has been running for a year or so, and she's pretty fast on short races. But she stuck with me the whole race and was a great motivator. We did take a couple walk breaks but kept them short--like less than a block. The road was super crowded. I mean, there were a ton of people there. And my sister kept saying "Ooh, look at that costume." All I could think was "I can't look, I'm dying." And she'd say, "What a cute pumpkin," and I'd think, "I can't see. I'm going blind from exhaustion." And when I wanted to walk, she'd push me a bit longer. She kept saying "your legs will be so sexy." It was great!

The Finish
My hubby and kids were real close to the finish line. It was fun to see them cheering and clapping as we went by. We forgot the cowbells! According to the Garmin, we did 37:57. According to the time clock, we did 38:something. I can't find the official race results online, so I'm sticking with the Garmin time, knowing that I started the watch too early. I bet we really did 37. 

I'm happy with that time even if it's 2 minutes slower than I originally said. During my training, I thought I had been way too aggressive with the goal and would do about 42. Not a bad start to my new running career. A great baseline for improvement.

I think it's dumb that Anoka shuts down 169 so it's impossible to get out of there. We have to drive all the way to Coon Rapids to cross the river. Because of this irritation, we're going to do the Jack-o-Lantern 5k in Shakopee next year. 

On to make goals for the Turkey Trot. 

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