I've had my fair share of race envy this fall. It seemed like everyone had stellar Stockade-athon and people were PR-ing left and right. Me on the other hand, I've been running more consistently than ever, feeling strong but not seeing any race day results. (most likely brain related)
At any rate, about a month ago I decided to sign up for the Veterans Day Dash 5k. It was being held at my high school and proceeds were going back into the Shenendehowa sports programs as well as Adaptive Sports. With a 20 dollar race entry, I knew it'd be a nice way to spend Veterans Day. I headed up to Clifton Park around 9 to pick up my bib & t-shirt. It was drizzling, but not awful, although there were lots of puddles due to it raining for the past 12+ hours.
I kept my raincoat on as I headed out for a 2 mile warm up. I've noticed during my runs, that it generally isn't until 2-3 miles until I feel warmed up. I took it slow and ran along a road I've been on a million times. I was back at the campus about 9:30 and spent a few minutes just hanging out in the bathroom keeping warm. I ventured out around 9:45 to find water and then decided to acclimate to the rain and cold. I chatted with a Veteran for a bit before the began the pre race festivities.
The invited all of the Vets up to allow us civilians a chance to clap/cheer. (Vets also can run this race for free just fyi) A man offered some words of wisdom, also focusing on thanking our Veterans, encouraging everyone to do their part to honor and thank them, before the singing of the National Anthem. From there we all headed over to the track for the race start.
I saw a friend from high school and gave a quick wave. I should have been more polite but I was going into this hoping to run my hardest and see what I could do. It was a small field, and I inched myself about middle of the pack. Many of the runners were students, so it was hard to gauge who was in it to run, or those that were somehow forced to participate. We were off and then the cannon was shot. I'm not sure if we started early or if the cannon was late ( I think we were early since my watch time is less than the official) but we were off for a wonderful tour of the Shenendehowa campus.
Having gone to school on this campus k-12 I knew where I was and what to expect. I was working hard that first mile - and I didn't trust the average pace function of my watch. For most of the first mile it was reading at high 7s pace ( a pace I don't think I've EVER run) Much to my surprise I came in at the first mile marker at 8'09". My watch did beep ahead - per usual but with all the curves in the road I'm positive I wasn't running the tangents.
I was distracted between miles 1 & 2 as I watched all the runners who were already racing back and then those behind me. I kept looking for some familiar faces but only saw a former camper. I knew I was slowing down but felt like I was at a solid pace. I kept going, skipped the aid station - since I knew I was fully hydrated and would have a hard time getting my step back. ( I noticed this at the Labor Day 5k)
Part of me wanted to surge, but I thought it was a bit early so I kept my pace until I reached the track for the finish. I was behind a girl and her mom. Mom was obviously not talking to me, but she told her daughter to give it everything she had. I just followed. I don't normally get much of a kick at the end of the race, but being on the track helped. I crossed the finish at 27:30.
This is nearly a minute off my race time in September and a new PR, breaking the old one from 2013 by 13 seconds. Since so many of the runners were middle school / high school students or their moms ( most of which are older than the 30s age bracket) I stuck around for the age group awards and the raffles.
I had placed my raffle tickets in the jar for Hewitts Garden Center. Since many people cleared out ( it was still raining and cold) I thought I'd have a decent chance of winning the gift card. I was standing near a Dad & I assume his 3 daughters as they waited for the Olive Garden Raffle. Hewitts was the first raffle called and despite them having to call 3 different numbers, I did not win. I was about the leave when the girl said I should stay to see if she won. Much to all of our surprise, my number was called. I handed the raffle ticket to the girl so she could claim it, before heading to my car to finally warm up.
Overall I really enjoyed the event. I was impressed by how many students there were ( not impressed with the ones throwing water cups at their friends at the water station) Love the long sleeve t-shirt and of course I'll prefer this race since I had a great run today.