A crisp, sunny September day. Over 200 women gathered to go for a 3.1-mile run together. Pink and sparklies fill the crowd. Friends to share the experience with.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Girls Night Out All-Female 5K in downtown Kokomo yesterday. I picked that race for a few reasons:
1. Proximity: It was nice and close to home, just a 30-minute drive.
2. Time: It started at 5:00pm, which meant no rushing around to leave the house at the crack of dawn.
3. Price/Cause: It was pretty inexpensive: $18, and it benefited the local women’s shelter.
4. Buddy: My friend Kassie, who I had run a 5K with in April, decided to run with me.
So, all in all, lots of good reasons! And when Saturday dawned with gorgeous crisp-cool sunny weather, it was just icing on the cake.
I had oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread (no cheese) and a fried green tomato for lunch. Normally I would avoid fried foods on race day, but um, it sounded good. And it wasn’t like it was deep-fried, more like sauteed. (And darn it all, my garden-fresh tomato days are numbered!) Even though I enjoyed having a nice leisurely morning, these night races are always a little tricky, figuring out what to do during the day. I canned peaches with a friend, but I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible.
We drove to Kokomo with Kassie and Tim and arrived at Grace United Methodist Church at around 4:40, which was where the registration and packet pickup was. The start/finish were right next to the church. It was a great location, very well organized. Churches rock for being involved in community events like this.
We waited in the parking lot with the hubbies and took a few pictures. Then Kassie and I joined the crowd towards the back of the pack.Â A pastor from the church led us in prayer, and the national anthem singer had everyone sing along. It was really cool to hear voices all around me singing, like a choir. I’m thinking about how I wished I’d taken one more drink out of my water bottle.
Took off a little fast, maybe. We ran south on city streets and then onto a paved Cardinal-Greenway-like trail that led to a park. Kassie and I ran together for the first mile. We passed a lot of people. Then I stopped for water at the aid station and she went on ahead. At the first mile marker, the guy called out: 9:11. I thought, cool, I might be able to make it under 28 minutes, which was my goal.
The course wound through the park, where some kind of country-western music festival was going on. I’m not a fan, but it was nice to have something live to listen to. (I’d chosen to run without headphones.) The trail was really shaded. They had plenty of volunteers directing runners. All dudes, naturally! The police was also blocking traffic on a few streets for us.
At the second mile marker, I heard 18:35. Hmm. I was getting a little tired and my window for making it under 28 was shrinking. Running fast is NOT my strength. I’m more of an ambler. And then there was a fairly steep hill about half a mile to the finish. I just kept thinking that Steve was going to ask, could you have done anything different? Could you have ran harder? So I pushed. At 3 miles, I heard 28:11. Phooey. Ah well, these things happen.
I started to sprint to the finish, to try to get under 29. But there was a lady ahead of me, and the chute was really narrow. I was afraid if I passed her, she might startle and get hurt. Steve was urging me on, and even afterwards, he said there was room to pass her before the chute. Well, these are judgement calls we must make. My phone GPS said the course was actually 3.3 miles, so taking that into consideration, I did about a 9:01 mile pace. Not too shabby for Rachel.
It was a pretty low-tech operation and the results were tabulated pretty much by hand. So we waited until the awards ceremony to find out if we placed at all. No such luck this time, but it was fun to watch the rest of the race. Also, no raffle prizes were won, but we were OK with that because it seemed like most of the raffle prizes were tanning bed sessions. Um, no thanks.
Then we drove off to our real reward – dinner at Half Moon Brewery, a recent restaurant discovery that has excellent BBQ and fried pickles. Yum. Headed home to chat some more with Kassie and Tim and play with Lucy. All in all, a great day! I’d definitely do this race again!