Today, I ran the Teal Wings of Hope 5K at Veteran’s Park in Hamilton, NJ. My husband joined me by walking the 5K. It was his very first 5K!!!
It was a beautiful, late summer morning; a little hot in the sun, but otherwise the weather was perfect for a race. We got there about an hour before the start time, so we picked up our t-shirts, registration information, and a map of the course.
The map was pretty confusing! It was handwritten and drawn by someone in 1991, so some of the landmarks had changed. We were able to compare the handwritten map to a posted map of the park from 2008 and generally figured out the path of the course. We also took a short walk around the park before the race began.
The race began a few minutes later than the anticipated 9:00 AM start time. I’ve noticed a pattern at the beginning of every race I’ve participated in: I can NEVER hear what the race coordinator (person with the megaphone) is saying! Maybe the people at the front of the crowd (the really fast runners) can hear them, but I can’t make out more than a couple of words. It would probably be better if each runner were just given a sheet of paper with their race bib that explains the important information they need to know about the course.
Anyway, I started the run in the middle of the pack and I definitely felt influenced by the crowd to go slower than I wanted to. This seems to have been a good thing, though, because it forced me to take it easy during the first half-mile or so, and my pace remained pretty consistent throughout the course! I even ended up with a new PR of 31:57.93 with a 10:17/mi pace! For many advanced runners this is slow, but for me it was my best run yet!
The weird thing is that I felt like I was running pretty slowly at points. The hilly areas of the park’s trail were really tough at times! I remember thinking about how horses must feel when they’re forced to canter faster than they want to… I also thought I was not doing that great and I kept telling myself, “It’s you vs. you. So you always win!” Those mental pep talks really help me during difficult moments in a race! In reality, though, I was doing much better than I usually do during my training workouts!
Official Race Statistics:
Time: 31:57.93 (My new PR!)
Place: 122 out of ? (unknown for now…)
Cooper (12 min) 2.1 km
1 km 5m:34s
1 mile 9m:08s
3 miles 29m:51s
5 km 30m:50s
Endomondo claims I finished the 5K in 30m:50s. My husband’s Endomondo stats were also different from his official race statistics. His theory is that the course was mapped such a long time ago (maybe pre-1991?) that the distance is just not accurate. I think the course may be 0.15 to 0.25 miles longer than 5K based on my GPS readings.
After I finished the race, I grabbed a water, some Gatorade, a small piece of cake, and an orange. I drank the Gatorade, ate the cake, and struggled with the orange (it was a whole orange and I had a lot of trouble peeling it). Then I took the water and hurried back onto the course to catch up with my husband and walk with him a little before he reached the finish line.
Once he finished, we grabbed some more snacks and looked around for a bit before leaving. The race was definitely a lot of fun and it felt good to run in support of such a great cause!
The Teal Wings of Hope Foundation‘s mission is to raise awareness about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer and provide support for Ovarian Cancer survivors and their families. A special thanks to them for working in support of such an important cause!