Final Mile Race Management had a promotion this year: free birthday races! My birthday fell on a Saturday this year and there happened to be a race, Groovin’ @The Grove 5k & Family Fun Run in Deland. I got a free registration by sending a copy of my ID -- sweet! The race was to benefit Citrus Grove Elementary School and had a lot of students signed up to race.
Training & Goals
In February I ran 3 times per week, usually two 5K runs plus one "long" run in the 10K range. This was my fourth 5K race in a row in February, and I had gotten a PR in each previous race. Noob gains were still going strong! Since it was my birthday and I was looking forward to a fun day out with my husband, I told myself that I wouldn't worry about making another PR. *cough* *cough*
Race Day: February 27, 2016 (my 44th birthday!)
We arrived at the school about 25 minutes before race time. It was cold out, perfect running weather but cold standing-around weather, so I picked up my shoe tag and waited in the car until about 5 minutes before the 8:00AM start. It was 48°F and sunny.
Mile 1: 10:04
There looked to be a lot of folks who were going to walk the course, so I tried to position myself mid-forward at the start. An older gentleman runner standing next to me wished me good luck and shook my hand. Kids from the school sang the national anthem before the DJ hit the airhorn and we were off. We looped around the school parking lot and then headed into the neighborhood for the lollipop course. We had been told there were spectators in the neighborhood sitting out with signs in their front yards. One family had a sign that read MAY THE COURSE BE WITH YOU. We passed the water stop just before the loop close to the mile 1 marker. I took two ~:30 walk breaks at about 4 minute intervals.
Mile 2: 10:16
More spectators with signs. A couple of little girls cheered us on with pom-poms. They were adorable. Others wished us a good morning or encouraging words. I took two more short walking breaks and noticed a couple of other runners taking similar short breaks at similar intervals. A fellow runner I menally dubbed White Tube Sock Woman seemed to be running very close to my pace.
Mile 3+: 9:58, 1:23*
We passed the water stop again shortly after M2, regaining the out-and-back part of the route. I took a cup during a short walk break, my last on the run. Now I was racing closely against White Tube Sock Woman, who I guessed was in a younger age group. We approached the school and as I turned into the parking lot I started running as fast as I could, overtaking WTSW briefly. With 50 yards to go I could hear her gaining on me, and she overtook me right at the end. But I also saw the clock read just slightly over 31:xx so I hoped for a new PR when the results were posted.
White Tube Sock Woman ended up being in my age group, but we were well behind the top finishers. As I was sucking down a bottle of water I saw her sitting on the curb next to me. She offered her hand so we could congratulate each other on a great race.
Chip time: 30:55 (1:08 PR)
Placement details: 8th in age, 67th overall out of 173 finishers
Race Amenities: Swag included a short sleeve ladies tech top. No finisher medals.
*I often forget to turn off my Garmin after a race, so the final time is skewed.
Report written March 8, 2016