A couple of months ago, I signed up for two 5k races. I haven’t run a 5k in YEARS, and had forgotten how much I enjoyed them. Last month, I ran the Chamber Challenge 5k in a respectable 31:12. I figured I could do better in Florida, so I was aiming for under 30 minutes.
And then we arrived in Jacksonville and it was HOT. Hot, humid, and not fun running weather. So all of my race goals went out the window.
Leading up to the race, I did a decent amount of running, but the week of the race I did a lot of water aerobics. I only ran once in Jacksonville, and that was race day.
In keeping with race tradition, the baby was up the entire night before the race. I don’t remember how much sleep I got, but I had to be up by 5:15 so I could be on the road at 6:30 (for a 7:30 race.) When I woke up, I realized I had turned the baby monitor off and the baby had been crying, so I was already feeling bad about running that morning.
My dad drove me to the race (the Jacksonville FL Celebration 5k). (This is the second race he’s driven me to. The last one was in Canada three years ago!) We got to the race start, and I had to pick up my chip (note to race organizers – include the chip with the packet pickup! Better yet, get on board with the d-tags. They are so much easier for runners!)
Obviously doing something very important. Like tweeting.
I mentioned to my dad that I can average about a 10 to 11 minute mile, so when they were calling out paces for runners to line up, I went with the 10-minute milers.
The race was supposed to start at 7:30, and it started about two or three minute late (after a botched recording of the national anthem – thank goodness for a solid performance from singing runners, we got through it.)
It was in the mid-70s, with 98% humidity when we started. The race was flat. I expected nothing less. I did not, however, anticipate having to dodge a possum who met his fate that morning. That was gross.
The race organizers ordered flags for people to carry. They ended up being a lot bigger than they had anticipated. I loved seeing them, but ohmygosh I don’t know how people carried them for three miles.
The course was well marked, as far as turns. I remember reading that there was water at mile 1.5, and at the finish. I was pleasantly surprised to see water at the first mile. And my time was 9:20. I grabbed a cup of water (I NEVER take water during a 5k – but it was so humid!) I didn’t stop, though. I also grabbed a cup at the halfway point and continued on.
I never saw a mile marker for two miles. And I was sweating SO much. I was about to ask someone about where we were when I saw the marker for 3 miles, and my time was in the 28 minute range.
One more left turn and I saw the finish line. This is normally where I’d sprint to the finish, but I didn’t have anything left in me. I crossed the finish in 29:24, clock time. I later learned that my chip time was 29:07!
I was a hot mess when it was all over. My dad was at the finish, but he didn’t see me when I crossed and I couldn’t find him. Around 43 minutes into the race, he figured that I had either crossed or passed out on the course. Luckily I found him.
Overall, it was a good race. There was a good amount of bananas and watermelon at the end. There were bottles of water at the finish, but runners were allowed only one bottle. (There were tables with small cups of Gatorade and I saw some people setting up tables for cups of water. I brought my own bottle, which I downed.) I didn’t stick around for the awards. I was lucky I saw my time because there were SO many people around, but they did post them online pretty quickly.
If I’m in Jacksonville for another Fourth of July, I’d definitely consider running this race again!