Lakewood Ranch, FL
For the past 10 weeks, I have been on of 3 coaches, training a group of people to run a 5K. This was the weekend of the races. Most of our group was running the Friday evening run, The Jingle. My plan was to find one of my girls and run with them. I worked most of the day, making sure to keep hydrated, since it was a warm day and looked like it would be a warm and humid night. I headed over to the race area about an hour before the start. There were tons of people there already. I had heard that there were about 2000 runners for both the 5K and kid's dashes. That's a lot of people for this race! I found a few of my group near the Fit2Run tent, so I hung out with them for a while. I only found one from my smaller group and she was in flip flops. She said her shin was hurting to much, so she couldn't run. Bummer! I looked for Valerie, but couldn't find her among all the people. I headed over to the corral, and standing on tippy toes, managed to find Gina just ahead of me. Since I was on my own for the run tonight, I figured I would try to keep up with her. They had the fast, sub 20 minute, people up near the start line, then it was all of us regular runners, and then the walkers in the back.
Once we hear the blast of the horn, we think we are off, but no, there is a girl on one side of the road holding a rope and another girl on the other side holding the other end of the rope. They are trying to hold back the runners to give the lead group more of a lead. Well, I never heard anything about different start times! This was crazy! People were ducking under the rope and running. The girl was yelling at us to stop and wait. Gina ducked under and went. I held back and waited a few seconds, but people were bumping into me from behind and pushing their way past and running. So I did what everyone else was doing and ducked under the rope and ran. I just hope I hadn't activated my timing chip while I was just standing there!
|Tina, me, Nora, Mike, Don and Bill after the race.|
We were running on a road that had lights, but not many of them, we turned to the left and then followed the road out. I was going at a pretty fast pace, but figured, since I had no goal for this race, I would push it as long as I could. Within a quarter of a mile, I could see Gina up ahead. I was just going to try and shorten the distance between us. Around mile 1, there was a water stop at a very bad spot. For some reason they decided to set up in one of the dark sections of the road instead of under a light. I'm sure the sun was out when they first set up, but maybe next year they will make a point of looking for the street light! You couldn't see anything! I didn't want water, so I ran to the left, to try and stay out of everyone's way. Just before the turn around, I spotted Linda, from our training group, just ahead. She had already had a good base of running when she joined our group, so she never really ran with us, just always ahead of us. So when I caught up to her, I said hi, and continued on. I figured she didn't need my help out there. Once we turned around and started heading back on the other side of the street, I tried to find people I knew on the other side of the road. But, it was to dark to spot anyone. I just kept running at a comfortably hard pace. Every once in a while, I would slow it down a little, but overall, I kept it pretty steady. I knew Gina was in front of me somewhere, but I could no longer see her. About half a mile from the finish, I saw my friend Susan just ahead. I gradually caught up with her. When I pulled up next to her, I yelled out a hi. She was running hard and could barely grunt out a greeting! Maybe I wasn't pushing as hard as I could if I could still chat a little? :) Soon, I noticed more people on the side of the road cheering, so I knew the finish was coming up. We took a left turn, I saw the finish line and pushed it in hard. I looked down at my watch and couldn't believe what I saw. 24:28 finish time! I was shocked! I couldn't believe I had taken 31 seconds off of my best 5K time. In these conditions! I was super happy. :) Linda came in pretty soon after me. She said she had a PR too. I later found out she got 2nd in age group. I was very happy for her. She said she was trying to catch me the entire second half. Happy to be her rabbit. :)
|Linda and me after the race.|
Jingle finish: 24:28
age group 6/117
My son, Aidan, and I left the house just over an hour before race start. We arrived pretty quickly, grabbing a great parking spot, not far from the finish area. We hung out for a while, before we decided to head over. We ran into Ken, and then Gina and her daughter. We found Carolyn, Robert and the rest of the 5K training group that was running today's race. I was feeling a little dehydrated, but figured since I had a great race the night before, I would just go out and do my best, but it wouldn't be a big deal if it was a lot slower. We lined up and listend to the announcements. We found out that even though it was chipped time, they would count clock time for age group awards. I told Robert and Aidan to not get to close, to have a good race, then Gina and I moved up a little closer. We really didn't have much of a chance of placing top 3. All the really fast local runners in our age group were here, but we still wanted to get a fair placement. After a few more announcements, we were off!
|Me and Aidan|
We ran down a dirt/paved road, before turning right. We were running through the parking lot of the park. We turned right again, and we were now on the main road within the park. By about the half mile mark, we turned left, to run on grass. This was a tricky spot. You had to watch out for some tree roots, which were hidden in the grass. Thankfully this wasn't a very long section, maybe a quarter mile at the most, before we turned left. We were now on a road. Gina and I were still together at this point, which was surprising. She is usually way ahead of me at a mile in! Just before we turned to the right, a woman in front of me dropped her phone and stopped to pick it up. Thankfully, I had quick reflexes! I jumped to the left and ran around her. We ran a loop through the neighborhood, before we coming back towards the park. We ran along the south border of the park, before turning left and then left again, back into the park. We passed by the area where we had started, before hitting a grassy section again and then the dirt path, that would take us around the lake. I pulled ahead of Gina during this section, picking up the pace a little and running it in strong to the finish! I can't believe I was only 15 seconds slower than the night before! I felt pretty good with both races. I went over to the Fit2Run tent to grab my phone (which I had left before the race) and then headed over to the area where the runners start their loop around the lake. I saw Wendy and Jim go by before seeing Aidan and Robert. Aidan was having a rough time, but was determined to finish strong. I got a photo of them, then headed back over to the finish area. Some how, I missed them finishing, but found them later. They both did great, finishing in around 36 minutes. Not bad for a kid who didn't really do much training! Our 3 other 5k training ladies finished with great times too. Proud of them!
Frosty finish: 24:43
age group 5/72
|Francine, Don, Me and Laura. Jen missed the photo!|