Covenant Race for Adoption 5k #3
We had so much fun at this race. It’s so close to home, I still can’t believe that I missed out on running it the first two times it was held. This year Ellis joined us for his first race in over 10 years. He kept playing down his speed but 21:37 (unofficial) isn’t too shabby.
We parked in the Bi-Lo parking lot a little ways from Covenant United Methodist Church, the host and start/finish location, and used the distance as a warm up. Thanks to Ellis and Mom my warm up pace was regular run pace, about 30 seconds faster than my warm up pace usually is. I like that.
We arrived with plenty of time, definitely could have waited at the house an extra ten minutes before driving over and still made it on time.
Finally it was time to start. I, obviously, have not been training for short speed, so unlike the two previous years, I had no intention of aiming for the “podium” or anywhere close to my PR time. Instead I “hung back” and ran with Mom. I knew she would challenge me to keep up the pace and not slack off.
The start (and start line) are not very official, just “line up at the cone” and a countdown from 5. In a family race like this, there are many children. (There was a separate entry for those 12 and under.) It goes almost without saying that these kids are inexperienced racers. Thus a lot of weaving and sudden stops fill the course for the first mile or so.
Also, Mom told me mid-race that at the start, her she couldn’t get the start button on her Garmin pressed right away which caused her to delay half a second in starting. Apparently the kid/teenager behind her did not like that and actually put his hand on her back to get her to move. PSA: don’t do that.
That first mile was crowded but not too bad. I knew to savor the downhill because mile 2 brings rollers and mile 3 is one long gradual hill of attrition.. I’m not sure it’s possible to do anything besides positive split on this course.
Mile 1: 7:26
When the rollers got going in mile 2, I could definitely feel the pace. It was tough but something I knew that I could keep up with. I wasn’t sure how I would feel on that last mile but I focused just on this mile.
The one problem we had to deal with was a kid running slightly in front of us who couldn’t make up his mind which side of the road he wanted to run on. Several times I thought either Mom or I was going to run into him. At one point, one of the residents (the course runs through a local subdivision) had set up a bubble machine next to his mailbox. The kid darted from left to right in front of us just to catch and pop one of the bubbles. At that point I knew that if he did that again I was going to have to say something.
Sure enough it happened again a little later so I said, “Honey/Kid (something like that), you’ve got to stop weaving or we’re going to run into you.” I tried to say it as nicely as I could. I don’t think he was too happy about it but I’m pretty sure he (and the two of us) would not have been happy if there had been a mid-race collision.
Shortly after that came the one water stop in the race. Mom and I did not stop but the kid did and we never saw him again. Hopefully the rest of his race went well.
This is also where the gradual incline to the finish, with only a few brief respites from the climb, starts. Our pace got a little slower through here but effort remained the same, at least from my perspective. I made a conscious effort to avoid glancing at the average pace on the Garmin as we ran. I did check it several times to see where we were on the course.
Mile 2: 7:49
The most significant climb of the race happens in the last .75 of the race. This climb almost caused me to walk the first time I ran this race. I did not expect it. Last year I still hated it but at least I was prepared. This year I didn’t like it but I kept plugging away at it. I’m pretty sure that all the weekly strength training that we’ve been doing has helped significantly.
Unfortunately, this is where Mom and I parted ways. She had to walk for a few seconds to catch her breath. Unless it’s the Race for the Cure that I walk with Dad, I don’t walk in 5ks. We didn’t talk much. It’s hard to get enough extra breath on that hill! Instead I kept plugging away.
Shortly after we separated, another woman came up behind me and then passed me. She was moving strong on that hill, definitely had plenty in the tank. As she passed me I had a suspicion that she was in my age group. I haven’t checked the results yet to verify but I’m pretty sure I was right.
Instead of getting too competitive for my own good, I let her go and soaked in the determination to start working on short speed again both for this summer-I want to be able to perform really well at RWBS this year-and for next year. One of these years I would love to be able to win the whole thing.
The second to last turn gets me every time. We’re close enough to the finish that I’m sure that it’s just around that corner. Nope. One more turn and a continuation of the incline before we can finish.
With two tenths to go, I thought about putting on a little bit of finishing speed but I didn’t want to start the sprint too soon. I wish I had picked up the pace just a tad though so I could finish under 24 minutes. I was so close!
Mile 3: 7:58
They finally changed the finish this year! When I saw that they had moved the finish to another part of the parking lot so that we could use the actual entrance instead of having to hop the curb, run on the race, and then hop down into the parking lot, I got really excited. Nothing like a curb to slow you down in a 5k sprint finish.
As I made the final turn and read the clock, I had one “aw, man!” moment. It read 23:56. I knew there was no way I could cover that distance in 4 seconds. It took me 8.
.14 6:32 (avg pace)
I finished quite pleased with my time and effort. Plus, I wanted more. That’s always a good sign.
I grabbed my phone out of my arm band and tried to hurry around to maybe get some pictures of Mom. I almost was able to get a few. Unfortunately, the camera was facing the wrong way. Whoops.
Although Mom’s time was slower than last year, she still ran well.
We stuck around for the awards. I knew that both Mom and Ellis probably won their age group. I thought that I might have gotten an age group award but I wasn’t holding my breath.
When they finally did the awards they went through the male age groups first. When the winner of the 20-29 age group was announced. Ellis turned to us and asked which age group he was in. When we told him, Ellis laughed and told us that that was the guy he had been casing down in the final section of the race. Yeah, he definitely won his age group.
The prizes were pretty awesome too. Both Mom and Ellis got a $25 QT gift card. (She won her age group, obviously). I managed to hold on to second in my age group and got a pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee (whole bean) and two gift cards to Chic-fil-a for one of a specific set of lunch items. Not bad at all. I love that the prize seemed to fit me so perfectly.
Now for the race review portion. Since this is a much smaller race than Reedy, this section won’t be quite as long.
Registration and packet/bib pick up:
Registration through go-greenevents was painless and easy as always. Packet pick-up, from what I heard, went well as well. We especially loved our bib numbers since mine added up to 12 and Mom’s added up to 7, our favorite numbers, respectively.
The race shirt is super comfy. In fact, I’m wearing it as I write this review. Many people wore the shirt during the race. While I really like it, I don’t think I’ll run in it. It’s definitely an excellent day-off t-shirt. Excellent design too.
Pre-Race/Race Morning amenities:
It is always nice to have actual restroom facilities. The previous two years it was also nice to hang out inside, have a refuge from the heat. This year it actually felt warmer inside.
This course is not easy and we love it! I did overhear one lady ask someone about the course and get told that it was fairly flat. I wanted to go over to her and correct that because she was in for a rude awakening. Since they were perfect strangers, I held off. As I mentioned earlier, I am so glad that they shifted the finish line. Such an easy change made a significant difference.
Many residents came out of their homes to either volunteer as course monitors or just cheer on the runners. They weren’t everywhere but they were definitely enthusiastic. There was one water stop on the course, typical for a 5k. Neither Mom or I stopped. I did notice that the cups were very full. I saw one runner near us pour water out of the cup as he ran before he started drinking. It is hard to realize for non-runners that a full cup is actually a little harder to drink on the run.
Finish line and post-race amenities:
They had Happy Cow Creamery chocolate milk. So delicious. They also had free Chic-fil-a chicken biscuits. I normally am not hungry after a race but a 5k where I didn’t go all out, I’ll have a biscuit. The awards were also pretty good too, as I described above.
At the time that I am writing, I was unable to find any pictures. I know that there will be some, likely from Pace Running Magazine but they have not been posted yet. (The perils of writing a race recap so soon after the race. )
For a smaller race, Covenant United Methodist did a fairly good job of updating the Facebook page. I do always appreciate when a race takes the time to make at least one, preferably two posts on the day of the race, usually something about race morning and maybe one thanking the participants or listing the link to the results. I’m sure that one of those will be up later today.
This is hands down one of my favorite races in the area. As long as it is run, I will race.