Sunday, November 25, 2012

Electric City Gobbler 5K--Race Recap/Review

Finally! A few minutes where I am not out of town/driving/working/running and the energy to actually write an update.

This Thanksgiving Matt and I (and the dogs) traveled to Anderson, South Carolina, to visit pretty much all of his extended family in a span of about 2 days. Knowing that I'd love to get a run in on Thanksgiving morning, I started googling for local races and quickly found the Electric City Gobbler 5K hosted by the one of the local running clubs (the Electric City Running Club), which turned out to be less than 15 minutes from our hotel. Done!

Knowing that I would love the get the sub-30 off my back (don't laugh!) but also that I have been training for endurance...NOT speed...I decided to make it a fun run and sent a FB message to the running club to see if it was a pet friendly event. It was and so I decided to bring Bali along with me. She is small (~25lbs max) but an excellent runner and even at age 7 has puppy-level energy and endurance!

The race started and ended at Anderson Mall, with extremely easy access and (obviously) plenty of parking. The race started at 8:30 and I arrived at 7:35 to register and was done in about 5 minutes. The race advertised long sleeve technical shirts but I received a l/s cotton shirt--not sure if this is b/c I didn't pre-reg or not but I'm not complaining...this wasn't about "swag" was about getting in a fun run and supporting  the local community.

Back of the shirt

It was in the low-40s and I had lots of time to kill (and knew no one), so I hung out in my car for a bit and then finally got Bali out and walked around, people watching. There were a few other dogs and though Bali loves people I could tell she was a little bit timid/nervous...maybe it was just b/c it was her first official 5K ;) haha!

The race started on time and Bali and I started towards the back (there were maybe 500 runners?)--more room for her and I didn't want to start in the middle of chaos. As for pacing, I figured I would just follow Bali's expectations on pace or whatever. The course was advertised as "fast" but I had no idea what to expect. There were a few small hills but it was extremely FLAT or even downhill, especially as compared to Birmingham. (This would be en excellent course to PR on)

After the initial start, Bali and I pretty much spent the entire race passing people. I'm not kidding or exaggerating but we passed pack after pack of people and even when I thought there would be no more passing, we just kept chucking along. Bali was actually a really savvy runner, setting into a pace until it was time to pass people and then she would create a nice little "lane" with room for both of us, not cutting people off or getting in the way (I tried to stay to the right as much as physically possible) It was pretty funny to hear all the comments too...mostly one of two things: "crap...I just got passed by a DOG!" or "hey...I need one of those, mind if I borrow her for the rest of the race" HAHA! It was an extremely friendly crowd and even afterwards people came up asking how she did, joking "did she get first in her age group?"

According to my watch, Bali and I finished 3.14 miles in 30:49 (avg pace: 9:48) which is only 15 seconds slower than my PR and I was working, but definitely not at "5K effort" (this is why I say it would be an excellent PR course). They made multiple announcements prior to the race to stay in order once we entered the chute so they could grab our bib tags but I finished right around several people...MANY of whom cut in the line and swarmed the area (read: NOT staying in order and I saw at least half a dozen who finished behind me cut in front of several people, not just me) so I have no idea how that's going to impact time and/or results. It looked like they were using select timing, as the race was not chip timed and there was a note on the FB page saying that this was the first time they managed timing themselves and they were having some difficulty with the results, so this may very well be part of it. This aspect was really the only negative of my race experience and since it was A. a turkey trot, B. I was a guest WITH A DOG and C. it's not like I was placing in my age group, I let it fly and didn't say anything. 

Me and Bali post-race

Overall, a really good race experience--easy and reasonable registration, a scenic and fast course and a beautiful day. If I was ever in Anderson on Thanksgiving in the future I would definitely run this race again!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My bags AREN'T packed but I'm ready to go...

Tomorrow morning bright and early (or perhaps still dark and early...seriously...) I'm off to sunny Orlando, Florida, to run in the Wine and Dine half marathon!

I ran the inaugural race back in 2010 and actually never thought that I would be back to run it again. (Not b/c of anything specific but it's not cheap to get there, I've been there done that, blah blah). ANYWAY...I am SUPER excited to return this year because I will have the privilege of running with my very best friends from college and seeing each of them cross that half marathon finish for the very first time. (Believe it or not, but this was actually NOT my idea! but I am super happy that the group is doing this together)

I am so excited and proud of them and the nerves and excitement are almost palpable as everyone wraps up their plans to head to Orlando and the chatter on our little FB group has been so much fun. We've got matching shirts (with a logo designed for us by another one of my friends here in B'ham), and glow necklaces for the race and a little block of rooms together at one of the resorts.

My ONLY GOAL for this race is to get each of them over the finish line and I am not running for time. This has always been my priority for this race.

I am 75% sure I am carrying my camera b/c I did not do that last time and regretted not being able to get the character pics, etc. HOWEVER, I wonder if the bouncing over several hours will have any impact on the internal mechanisms? It's a "just" a Canon point and shoot but I just bought it last September AND REALLY like the camera and don't want to risk damaging it. That being said, I have another p/s but it takes horrible pictures in low light and since this is a night race...Hmmm...this might be a game time decision.

Back with this (and another) race report soon!