The Saturday morning before Colin’s half Ironman, the Haines City Leisure Services was hosting their 1st annual Run the Ridge 5k. While in the car on the way down I was looking up information about the Ironman 70.3 event and stumbled upon the 5K information. I saw that it was classified as a ‘trail/off-road” run and go really excited. Our friends had just bought me a pair of Brooks Cascadia’s and I was eager to try them out. Also, I have a goal to do 14 races in 2014 so this was just one more to check off. I signed up for the race even though I didn’t bring my typical racing gear with me. The things that I didn’t have were my Jaybirds, my belt to hold my phone, proper socks, or heart rate monitor. But taking it as a Fun Run I went for it anyway. Registration closed at 7:30 and the race was set to start at 8:00. When we got there I saw that it was a very small crowd. I was hoping we were just early, but then I saw the list and there were only about 22 people on it. I went for a short little warm up to see how my foot would feel, and it was sore but didn’t actually hurt.
Colin was having fun by taking random, not ready pictures of me. We were given a small briefing and were told stay on the sidewalks here, you can run on the road here and I started thinking to myself…. where is the trail?? Turns out it wasn’t a trail run. There were a few spots where we ran over some gravel because of construction going on but the rest was a sidewalk race…. maybe that’s what they meant by off-road.
The course ended up being pretty fun. We ran pretty much the same route as the Ironman course so it was cool to be able to see what Colin would be getting into the next day. The Ironman run route was three laps of 4.3 miles then a little extra down the finishing chute. Obviously the courses weren’t identical but the Ironman route just added an extended portion of what we got to run. The entire first mile was uphill and it was a very intense hill. I think that is what caused me to have shin pain. I pushed through and stuck with the lead women and did my first mile in 8:11. I was surprised at my pace after the first mile. Somewhere during the second mile my phone almost fell out of my shorts which cost me some time. Then as I was passing a girl she wanted to have a little chat. She was down from Michigan to support her boyfriend in the half Ironman. She said she has been training in 10 degrees so the humidity + warmer weather was killing her. We said our good lucks and I pushed on. This too slowed me down a bit. There were a couple of young boys running the race that would full-out sprint and then stop and walk, being that we were on a sidewalk most of the time they got in my way a little bit and slowed me down. My second mile was 7:56, again I was a bit surprised but I think there was a nice downhill portion in there. I wasn’t sure what the rest of the course held so I was a bit timid because I didn’t want to run out of gas. I caught up to the next lady in front of me and stuck with her for a little while. At about 2.6 miles to go I decided to push on past her. My third mile was about 7:45. The end of our race finished the same way the Ironman race did which was really cool. We got to run through all the signs and finish under the Ironman (they were holding an IronKids event next so that’s why is says Kids) clock. My final time was 24:47 and I was the 2nd Overall female and 1st in my age group but hey, there were only 22 racers.
I’m still kicking myself about this race. I was 5 seconds off from my PR time and I definitely had energy left in the tank when I was done. Not knowing the course is really what messed with me. I didn’t know if I had more hills to climb so I could have pushed a little harder in the end. Oh well, it is what it is and I can’t change what happened! I’ll take comfort in knowing that I was wearing brand new shoes, was using non running headphones, had my phone tucked either in my shorts or top the whole time and overall just enjoyed myself and didn’t focus on my time. I think this race has some room for improvement, but it was just their first year. There were no water stations on the course. I never get water during a 5K but some people may have enjoyed it. There were no awards and I have yet to see any times posted. I don’t really care about getting another little medal or trophy but I just like seeing other people’s times and places. The course was well marked and they did have people standing at each turn to make sure you knew where to go, which is a plus. The finish line was by far my favorite part out of everything.
Have you ever set out to do a fun run and end up setting a PR?
Do you always check out the course before a race?