I roll out of bed cold and cranky. Earlier in October it was still 80 degrees, but the week of the 27th it decided to jump to winter and is now in the 40s. Luckily this race, the Pancake and Beer 5k at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, starts at 9:00 a.m. The location is close to my house, but it’s Saturday and I want to sleep in. “No rest for the wicked” I tell myself, and force myself to get ready.
“At least it’s not raining” I remind myself. It rained non-stop the day before. I braved the rain on my lunch break to pick up the packets. The race did offer race day pickup, but in case the rain didn’t stop and we decided to skip I at least wanted our shirts.
Every June I run the NoDa 5k with my friend Becky. This year she expressed interest in doing another 5k in the fall, so I set out researching local races. I love researching races as much as running them. In the end we picked the Pancake and Beer 5k which included a free pancake breakfast and beer after, a long sleeve shirt, and most importantly a start time that wasn’t horribly early. My boyfriend, Mike, said he’d join as well, and with that our 5k crew was set.
Although we arrived 30 minutes prior to race start, the parking lots were already full. We drove around and found a neighborhood street to park on. Neither Becky, Mike, or myself enjoy cold weather so we all stood around uncomfortably, trying to maintain cheerful banter, until we were called to the start line. While waiting in the corral Mike asks me, “what is your goal?” I answered honestly, “I have none, it’s just a 5k. Just running this one for fun.”
After crossing the start line I pushed my pace but tried not to look at my watch or put any pressure on myself. The starting streets, which were all within the business complex, where closed to traffic. But permits were apparently not acquired for the main roads so we were forced to run on the sidewalks. 700+ runners forced onto a singular sidewalk does not equal a great race pace. Luckily time was not my goal, but it was still frustrating to get me pace thrown off.
At mile 2.6 a young girl running solo asked a course volunteer what mileage we were at. The volunteer did not answer, so I told her the mileage per my Garmin watch. I learned this was her first race, and as we were doing about an 8:40 pace I told her she was doing awesome. The former Girls on the Run coach in me came out and I stayed with her until the end, and we finished in 26:50:12.
Once I reconnected with Mike and Becky we grabbed our free post-race beer, and got our free pancake and bacon breakfast. The breakfast was pre-packaged and Mike and I gave our portions to Becky to take home to her boyfriend. I am a vegetarian so no bacon for me, plus I never crave a sweet breakfast. Honestly the beer was hard enough to get down that early in the day. The wind was blowing strongly, which only made us colder in our sweaty clothing.
We decided to head home, but I heard the name of a woman who finished directly ahead of me get called for an award. “Did I place too?” I exclaimed excitedly, running to the results tent. The excitement was short lived, I did not place. I did come in 6th out of 52 in my age group though which is the best I’ve placed in a race so far. I was suddenly angrier about the narrow sidewalks and my pace being slowed. Had I known I had a chance to place I would have pushed harder. However, maybe I did so well because I was focused on fun. I think there is a lesson in there if I wish to learn it.
*Author’s note: I did enjoy this race despite the narrow course. Had it been normal weather for October it would have been an enjoyable after-party and we would have stayed longer. I would recommend and run this race again. And seriously, the shirt is SO soft, comfortable, and cute.
October 27, 2018