I have been a bad blogger and I’m way behind on half marathon recaps. I hope to get back on track soon. I recently started a new run club for a local arcade bar, Abari, so a lot of my time and energy has been focused on getting that going. (If you live in, or are visiting, Charlotte, NC feel free to come run with us! Abari Track Club) Now that I have that fairly under control, I can get back to blogging.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to PR in a 5k, so when I discovered a Friday night race just down the road from my neighborhood I figured I couldn’t pass it up. The Freemorewest 5k on the Greenway only cost $25, came with a t-shirt, plus a free pint of craft beer from Town Brewing. Free beer is all I need to convince me to run, so I asked my friend Becky to join me and signed up.
If you don’t live in NC, you may not know we turned into a rainforest. It rained almost daily over winter, and it seems spring is following suit. So I wasn’t surprising when it stormed the afternoon of the race. Thankfully it slowed as the day progressed, but the threat of an evening thunderstorm loomed. I had already decided I was going to run rain or shine, but with the uncertain weather, Becky decided to back out.
I had looked up the finish time for this race last year, and based on those times I had a chance to place in my age group. In the start corral they told us that the course was slightly re-routed due to flooding on the greenway, which is common for Charlotte greenways as they tend to parallel creeks. It had been lightly raining before the race, but minutes before the race started it stopped. However, that just left the air loaded with humidity, so I think I would have preferred a drizzle.
After the start horn, people instantly went flying past me. People commonly start too quickly and slow down in the end, so I stayed positive on my goal to place. We crossed some train tracks and a few runners slipped and fell on the wet wood. Then on the greenway there were many slippery mud spots or large puddles covering the entire paved path. The course also hillier than I anticipated. I kept a strong pace, but let myself slow down due to the slick conditions. This race was not worth an injury. I looked at the large number of women still in front of me at mile 2, and mentally let my hopes of placing go.
5ks always feel like they go so fast, and right when I started thinking “I can’t maintain this pace much longer” I looked at my Garmin and saw I only had a ¼ mile left. I crossed the finish line, seeing on the clock that only 26 minutes had passed. My previous PR was 26:50 from the Pancake and Beer 5k, and I knew I had beat that. I walked around the sponsor tables, letting my heart rate stabilize, and printed my official race results. They confirmed I had PR’d. They also confirmed I had not place in my age group, not even close! I came in 11th. Per the 2018 results, I would have come in 3rd with my time, but clearly all the elites were out in force this year. Oh well, part of running is you never know who else is going to show up at a race.
The race ended in the parking lot of Town Brewing, which is where my boyfriend had been waiting for me. I found him at the outside bar, and got in the long line for my free beer. I gave him Becky’s bib so we could get the free beer it came with. (*please note: no one ran with the bib. I do not condone illegal bib transfers or banditing races. I do not have a problem, however, of drinking the free beer that comes with a fully paid race entry. Becky did give us permission to drink her beer.) You could pick any beer you wished, and I got the Naked Napoleon, which was a refreshing sour beer. Once our beers were done we headed home, although they did have live bands and DJs set up for a fun after party. We had prior dinner plans with out-of-town friends though, so I needed to get cleaned up pronto.
Despite my hopes of placing being beyond broken, this was an enjoyable 5k. I did at least PR. With better weather I would have enjoyed it more, but that is not the fault of the race director. For only $25 and a free beer, I’d run it again.
April 5, 2019