Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day! Music City 5k Race Report

   Today is July 4th - Independence Day. A day for celebration, fireworks and, if you're me, a 5k - the Music City July 4th 5k, to be specific.

So patriotic.

   I generally don't post a race report about a 5k - the races are so short that there doesn't really seem to be much of a point. But this was a special race, as this was my first race back since I sprained my ankle.  That's right - my first race since April. As excited I was to be able to run again, I was a little concerned about how things were going to work out. I've been running, but it's not the same as before. The ankle is fine, which is great. But whenever I run my legs are like "WHAT are you DOING to us?" They ache the entire time I'm running...and they're tired. Really tired. My endurance just isn't there. That's what over six weeks of no real running will do to you, I guess. My goal for this 5k? Just to run the entire thing.
   I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of rain. Not just a little sprinkle, but straight-up rain. Perfect. Just what I wanted for my first race back. But you know what? Usually it's 98 degrees and stupidly humid in Nashville on July 4th. I'll take cooler temperatures and rain over that kind of heat every time.
   The race started and finished in downtown Nashville. Parking was a breeze, especially since my friend Jane hooked me up with parking attendant at the closest lot and he just waved me in. Thanks, Jane! The lot was underground and literally under the starting area, so after meeting up with Jane and Teresa, we just took an elevator up and BAM - we were there. Very convenient.
   Of course, it was still raining at this point. Jane and Teresa brought trash bags to wear before the start. I brought a rain jacket, but thought it might be too hot to wear, so I left it in the car.

Pre-race. Me, Jane and Teresa trying to stay dry under a tree.

   We tried to stay under the protection of trees, but before too long the announcement was made for the racers to head over to the starting line. I was surprised at how many people actually showed up for the race, considering the conditions. Runners are a crazy breed, I tell ya. It was the PERFECT morning to sleep in - a holiday and raining. But here were 1,000+ lunatics standing out in the rain waiting to run 3.1 (or 6.2) miles. Seriously, there is something wrong with us.
   The race started about 10 minutes late, and I was actually getting cold standing there. Surprising for July, but I knew I'd be warm after I started running. We were all just soaked - rain water dripping down my back. But what are you going to do? It's part of participating in an outdoor sport. 
   The starting gun went off, and we started running. The race itself was great. The race organizer - I Run For The Party - had the course well-marked and well-supported. One thing about downtown Nashville - it's hilly. Really hilly. Great for training, but if you're not used to hills, this course was pretty tough. My legs felt really tired, but I was expecting that. I ran, but didn't really push it too much, as the last thing I wanted to do was slip in the rain and sprain my ankle again. I did walk about 1/2 block up one of the hills. I could have made it up the hill, but I honestly just didn't feel like running up the thing anymore. Apparently, I lost some of my mental edge during my time off, as well.
   Fortunately, the race was only a 5k, so I didn't have to suffer on the hills for too long. I headed toward the finish line and still had a little kick, which was nice to know. After crossing the line, I was handed a sweet finisher's medal, which I found later found out was designed by fellow East Nasty Meg.

You have to admit, that's an awesome medal.
   
I finished the race a shade under 30:00 if you look at my Garmin, or a shade over 30:00 if you go by the official timing. Either way, I was sub-10:00/mile for the race. I'm torn on how I feel about that. I know I should be happy that I'm out there and running again, but on the other hand, I worked so damn hard to get my running times down last year and I feel like it's all been erased. It's just a little frustrating. Not that I was ever that fast, but hopefully some of my speed will come back in the upcoming weeks.
   Jane and Teresa had great races. Though we've known each other for over a decade, this was the first time the three of us have done a race together. It definitely won't be the last. 

This photo doesn't accurately show how soaked we all are. We were drenched.
    
Overall, the race was a lot of fun, though the rain definitely put a damper on some of the festivities. I'd definitely do it again though, even with the hills. Could be the start of a new Fourth of July tradition!  Hope everyone had a great Holiday!!