My last race for 2014 brought me to an army post here in the Baltimore area: Fort Meade. I decided on a nice, short 5K because with a marathon and half marathon preceding the month of December, I wanted to take it easy distance-wise. I didn’t have much of a goal for this race other than to go all out and try to PR my 5K race time
Registration was super cheap ($15) and included a shirt and post race refreshments. The shirt was a cute red cotton t-shirt that my daughter fell in love with because it had a “running reindeer”. The post MWR uses reusable timing chip devices so runners were issued one with their bib and it had to be returned at the end of the race or you would be charged for it. Packet pick up took place on the Wednesday and Thursday before the race, although one could pick up their packet on race day. I decided to go get it on Wednesday because I hate leaving things until the last minute. It was quick and easy but that may have been because I went at 10 AM on a Wednesday. It was a complete zoo race day.
Race day was a chilly 25 degrees. I showed up double-layered but planned on only running with running tights, gloves, long sleeve tee, and a beanie. I don’t do well with too many layers on so I tend to dress minimally. There were quite a few runners present and many children under 18 which made me smile. It’s so great to see younger children interested in running. I hope my daughter feels the same way (she currently loves it but that may be because she doesn’t know any better, lol). Everyone stayed inside the gym until 5 minutes before the race start at 8. We all headed out to the start lining which was located just outside of the gym. The start was not corralled since it was a small race (maybe 100 runners in all?). I stood the closest I’ve ever been to any start line, about 2 feet from it. I tried to calm my race jitters as we all waited for the start.
Once we were off I blew out of the gate. I noticed another female up ahead so I attempted to keep up with her. However, after the first mile my Garmin clocked me at a 6:45 pace and I realized that this pace wasn’t sustainable for me. I didn’t slow down but I didn’t push it too hard either. The race route took runners on a loop from the gym, along a park, then back to the gym (sorry I don’t have specifics. I don’t know the post very well so I wasn’t sure where we were going). At mile 2 I realized that I didn’t have any females close behind me and I could still see the other female ahead. There was no way I would be able to catch up but it was reassuring because as long as no one passed me I’d place in my age group. I clocked around a 7:30 for mile 2. Once we rounded the corner and I saw the final stretch for the finish, I booked it. I started getting slight tunnel vision but I just prayed that I wouldn’t pass out before the finish (I have ridiculously low blood pressure so this didn’t surprise me). I clocked a 7:19 at mile 3 and finish at 22:10 *I mistakenly said 22:08 in an earlier post because the person timing at the finish said I crossed at that time even though the clock at the finish read 22:10; however my chip time was 22:10*. I was happy and eager to see the results. I turned in my chip and headed back to the gym where my family was waiting.
Bagels n Grind provided the post race food and it was pretty good. I only ate ½ of the bagel since I’m still trying to work myself up to a whole bagel (and even that half was hard…). There was a nice spread of fruit, granola bars, and candy as well. One of the perks of finishing quickly was that there wasn’t a line for the food and the selection was nice.
Around 8:45 the race coordinators posted the race results. I was nervous as I walked to the window. I was happy to see that I finished 23rd overall, 3rd in gender, and 1st in my age group! I was smoked by a 16-year-old and a 38-year-old but I was happy to see that it was only by a minute. I was so excited to have won the age group!
Receiving the AG medal
Posing with the race director
It was a great race. I managed a PR in both my race time and pace (7:11 average). I also managed to get that lucrative sub-7 mile which shocked me since I haven’t run that fast since April 2013. I really enjoyed how well put together this race was for how small it was. They even offered free reindeer antlers and jingle bells for runners (my daughter took mine, of course). It was a great way to close out my 2014 race year. What’s next for me? I’ll definitely be taking some rest time within the next few months in the sense that I’ll be alternating running and cross-training/weight training 6 days a week instead of just straight running. I have the King Crab Challenge to look forwards to (a 5K, a half, a 10-miler, and a full). I’m also debating participating in the Fort Meade Running Series for 2015 as it’s $60 for the entire year (7 races) but I’m not sure quite yet. I’m hoping to break more PRs and maintain my running fitness sans injury. I’m excited for what’s to come but right now I’m even more excited to take it easy for a bit. I’m starting to feel burned out!