Monday, June 11, 2012

Race Report: Earth Fare 5K

Earth Fare 5K - Athens - I just signed up for this race lastTuesday, but quickly learned that there were at least two other 5Ks in an around town. I figured well then, at least a smaller race means fewer people, means placing in my age group? I think yes!

This race was out at Athens' Memorial Park, towards the southwest side of town in a pretty hilly neighborhood. That was all I knew going in, and was already fairly nervous about that part! Seeing the route posted at check-in sort of confirmed that for me. But after Thursday's amaaazing training run, I knew I could push it, give it all I had, and probably make good with it. The course snaked its way through the neighborhood for just over the first mile, and from about 2.25 on, it was entirely downhill until almost to mile 3 when it came back into the park.

This race was definitely small -- which, especially for short races, I think I've decided I like a lot. At the end, I learned there were about 150 runners, give or take a few. Check in was super easy, with zero waiting time; bags included a sweet t-shirt (love the design!), lots of coupons and goodies (I haven't even gotten all the way through them yet, but I do know there's a coupon for a 30-minute massage for $15. Done. Yes please), and a raffle ticket for their dozen or so raffle items they had at the finish. Lots of really cool touches for such a small race.

I checked in by nearly 7:40, but the 5K didn't start until 8:30. The kids' fun run was first, so I was there definitely way ahead of time, but it was nice to just sit, get adjusted, stretch and listen to folks talk about the course (a lady had run most of the course on Thursday and talked about how it snaked its whole way uphill). And before I knew it, it was 8:30. Time to roll!

Knowing I was going to be going straight uphill in the beginning, my plan was to tke it easy until I saw the first mile marker, then when it flattened out and headed downhill to go all out to make up for it. Going through the neighborhood, we'd head north going uphill, then go along the full block on a flat route, then back uphill, then back across... you get the pattern. Not super easy to work with, but I managed to run the full route -- and was super happily surprised to see that at mile marker 1, I was just barely at 9:05! Took me way by surprise, especially given those hills.

Once we hit the main road, it was all downhill from there (route; not my running!). Gorgeous, and totally lined in trees, but enough of a grade that it kept you working. I passed a girl that I had been using as my guinea pig for most of the first mile, who eventually caught up with me and we talked for while. Her goal was 28 minutes, and we were at about 17 at that point; I knew I was in for a good time as long as I continued on the good path I'd started on! Eventually we re-entered Memorial Park, wound up through the parking lot where we parked, down by the gazebo where check-in had been, and were set up to a do a loop around the lake -- at the halfway point of the loop was the 3 mile marker. Perfect -- my runner friend had gotten ahead of me, but I knew I was still doing totally fine. Turn the corner, see the finish line, take off for my full sprint and squeezed in at 27:58. Hells yeah! Race time PR.

 I went and completed my race card, and watched the girl put up my info -- FIRST in age group! Amazing! Now I just had to wait until it was official. After mellowing out a little, I wandered around the larger gazebo to find watermelon (best post-run snack ever!), bananas, iced coffee, Menchie's frozen yogurt (second best post-race ever!), and other random goodies. Earth Fare had their local dog biscuit maker out, so I snagged Molly some treats. Finally, awards time rolled around -- confirmed, first in age group. What a great feeling -- finally!

I was bummed to look at my phone later and see that my MapMyRun app logged only 2.97 miles. Not sure if the trees confused the GPS but regardless, even if there had been that extra .13 in there or so, I'd definintely have a race PR which feels good to say nonetheless! Especially with those hills (for which had none on during my run on Thursday), I am extra proud of that fact -- a solid 2:40 and change off my previous best 5K timing.

Short course?
The cool thing with these small local races are the awards and the personality you can see in each of them. The overall and Master's winners won these awesome gift baskets from Earth Fare, with some cooking stuff, bottles of olive oil, and other neat stuff. The "medals" for age group winners are these cut-out stars, made of some sort of hardened cinnamon, so they smell amazing. All the women got a flower too. :)

Georgia road race #11!
Shirt & "medal."
 Official time: 27:58!

Overall, not a bad way to start the day! I wanted to go get in a few more miles afterwards, but with as hot as it was already, I figured I'd do it later. Mom and dad got to Atlanta Saturday night and we spent all day Sunday in Atlanta, so I had errands to finish and get done before I could justify it -- so I went for another 3.64 miles late Saturday evening. Happy day! I feel great!

What did you do on this fine, fine Saturday? Did you race? How'd you do?


  1. Awesome job, Megan!!! Saturday morning I relied on Hollyanne to get me out of bed and moving so we could do our training run and stay on schedule. We've got 5 weeks until our Color Run. Hoping for <30, and with the way we are going, we should make it!

    1. Thank you! Pretty pumped. I'll be honest and tell you Color Run isn't worth timing... unless you're in the very front of the pack! There's just no way to do it!

  2. Yay for your PR! That is awesome!