Usually, I plan my races months in advance. I’m pretty regimented that way. I have an ongoing spreadsheet, with all our races listed by date, with location, price and color-coded based on which family members are running. It’s all part of “My System.”
I like being organized.
However, I was also kind of itching to race.
I had my eye on the local RunJax Labor Day 5K.
It was relatively close, with a flat and shaded course, and an associated kids’ fun run. I hemmed and hawed over it, and then, with less than a week to go, I registered me and little man for the 5K and one mile, respectively. Mr. PugRunner has been having some knee issues, so he was going to act as escort to little man in the fun run.
Even better, we had some friends who would be running, too. In fact, we followed our friend E, her husband and their daughter to the race, and hung with them and some other ladies. Nana and Papa Bear also came down with my cousin, to watch little man run his race.
Just a nice morning of family and friends.
The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 AM, which was early, but not early enough to avoid the (wait for it) stifling heat and humidity. Even just standing around, waiting for the starting gun, it was uncomfortable. I used the restroom and amazingly, was able to settle into a pretty calm state of mind. Surprising considering how last minute the whole thing was.
I even threw caution entirely to the wind and broke out my new Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s.
I know, I know. Nothing new on race day. Ever. But I couldn’t resist. It was time.
We lined up to run, and E was sticking near me. I told her I would be doing my regular intervals, so not to feel obligated to hold herself back. I don’t think I’ve ever actually raced with anyone before, so I had no idea what the etiquette was. Turns out that she was comfortable doing intervals with me, and I experienced what was probably my first ever run WITH a buddy.
(Side note: I really kind of liked it. I pushed myself harder so that I didn’t embarrass myself, and we were pretty good at encouraging each other and cracking little jokes along the way. I definitely didn’t expect to enjoy the experience, and now I’m plotting how to find someone who runs my pace to rope into long runs).
The course was mostly flat, and after the first long straightaway, directly into the rising morning sun, was shaded. We ran through quiet residential streets without much to report, and I found that we were keeping excellent pace with a Navy group. It was pretty easy to fall into sync with them, until the last half mile or so, when we kicked it up a notch to finish strong.
We turned in our timing chips, collected our medals and bottles of water, and little man was waiting for me with a muffin. That I think he really wanted to eat.
As we chatted with our families, waiting for the fun run to begin, we saw a runner propose to his girlfriend right after they both crossed the finish line. It was the cutest, sweetest thing. She said yes and we all clapped and cheered.
And then the kids ran their mile (Mr PugRunner and my cousin accompanied little man for the duration). It was a tough one for them because of the heat, but I think they had a good time, and they loved getting their special medals.
My parents took little man with them, while Mr PugRunner and I grabbed a quick breakfast and headed home to clean up and make meatballs and pasta salad for our Labor Day get together.
I really enjoyed this race. It’s the perfect size with a nice course, and of course, a wealth of friendly and helpful volunteers. Also, racing on holidays just seems like the right thing to do. I didn’t PR, but I felt pretty good about my time and I felt strong at the end, so that’s what counts.
Oh, and my new shoes worked out great. I want to get another pair of inserts for them, but I have some time before it becomes critical.
Do you like racing on holidays and days off?
Do you prefer smaller local races or the larger ones?
I love small races esp ones that give a medal. I have never run a whole race with someone.
Darlene recently posted…Monday running update
Medals are always a selling point! I love that our local racing company is starting to offer more of them at smaller races.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) says
So glad the new shoes worked out . . . I’ve had to switch shoes for a race because the old pair was falling apart, but it was always within the same brand/model (Vibram Bikila LS), and even then, I fret. So yay!
For the longest time, I thought I was just a “solo runner.” My training runs are, almost always, from my house. And races, well, I have my own goals and my own plan, so I don’t want to complicate things for anyone. However, lately, I’ve been trail running with a friend, and I’ll admit that it’s been an absolute blast (and, to be honest, with the potential for injury while running on the Appalachian Trail, I don’t know if I’d ever trail run by myself). This Sunday, she’ll be running the Philly RnR Half with me . . . she’s far faster than I am, but I may try my damndest to keep up with her – just because, yeah, running with a buddy is far more fun than I thought it would be.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I present unsolicited advice for your next race
Even within the same make/model, shoes can be very different. I have yet to vary from my Wave Inspire 10s, but different colors fit a little differently, so it’s always an adventure.
I definitely think trail running with a buddy is the prudent course. Good luck at Philly this weekend! You’ll do great!
Stacie Seidman says
I just got my first pair of Mizuno’s (the Wave Sayonara), and I can’t help but wonder why I waited so long to try them! It’s like they were made for my awkward feet. So in love. I’ve only used them twice, but both times my feet and legs were soooo happy!
On Running Buddies: I do very much enjoy company on a run, but for me, I really need someone who is happy to run my pace. Most of my friends are much faster than me, and I either feel like I’m chasing them the whole time (which is AWFUL and discouraging) or they are clearly frustrated with trying to run my pace (though they’d never say so, my friends are very sweet). I even have one friend that would leave me behind. Without asking if it was ok. Ugh. Why say you want to run together?! Having a well matched running buddy on a long run is amazing though. Highly recommend finding one if you can!
I love small races! Most of the time they have a sort of a close-knit feeling to them. More so than the bigger ones where you’re lost in the crowd.
Stacie Seidman recently posted…Monday! again.
I have nothing but positive things to say about Mizunos. They have been the right fit for me since the beginning. I love how the Sayonaras look and would love to try them out to see if I would be able to use them for anything.
I do need someone who runs my pace, but it’s hard because I am slow. I’m ok if they are a little faster, because it gives me motivation to push harder, but I don’t want to fall too far behind.
I think both kinds of races have their appeal. I like the ambiance of huge races with all their music and hype and excitement. And I like the intimacy of smaller, local races. I guess I’ll just have to keep running both 🙂