Race Report: Mission 5k
I had the Mission 5k on my radar for my August race for a while, but only got around to registering on Wednesday evening. My assigned workout for the day was 5 miles, so I decided I would run to and from the event, which was only a little over a mile away. I was able to pick up my packet at Fleet Feet on Friday evening so I didn’t have to carry a shirt back after the race on Saturday morning.
Friday night was a friend’s 30th birthday party, but fortunately the festivities started early so I wasn’t cutting it too short when I left around 11:00. I did have an excuse to skip the tequila shots! Saturday’s race didn’t start until 8:30, so with the event being so close, I was able to sleep until about 7:00 and still have plenty of time for tea and banana and getting everything pulled together for the race. I pinned my bib on and jogged out the door at 8:00. Something about leaving for a race – on foot – only 30 minutes before the start just feels like I’m getting away with something (or going to be late!). I will admit that wearing my bib number while clearly not (yet) involved in a race made me feel kind of odd as I jogged through downtown.
It was a humid morning and my warm up already had me sweating when I arrived with about 20 minutes until the race began. There was a one mile fun-run finishing so the runners milled around until they could switch the finish line back to a start line again. This was a chip timed event, with the chip stuck on the back of the bib. The final results aren’t posted yet, so I’m not sure if the start time was chip-triggered too, or the (all too common) start being gun time and the finish only reflected by the chip. I was close enough to the front that it was only a couple seconds difference for me. [edit: results have been located; it was a chip start and finish!]
A few minutes past 8:30 the race began. I’d chosen well, it seems, starting near the front of the pack, as I was only passed once or twice throughout the race and did a fair bit of passing. The course contained a double-loop, so we first passed the three-mile marker, and then the two-mile marker before finally reaching the one-mile marker. I have lived in Winston-Salem for 10 years and had never run on these roads. Always interesting to not know where you are, in your own city. The loop took us along Cemetery Street, which as you might guess is next to the Salem Cemetery. The Fleet Feet group had put up placards with inspirational scripture along the route and it somehow took on extra meaning alongside tombstones.
Next we ran under Business 40 and through an industrial area with a few speed bumps. We circled back around up a hill to a water stop and the loop began again. I grabbed a small cup of water and progressed on. The second loop was a little more challenging because the slower participants were working on their first loop. It was a smaller race and thinned out enough that it wasn’t difficult to find gaps to run though, but it just involved some more thought. This time the two-mile marker was accurate and I progressed along. Around and under again, then back the hill where they had spread the water volunteers to both sides of the street. Some runners were turning left for their second loop but I was turning right to head toward the finish.
Pushing toward the end, I passed one girl and was passed by one guy. There was another lady ahead of me but I didn’t quite have enough left in the tank to chase her down. It was a sprint down Trade Street past many of my favorite bars – a little dissonance there! I finished the race in an official time of 24:58. Really feel like I left it all out there.
A note on my time… I was expecting to finish faster based on how I felt. If you note the map picture above, you’ll see the route is listed at 3.3 miles/5.3 kilometers. While the website says it is a certified course, I’m wondering what is up with the extra distance. Just out of curiosity, I entered my time into the Cool Running Pace Calculator (a favorite tool of mine) and if I ran 3.3 miles in 24:58, that’s a 7:33.9/mile pace. If I ran 7.33.9 pace over just the 5k distance, my time would have been 23:30, a 40 second PR. My Garmin wasn’t working during the race so I don’t know what distance it read, but I heard other people mentioning it seemed long as well. I shall try to just think of it as free extra distance!
It took me a few minutes to find the water, as it was kind of shoved back in one small parking area with sponsor tents and two big vehicles in front of it. I’d say that is one opportunity for improvement – put the water, or at least some water, in a different area. The lines for the snacks, other foods and massages made it challenging to get to the water, especially as more finishers came through and it got congested.
It was in this time when a gentleman came up and asked “do you have a blog? Run, Eat, Nap, Drink?” Why yes I do! I felt like a minor celebrity. It was David from Running With Horses, one of the other blogs I follow. It was a pleasure to meet him and chat with him, outside of the blogosphere. Hey David – you won third in your age group but weren’t there for your prize! Might want to check with Fleet Feet to see if they still have them for you.
Given that I was planning to run home, I didn’t want to fill up too much on the goodies provided. But Sweet Frog Yogurt was there with delicious flavored cups of frozen yogurt, and I couldn’t pass that up. I got cookies & cream and it was delicious. I’d also seen that Qdoba was going to be there offering rice & bean bowls, but that just did not sound appealing at 9am. Maybe after a longer race when it was a little later in the day!
Official results started printing out and I found that I would need to stick around for an award! If I remember them correctly, I was 41st overall finisher, 7th woman. The overall first place woman was in my age group, so she won in the overall female prizes and I took first place in my age group, women 25-29. It is always a treat to win a prize for my hobby!
Here’s where I have to make a cocky admission… I went into this race expecting to win something. I wore my RaceReady Shorts with the extra stash of pockets along the back so I would be able to stick a medal in there for the run home. Perhaps that was an arrogant move, but I was right, so maybe that makes it better? However, obviously the prize of a mug and sturdy certificate isn’t something I can just put in my pocket, so I decided to just speed-walk home carrying them, instead of trying to run with them.
I also want to note, the run was to benefit the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission, a Christian organization helping homeless and transitioning men in the city. It was really uplifting to see a couple dozen of the men from the mission involved in running the race and volunteering around the course! The race also benefits Mission: Feet First which fits and provides shoes to the needy, including all the men at the Rescue Mission. The run also was the race for a 5k training program Fleet Feet puts on, so there were many men and women out there running their first ever 5k. It was inspiring to see all of these hard-working people out on the course!