Froyo 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:05/mile
Having done two races on my own post baby, I started to think awhile ago ... maybe it's about time I got baby into his own race? I mean he is 3 months old now. Why not?
So in a nutshell, with the promise of a very froyo finish, this is how baby's first 5K was born!
Let's start this recap by saying, things are getting into a pretty good rhythm for me when it comes to race morning post baby. I am pleased to be able to say that minimal effort or planning was required the night before or morning of this race, and things day of went off without a hitch. Quite the pleasant surprise!
I suppose it helped that this race didn't have a gun time until 9 am, and we didn't have to be out the door until 8 am, but whatever. I'll toot my own horn whenever I can these days, since that's not often. LOL!
Being that race morning went so smoothly, my family - eek, it's funny to say that, haha - arrived at the race day designated parking lot pretty much right when we planned, just after 8:15am. And it must have been my lucky day, because even more good vibes seemed to follow us there: the staff at the parking lot was friendly and fast, taking our money and getting us into the ramp without any delay.
Yes, I said money. Unfortunately parking was $10 cash on race day. I suppose we could have tried to skirt that by parking in a non-approved location but ... it was for a good charitable cause, so I'm not going to complain.
I will complain, however, that event organizers chose a ramp that was not handicapped accessible. How is one supposed to exit a 2nd/3rd story+ parking ramp with a stroller or wheelchair ... via a stairwell? Hopefully they recognize that flaw and figure out a solution in 2017. Moving on ...
As far as I can tell, the Froyo 5K/10K was new to Minnesota in 2016. And conveniently for us, it was slotted to take place in Bloomington as opposed to Minneapolis (or some other equally distant location). In fact, the course was planned to circle around Normandale Lake - an old stomping ground for my husband in his younger days.
Since the Froyo is in its first year, and knowing races that feature a food treat at the finish have a tendency to draw large and unruly crowds (ahem, Bacon Chase, ahem), I was figuring organization and check in times would suffer at this race. Yet, somehow my luck continued, because within minutes of arriving at the check in area we had all our swag and were looking for the rest of our race day party. Whoop!
Speaking of swag, here it is.
Registration for the 5K included one hat and one pair of mirrored sunglasses. The overall quality of the swag was so-so, but I did kind of like one of the hidden details inside.
Since the day was a little on the sunny side, baby asked if he could try out his hat for a second. I decided he could see if it fit at least and played along. ;-)
Of course, I couldn't let him wear the hat for the whole race, though. Wearing your swag on race day? Not in this family! LOL!
Post swag pickup, I texted the rest of the crew we were meeting at the race and started pinning on our bibs in preparation for our pre race photo. You can't see baby's bib in this photo since it was on the front of the racing stroller, but it's there - don't worry.
BTW, ignore what some affectionately call my "ghetto purse" in the bottom center of that photo. A lot of people give me crap for using a zip lock as my purse on race day, but guess what? When I'm done running, my phone, cards and cash are sweat free. Can YOU claim that? Boom. Redemption.
While we were pinning bibs and taking photos, the rest of our race day crew showed up and we started towards the race corrals. There, a few minutes before the national anthem played, we took a "before" photo (sorry, this is a little dark, but you get the gist of it):
Oh, if you can see through the shadows, you may recognize these folks from a few of my previous recaps, such as the Suds Run or Women Run the Cities, as well as others. They're part of my husband's extended family, and usually down to participate in the occasional race day antics with me. In other words, they are A-OK with me!
After lining up for our pre race photo op, our race crew divided themselves into two camps - we'll call them boys versus girls. Since the boys were only really there on race day to walk in celebration of boy #3's birthday (boy #3 not being my husband or my son), the girls decided to split off into a faster start corral and test out my fancy GPS watch's 2/1 pacing.
The race organizers played the anthem, released wave 1 of runners, wave 2 of runners ... still no GPS connection.
Oh no! With the rains overnight, the clouds from the storm must have been wreaking havoc on my GPS watch. I began getting REALLY nervous that my group was depending on my watch to pace us and it was going to fail.
But somehow, my luck of the day hadn't run out. Just as our wave of runners began the countdown to run, my GPS watch beeped, and by some small miracle (after 10+ minutes of searching) I finally had a signal. I let out a victorious "Yes!" and did a small fist pump. We were ready to go.
And just in time. Bang! Time to run!
The morning seemed relatively cool when we started our run, so the four of us "girls" were quite surprised that within our first 2/1 interval or so we were already starting to glisten. While the pace seemed easy enough to keep and none of us were over extended, we were all starting to sweat.
By mile one, despite a relatively flat course and an even pace, our ever growing "glow" was starting to become obnoxious. Obviously, the air was still holding a lot of humidity from the overnight rain and it was resurfacing on our skin - blech! Trying to ignore our dripping, the four of us chatted about various topics as we scurried along. One of the topics was regarding race swag and how this race didn't give out t-shirts, which is unusual, though we were actually all OK with it - especially me, since I had just cleaned out my closet pre-baby and finally let go of my hoard of race Ts ... to the tune of over 50 shirts donated to Goodwill. Yes, 50+!
Remembering this donation made me remark out loud: "Wow, I must be getting close to 100 races at this point. I wonder how many I've done? I should check."
(Answer: per my year in review for 2015, I have completed 71 races. When you add in the 2016 completions of Tri U Mah, Rainbow Run, Freedom 5, and this race - I'm up to 75! While I won't likely hit 100 races this year with the baby keeping me busy, I don't think it's unrealistic to expect I'll be at 100 by next race season. Let's see if I'm right!)
Aside from talking about our sweat and race Ts, one of the things we discussed on our run was the organization of this race and the course. First, we all agreed that the race was handled amazingly well, especially because as we ran we started to realize the volume of participants was much larger than we had imagined at the start line (a sure sign of good race management, since we didn't experience any log jams or pushy crowds). Second, we all thought that the course was pretty, and we liked that a good portion was shaded and relatively flat.
The one challenge we did have was that sometimes the trail was too narrow for the volume of runners, which made passing difficult depending on where we were on the route. This was easily amended with what the other girls in my group called "duckling formation" (apparently a family tradition of theirs).
And yes, the formation did include quacking. More than once. Come on. Did you really think we wouldn't do something dumb like that with me in tow?
As we scurried along, since my watch beeping wasn't quite loud enough for the whole group to hear, I would occasionally yell out "one minute" and we would all slow down to a brisk walk, or "two minutes" and we would all pick up our pace again. Although I felt a bit like a drill sergeant and maybe a tad bossy, I have to admit ... I did somewhat enjoy this role. I mean, how often can you boss around three other people and make them run 3+ miles in the process? HA!
But like with all good things you enjoy, eventually our run started to draw to a close. Not that this was a bad thing, because at the 3 mile mark my watch noted a mile split of 12:10 - our fastest mile of the day!
Hoping for a negative split overall, I crossed my fingers and pushed the crew to the finish ahead of me. Then I crossed the mat myself, and we all headed to the best part ... the post race froyo. Which was as delicious as you'd expect.
And yes, if you were wondering, I finally did it. After 5-6+ years of racing, my first ever genuine negative split!!!
Victory at last! And even sweeter when I got to finish with these two!
Speaking of finishes, check out the medal at this race:
"What do you mean I can't eat with this thing?!"
And that's the story of how race bib #71 joined my collection, and how I hit magic race number 75. 75 races?!?!?! I can't believe it. What a milestone to celebrate with baby.
Here's to another race soon!