The race was held at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, which was a really beautiful area - the amphitheatre itself backed up to a small lake, it was surrounded by trees (hello North Carolina, trees galore), and there was a nice shaded deck where we waited until it was time to go line up for the race start.
The race organizers held a Zumba warm up session about 45 minutes before the race, but I felt sufficiently warm in the 95 degree heat, plus we'd walked quite a way from where we parked to the venue. Instead, I posed for my pre-race picture and posted it on Facebook, saying my motto for the race was to "try not to die":
I wasn't kidding about the not dying part...it was SERIOUSLY hot!
We were herded out to the road to line up for the start. I tried to get toward the back of the pack, but as more and more women came in, I ended up being about 2/3 of the way back. The funniest thing was how LOUD it was - not sure if it's because the race started in the evening and all the runners were more awake (usually races are pretty early in the morning), or if it's because we were all Chatty Cathy's, but it was really noticeable. I could barely hear the woman standing next to me as we discussed our race strategies (interestingly enough, hers was to not die as well - ha!).
Start of the race:
I swiped this picture from the race's FB page.
We ran mostly uphill for the first 1.25 miles, in the direct sun. I made it to nearly one mile before I threw in an extra walking minute - again, in my trying not to die, I figured I could conserve my energy a little on the uphill parts and make up for it on the downhills, which I did. Mile one pace was 14:14 - which is wild - that's my usual pace in Texas, when I'm NOT running hills nor in this kind of heat!
Around 1.25 miles, we turned the corner and ended up on a shaded, tree-lined road that was mostly downhill - ahhhh! Now that was fun. I ignored my interval beeps and just ran. There was a water station around mile 1.75, which is also where we turned to go around the lake. I got a cup of water to drink and also poured a cup down the back of my neck, which felt awesome. The lake run was pretty, but it was on a narrower path and with all of the interval people, we kept bunching up. Mostly I just tried to stay with the two women I'd picked out early on to pace with. Mile two pace was 14:27. We came out of the lake to another water station at mile 2.5 - and then more hills. I walked all of the hills at that point. I had a bit of a headache and my arms felt like they were radiating heat - weird, but I knew the end was near, so I just kept up with my pacers. Mile three pace was 15:28.
My plan was to blow by my pacers near the finish, and I did, thanks to a great downhill! There were a lot of people on the side of the road cheering us on - I got a lot of "GO 1210" and "I like your shirt!" and then I saw Jeff and Sam near the finish - woohoo! That was fun to have my own personal cheer crew there. Here's me, with my "pacers" in the background (the woman in the pink shirt and the woman in the longer white sleeveless shirt):
So happy to see my peeps that I threw my hands up in the air!
My Garmin - can you believe I ran a 5K race and it hit 3.1 miles exactly? That's pretty unusual.
Sweaty and spent - but pleased with my run!
Sam made me pose with this sign because he said my face was the same color...I think he was right about that.
Food and drink that was handed to me right after I finished - not pictured is one bottle of water that I'd already downed.
One of the perks of the race was a great food spread and two coupons for either wine or champagne. I don't drink anymore, but I wanted the commemorative glass, so I stood in a long line to get it. I posed for the picture and then handed it off to Jeff to drink. The glass? Is plastic! Dang it - not quite the commemorative "glass" I was expecting.
That was quite the pour - can you imagine drinking two glasses of this after running a race? I wonder how many runners were on the floor later?
Not pictured is the food, because the line was ridiculous. Plus, the chocolate milk and banana were enough for me - I'm not usually very hungry after I run.
A totally different race shirt!