Saturday morning I got up early and headed north to Silver River State Park near Ocala and Silver Springs. I decided to change things up and instead of running the Lady Track Shack 5K like have for several years, I would try a new race that is about an equal distance in the opposite direction. I first read about this race in Runner's World.
When The Crazy Runner said he was going to be there I decided to register. This race was really inexpensive. It was $15 (+$3 active.com fee) and the first 150 registered received a tech-tee. I registered early and got my tech-tee.
I missed my turn and ended up driving the scenic route through Ocala. I had left early enough in case I got lost and I was glad I had. I still arrived in plenty of time to meet up with The Crazy Runner and his friends. We chatted for a bit and found our way to the start line and after a few announcements we were off.
Speedy Sasquatch had given me pacing instructions of the first half mile at a 9:30 pace and the next two miles at a 9:10 pace and then FINISH IT!!! We started out in the parking lot and ran a loop. I was feeling good and was a little faster than 9:30, but it was manageable. After about a 1/3 of a mile we moved onto state park hiking trails that were primarily sugar sand.
I was still feeling pretty good but running on sugar sand takes a lot more effort than running on the road. It was starting to turn into work and I was slowing down a little bit.
I kept at it and tried to stay strong. I passed a few people and was passed by a few. As I turned a corner I saw a teenage girl walking and crying. She was having a rough race. We were already past the two mile mark. We were almost there. I tried to encourage her and I told her We were closer to the finish than we were to the start. I almost stopped to help run her in. Maybe I should have.
I was approaching an older gentleman who had stopped to walk. As I passed him he said I was doing a great job. He started running again and he passed me. He was walking again and as I passed him I said "You've totally got this!". He said "I hope it's over soon!" I told him there was about a 1/4 mile to go. He started running again.
I was pushing to get to the finish. The course crossed a road and we were right next to the area where packet pick-up was earlier in the morning. The finish line was segregated women to the left and men to the right. As we crossed the line ladies were handed a pink card and men a blue card. We needed to write our name age group and finish time on the card and turn them in.
After I had my card in hand, the older gentleman from the last 1/4 mile, who had also just finished, came up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for encouraging him to finish strong. That made my morning.
There was no chip or D-Tag timing. Old school write it down timing. Nothing wrong with that, I just haven't run a lot of races like that. I turned in my card, got a bottle of water. Right after that The Crazy Runner, who was pacing his friend found me. They had finished a little less than a minute behind me.
We chatted a bit and watched to award ceremony. Two of The Crazy Runner's friends (including the friend he paced) took 2nd place in their age groups. I fell just short of a trophy and finished 4th in my age group.
It was a lot of fun to try something new. The sugar sand was tough to run in and not a good choice for shooting for a PR. It really required a lot of effort to run on that.
It's been a long time since I've raced a 5K. It felt good to be out and I'm happy to have given it my best shot.
I finished in 29:56 a little slower than I was hoping for, but I wasn't counting on it being that tough.
I'm thinking about a half marathon next weekend in Gainesville. I suppose I might need to mention it to Mr. H.