No time like the Fourth of July to run your first 5k!! It was my first, but the rest of my group were old pros! My two running partners, M and Kristina, have run a ton of 5ks before, and so has my SIL. Maybe it’s a little bit Ironic that the marathoner had never done one before??
The race was held in Manchester NH on Bridge St. It’s not a far ride from my house so it was a perfect choice. There was both a 5k and a 1mile option. The craziest part is that there was $4100 in prizes awarded for the 1 mile. And not the 5k… Apparently, the course is really well known and one of the fastest “1 mile” courses in the country (that blows my mind since it’s ONE MILE) Runners could chose to do 1 or the other, or both if they preferred.
Thursday was hot, hot, hot. Weather forecast for 3rd & 4th of July in MA were predicting thunderstorms and a possible hurricane moving in for Friday. Sweet. Race directors were keeping one eye on the weather as we cautiously waited it out. No one was sure if it would be completely rained out, or if we would actually get to race. The air was so thick, you could drink it. It was one of those hot AND humid days where you don’t even have to move before you are sweating right through your clothes. I believe the word “oppressive” would be appropriate to use as an adjective here. I don’t necessarily mind the humidity, but it’s slightly problematic when you want to run through it.
Around 5, it finally started to storm. Race time for the 5k was 7pm and 8pm for the 1miler. The heat broke from 87 down to 77… It was a freaking miracle because I did not know how people would have survived running through it!!
Some housekeeping notes that need mentioning before I go any further
-The race is run by Millennium Running. They have organized a bunch of different races in the New Hampshire area. This was my first event with them.
-there were 652 5k runners, and 655 1 mile runners who finished the races on Thursday.
-only the first 1000 entrants get the “free” hat. I guess that since I come from the Land of Marathoners where every entrant gets a t shirt and every finisher gets a medal..I think this is grossly unfair. It’s not that the hat is soooo great or anything-but all runners are created equal and maybe they didn’t decide to do the race until the first 1000 entrants had already registered. (Dislike #1)
-please note the above number of people who entered the races. There were ten porta potties at the start. Ten. (Dislike #2)
We arrived by 6:15 and had an easy peasy time parking my truck. The plan was to pick up our numbers, hit the porta potty, do a quick warm up, RACE, and then head back to my house for an awesome after party! (it being 4th of July, and all!!)
Bib Pickup: piece of cake. M and I got hats, but not SIL or Kristina (later registration), and we dropped them back at my truck real quick so we could stand in the porta pottie line before warming up and the actual start. (Also: M and I did not intentionally plan these super cute shirts from Dicks. We two cool chicas took separate shopping trips to the most
expensive awesome store near our house. We got tons of compliments on them and they were the most patriotic and awesome shirts! Thank you Adidas!!)
I could not believe the lines. it was like waiting for Boston but instead of there being a seemingly infinite number of porta potties—> there were ten. And it was 6:36. And their lines weren’t moving fast. And they were really long. ..did I tell you that? Because it was hot, and since we runners like to hydrate all day long before a race, we all really had to pee. We stood in the long line, along with all other 650 peeps running the race. By 6:55, we were still a good way back in line and I had to make the call to hold it until after the race. I didn’t want to be at the back of the pack or have to start late. I booked it to the start three minutes before the gun went off: This meant no warm up for Nicole. Booooo.
I had a really good feeling about yesterday. Whenever I wake up on race day with my sunshine and lollipops thoughts of “Hey YOU-YOU’RE GONNA KICK ASS TODAY” attitude–I do well. I told my Memere that I wanted to win and I can’t let her down so I knew I wanted to my absolute best to bring it! The only things I knew about running a 5k were that they hurt if they are done to the best of your ability, and they are short (20 minutes of your life,that’s it). My speedwork has been pretty great, and I knew I wanted to break 21 minutes.
The race started pretty much on time. A minute late, if that. I actually am not 100% sure of the actual time because the thoughts going through my crazy head were: ohmygodimrunningaraceimsonervousicantbelieveimrunningaracethatiamgoingtotrytorunreallyfastandiveneverdonethisbeforeOMG!–> that run on sentence was playing in my head like crazy for the few minutes before the start! The National Anthem was sung (beautiful!), the gun shot, and we were OFF!!
Before the race, I gave myself a little talking to regarding looking at my Garmin. I made myself promise NOT to look-this is something I never do. I loooove looking down at my watch when it beeps, but it gets distracting. I wanted 110% focus. Hey, if you are planning on hauling some ass to that finish line–> there can be NO distractions, amiright?!
First mile(no peeking at the watch!) nearly all downhill. Second mile was when the shit hit the fan. I thought every negative thought in the book:
“I hate running..I NEVER WANT TO RUN AGAIN
this really hurts!!
I am so MAD that I’m doing this!
I’m so mad at Kristina for telling me I should do one!
WHY isn’t this going by faster??
Don’t you dare look at that watch!
Why hasn’t my Garmin beeped yet?
I’m never doing this again!
By the time mile 2 (mostly uphill) was finally through, it was a smooth sail to the downhill finish. I was still pretty Negative Nancy, but I knew it was almost over and then it wouldn’t hurt so bad!
I think I realized that I was making good time when I looked around and saw that the only people I was passing were men. To me this is always a good sign! I heard the announcer say “and we have another female finishing” when he announced the girl right before me.
I saw the finish line clock when I crossed and it said “20:55″ I couldn’t believe I made my goal! I nearly puked when I was done and was SUPER glad I hadn’t had dinner yet. I was soaked at the finish-more than I had ever sweat during a race before..you could have wrung me out to dry and I would’ve dripped for a while. Gross, yes, I know.
Kristina came in right on my heels, followed 2 minutes later by her husband Mike, M and my SIL a little bit after that. One really cool feature was that they had a bib scanner thing that immediately told you your place and times. I was so excited to have placed 2nd in my division. I was the 8th woman, and the 42nd finisher out of 652 peeps. Kristina also placed too, third in her division !!:) she has had a bum hip for a while so this was so great for her!
The course itself was really nice. You looped the downhill start to take you to the finish line which was lovely since it was a decline to the finish. There were lots of spectators with hoses (thank you!) and you could run through their streams for a bit of a quick relief for a minute. (So thoughtful!) The finish line was equipped with tons of water, powerade, frozen stony field yogurt, and pizza.
The one finish line downfall (Dislike #3),was that the award ceremony didn’t commence until after 8:30 when every single 1 mile winner had crossed. We waited around for my award and ended up leaving since we were getting eaten alive by Mosquitos. We assumed that Kristina was also getting an award since she was in the Top Three of her age, but it was actually only the Top Two who were awarded anything(Dislike #4). She is so lovely for waiting around for it for me though so I could take my lovely SIL and M home to the kids, puppies, husbands, BEER and FOOD!!!!
We did stay long enough to see the 1 mile road race. It started at 8pm, and the male winner crossed the line at a shockingly fast time of 3:46. That is STUPID fast!!!! Insane! It was really something to see and ALL OF THE PEOPLE who were still gathered at the finish line flocked to watch. At :39 seconds into the race, the announcer was saying how the lead had hit the quarter mile or something equally ridiculous. It was a straight out one mile flyingggg sprint.. Pretty cool to see!!
I think I would do this race again, nit I’m not 100%. I wouldn’t wait around so long (if I placed, that is) afterwards. they weren’t mailing prizes so that’s the only reason I tried to wait it out. THAT part was SUPER annoying…they are two separate races and the awards ceremony should NOT be held up like that. I have heard many negative things about the Millennium racing company, so I’m not overly thrilled about the thought of doing one of their other races. I did like this course, and I do really like repeating races to beat my own times at them…there is something really nice in repeating a course that you’re familiar with.
5k’s are no joke. it is not “only 3.1 miles” like I had previously thought. Those 3.1 miles are HARD, they are FASTER than what I was expecting, and, also a lot of fun! (once I was done) The next day everything hurt. I’m realllllly grateful to Kristina for convincing me I should do one! Who knows where we can go from here! I couldn’t have done it without you, my friend!!
I think I will try another to see of I can break the 20 minute mark!! At the very least it’s a terrific speed workout!!
I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend! Stay safe!