Today I ran in the first St Francis of Assisi Run for Peace in Raleigh.
There were a lot of things in my favor at this event. The weather was perfect, warm, a little overcast, but no imminent threat of rain. The crowd was small, about 250 runners. The course was supposed to be flattish (alas that really wasn't the case.). I remembered to wear shorts, not leggings, so I didn't overheat. Unfortunately, I still didn't do so well….but I did do a Personal best for the season that I am trying to salvage.
Last night I couldn't sleep well, partly because of the great nap I took in the afternoon, and partly because I was feeling anxious about the race. I had had a particularly bad run this week and hadn't run since, so I was a little worried.
I got to the race site at about 7:30, in time to pick up my packet and T shirt and chip. The people were super organized. The volunteer easily found my number and a t shirt in my actual size and my chip was then handed out from a little box with no problems. I also got a mini-goody bag with a light up pen, which I am sure my nephew will adore when he gets here this week.
I got number 142. I went and pinned it on and put on my shoes, then I hung around until the race time. Lot of others hanging around as well. I stretched a bit and felt very nervous. Being in it's first year this race attracted an unusual crowd….elite runners (we have a lot in the area), the people from the Church (not necessarily runners, but doing the race to support the cause), and a few of us in the inbetween arena.
This race supported The Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace at the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi. Per the organization The Coalition's mission is to educate, motivate, and organize people of faith to affect social change through legislative advocacy. Having been raised a Quaker this is not a new concept for me and I was actually delighted to be giving my 20 bucks for this cause. As it was at a Church, the race opened with a Prayer from the Priest. It was a very very nice prayer and I found that to be a nice additive to the race.
I never heard the gun go off, or an actual start command, all of a sudden people just started to run. So, of course I started to jog along as well. The course started with two immediate right turns which got a lot of people jammed up. I did ok with it. I'm not one to have any speed, so I tried to avoid those who were coming from behind me at blazing pace.
The course was not a closed course, but the volunteers really did a great job at keeping traffic out of the areas. Several times I heard volunteers interacting with drivers asking them to plase just wait 4 more minutes until everyone had passed. I appreciated this. The course was marked oddly in Kilometers, and the few occasional mile markers. I had a hard time deciphering where I was at any given moment past one mile but I may have simply missed the 2 mile marker. There were no clocks or touch pads at the mile markers, so my actual splits will remain a mystery.
At any rate, the run was very nice through a residential neighbourhood with wide streets that were well repaired. There was one rather long hill at mile 2 (i think…no markers.). This hill wasn't particularly steep, but the elevation just kept creeping up and up and up. Lots of people seemed to be loosing steam on the hill. I did OK the first time, but then there were a few more. I ended up walking again for a few minutes during the race, which of course affected my overall time. Something just happens to me and I start to think about walking, and then suddenly, I find I am walking. It is completely psychological, as I am able to run this distance. So, it became a bit of a mind game. I tried thinking of things like "rabbits" thanks to Amanda and that helped a little, but I did end up walking more than I would have anticipated in the last mile. It was almost comical as there were 3 people who were close behind me. 2 teenagers and a lady about my age. They would pass me each time I was walking, and then I would pass them again in the end. In the end I beat the three, but I did get annoyed at myself as the leapfrogging was just continual in that last mile.
The finish was up a hill and I was happy to see the time clock reading 33:45 or so as I passed by. I was not happy, but I don't know why because thats faster than last week. My goal for the summer is to be able to actually do a 29-30 min 5K. I think this is extremely possible…especially if I get over the psychological "walk talk" in my mind.
Post race they had a great "buffet" with water, iced tea (it is the south after all), chocolate muffins, bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, and the best were homemade chocolate chip cookies!! I did sample the cookies and I can say they were quite fine.
We have Great race results guys here in NC, Young and Associates, so by the time I got a new shirt on and had some water, the times were posted. My official chipped time was 33:43, with an average of 10:51 miles. Yes, I know its slow. It is faster by about one full minute than last weeks race, so I should be thrilled. I am not exactly sure what I expected. I really wanted to stay around for the raffle, but they were doing a one mile fun run after the 5K and I just felt like I had other things to do…so I hope someone got some good stuff at the raffle.
Overall I'd say a nice event, especially for a first time event. Things were organized. The T shirts are BEAUTIFUL (whomever did the design did a great job.) The shirts came in the size I requested. Lots of race shirts I don't like, but this one I will really enjoy wearing. I especially like the St Francis Quote that is on the back. The results were out very quickly. The post race food was very very tasty. The volunteers on the race course were enthusiastic cheerers which was nice as there weren't really spectators. The only thing that I could suggest would be to have a volunteer at the miles calling out the time (It does get hard for them, but other races do do it…) or a time clock there.
A big thank you to the volunteers, orgnaizers and the Church for hosting this race.