On Sunday, I ran the Super 5K, a Superbowl Day 5K (as the name implies) in Novi, Michigan. It was my first time running the Super 5K, and I guess it was a new route, but it was new to me anyway! Overall, a great race!
Pre-Race Training: Since I'm doing 13 running events this year, I have been consistently training since I ran the Turkey Trot in November of last year. To prep for the Super 5K I had been running 3 times a week, 2 short(er) days of 2.5-4 miles a day, with one long run where I am building up mileage, simultaneously working up towards the Freep Half Marathon in October! I knew I could run a 5K already, having 2 others under my belt in the past 3 months.
Registration and Packet Pick-up: Registration was online through the RunningFit website, which was nice and easy. There was an optional pre-race day packet pick up at the Novi Civic Center (on race site) the Saturday before, and I chose to go and get my bib and swag early- nice option! Packet pick-up was pretty straight forward, and early pick-up helped me to mentally prepare for "race-mode"!
Race Day and Course: It was a brisk- ok who am I kidding, damn cold- 10 degrees outside on race day, and was a bit windy as well! Luckily I had swung by Running Fit, a local chain of running apparel stores, to get a cold-weather top. I was decked out in a sweat-wicking base layer, a thermal shirt over that, and my new asics running top over that (pic on the right)! I put on my new tech beanie, and a winter hat on over that, and I had on two pairs of spandex pants and two pairs of socks on!
The participants mosied towards the start line, and at 9AM we were off. I was way at the back of the pack, since I had to use the restroom before the race and stood in line for 20 minutes to do so (Never Again!!). It was funny because I didn't hear any starting gun or starting announcements, so when the pack took off, it felt like a sudden start to the race! The course was nice loop down Taft Rd. through a neighborhood near the Novi High School campus, and leading back out onto Taft Rd again for the finish. there were a few small hills that I didn't expect-a good reminder to do some higher-incline treadmill workouts in my next month of training!
I felt really good and strong in Mile 1, and warmed up quickly. Mile 2 seemed to take a while to come, but I kept busy by keeping my eyes on the roads to make sure I didn't slip and do a faceplant! We finished circling through the neighborhood and came out onto Taft Rd for the end of Mile 2, and hit Mile 3 right before the finish, turning back into the High School complex. There were also GREAT volunteers along the route that were encouraging participants as they went; I really appreciated that. I always wave at the volunteers, and a returned wave, smile or cheer can keep me going strong for the next quarter to half mile sometimes! There were lots of folks cheering at the end, which is always a good last half-mile pick-me-up!
My Results: I was hoping to finish the race with a time of 28 minutes or less. My last recorded 5K time was 29:42 at the Smoke the Turkey run in November, although we did the Commitment Day 5K on Jan 1st and I estimated my time to be 29:00. Although I've been running a 5K on the treadmill indoors in between 26:14-26:50, that doesn't include the 30 second water breaks I take every 10 minutes. The 28:00 goal time also factored in the cold, which is always a bit of a shock to the system! I kicked it into high gear for the last .25 mile, and crossed the finish line strong!
The finish line clock said 29:32, and I was a bit disappointed. I started a mental cheerleading routine-
"That's an improvement from your Smoke the Turkey time- any improvement is something to be proud of..",
and then remembered that the counter reflected the race start time, not my start time! I practically ran indoors to the after-party to see where the results had been posted, and got to see my REAL finishing time: 27:17! Out of my Age Group (Females 24-29) I finished 18th out of 86- not too shabby! Considering the cold weather and the fact that during the race I ran the entire thing (vs taking water breaks like in training), I am SO happy with my time, and it's better than I had hoped for!
Race Swag: In addition to the great tech beanie, which is an awesome addition to my running apparel drawer, the first 2,000 finishers received a cool pint glass!
Overall thoughts: This was a fun, enjoyable Winter race, and a good idea, since I totally pigged out at our Superbowl Party later in the afternoon. Pretty close to home, great swag, well organized race, timely posting of race results; not too much more you can ask for!
If you're lining up your running schedule for 2014, consider adding the Super 5K to your list!