For my 4th 13 in 2013 challenge race of the year, I chose the Falcon 5 Miler in Bowling Green, Ohio! It was a fundrasier for the BGSU Track/CC Teams, which is great, and it was a 5 mile run- something I was searching for! Since I'm training for the Freep Half Marathon in October, I've been trying to plan my monthly races accordingly, so I am building up my mileage in training and in racing as well.
I'd scaled back my running about a month ago, and had been building back up in preparation for this race. I was a bit nervous going into it that I hadn't run enough 5 mile practices to be ready, but in the 2 weeks before, I ran 2 practice 5's. In my two practice 5's I'd finished with times of 44:09 and 44:00, so for race day I was aiming for a time of 43:00.
Registration and Packet Pick-up:
Since the run was in Bowling Green (about 1 hr 5 minutes from my home), I didn't go pick up my packet early. On Friday, I changed into my race clothes and left work around 4:00pm to head down to BG. It was cold and overcast- not looking like the early Spring day I was hoping for. I'd guess it was about 40 degrees out, tops. Packet pick-up was easy and quick. Bibs were the "old-fashioned kind" where there's a perforated bottom strip that tears off, and that's where your time gets written! No fancy QR codes this time lol!
Race Day and Course:
Luckily I had packed clothing for all types of weather! I ended up going with my spandex running tights, a thermal long-sleeve shirt and my cute black and pink jacket, with a winter hat. I was worried I'd be too cold, but I'm glad I didn't layer up any more- once I started running, I warmed up pretty quickly. The race started at Sebo Athletic Center, which is attached to BGSU's Football stadium.
I was REALLY surprised at the size of the group of runners- It seemed like less that 50 people! When I later looked at the results, the final # was 108, but that's a big difference from my last race, the 9,000+ Corktown 5K!
Everyone was bundled up pretty intensly, and we all lined up outside the stadium on the road. The began, and we were off! We swung around the stadium and headed back towards campus, running past the student center, lots of residence halls, the library.. there were BGSU track/cc members along the course periodically with directional signs, encouraging us along! Although it was cold, they were all pretty cheery. I get a lot of motivation from a simple "Great job!" so it was nice to have strategically placed encouragement along the route!
Another surprise was the water stop- I assumed there would be a 1.5 mile water stop and a 3 mile, but instead there was just one stop at the 2.5 mark. I ended up pushing through though, and once I got to the 3 mile mark, I was able to push myself forward- just make it to mile 4. Right before mile 4, we turned away from campus and began our approach back to the stadium. It was nice to be able to see our destination for the last mile, and I knew I could make it the rest of the way.
When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 42:42. I had started a few second behind the front pack, so I estimate my true time to be 42:40- awesome!!! The track/cc team members had been calling out our times each mile, so I know that I started out slow (first mile was 9:07), and built up speed after mile 1 (2nd mile 17:17, don't remember 3rd mile, 4th mile was 34:20).
I'm really happy with my time- 42:40 is an 8:32/mile average, which is pretty great for a 5 mile run! Also, I'm proud to say that I ran the entire race- no stops, no walking. THAT is an accomplishment!
All race registrants got a Falcon 5 Miler t-shirt! They are uni-sex shirts, which is disapointing because they don't fit too flatteringly, but oh well.
I really enjoyed my first 5 mile race! I wish the weather had been warmer, but there's no controlling that! Both participants and track/cc team members were friendly, helpful, and encouraging. The race was well organized, and it was kind of fun to run through campus. Overall, a cold-but-well worth it race day.
If you're looking for a small, friendly Spring race that raises money so others can run, consider the Falcon 5 Miler next year!