On Saturday, Rich and I ran Shifter’s 5K in Waltham in support of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge.
Going into race day, I felt hesitant about the race. My last two runs took my ego down a notch because I hardly ran 2 miles without feeling winded and eventually calling it quits. Was I going to be able to run the full 3.1 miles without giving up? Also, the fact that it was supposed to snow and rain that day didn’t make it any easier.
Since the race didn’t start until 1pm, we had a sleep in so we were well rested for our run. Packet pick-up started at 11am, so we planned on getting there around 12 or 12:15 to make sure we had plenty of time to get prepared before the official start time. When we got to the parking lot, there didn’t seem to be too many people or cars around, and we started to wonder if the event got canceled.
As soon as we walked into the pub where packet pick-up, we knew that was not the case. There were about 200 people chatting and warming up, some even enjoying the complimentary donuts, coffee, and pretzel chips supplied by the race organizers. We steered clear of these snacks because the last thing I wanted was a big fat donut jumbling around in my belly as I ran.
We picked up our bibs and free t-shirt in about 2 seconds flat and took off to an unoccupied corner to stretch, chat, and just relax before the start time. We headed outside in the heavy drizzle about five minutes before the start and did a little bit of jumping around, mostly to stay warm. At around 1:15, the siren went off and so did we.
As with most of my runs, I didn’t hit my stride until about 3/4 of a mile in. I knew I was starting off a little faster than I probably should have, so I tried to pace myself with an older gentleman who was running beside me, till he started to walk so back to pacing with Rich it was. The course was generally flat with a couple of short low grade hills, so I was able to keep a relatively consistent pace for the entire 5K with a few short bouts of slow in order to cross the road and avoid getting hit by cars.
I finished the 5K in 30’37”, averaging a 9’52” pace and my personal best! Maybe I should run in the rain and cold more often.
Post-race refreshments were free beer provided by Harpooon, hot dogs, hamburgers, and pretzel chips.
The only negative of the race is that the starting line and course signs were a bit confusing and unorganized. The starting line at the beginning of the race was actually at a sign posted for the finish line, so everyone was confused as to where the “official” start was and which direction we were meant to start running. Everyone ended up having to turn around and walk backwards a bit to get to the right spot. They also had us start a long way away from the official start line, so we ended up running longer than 3.1 miles and, therefore, my “official” time on the website is inaccurate.
Also, the signs along the way were not set up correctly. There was a “Mile 2” sign along the route when clearly we were not at the second mile marker because it was not quite the first mile in. It was apparently meant for the return trip back since the route was an up and back, but it was confusing because the sign was facing the opposite way and you wouldn’t have seen it unless you were running backwards.
In general, the road race was nice for a small event, and the after party was fun and eventful. I love me some free beer and free burgers/dogs. Of course I will support any event with a good cause, no matter the size.
Time to register for my next race and hopefully another personal best!
The event: Shifter’s 5K
The location: Waltham, MA
The date: March 31, 2012
My time: 30.37 (9.52 pace)
The cause: Dana Farber Cancer Institute
The swag: White cotton t-shirt with logo
The grub: Hot dogs, burgers, and beer