A few months ago, my friend and I decided to sign up for The Advocate Cypress 5K. It’s organized by the Louisiana Marathon, and the 5K race is held the day before the Louisiana Half/Marathon, so we knew the crowds wouldn’t be so bad, but it would probably be well-organized since this race was very popular last year.
Fast forward to January, and well, the past couple of weeks have been terrible. Non-stop rain and super cold weather just made everything seem miserable. Add being under the weather for a week, and well…preparing for this 5K just wasn’t getting any easier. Oh, and not to mention this gal didn’t run at all from Thanksgiving until after Christmas. I had no excuses…I just got lazy during the holidays. I told my friend who did the 5K with me….as long as I cross that finish line, I’ll be happy. Oh, and as long as it doesn’t rain, because if it rained during the race while I was getting over my illness, I was definitely going to stay home.
Well, I checked the 10 day forecast, and each day, it said the same thing: Sunny weather with lows in the lower 40s, highs in the lower 60s. Perfection. It was sort of a joke the Thursday before the race when the rain ended. So many pictures on Facebook of Mr. Sun, with people what this bright ball of light was. HA! Even my dog did a double take when she went outside…I’m telling y’all…we’re aren’t used to that type of weather!
On Friday, I went to the expo to pick up my bib and shirt. I was so excited about this shirt, because it was supposed to be a nice running shirt. However, when I got there, the lady at the table insisted that the “L” on my registration form = women’s large. Um…no. I ordered unisex large, but she said I’d have to go back after the race to switch it. Bummer…I never did switch it, because the expo opened about an hour after I was done with the race. My husband told me to just think of it as motivation to lose weight to fit into it….I guess in about 30 lbs. it’ll fit? Right now, it’s super tight…I’m surprised I got the shirt over my shoulders. LOL! This was the only bummer about my race experience…I know it had nothing to do with the organizers…it was just that particular volunteer at the expo.
Anyway, so Saturday morning came and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. Slightly chilly with barely any wind, and the Sun was just beaming. I had a feeling it would be a good race at that point, and then I checked my email one last time before leaving the house…
That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten that type of email. Way awesome, in my opinion.
So, I picked up my friend, and we easily parked downtown and took our time walking to the starting line. When we turned the corner, this is what we saw.
I’m used to a small balloon arch or something, but wow…once again I was pretty impressed.
My friend and I found a spot on the sidewalk to talk a bit and get ready, and we decided it would probably be best to take a picture before we looked a sweaty mess. Seriously…look at that sky, too! PERFECT day.
Before we knew it, we were lining up at the starting line.
The race organizers were right on time with the start. 8:00am and everyone was on their way. I had my RunKeeper app on, and checked my phone every block to watch my pace. I still tend to get a little adrenaline rush, and go 4-5 minutes faster a minute at the very beginning if I don’t watch myself. So to avoid burn out, I moved to the far right of the group and slowed down to a 14 minute mile, which is still fast for me, but I knew a big bridge was coming up TWICE in the race, and I wanted a PR, if possible.
To recap, my first 5K in August was 51:06, and my second 5K in October was 49:47. As you all know, I’m VERY slow, and I’ve yet to run a full 5K without walking breaks.
Right before the dreaded bridge, I saw this sign. WHAT? Mile 1 ALREADY?? Oh man…awesome.
Then I hit the bridge. I had a plan to walk a 16:00 minute/mile pace, and used my height to my advantage. Long strides…my time was looking great! When I got to the decline of the bridge, I took advantage of the slope and ran down. Sometime around there, I saw my friend on the way back (she’s super fast lol) and gave her a high five! It definitely gave me a little pep in my step to see her, and exchange some “YOU GO GIRL!”s.
I made it around the loop shortly after, and realized OMG…I’m already halfway done?! YES! My pace was looking great, too!
I hit the bridge the second time with the same goal…walk with long strides. I had a lady that was sort of back and forth with me most of the race, which was great motivation to stay on pace. (Does anyone else have silent competition in these 5Ks? This lady was my competition, sort of….is that wrong?) Then, once again, I ran down the bridge and right after the bridge, I saw this.
Mile 2…oh HECK yes! Y’all this race was FLYING. I was still doing well with my pace, and I turned around quickly and the lady I was back and forth with during the race was way back there. Um, mini victory? That has NEVER happened y’all. They usually pass ME up! I sound so silly, I know, but I’m the person counting where I was in reference to last place. My first 5k….6th to last. Second 5K….about 20th to last. There were quite a few people behind me at this point, so I decided to keep on keeping on.
About a block from the last turn, I walked one last time so I could run the entire last stretch. Once I hit that turn, I started jogging again, but noticed my pace wasn’t as good as the beginning. Oh well…I was still doing OK, and figured if I sprinted the last block, I would be good to go!
My friend texted me about that time “Come on girl…you got this!” (My friend is really the best!) It made me realize that I was really almost done, and I could make this a PR! At the last block, my friend was there, and she helped me sprint to the finish! Right at the finish, I was like OMG I GET A MEDAL! Then, I looked down at my RunKeeper and I saw it…a PR!!! I was SO stoked. I took a couple of steps to get my medal, looked up and saw that Zach Mettenberger (LSU’s quarterback) was giving out medals. Stupid me should have gotten a picture in case he’s super famous in the NFL someday, but all I wanted was a dang banana and water. LOL!
Check out this medal! I love it.
Now, a bit of bummer news. I guess I started my RunKeeper after my chip crossed the starting line, because my official time with the 5K was just a few seconds shy of a PR. That’s OK though…I was very close and felt GREAT after the race.
This has been my favorite 5K so far. Thanks to the Louisiana Marathon organizers for putting on such an amazing event. I think my next goal is to one day do their half marathon, but we’ll see where my running journey takes me.