Festival of Races 5k (19:13)

The Festival of Races in Syracuse, NY is a race I’ve always wanted to do.  I’ve been signed up for the race a couple of times, but I’ve been injured both times.  I’ve mentioned before, but I get injured in August and am forced to sit out August, September and October.  This year since I backed off of training I enjoyed running in the early fall.

Anyways, my husband I drove up to the race on Saturday.  Surprisingly Syracuse is only about 4.5 hours away from our house in New Jersey.  We both went to college in NYS, and it was a fun mini race-cation.  The bonus, of course, was getting to hang out and see Heather. We arrived the night before the race, so we didn’t leave NJ at 3 am the next morning.

We arrived at the race around 8.  The men ran at 8:50 and the women raced at 9:50. To be honest, 9:50 is later than I normally like.  I warmed up with Heather, and we watched the men’s race.  Something I miss from cross country is all male or all female runs.

After warming up, I lined up at the starting line.  I somehow forgot to put my racing flats on so I had to do go back and do that too.  I positioned myself further back at the start because I knew the race was very competitive.  The race went off at exactly 9:50.

Festival of Races
Image from Bob Brock

During the first mile, I felt decent.  I didn’t feel good or bad.  It was interesting because the race was the US Masters Championship, the Master runners wore a second bib on the back of their singlets.  The second bib meant if the racer was over 40 and in front of me, I knew!  Anyone who was not a master did not wear a second bib.  During the first mile I knew there were several women over 40, 50 and even a women who was over 60.  It was both awesome and motivating to run with so how many fast women!  I hit the first mile in 6:01.

I knew the second mile would make or break me.  It normally does in the 5k.  I began to focus on the women in front of me.  I passed a few women, including the US women’s 5k 60-64-year-old record holder.  I hit the halfway point in 9:20.

During the second half of the race, I found myself in an awkward limbo zone and running by myself.  There weren’t too many people near me.  There were plenty of people in front and many people behind me but no one in my 10-second bubble.  I hit the second mile in 6:16.

The third mile I just focused on finishing.  The Festival had both the mile and kilometers marked, so you knew exactly where you were on the course at all times. There were a lot of spectators throughout the third mile as well as one small hill.

We climbed the hill and immediately saw “400 meters to go.” I thought to myself that 400s are my go to workout so I can power through and do this. I sprinted to the end and passed both Heather and Tim, who were cheering on the side.

The US women’s 60-64 5k Record Holder was closing space and nearly passed me again at the finish. I felt like a celebrity was approaching. I saw the clock tick 18:59…19:00…19:01…I was close to breaking 19 but not that is still a decent amount of time. I crossed the finish in 19:13 with a closing mile at 6:23. I finished 16th women overall and 6th in my age group.

Image from Bob Brock
Image from Bob Brock


Looking back, the Festival of Races is my fastest race in two years.  My closest race since was the Firecracker 5k in July.  I am happy because I am slowly progressing towards my goals of Pring.  However, in a world where everyone wants everything done faster, it’s still not quick enough (kidding).  It’s motivating to see speed work coming together.

I felt strong, but I don’t feel as if I worked 45 seconds harder than other races. I’m hoping that I will be able to continue to run closer to this pace versus up around a 20 minute 5k. I broke through Plateau number 1, and hopefully plateau number 2 brings me back below 19 minutes.  

Festival of Races 5k

Questions for you:

Have you ever raced a Women’s only or Men’s only race?

I enjoy doing them and would do them again!

What goal are you currently chasing? (running, life, fitness, whatever!)


Categories: Tags: , , , ,


  1. I’ve never been a part of a race that is women or men only, but it sounds kinda neat! I’d be game! Although a late start of 9:50 is not appealing to me at all.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I thought I was being lame for wanting an earlier race!

  2. Sounds like you ran a really well-paced race and got to have a fun weekend away. Winning all around.

  3. Glad the weekend went well with travel, time with Tim, seeing Heather and a great race too! Bummed it didn’t work out to see you while you were up, just bad timing! Congrats again on the race though, clearly those workouts are coming around!!

  4. Amazing race and congrats on your awesome time! I think you definitely broke through your plateau. You smoked it! I ran an all female half marathon once. I really liked it! I felt such a sense of camaraderie during that event.

  5. wow what a race!! that’s exciting. I haven’t run an all women’s event, BUT I did go to an all girls school for high school, and I love that sort of thing 😉 hahahha. Right now im working on…. remembering to take my medication and consistently working out!

  6. I’ve never raced a women’s only race, but I think it might be kind of fun. You did an amazing job at this race! You will be under 19 in no time, even though to you it will probably feel like it will take forever. You’ve made so much good progress over this summer and stayed injury free, I definitely think you will reach your goal.

  7. nice job on that time! I have never done an all womens race (princess half at disney allows men) but it sounds fun. I want to do the nike race but havent yet. My goal is a sub 9 min/mil but man it is so hard to get those small gains! good luck I know you will reach your goal, you are so close already!!

  8. Your splits are definitely getting more even 🙂 I would love just to run a 19:59 one day and then never even attempt another 5K again 😉 Same with most distances really…I just want slightly under certain time goals and then I wouldn’t touch 10Ks or half marathons. Plodding round trail marathons and ultras would be my idea of heaven…I just feel I have too much unfinished business at the moment to let myself do that.

    We don’t really have women only races in my region of the UK any more! There used to be one or two, but they have sinced become generic races for everyone. I would never have started racing if it wasn’t for the Bupa Great Women’s 10K in 2008 – men intimidated me so much that I never thought I’d be able to run a race with them at the time.

    Well done for such a brilliant time!

  9. OMG I have never heard of this race but super exciting! Those are my people – LOL 🙂 You did amazing!!! Also considering you’re still healing. Nicely done and I absolutely love that last shot!

  10. That picture looks like there were some SERIOUS fast runners! Great job.

  11. This looks like such a cool race! I would love the opportunity to do an all female race. Then, there would guaranteed be no wall of XC boys to get around. 😛

  12. Well done on your time, great seeing the speed work pay off, it’s motivating for me (I’m trying to run sub 23!) My first ever race was the women’s mini marathon 10k in Dublin Ireland – it’s such a supportive race, not sure I would’ve started racing if I hadn’t done that! Since then only female races are cross countries and road relays, it’s fun getting to watch the boys sometimes as my boyfriend also runs!

  13. Well done!!

    In Ottawa we do have a Women’s only race in June in memory of an elite runner who passed away in a car accident – The race is FAST and attracts lots of great runners. They have a co-ed race right after though.

  14. Oh my gosh, you are so inspiring! My goals are about double your times 😉 There’s a women-only race here in Sacramento called the Women’s Fitness Festival that I’ve done a few times and it has a huge turnout. It’s SO much fun to be surrounded by a bunch of women on a run like that, and the finish line has all kinds of health and fitness info, expos, massages, sports medicine docs – all for women. Love it 🙂

    1. Awe thank you for stopping by Leslie! That does sound like a lot of fun and I would to do that race too. 🙂

Comments are closed.