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.
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.
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.
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!)