One of my favorite races of the fall is the Dragon Run in Swedesboro, NJ. It’s put on by a local high school, and the money goes to a great cause. Last year, I had a great race and was the first I was under 19 for the fall. This year I did not break 19 but my legs were fatigued, and it was windy. I had an enjoyable time though.
I got to the race, warmed up and by the time I knew it we were off. It’s a big race, with a lot of high schoolers. This means the start is crowded. I was not bullying my way to the start with local high schoolers, so I found a good spot. Once we were off, the first mile was packed, and I found myself running with local soccer players and a couple of cross country kids. One kid was determined not to let a female beat him (because he told me that). We crossed the first mile in 6:11. To be honest, I was disappointed, but at the same time, my legs didn’t feel fresh at all.
I knew the course well and figured breaking 19 wouldn’t be in the cards. I stayed along the two kids who helped keep me stay focused and not zoned out. The second mile went around a 180 turn and over a few rolling hills. I’ve had great training lately, but it means I’m not entering local 5ks “fresh.” When you race as frequently as I do, you know that, and you ask yourself: are you going to taper for every race. No, and use them as workouts. The next mile went with little note, and we ran a 6:10.
During the last mile, I was tired, but the pack of guys I was running with started pushing so I did too. We were two miles in so I was just holding on for dear life. My friend that didn’t want a female to outkick him surged and I couldn’t keep up with that but kept pushing as much as I could. The third mile was a lot windier than the first two. Around 2.75, we were joined by the walkers towards the finishers shoot. You can see the finish from about .25 away and I always think the race will be short, but it never is. I ran the last mile in 6:03 and crossed in 19:06.
I was happy with my time, and while it wasn’t my fastest, I was happy with my effort level. Last year I won, and this year I was second but enjoyed myself. The overall winners won cupcakes from a bakery which I always enjoy.
Here I was telling the facility: I’ve been waiting for this cupcake since last year.
This ends my progression of getting faster each 5k but this time would come. It has to end somewhere!
Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite race award?
Would you rather run a small race or big race?