Every small town around here has an associated festival, complete with parade, a festival Queen, food and craft vendors, local entertainment on stage and an associated race.
St. Marys, Georgia has the Rock Shrimp Festival
Kingsland, Georgia has the Catfish Festival
Folkston, Georgia has the Okefenokee Festival
And Woodbine, Georgia has the Crawfish Festival and Doreen Myers 5K Race, which my husband and I ran on Saturday. This is actually a fairly decent sized race with about 170 participants and official race times for everyone. There were no chips, but my Garmin and the official results are spot on, so whatever their system, it worked.
The race started at 7:30 am, and we arrived around 6:50. Parking was easy and packet pick up was a breeze - one of the benefit to these smaller races. They were handing out "Run For Boston" bracelets at the start and finish of the race, which I thought was a nice sentiment!
After attaching my bib, I started my warm up run. I had already gone through all my rolling and stretching at home, but I knew that in these short races I absolutely must have at least a mile warm up to get my body moving. There were no race port-o-johns, but there were festival ones that I came upon during my warm up. Positively the grossest port-o-johns I have ever seen! I will spare you the details. After looking through them all, I finally found one that I could hover over without feeling totally sick. I'm telling you right now - running is not for the dainty!!
I made it to the start line about 5 minutes before race time. Chatted with my husband and a few friends, had a moment of silence for Ms. Doreen Myers and then we were off. I - as usual - went out too fast. It's just so hard in a race to reign it in, especially when I'm feeling so good. This was my first serious race since I had to take time off earlier this year for injuries, and I was just hoping to come in under 30 minutes. However, when I finished the first mile at a 8:55 pace, I figured I was either going to do pretty well, or end up crashing and burning!
There was a little boy and his father that I ran with for the entire race. The boy was around 9 or 10 and this was his first 5K. (Actually just looked him up - his name was Ashton and he was 10) We kind of leap-frogged each other for most of the race. But when he turned on his sprint during the last 1/4 mile to pass me for the last time, I yelled "you are going to beat me". He turned around with a big grin on his face and said "That's the idea!" That gave me the kick I needed for the final bit, because, honestly, at that point I was starting to get that nauseous feeling that means I have taken myself as far as I can go. Right at the end, when I was thinking this race was not worth throwing up over, I turned a corner and saw a nice downhill ramp onto the boardwalk that would end the race. I gave a 'Whoop!" and managed to pick up the pace enough to end the race in 28:46! Only 29 seconds off my 5K PR of 28:17!
Making sure I stop my Garmin at the finish line!!
I found Brian, a banana and a water bottle, and then we stood around talking to friends for a couple of hours waiting for the results... that never came. Apparently, there were some technical difficulties. However, they finally posted the results online yesterday, and I was thrilled to find out that I came in 3rd in the 40-49 age group!!! Brian also came in 3rd in the 40-49 age group with a time of 25:04.
So here is my Race Wrap-Up:
Doreen Myers 5K Run/Walk
- 170 participants is a nice race size. Enough people that you are never running alone, but not so many that you are tripping over each other.
- Course was flat and scenic - even though I develop tunnel vision during a race and tend not to even notice.
- Water stop at 1.2 miles had ice water! I loved that!
- Parking and packet pick-up were painless.
- Route was free of local traffic and staffed with plenty of volunteers to keep you on track.
- The race ended at a different place than it started. I do not like this at 5Ks since that means that my conveniently parked vehicle is now 1/2 mile away. Next year, I will know to park closer to the finish line.
- No results or awards presentation - although this was due to technical issues that should be resolved next year.
- Sand Gnats - not really a problem during the race but terrible as we were standing around afterward. I did have bug spray in my car (of course) but it was parked a half mile away. Next year I will put it on before the race.