Spring races: Crown Fest 5K

Remember a month or so ago when I said I felt no desire to race? Well, I’ve changed my mind. The past few years I’ve geared myself up for some long spring races and that can be hard to do with all the winter training. But this year I just finished a 5K and I have two more on the horizon and I’m actually pretty excited about them. The 5K is a fun distance because you can push as hard as you want with the mindset that it’s going to be over fairly quickly. You don’t have to worry about things outside your control very much. You just go out and push and run and smile and feel great crossing a finish line. I mean, who doesn’t like the boost that comes from people cheering for you?!

So Saturday I ran the Crown Fest 5K with my delightful friend Erin. I had this race as a potential in my mind because it runs through my neighborhood but I needed to wait until little league schedules were out to actually register. I’m happy to say the timing worked out perfectly. I was looking forward to tackling the 5K on a somewhat challenging course that I knew would have plenty of hills. (It also ended up having a gravel path tossed in just for fun.)

Saturday morning I took an easy jog over to the fairgrounds where the race started (approx 1 mile from my house). Picked up my bib and hung out with Erin & her husband. I was excited to see that the course was going to run right past my house and promptly texted the family telling them I wanted to see them outside when I ran past. The race director walked us down to the start “line” (I use line loosely since there might have been a cone marking the start… maybe…). With a shout of “on your mark, get set, go!” we were off!

I love small races. Everyone was friendly and low key. There was no jostling. Plenty of chatting and laughing. It honestly felt like a big group run. Erin immediately took off – I kept an eye on her for the first half mile but then the hills & curves hit and I lost track of her. My husband said she looked fantastic when she blew past our house at approximately the halfway mark.

I have been dealing with a sore hip flexor and hadn’t run for 10 days before this race. I decided to start easy and build as I felt comfortable. After the first quarter mile I decided to push my pace to the point where it felt like pushing but not like extreme effort. Basically I wanted to give it a decent effort but not hurt my hip. I settled in, made it through the gravel, forded the small creek that was crossing the path because of recent rain and walked up the steepest part of the gravel hill. I picked it up at my house after waving and talking with my husband and son. Then I headed down the big hill and settled into a solid push for the rollers that were coming in the next mile.

I was feeling pretty good but annoyed because while there wasn’t a lot of passing going on there was this one girl towards the beginning that I passed and within 30 seconds she had passed me again to settle right in front of me. I shook it off but around mile two I was passing her again – not through a passing effort but just because I was going a little faster. Sure enough, she passed me again within 30 seconds and settled right in front of me. At that point I decided she was my race goal. I hung right on her back heel for the next half mile. Then when we were back in the fairgrounds and I felt confident in my kick, I picked it up for a solid final push and left her in the dust. So that was kind of fun.

Erin and her random stranger friend gave me big cheers as I entered the finishing chute and I finished with a time of 32:something… I can’t remember exactly but around 32:30. Not my fastest 5K certainly but a respectable effort considering the tough course, the sore hip and the extended rest beforehand.

I’m not sure why I feel like I need to make excuses for my time… instead of deleting that though I’ll just say that not all races are about pace. I’m happy with my effort. I had a great time running. I loved knowing Erin was killing the course and waiting to cheer for me at the end. It was a winner in my book.

Next up: keeping the race streak alive at Sunburst!

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3 thoughts on “Spring races: Crown Fest 5K

  1. Yes, no time excuses. That was a TOUGH course without being injured. My calves are still sore! I mean, a gravel path in the middle of a 5k? A straight uphill ON GRAVEL? I knew it would be hilly, but I had no idea what a challenge it would be.
    You did great. I loved sprinting across the finish line, untying my timing chip and knowing you would be crossing soon. It was awesome having a race where I could walk around the orange cones and watch you haul in to the finish because there wasn’t a crowd of people anywhere. I’m already excited for next year!

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