Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Run For The Nun 5k Race Report

After running a spring half marathon, signing up for my 2nd July 4th Bluegrass 10,000 and registering for a fall full marathon, I felt that the beginning of June was a good time to race a 5k and it just so happened that one was held on June 1st in Lexington. Despite my relatively low weekly mileage lately, perhaps averaging 20mpw, and lack of speed training, my goal was to break 20 minutes.

Until registering a few days before the race, I knew little about Run for the Nun. It turned out that this happened to be the 23rd annual running of a popular early summer 5k race in Lexington. Its held in conjunction with the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Country Fair, put on by St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, and proceeds from the race benefit a local food bank. The course, to quote the race's website, "follows rolling, scenic back roads in south Lexington".

The days leading up to the race were hot and muggy, especially while living without AC. This had been having a negative effect on the quality of my sleep. The night before the race, I got no where near a sufficient amount of sleep, but reluctantly got myself out of bed at 6 in the morning, drank a glass of water, ate a banana, put on a pair of Vibrams, my Vegan Athletes singlet, and Garmin. It was already in the 70s and the sun had just come up.

Parking was simple. A parking lot was available, but I used a nearby side street. I didn't pickup my race packet prior to race day, but had no issue getting it on race morning. I was actually glad that it included it a regular t-shirt, rather than another tech shirt that I typically don't wear.

A 1 mile fun run was held prior to the start of the 5k and I had ample time to warm up. I found a side street to stretch my legs on, for a little over a mile and a several strides. While warming up, I discovered exactly what sort of rolling hills I was in for.

I was a little late getting to the starting line and not looking forward to trying to weave my way towards the front. Besides feeling like the kid in school who cuts in line, I didn't have any issues finding an appropriate place to begin. A younger child or two might have lined up on the starting line, but I think most participated in the fun run.
 Almost immediately, the course turned and we were on a downhill. In retrospect, I probably could have run this part a little faster. However, I was concerned about the crash and burn strategy that is popular in 5ks. What goes down must come up, and soon enough we were going back up. I was on pace to break 20 minutes, but I wasn't sure how I would hold up with the relative heat and hills.

At two points, there were turn arounds where the police were parked to block vehicle traffic. This was my only true gripe with the race. The turns weren't very precise and probably could have been improved with a couple cones.

 About half way through the race, I was reminded of how intense 5ks can be, versus slower paced longer distances. While racing, 5ks always seem longer than 3.1 miles. About a mile or two in, I found myself in a pack with a girl that would wind up taking 2nd place overall female, and a guy who would finish directly in front of me.
Turning the final corner, running down the home stretch, and spotting the clock, I was surprised to see that it had just passed 19 minutes. I felt like I had struggled during the last mile, especially on the hills. Yet, I found energy to sprint past the finish line and was pleased to clock a 19:38 5k, placing 2nd in my age group and 15th overall.

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