Sunday, May 20, 2012

YMCA Armed Forces 5k

Yesterday, hubby and I ran the 11th Annual Armed Forces Day 5k in Harrisburg.  A few months ago we had thought to go on vacation to Williamsburg, VA for a few days and saw a an Armed Forces race down there.  We thought we would add that to our vacation, then ended up not going.  So, when I saw this race through the YMCA, I decided I wanted to run it.

I ran this race in memory of my dad and grandfather, both of whom were in the military.  My dad served in the Army during the Korean conflict, then the Coast Guard.  My Grandfather served in the Air Force during WWII in Great Britain.  Both have passed on and I thought it would be a great way to honor their service.

The race started at 8:00 a.m., so we left the house at 7:00 a.m. to get to City Island and pick up our packet.  There was no early packet pick-up, all day of.  We arrived, parked the car, then headed over to the Harrisburg Senators ball park for packet pick-up (Double A farm team of the Washington Nationals).  We got our bags, bibs, and t-shirt and had time to take it all back to the car.  Afterwards, we came back to the stadium to get in line for the start.  Here's where I think they fell down on the job.  They lined us all up on a narrow lane to start the race running around City Island.  The first thing I noticed was they did not have anyone sing/play the National Anthem.  Ummm...this is a race in honor of Armed Forces day, how are we not singing/playing the National Anthem?  Then, without warning, a horn went off and the race started.  Everyone near me (including myself) were confused.  There was no warning and honestly, no start line.  And with no chip timing...

But, off we went around City Island and then across the pedestrian bridge to Harrisburg.  It's a familiar course to anyone who runs races in Harrisburg, but I liked that we started with a loop around the island before heading over to the mainland.  I felt good as we ran up until about three quarters into the first mile, then I felt like crap.  I hit the bathroom twice at home and when hubby hit up the port-a-potty before the race, I was fine.  Then three-quarters into mile 1, I had to use the bathroom.  Ugh.  And since this was a 5k, no bathrooms on the course.  Bah.  And throughout the race my stomach felt worse and worse. 

I kept running though.  I decided to run the whole thing, no walk breaks.  Which would be the first time in about a year that I did that.  I ran up the first hill and around the pretty garden and headed back.  Back down the hill, then about midway between the two bridges I literally felt like I was going to be sick.  And I stopped to walk.  Slightly disappointed in myself, but I thought I was going to be sick.  So I walked for about a minute thirty.  Then decided I would reach the finish line quicker if I started up again even if it was slower than I would normally go. 

But then something odd happened.  I got a fast song on the Nano and sped up a tad.  Not much, but a little.  Then I decided to run up the final hill before heading back over the pedestrian bridge to the finish line.  After getting up the hill I started running faster.  I passed two people on my way and then kicked it.  I sprinted to the finish line.  I ran faster the last tenth of a mile faster than I've ever run.  Even hubby said he's never seen me run that fast!

And I crossed the "finish line" (again, no real line).  The time on the clock when I finished was somewhere in the 37s, but I know that's not all that accurate.  I am going with my Garmin instead.  I know I had about a 20 second lag time before hitting the "start line" and I didn't stop Garmin at the exact "finish line," so I'm calling this a 36:40 finish.  Honestly, it's probably more than that, but since I don't know where the official lines were I think this is a fair compromise. 

Which means, I set another PR.  :-)  My last 5k race was a 36:43, so Armed Forces 5k was about 3 seconds faster.  Woohoo!  This is PR number 8 in a row.  Crazy!

Here's a couple photos from yesterday!

Chris in front of the pedestrian bridge
I wore a Coast Guard t-shirt to honor my dad.

 Hubby and I after the race

A funny (to me) after the race story.  We usually hit DD after a long run or race, but since we don't pass any on the way to the house from Harrisburg, we stopped a local donut place called Maple Donuts instead.  We each got our donuts, but their coffee isn't the greatest, so we went next door to McDonald's for coffee.  And then, we proceeded to drink our McDonald's coffee and eat our Maple Donuts at the picnic tables outside McDonald's.  LOL!  I kept thinking a Mickey D's employee was going to come yell at us for eating someone else's food at their table, but nothing.  I'll be honest, when DD isn't available for iced coffee, McDonald's has a nice alternative.  And they have a sugar-free vanilla syrup which is pretty good.

Did you race this weekend?  How did you do?

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