Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Super Sunny 5K race recap

Last Saturday, I ran the Super Sunny 5K for the first time.
The race benefits Garden Center Services, which supports people with developmental disabilities. What a great cause! Many thanks to Annabelle, the race director, for selecting me in a free race entry giveaway. (I made a donation to the organization to help show my gratitude!)

As I previously mentioned here, I was originally targeting this as a PR attempt - but ended up running easy since I was getting over a cold.
When I heard the race was in Burbank, I thought it was a faraway southwest suburb. What a pleasant surprise to learn it was only about 16 miles from my home!

On race morning, I arrived on site and enjoyed the ample street parking. Day-of packet pickup (which is one of the best things any race can offer) only took a few minutes. After dropping my materials back at my car, I ran into Annabelle, the honorable race director, herself!
Sorry for the bad picture quality, this snapshot was taken facing into the sun.
Also, I hadn't pinned on my bib yet, which is why I'm holding it up here.
Annabelle and I chatted briefly. She said the event was running smoothly enough that she thought she might be able to run the race herself. I told her to go for it! Annabelle is super speedy and I mentioned how cool it would be if she won her own race! =) (Annabelle wasn't as keen on the idea as I was, LOL.)

I ran into Erin, her dog Chewie, Jason (who was an official event photographer), and Erica.
From L to R: Erica, me (still holding up my bib), Chewie, and Erin
Photo by Jason
We met a few of Erica's other friends, Amanda and Megan, before it was time to line up. The runners were set to start 2 minutes before runners with dogs. While we were waiting, I chatted with Erica and a few more of her friends. At the last moment, Annabelle joined us. We all cheered her decision to run, then ended up being caught by surprise when the starting airhorn sounded. Off we went!

In the week preceding the race, I ran a grand total of 3 miles and did zero yoga. Obviously I hadn't done any race-day warm-up, either. I could immediately feel all the negative impacts. My legs were stiff, my hamstrings were tight, and my breathing was ragged. I had mentioned here that I felt like an alien because my body had seemingly forgotten how to run.
I could hear when the second airhorn went off to release the runners with dogs. It didn't take long before some of those folks and their pups caught up to me. I took notice of a woman running with a greyhound. They quickly passed me while exerting seemingly zero effort. Wow!

Shortly afterwards, Erin and Chewie also passed me, both also looking calm and fluid. I managed to take this action shot of them:
The course ran through quiet, pleasant residential neighborhoods. Cheerleaders from one of the local schools were stationed at various intersections to cheer us on. There was a hydration table set up around Mile 1.6. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade and walked through. Normally I am militant about running the course tangents, but today I just wanted to run steady.

Even though I wasn't "racing," I still experienced my usual 5K challenges during Mile 2. There were also some headwinds on the course. Unwittingly, I slowed down, and thought everything would deteriorate from there. I wanted to finish at least sub-30, but was feeling so stagnant that I wasn't sure it would happen. Slug, slug, slug, slug, slug.

During Mile 3, my muscles started loosening up and I unexpectedly found some rhythm. It was certainly better late than never - but it reminded me why warm-ups are so helpful for 5Ks. So many people had passed me during the first two miles, but in the third mile I actually started overtaking a few of my own.
My official finishing time was 29:16. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 9:23
Mile 2: 9:48
Mile 3: 9:11
Mile 3.1: 0:54

That Mile 2 split was a real stinker, eh?

Post-race, in addition to the usual assortment of water, Gatorade, and bananas, there was also Vita Coco water, popcorn bags, pastries, doughnuts, and custard samples. Very nice! Volunteers handed out seed packets (I gave my packet to Erica but I think they were for sunflower plants?) and various dog treats and toys, including tennis balls. Even though I don't have a dog, I took a tennis ball for myself to roll out my piriformis. =D
There was also an Athletico post-race massage table, ample tented seating, and a wading pool for the pups. Chewie enjoyed the pool:
We took a group photo of all the Chicago-based runners who had come out to support the festivities:

Congratulations to Annabelle and Erica for winning their respective age groups!

One last note: One of the event's course leaders, Jeff, was wearing what I consider to be the most awesome bike jersey ever:
Many congratulations to Annabelle and her team for an extremely well-organized and fun event! I enjoyed the atmosphere and cameraderie very much, and I wore the race shirt the rest of the day. I look forward to seeing this race continue to grow in future years!!! =)

My next race: The Rock N Roll Chicago 5K on July 16 (as part of the Remix Challenge)

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Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

33 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fun event. I'm so glad you were able to push through it even though you weren't feeling so great.

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    1. Thanks Wendy! The festivities were a really good time - and it was actually nice to NOT be trying to "race" because then you could really take everything in!

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  2. That sounds like a great race! Obviously I'd be super happy with your time. :)

    I ran once before my 5k last week, and only a little yoga . . . I was just trying to prevent a cold & thankfully I succeeded.

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    1. Thanks so much, Judy! I am glad you were able to prevent a cold from coming on. There is no worse feeling than knowing one is about to pop, and feeling the uncertainty of what MIGHT come about, right???

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  3. That looks like a fun time! Makes me miss racing ... Hopefully I'll be back up to speed soon.

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    1. The race was indeed a really good time! And you'll be back up to speed in NO time. I bet Quinn has you running around all day as it is. =)

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    2. Thanks! I hope to get back at it soon!

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  4. Congratulations on your your race. How fun that dogs were able to run it too. That jersey is too funny!

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    1. Thank you so much! It was really fun to have the dogs out on the course, indeed! They add an element of speed to their running partners (i.e. they pull them along, LOL). The jersey is CLASSIC!

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  5. What a fun event! The smaller races tend to be more fun right? And check out all of those goodies. Love it. I did not realize it was in Burbank which is close to me.

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    1. I am a big fan of smaller races! It's great to not have to fight mass hordes of people, wait in line for a long time, or navigate through huge race expos. Yes, smaller races tend to give out better goodies, too! You should run Super Sunny next year, the logistics were super easy and I think you would really enjoy the festivities!

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  6. Sub-30, You did it! I definitely know that alien feeling! It's like we haven't run how many hundreds of miles in the past?
    My running hat has the slogan "Will race for cookies" on it... Always! :-)

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    1. Thanks Kelly! It's amazing how running can feel so different from one day to the next. People talk about how you have muscle memory and your body doesn't forget, e.g. "it's like riding a bike", but sometimes it takes some time (or a lot of time!) to find that memory, LOL. I LOVE that you have a running hat with that slogan on it!!! BEST SLOGAN EVER!!!

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  7. Maybe I'll take your advice and warm up before my next 5k. I always finds mile 2 to be difficult, so maybe I should get that out of the way beforehand.

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    1. Yes - I am an enormous fan of warming up before 5Ks! During my training runs, I always find that it takes me a mile or two to find my rhythm. This is fine in longer races like half marathons. But in a 5K, after a mile or two you're already almost done! So getting that acclimation out of the way before crossing the start line is really significant at a 5K! Please do try it and let me know what you think. =)

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  8. Gotta love ample street parking and day-of packet pickup! I wish all races were like that! You did a great job racing-wise considering your low miles and the fact you were getting over a cold! That 2nd mile was only 4% slower than your first which isn't too much of a slow down. Then you were still able to turn on jets for mile 3! How thoughtful was it that the race had pools for the doggies to cool off in? Nice. They probably really appreciated it. If it had been a hot day I would have jumped in there with them! :)

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    1. I wish all races were like this one, too! I appreciate the analysis of Mile 2 vs Mile 1 on a statistical basis - that is such a great spin on the numbers. =) Yes, I bet all the doggies loved the pool! Chewie went in at least twice, then rolled around in the grass afterwards. He had the time of his life, hee hee. Thankfully the weather wasn't too warm otherwise it would have been really tempting for the runners to splash around, too! Instant "ice" bath for the legs, right?

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  9. Nice work sneaking in under 30 minutes! I'm glad the weather held out for you guys, too - it seemed pretty iffy heading into Saturday, and that would've been a bummer to have a washed out race day. Sounds like an awesome event for an even more awesome cause :)

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

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    1. Thanks Bethany! Annabelle was nervous about the thunderstorms being forecast for later in the day. It was a huge relief when they did hold off! I can only imagine how it must feel to put in all the work to prepare for a big event, only to have it get marred by rain - so thank god it didn't happen on Saturday! It was indeed an awesome event and the cause is one that I was thrilled to support. =)

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  10. Love love that quote!!

    Congrats on your finish time.

    I didn't warm up in my 5k until mile 3. I never warm up because I don't want to tire myself esp when it is warm. maybe I should??

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    1. Thank you so much, Darlene! I agree, you definitely don't want to gas yourself out just during the warmup! I take my warm-ups very easy - usually just a 10-12 minute jog to get the blood pumping and the legs loosened up a bit. For me, it's a huge improvement over hitting the starting line completely "cold." I wouldn't mind so much for a slower-paced race, but for a 5K you don't have much time for error!

      Do you have a blog, btw? Your blogger profile lists your email addresses and the blogs you follow, but unless I'm missing something it doesn't list any blogs for you?

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  11. Yay for a sub 30!! You got rolling good :) You are so right about the warm up. I did my last few races with about a little half mile warm up and then stretched and it does seem to help.
    How cool to have a race with a dog wave :)
    Cookie Monster makes me smile!
    Well done Emily!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Karen! Yes, a half-mile warm-up and a little stretch can make a big difference! Just to get the blood pumping and the muscles loosened up a little bit. It's always nice to be reminded that our legs still work, yes? It was so much fun to run alongside the doggies and Cookie Monster is a representation of all that I stand for in life. You too? =)

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  12. Sounds like a really well-done and fun race! I love the dog wave! How fun so many Chicago bloggers were there.

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    1. Annabelle and her team did a fantastic job with the race! I love the dog wave, too. There is something so energizing about all the wriggling pups churning their legs on the course! It was wonderful to see the large Chicago running contingency supporting the festivities, indeed! Annabelle's got great outreach. =)

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  13. Sounds like a fun time! I haven't run a 5k in AGES1

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    1. It was a great time, indeed! Like you, I don't run a lot of 5Ks - it's one of my least favorite race distances, LOL. I much prefer longer races like half marathons. You too?

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  14. Sounds like a fun race! :) And great job!

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    1. It was a fun race indeed - thanks so much Alexandra!

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  15. It sounds like a great event! I love that they handed out stuff for the dogs. Aww :)

    I considered getting that cycling jersey for a friend for her birthday! It's so funny :)

    I'm happy you still met your sub 30 goal! I hope you feel more like yourself at your next race, and have time to warm up if you want to!

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    1. Annabelle and her team really did a great job! Yes - the dogs were all in their element with all the treats and toys. =) Where did you see the jersey for sale? It's hilarious and I have to imagine it was a best-seller. =) Thank you so much for the positive vibes and wishes, I really appreciate it!!!

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