The 2012 racing season has begun! I don't expect there to be too many on my list this year, since we are conserving as many funds as possible for the adoption. But I have been wanting to run the Irish Jig since I heard about it last year. This year there was the added benefit of the race actually occurring ON St. Patty's day and, even more shockingly, in a crazy heat wave!
I was pretty sure this race would be a PR for me, considering that I barely finished my first 5k last May and the one I ran in November was more of a fun run rather than a race. But I really wanted to finish this race in under 30 min. You may recall that a sub-30 min 5k was a goal of mine back in November, which I was able to do. However, being able to do that in a very busy race in not-perfect conditions is another matter.
Step 1: Epic racing outfit. Check. :)
(Please just enjoy my sparkles and ignore my head. I don't know what is wrong with my face.
But my headband does have some very cute clovers all over it, so that was fun)
Step 2: Find good buddies to run with! Check :)
(again, not sure what is up with my face?)
On the left is my friend, H. She ran my first 5k race with me and has been so motivating for me over the last year. It's so much more fun to have a friend to run with, even once in awhile. On the right is my other friend, H. I'm so proud of her! She has been doing the Couch-to-5k program but even though she wasn't' done with it, she agreed to run with us anyway! I know I wouldn't have been that brave last year and I'm so stinking proud that she finished the race strong and seemed to enjoy it. :)
Step 3: Maneuver through crazy crowds. Yikes.
This part was not fun. The picture shows a bunch of the women waiting to start. The men were long gone and there were hundreds of women waiting behind me as well. The first 5k we ran had about 200 runners. This one had well over 2200. Quite a difference. :) The first half mile to a mile was a very careful process of ducking in and around people and trying to avoid the walkers that would just stop in the middle of the street and nearly cause a pile-up!
However, there was a huge upside to the busy race - spectators! The cheering crowds were so fun and very motivating during that last mile. At that point, I was so hot and having trouble with my pace. There were no water stations and I was regretting my failure to drink much H2O that morning. But the crowds were so great, yelling for everyone to keep going! :) Once I realized that I had a shot of meeting my goal (even with all the dodging around walkers, etc), I just put my head down and pushed through as best I could!
And it worked! I PRed by finishing in 29:44 (chip time). I was so stinking happy! That placed me at 155 in my division and 863 overall (out of 2225 finishers). It's nice to be in the top half. :) To put this in perspective, I finished my first 5k last May at around 36 min 30 seconds. Yay for knocking off 7 minutes!
Even better, H and H PRed as well! (That's the best thing about your first race right?) And other H knocked off a few minutes from her previous 5k time. Wahoo!
All in all the Irish Jig was a blast and I definitely hope to do it again next year. The race was very well organized, the race shirts were great (long sleeve tech) and the atmosphere was so fun!