Monday, May 20, 2013

Frederick Running Festival

Once again I'm late with my race recap. I guess I should stop promising more regular updates. Oh well!

The Frederick Running Festival took place May 4-5. They have a kids run Saturday followed by a 5K, then a half marathon Sunday morning. Anyone doing both the 5K and half can sign up for the "Nut Job Challenge" and get a unique medal for being such a rockstar.

The challenge interested me but I didn't want to pay $100+ when I was already running a half the week before. I guess it was meant to be because I ended up winning a contest that gave me free entry into any race that weekend! Without hesitation I signed up for the Nut Job Challenge.

Everything took place at the Frederick Fairgrounds which is only about a half hour away. We went to the expo on Saturday (where I signed Jack up for his kids run) and then we just stayed for the races. It was very convenient!

Jack did great and got a very nice medal!

After Jack's run (which you can read about in more detail on my other blog) I had to line up for the 5K. Knowing I was coming back to run a half the very next morning, I didn't want to push myself too much. That's hard for me because I get into race mode and I really want to get a good time. I told myself I'd be happy if I finished under 32 minutes.

The course was an out and back with great scenery of some farms in Frederick. It was really nice to run in a new place, hills and all! I felt good but I didn't feel like I was pushing myself, which is how I wanted it. I finished strong and surprised myself with a time of 30:08! I couldn't believe I was that close to finishing in under 30 without even trying!

We went out to dinner and I tried to rest for the half marathon. We left early the next morning and it was great being able to drive straight to the race rather than taking the metro. When we got there I had time to use a port-a-potty and then it was already time to line up at the start. It was chilly so I had on a sweater which I practically threw at Sidney before getting lost in the crowd.

The start was brutal. I ended up staying with the 2:40 (or maybe it was 2:45?) pace group for almost 3 miles. My muscles felt heavy and I started out very conservatively. I didn't have any real time goals for this race except to come in around 2:45. I had just gotten a PR 1 week before and I just wanted to have fun and make it to the finish in one piece.

The sun came out but we were running in shady areas. Then when we were out in the open the clouds came in and it was overcast. I didn't really warm-up until I hit the last 2 miles. I was surprised how cold it was!

We ran through a lot of really nice neighborhoods and around mile 5 there was a house under construction with a port-a-potty in the lawn. I knew someone was in there but there wasn't a line. Just as I was making my way up to it the guy came out and I took advantage of this rare opportunity. No line or wait! I felt much better and as I got into the second half of the race my legs were feeling good. The 2:45 pacers were well behind me and I knew I'd finish with a decent time.

As the miles ticked off I felt better and better. I kicked it up a notch when I felt able to, making sure I was at a pace I could keep for the rest of the race. Somewhere in the last 2 or 3 miles I came upon the 2:30 pacers. And passed them. I was inspired but didn't want to be too hopeful. I had no idea how much time was between their start and mine, but I knew it couldn't have been too much.

I really kicked it up for the last mile and finished with a time of 2:25:48!! That's 5 minutes faster than Nike just 1 week before and I made my ultimate goal of finishing under 2:30!! Such an incredible feeling!!

Showing off my 2 medals:

I couldn't do any of this without the support of my family:

I had so much fun doing this challenge and I'm already looking forward to doing it next year! I proved I can successfully do back-to-back half marathons and do 2 races in 1 weekend. I'm definitely going to make this my main spring half marathon. It's local, family-friendly, has awesome race swag, and it's fun!

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