When I started writing this blog, I decided that I was going to make a goal to run a race in all 50 states. I love running races, and I love traveling, so I decided to get started right away! My first out-of-state race was yesterday in Millsboro, DE. It was only a 2 hour drive from Philly, and super close to Rehoboth Beach, so I was able to make a really fun day out of it!
Now here’s a secret: I get reeeeeally nervous before I run a race. On Friday night I was trying to relax, but all I could think about was running it under 30 minutes and I could barely sleep. For the entire 2 hour drive down to Millsboro, I was so nervous that I barely said a word to Andrew. My last 5k was such a terrible failure, and I felt so physically awful afterwards, so I was trying to keep myself positive and not think about all the things that could go wrong. I had actually trained for this race, and was even beginning to train for my upcoming 10k too, so this race should be no problem, right?
We pulled up to the East Coast Garden Center 30 minutes before the race start. Packet pickup was a breeze, and after I got my shirt and bib we took a small walk around the parking lot to calm me down. We took a few pre-race pictures in the corn, and then it was time to line up for the race!
The race course was a flat, out-and-back course through a cornfield. The garden center uses this trail when they do hay rides, so it was wide enough for a large group of runners. There were almost 250 people running this race, so I was glad for a large running area! Once the starting gun went off, I tried to keep my mind empty and simply focused on getting a good starting pace (and not going out too fast!). The race started out crowded, but thinned out by mile one. I noticed as I was running that the ground was either covered in corn stalks or a soft, sand-like dirt surface. It made running a bit difficult so I spent most of the race staring down at the ground instead of at the corn stalks around me. I also noticed that there were two main age groups representing at the race: children and older adults. I was amazed to see so many kids running with their parents and grandparents! They were trying to help the kids keep a steady pace throughout the race instead of doing that sprinting/walking thing that kids always do, which I definitely appreciated. At mile 1, I realized that once again my Garmin was a bit off with the distance on this race. It said that I hadn’t gone a mile yet, but I knew that I needed to trust that the race staff was accurate and decided to use my Garmin just for keeping track of my total time during this race. At the turn around point, I was surprised to discover that I was at 14:30 and although I was tired, I knew I was going to be able to do a negative split. For the first time, I realized that I had a serious shot at finishing under 30 minutes! I sped up and passed a few people. Mile 2 went by and I was still on track for getting that PR. The last mile was all mental – I tried to clear my mind of any race-related thoughts so that I wouldn’t psych myself out. A grandma/grandson duo was running in front of me, and during the end of the race we were taking turns passing each other. But once I saw the end of the course through the corn stalks, I began running as fast as I could and didn’t care who was around me. I heard Andrew cheering for me as I ran towards the finish line.
As I ran through the finish chute, I saw something that I’ve never seen before: a big 28 on the finish clock! My clock time was 28:51! I grabbed a water and began walking around so I wouldn’t throw up. Andrew found me and was so incredibly excited for me – he kept saying “Oh my god you did it! You were so fast!” It took me about 5 minutes of walking and drinking water before I could even stop to give him a hug. I couldn’t believe I’d finally done it! I was so excited and ready to celebrate my crazy huge PR!
Andrew and I made our way over to the garden center where they were throwing a little party for the runners. All runners got free bagels, bananas, and water of course – but we also got free hot dogs/brats and even a free beer from 16 Mile Brewery!
The whole race was run/organized really well, and I have no complaints about anything! I would definitely run this race again next year, especially with such an interesting, fun, and FLAT race course! And who doesn’t love a post-race beer at 9:30 am? Andrew and I spent about an hour relaxing and enjoying the party. I was still in shock – how did I get such a big PR? I told Andrew about the majority of runners being either kids, parents, or grandparents, and he agreed that there were not many runners there that were my age. We thought that due to the demographics of the race, I might have won an age group award, so we stuck around for awards for the first time ever. Awards were given out in 10 year increments, and unfortunately I didn’t place. It wasn’t until later that I learned that I had come in 5th place out of 17 in my age group (pretty sure that’s the first time ever!) and if the age groups had been in 5 year increments I WOULD HAVE PLACED SECOND. Yes, you read that right. I was the second fastest female in the 25-29 age group! Even though the age groups weren’t set up that way, I’m going to take a lot of pride in knowing that I was very close to getting an award!
After awards, we decided to celebrate at the Fractured Prune, which is the most amazing donut place on earth. I ordered the pumpkin donut and the Pebble Beach donut (honey glaze, cinnamon sugar, and mini chocolate chips). Donuts are my weakness, but it’s a special occasion, right?
After stuffing our faces, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach. I imagined that it would be empty and probably a bit windy, but it was seriously colder than I thought!
It was so nice to relax and not have to worry about my race anymore! I read on the beach for a few hours before we packed up and headed back to Philly. When we got home, I got my final race results:
Gun time: 28:51
Chip time: 28:41 (OH MY GOD!!!!)
Age place: 5/17
Gender place: 42/131
It was a PR by 1:25, and I literally finished 5 minutes faster than my last 5k! The results are so crazy that I’m still in shock. I knew that I was getting faster, but I had no idea I was capable of finishing in 28:41! I’m so happy with my results and I can’t wait until my next race! Runner’s World 10k, here I come!
Today I took it easy in the morning and then went for a 4 mile run in Valley Forge National Historic Park. I’ve only got 3 weeks until the 10k, and now that I realize how much better I do when I train properly I’m not going to slack off at all! But don’t get me wrong, I took it slow and just enjoyed the feeling of running without any worries or pressure. Overall it was an awesome weekend!
How was your weekend? Did you run any races? Who else ate some donuts? 🙂