Sunday, May 31, 2015

5K Fever!

Yesterday my daughter and I ran a 5K in our town at a local elementary school. 'Tis the season when 5Ks are sprouting up like grass...they are everywhere and are a terrific way to have fun, get some fitness and support worthy causes. Yesterday's race, the HMS (Hazardville Memorial School) 5K caught my attention because the race director, Scott, is a running buddy of mine here in town. He was on hand to support the race my daughter's school held last year, so it was the least we could do to support his efforts at his kids' school. 
Scott did a fantastic job as race director. Everything was well publicized and organized. We decided to walk to the starting line of the race from our house (only about a mile from where we live) so we wouldn't have to deal with parking. It was a perfect morning, overcast and pleasant without too much heat. We arrived at HMS and picked up our numbers and goody bags. We were pretty early, so we just relaxed in the back yard of the school near the playground area. My daughter was more than happy to have a new playground to try out. There were plenty of volunteers around to help out with everyone's questions. After a couple of quick bathroom stops for us, we were ready to run! 
One fun thing that occurred prior to the start of the race was that I got "recognized" by someone who recently read my blog! That was really cool. So I made a new friend in Rachel (Hi Rachel!), and we chatted a bit about how fun running is. She had a friend in tow who was running her first 5K. We had a lovely pre-race visit, and Rachel was kind enough to snap a photo of my daughter and I prior to the start of the race. 

Pre-race photo of us taken by Rachel.
Finally, it was time to begin, and all the 5Kers were directed to the starting line. I had to laugh that my little 7 year old was front and center, adamant that she toe the line. My little competitor! On the starting command, she took off like a shot and was the frontrunner of the race until we exited the school's driveway and turned on to our first sidewalk. So awesome! She was doing great and running strong. I knew we wouldn't keep up her fast pace for too long, but I knew we'd likely best our previous 5K time that we ran a year and a half prior. 
Toeing the line.
The race route took a couple of turns through area neighborhoods and returned back to the school parking lot where there was a water stop, then we were out for a second loop before finishing. My little buddy and I ran most of the time, but we took walk breaks whenever she needed to catch her breath. Many of the other runners provided us with encouragement along the way. One person even told my daughter that she was a "rock star" for her running ability. That comment went a long way in keeping her motivated to the finish. Thanks to all the runners who gave us some kind words along the way.
My little runner looking strong on the route.
When we got to the driveway of the school, all we had to do was run through the parking lot and then back in to the back area of the school where the finish line was. I encouraged my daughter to pick up the pace to finish strong, and she did! As we came across the finish line, everyone was cheering for her and even shouting her name. How they knew her name, I have no clue, but it was a kick that she had such a terrific fan base. As we crossed the finish line, I checked our time on my Strava app, and we finished in 34 minutes! We crushed our previous 5K time of 49 minutes, improving it by 15 minutes! A new PR for my little runner! I was so proud of her!
We walked to the recovery area for cold waters and some fruit snacks for her. We had a great race and now could bask in the glory of finishing. We chatted with some of our running friends who were at the race as we waited for the results. The first male and female finishers were recognized and then the participation medals were handed out. It was a great morning. On our way out of the school, we stopped to chat with a few 169 runners. These are folks who work on running races in each of Connecticut's 169 towns. I thought it was awesome that this little school race attracted them. Kudos again to the race director for all the publicity. We had a nice leisurely walk home, which was a perfect way to cool down. 
Rosy-cheeked 5K finisher!
On our walk home we talked about how fun the race was for us. We also decided for sure we'll be back for it again next year. I can't wait.

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