July 29, 2013

Operation Homefront 5k Race Recap

On Saturday, we ran in the Operation Homefront 5k in Virginia Beach, VA.  We signed up as part of my corporate team, which guaranteed that we would have some buddies on race morning (and also get a great deal on the registration fee).  I was drawn to this race for a few reasons...I hadn't run a timed 5k in quite a while and was looking for a PR in that distance this year; the discounted registration fee was really tempting and hard to pass up; and I was intrigued by and enthusiastic about supporting Operation Homefront.

Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to active duty and wounded service members.  They organize donations based on needs in a local area; for example, they're currently putting together backpacks with school supplies for children of families that qualify for assistance.  In a nutshell, they do great things and given that the military is such a huge presence in my local area, I was excited to participate in a race that benefits this great organization.

So back to the race...we headed down to Virginia Beach early since bib pick-up opened at 6AM and the race was scheduled for a 7AM start.  There was already a line for checking in when we got there, but it moved very quickly.  We got our bibs, race shirt, and a goodie bag (everyone loves a goodie bag!) and headed back to the car to stash everything.  We met up with some of my colleagues and meandered to the start area.
We did a little jog to warm up and before we knew it, they were calling for us to line up at the start.  This wasn't a chip timed race so we wanted to be near the front.  A moment later, we were off and running!  We were running on a wide road so there weren't any issues with initial congestion.  Mom and I decided that we would run the race at our own pace, and I lost her almost immediately after the start.  I settled in to a sub-8 pace pretty easily and was feeling good.  A few minutes into the race, I realized that I had never started my Garmin - oops!  Luckily, I was more interested in focusing on pace than overall time, so I wasn't too worried. 

After seeing mile 1, I was feeling great.  I didn't feel tight or like I was pushing too hard.  I tried to maintain the same pace through mile 2 and then my plan was to push as hard as I could for the last mile.  I didn't have much gas for the last mile, but I did pas a few people which was fun!  As we hit the last straightaway, I could see the race clock and saw it tick from 23 to 24 and I realized that I was about to run a 24-something 5k, which was a HUGE improvement (4 minutes) for me.  I immediately looped back before the finish line and looked for Mom and she was almost to the finish line as well.  It was fun to get to cheer for her blaze across the line as well.
Mom approaching the finish and I'm cheering (off to the right...look for red skirt)
We grabbed water and Gatorade and regrouped with my coworkers and learned that one guy took 4th overall, running an 18-something 5k - wow!  We cheered for others as they finished up and enjoyed some post-race chatter.   
I figured Mom easily placed in her age group so we hung around for the awards.  I was shocked to learn that I took 2nd in my age group, especially since it was a bigger group (30-39 vs. 30-34 like I typically see).  And then we learned that Mom took 2nd in her age group as well.  I'd like to think my silver sparkly headband was a partial contributor to this! 

Overall Experience: A+
Race shirts: D-....ours are way too big even though they were the smallest size offered.
Organization: A
Course: A...fast and flat and we even got some views of the ocean!
Refreshments: A+...they had Gatorade, water and coconut water plus bananas, grapes, granola bars and bagels

I'd highly recommend this race if you're in the area.  Plus it was fun to have a race during the summer lull. 
{Christine}

13 comments:

  1. Great job ladies! A 4 minuet PR in a 5k is huge! I also like to stick around and watch people at the finish line when I'm done racing.

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    1. Thanks, It is always exciting to race to a new shiny PR!

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  2. WOW great time!! Huge congrats on your new PR!! Love the cause for the race too!

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    1. Thanks Lauren. We loved the cause for the race and will try to fit this in our schedule every year.

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  3. Oh my goodness, your speed work is TOTALLY paying off! Go you!

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    1. Thanks Danielle. Yes, the speed work is really worth it. I am I glad I added this to my weekly workouts!

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  4. Love the outfits. You two are such a cute little team! Congrats on your PR and both of you placing!

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    1. Thanks Rachel. It is always fun to earn a PR and a sweet medal for the bling collection!

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  5. Nice job ladies!! OOPS about the Garmin, hate it when that happens!

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    1. Agree Lisa, but with a 5k pace is really the thing you worry about, and I am thrilled with the results!

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  6. You two ladies = amazing! Way to rock it out!

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    1. Thanks Kat, It is always so fun when we can race together. Can't wait for August to roll around for our next races!

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  7. It's amazing how many races you guys do together! And congrats on the awesome finishes! Very jealous :)

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