I'd apologize for the delayed update, but I'm sure this isn't a surprise for anyone.
On October 18, 2015 I ran the Care 4 Breast Cancer 5k in Woodstock, IL. This was my second 5k of the year and my second race with the Running Depot team. I had participated in the 5k training program that was hosted by Running Depot and felt extremely prepared for this race.
The race was held at the "new" Woodstock North High School (in a small town, with very little happening, things stay new for a loooooooong time) and started at 8:30am, but I got there at 7:00 to ensure that I could park in the high schools lot. Several of my friends arrived closer to 8:30 and were forced to park at the Municipal Building down the street. The race was kind enough to provide shuttles between the Municipal Building and North.
The race expo was held inside the gyms at the high school and had enough offerings to keep me entertained until the race start. There were bagels from Panera, donuts from Country Donuts, and coffee from Starbucks for the participants. There were also several different vendors who were handing out free samples such as chapstick, sunscreen and fun bags. The chapstick was greatly appreciated because of the weather.
That morning when I woke up it was in the 40s so I made sure to wear a thermal top under my racing tank, and my winter running tights. I also brought gloves, a headband, and neck warmer, while these items were nice to have before the race, I wish I hadn't worn them during the race.
With the race set to start at 8:30, my group and I headed over to the start at 8:20. The start was set up with various pace signs to help people line up from fastest to walkers. Unfortunately, most of the individuals at the race did not listen to the pace signs and just charged to get close to the start. This caused a lot of strollers and walkers to be ahead of my group, even though we stopped by the 8 minute/mile sign (we couldn't get further than that due to the wall of people).
The race started promptly at 8:30 and it took my group 2 minutes to cross the starting line. Once we had crossed this line it was fairly easy to weave around the slower individuals and get to a pack of people around my pace. One thing I will note is that people tended to not listen when you announced "on your left", there were several moments when I had to change directions because the person I was trying to pass would jump right where I was going.
The first mile is slightly hilly, but manageable. It is directly down the main road and is lined with balloons, and volunteers cheering. I felt like this mile went extremely fast and was well marked out, I completed it in 9 minutes according to my FitBit data.
The second mile was a bit slower for me but was pretty consistent, with a pace of 9'10". This mile goes through a local neighborhood which is always nice. There were several residents out who were cheering for the runners or just having a good time. It was around this mile that the pack I had been running it started to separate, it provided a nice opportunity for me to try and keep up with the faster runners of the group and really push myself.
The third mile slowed down for me considerably. The first portion of the mile was in the neighborhood, which was fast, but the last portion followed the first mile with all the hills. These hills weren't too severe but because I slacked on my hill training they felt like mountains. It was during this mile that I had a back and forth going with a parent running with a stroller. This "competition" helped me keep going at a steady pace because I kept telling myself that if they can push that stroller and keep a consistent pace then I can run, by myself, at a consistent pace.
The last 0.1 mile was on the driveway to North. This mile was fairly irritating because there were radio hosts from a local radio station "cheering" on the runners. I can't stand listening to radio DJs in the morning and these two individuals happen to be on during my morning commute. Once I finished the race I was pleased to see that I had improved my 5K PR by 6 minutes, bringing it down from 34 minutes to 28!
While I did PR at this race I don't believe that it is one that I would do again.
Pros: Nice expo, fast course.
Cons: Disorganized start, way too many walkers causing a bottleneck, awful parking, and the darn DJs.
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