Monday, July 8, 2019

Fifth Season Health Solutions 8K Race Recap


I'm all about a running a race on a significant holiday, and the 4th of July is no exception.

I love dressing for the occasion (in red, white and blue). Here in the Midwest, it's usually going to be warm, so that eliminates the stress of proper layering. Independence Day is a holiday that brings a lot of people out of hiding, so crowd support is usually a given. And if it's a new-to-me event, all the better!

Thursday, July 4th, was the date, and Cedar Rapids, IA was the setting for the 34th year of the Fifth Season Health Solutions Races. My friend, Barb, and myself were doing the 8K, while the hubby was running the 5K. The start time was 8:00 for the 8K and 8:15 for the 5K...and we were excited!



Since this was our first time at this race, we didn't know how easy the logistics would be. We were on the road by 5:45, and arrived on the scene around 7:00, with plenty of time to find parking (barely a block from the start line) and get our packets.

The 8K racers were called to line up at 7:45, so Barb and I headed over and found a spot in line. After an amazing rendition of the National Anthem, we were off.

A unique feature of this event was that it was the USATF State Championship race for the 8K distance. There were several elites clustered at the very front of the pack, all vying for top honors.

The first mile was very crowded, as is the case with most races. The air was warm and quite humid, but all the forecast scattered storms were a no-show...and, instead, we had plenty of sunshine.

The first mile, though crowded, went well. I didn't have any grandiose finish times in mind, but had hoped to make this race a bit of a speed workout. With the 80F temps, though, that plan was modified to just "run strong and respect the conditions."

Despite the summer heat and humidity, things didn't feel oppressive due to the intermittent shade along the race route. The race course was an out-and-back, and both the 5K and 8K racers shared the first (and final) 1.5-mile portion of the route.

I think I was just short of the 2-mile mark when I spotted the lead racers on their way back from the turn-around. Wow. Even in the heat, their speed and finesse was quite impressive.

The majority of the race took place through residential neighborhoods, and there was no shortage of crowd support. It was awesome seeing so many people along the race route, many of which were holding signs and a few even had sprinklers and hoses positioned for the runners to run through.

As I made my way around the turn-around, I felt a great sense of relief wash over me. I had been running pretty strong, and didn't really feel any fatigue (yet), but it was a pretty warm and sticky morning. It felt great to know I'd reached the halfway point.
Courtesy of Dan Rolling Photography

What seemed like a short ways later, I could see the 5K turn-around up ahead. I actually spotted my husband; he was approaching the turn-around as I made my way past it. I shouted his name, and we exchanged waves.

Amazingly, I still felt really good, despite the hot temps. I grabbed a cup of water at the next water stand and walked a few steps as I gulped it down (after 14 years of running and racing, I still have not mastered the drink-as-you-run technique).

Before long, I could see the finish line in sight. I could hear the announcers calling out various runners and their hometowns. Then, I spotted Angie! She's a fellow Iowan that I actually met two years ago at Grandma's Marathon, and we've seen each other at numerous races since. Little did I know, she snapped a pic of me and (later) posted it in her stories on Instagram (aren't runner friends the greatest???).
Thankds Angie!
I made it across the finish line feeling great. Well, I felt quite hot and very sweaty, but I honestly felt pretty incredible for the race I'd just run.

A few minutes later, I saw Barb cross the finish line. She found me right away. And, a few minutes after that, the hubby joined us.Whew!

How did I do?
My official (chip) time was 43:10, with an average pace of 8:41. I'm good with that!

My splits were a little jagged:
Mile 1 - 8:35
Mile 2 - 8:56
Mile 3 - 8:58
Mile 4 - 8:24
Mile 5 - 8:19 (actually, it was .99 of a mile)

And, my stats?
283 out of 578 (overall)
76 out of 233 (females)
3 out of 13 (age division)
I love a negative split!
After some chocolate milk and bomb pops, we headed to the post-race shindig at a nearby bar. We all received a complimentary drink, courtesy of 26.2 Brewing Company.
Celebrating with the hubby
Some final thoughts:
This was a very well-run event. Due to some road construction, the race course had to be slightly rerouted this year, but I thought everything was well organized and the morning went smoothly. There was a lot of food and drink at the finish line, and the post-race party at the bar was a great set-up. There was an opt-out for a race shirt, so the hubby and I both took a pass. There were free race pics to download, which is a great bonus (though mine weren't that flattering). I thought the finisher medals (for both 5K and 8K racers) were nice. The age group medals are very similar, but with different ribbons, and came in gold, silver or bronze tones (with the division/place engraved on back), depending on where you placed.
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finisher medal on bottom; 3rd place AG medal on top
I'm very happy with how the race went for me. As I said, I didn't really have any specific finish time goals, and with the heat and humidity, it was not a day for chasing any PR's. Ironically, after I did a little research (after we'd returned home), I found my 8K PR to be 43:02, from 10 years ago. I don't run many 8K races, so it's not a finish time I had fresh in my memory. The fact that I came within eight seconds of matching that, on a hot day with a body that is 10 years older...well, I'm totally alright with that, too. I did walk briefly through a couple of the water stands, so maybe I could have finished eight (or more) seconds faster...but it was a hot day. I think the water was a bit more important. No regrets.
Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

So, that's a wrap on my 4th of July race. Definitely a race I'd like to repeat, but maybe with slightly cooler temps (yeah, if only, right?)

Have you ever done a 4th of July race? If so, did you dress in red, white and blue?

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Marc  for the Running Coaches' Corner

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23 comments:

  1. That sounds like a really lovely one with plenty of support and it's always great getting to see the elites, isn't it! Well done!

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    1. It IS really cool seeing the elites! They make it look so easy.

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  2. Sounds like a great race & you did a great job! The spectators really come out for our 4th race too, which is why we love it so much, I think.

    The downside is a bear of a hill in the last mile and no shade. Nada. Last year (which was a touch hotter) someone actually went down right in front of me in that stretch.

    But whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Just like your surgery ended up actually making you an even stronger runner!

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    1. Thank you, Judy ;-) I am very grateful for all that's happened since my surgery. Every run (and race) is a gift, and I'm quite thankful I'm able to lace up and go. The spectators were awesome for this race!

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  3. Congrats on another great race! I love running a race on a holiday because you always see so many runners decked out in great outfits.

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    1. Yes, the outfits are fun! I want to shake my head (and my finger LOL) at the people who just don't get in the spirit. Yes, it's THEIR choice and all, but lighten up, people! ;-)

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  4. Great job on your race! That is a pretty medal. Did you get a discounted race for opting out of the shirt? I also do a 4th of July race. I used to dress up in blue and red but these past two years I have not. I've heard good things about the 26.2 beer. Did you like it?

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    1. Yes, it was a $5 discount to not get the shirt. The shirts were nice...royal blue with the same logo as the bibs and medals, but I just didn't see the need to add another to my heaping closet. I'm not a beer drinker, so the 26.2 beer tasted like "beer" to me...I can't taste any difference between the cheap stuff and the fancier brews.

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  5. Sounds like a fun race! That's great that the community really turned out to support the race and even set up sprinklers and hoses :) I'm sure that free beer was a welcome touch after the hot race.

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    1. The hubby drank more of my beer than I did...but the chocolate milk hit the spot!

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  6. Congrats on the race, the finishing time and the podium in the a.g.
    Beautiful photos and beautiful medals.
    Now you are ready for new amazing running adventures.

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    1. I"m always up for an adventure ;-) This race was a fun one...I'd heard good things about it, but I had always gone to a smaller, local race in previous years. I'm glad we tried this new-to-us race this year.

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  7. Congrats on hanging in there for AG3 on such a hot day. I always used to run a 4 on the 4th race in Carborro, NC when we visited the in-laws. Now that they're local there are no more NC visits. Haha! That's a festive medal!

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    1. I have heard of so many 4-milers run on the 4th this year, none of those in my area. It's a unique distance, no doubt! I think my love of warm weather gives me a bit of an edge because I'm outside, daily, running or walking in it.

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  8. Holiday races are always fun! I also love the festive costumes. Finishing a race feeling strong and proud of your efforts is the best you can hope for.Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, Deborah!! I finished this race feeling 100%...which probably means I may have had a little left in the tank that I could/should have tapped into...but oh well. No regrets ;-)

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  9. That's a great finish time in any conditions, but especially in the heat. Congrats!

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    1. Thanks! The heat seems to serve me well....I'm lucky, and grateful, because outside is where I wanna be this time of year.

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  10. Congratulations on your AG place and your time. That's great under tough conditions. I love 4th of July races but don't get to do them if I stay home. No one puts them on here because 1) it's beyond way too hot and 2) So many people are gone for the summer and/or the holiday. Oh well, when we visit our family in Huntington Beach I get the chance to race.

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    1. There actually are several in Iowa, I just have to dig a little more to find some new ones. We'd done a different race for the past few years, so I thought it was time to try a different race. Now I want to go back to this one LOL

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  11. Any race that ends in beer is a good one! Congrats on your 3rd place finish! Way to go - and you felt good the whole race. I love when that happens.

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    1. Well, I'm not a beer gal, but give me a hard cider and I'll be just fine ;-)

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  12. Congrats on your AG place, Kim! I've run the Firecracker 5K for the past seven years and at this point, it just wouldn't be Independence Day without running it. I've worn red, white, and blue every year since the first year. That year I wore pink, white, and blue - it was the best I could do on short notice! LOL

    I still haven't mastered the drink-as-you-run technique either. I have tried to fold the cup so there's a narrow spout, but I still manage to get more water on me than in me.

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