You know the drill:
Your favorite running friend spontaneously texts you Friday mid-morning, telling you she's doing a 5K on Saturday (that she'd forgotten she'd registered for). She spontaneously asks if you want to join her. Obviously, you spontaneously accept her invite.
And so it goes...
Barb and I took part in the Clive Running Festival last year (2021 recap), running the 10K. This year, however, they only offered a 5K (well, there also was a 1-mile fun run for kids). Although I'm not a fan of the 5K race distance, I do believe in getting out of my comfort zone and racing that distance anyways...so I laid out my Race Day Preview Friday evening, and everything was a go for Saturday morning.
We'd had a tough week of unusually hot and crazy humid weather leading up to race day. Although the temps were substantially cooler, the humidity didn't play as nice. Thankfully, we had an overcast sky, so there wouldn't be any sunshine magnifying the sultry air.
The city of Clive is actually a suburb of West Des Moines (an approximate hour west of my hometown), so we were on the road by 6:30. Upon arrival, we had plenty of time to use the porta-potties before making our way to the start line.
The race starts right outside of the Clive Aquatic Center, on NW 114th Street. The route heads south for a very short distance, turns left (going east) for another short segment, and loops around the CAC. Next, the race course crosses a mini bridge and merges onto the Clive Greenbelt Trail. After that, we head west and the remainder of the race course is an out-and-back on the trail path, ending just after crossing the mini bridge on the return trip.
As with most family-friendly events, the first mile was a major cluster of runners, kids, and a few random strollers. Although the trail was beautiful with non-stop trees, the path was rather narrow. I got stuck behind a woman pushing a bulky a stroller, and it was nearly impossible to find a gap to squeeze past her. Nothing against runners with strollers, but it would have been a considerate gesture, on her part, if she would have kept to the side of the path rather than smack-dab down the middle of it (#JustSaying).
Since this race was a very last-minute decision for me, I didn't have any grandiose finish time goals other than to run strong and steady and (hopefully) finish under (or near) 27 minutes, which is kind of my 5K benchmark. That being said, the first mile was a challenge! While the route was pretty straight, there were a few gentle rolling inclines to navigate amongst the narrow path. Also, given the warm temps and humid air, things were feeling pretty sticky (there's not much air flow when you're surrounded by trees on both sides).
A good thing about an out-and-back 5K, though, is that once past the 1-mile mark, it's a relatively short jaunt to the turn-around. Also, with the (only) water stand near the 1-mile mark, that meant we'd get to take advantage of that water stand (again) on the way back.
It was somewhere just past my second stop at the water stand, when I felt my headband sliding. I can assure you that does not happen very often! Not wanting to risk losing it, I slid it off and wrapped it around my wrist. So what if my hair looked haphazard for the last remaining mile? I was already a glistening and glowing mess at that point anyways.
There's not much to tell about the final mile...it was warm and humid, and I was eager to be done. Upon committing to do this last-minute race, I'd asked Barb if she'd be interested in running a few bonus miles (after the finish line) before we headed back to town. I was hoping to maybe get in eight total miles for the day...but those bonus miles had lost their appeal as I made my way back to the race site (spoiler: I wound up going for a 50-mile bike ride instead).
Anyways, I could feel a slight breeze, on the last stretch, before I reached the final turn. It was a short climb over the bridge, but the finish line was immediately right after the crossing.
And we're done!
Upon glancing at my watch, the 28:03 finish time was a bit of a disappointment. After all, I was hoping I'd at least finish at or near 27 minutes. A few seconds later, though, I noticed the distance had been 3.24 (rather than 3.1). Doing the math, the 8:39 pace would have gotten me a 26:52 finish time (had the distance actually been 3.1 miles), so it turns out I was close to my targeted "benchmark" after all.
My splits were marginal...it's tough to pull off a negative split scenario in the summer heat.
And, it also turns out, I managed a 3rd place age group victory...but they only gave out awards for the first place finishers. The stats showed I was 3rd place out of 11 (AG), 42nd out of 147 (females) and 184th out of 375 (overall). At least I have the bragging rights, LOL. All kidding aside, I'm just thankful for the ability to run in the heat without too many adverse issues. I always say my main goal is to run strong and steady, and hopefully finish with a smile. I'd say mission accomplished on this one.
I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up