I really tried to taper and rest up before the Stars and Stripes 5K, but I also wanted to make sure the dogs got all of their allotted walks. Due to some creative finagling no one got walks on Monday morning before the race, but I also was compressing when they got done. However, I don’t think it affected the race too much. I’m not a strong enough runner for a taper to make a huge difference.
Me representing Fanboy Comics on race day
Because the race was held at Camp Mabry, a local military installation in the middle of Austin, I had to show ID just to get in the gate. Fortunately the race coordinators had warned participants ahead of time, so my driver’s license was ready when I finally found the correct entrance (farther from the freeway than you would expect!). The guards also gave directions to the race location, which was really helpful given the network of roads, and it didn’t take long to find the start line and parking (right next to the start line! Yay for smaller races!).
Unfortunately, after I checked in I still had nearly an hour for start time, so I aimlessly paced back and forth trying to dispel some of my nervous tension. As more people arrived though I chatted with other runners and their families and just appreciated the less tense atmosphere when I compared it to the Cap 10K.
My lower back started cramping by 8AM, race start, and the sun came out just in time to make it nice and muggy. Fortunately, the temperature didn’t rise too much, and I wasn’t overdressed, but I was definitely sweating shortly into the race.
The race course followed the road around the Camp Mabry parade ground, and it was mostly flat with a pair of hills at the halfway point/turnaround. I and a similarly skilled racer agreed that the first pass wasn’t too bad; it was turning around to do it over again that sucked! I had ditched my water bottle in the car, but I managed to feel thirsty despite the humidity. There was only one water stop, and I could definitely have used more. I just need to find a smaller water bottle that I can more easily carry. The first/last portion of the route was shaded at least, so I could cool off a little as I forced my legs to keep moving. At least I never stopped to walk, which was my primary goal!
I ended up 70 overall out of a field of about 150, and I came in 7 out of 25 in women 30-39 with a time of 29.17.2 after results were reviewed by the time keeping company. Was I the fastest person there? Heck no! A woman in the 40-49 age group won the entire race with an 18 minute and change time. However, I did darn well for me, which is all I can ask for.
I really liked the relaxed atmosphere of the smaller race, so I’m definitely going to participate in next year’s Stars and Stripes 5K. They’re adding a 10K, but I don’t think I want to go there yet. I also think I’ll be skipping their 4th of July race in the Austin heat!
Smaller races seem so much friendlier, and I enjoyed the feeling of comradery with the other runners. If you haven’t tried a small, local race yet I highly recommend it!