When Kim posted she was planning to run it, I decided to do it, too. It wasn't until race day that I appreciated this decision. The Spring Lake 5 Miler started in 1977 with 500 runners. This year (its 39th year) had 12,000 registrants, and 10,880 finishers. That is a lot of people heading through town together. It is one of the largest 5 mile races in the country. They used to cap out at 10,000, but upped it this year to try to reclaim the title of largest 5 miler.
The weather was beautiful -- just a hair chillier than beach goers would like, but perfect for running. Even with hitting traffic for the last mile, I showed up about on time for the start of the race. Fortunately (for me) Don came with me. I picked up my commemorative glass and t-shirt just prior to the race (technically, after the fast people started) and handed them off to Don, who was riding his bike. By the time I started, the people in front had a 4 minute head start on me. It also meant the walkers were between me and the pace I wanted to keep. Rats!
I think of myself as a back of the packer. As far as the running community goes, that is probably a fair assessment. Though I run/walk at 2:1 intervals, I do run. For me the Spring Lake 5 was a chance to see if the faster times I have been seeing in training could hold up during a real race. As you can see in the pictures, the pack was crowded. It was crowded the entire race. I didn't ever really find my pace group of runners, but I didn't even find "the Goldilocks" zone until around mile 3. Don saw my green sparkle skirt near these houses. He took the picture from the other side of the lake. This is the view I had most of the race -->
In the end, I was too fast for Don. I lost him after the first mile. Each time after that he looked for me, I had already left that area. I anticipated finishing around the hour mark. As you can see below, I finished at 57:10 -- or nearly 3 minutes (and 33 second per minute) faster than my usual pace. I wonder if it being so crowded helped me (in that I kept looking for some breathing room) or hurt me (in that I had to get around people). Either way, I'm happy to PR. This is even more significant to me since I've been making major dietary changes due to an unexpected diagnosis. I've been fading out around mile 4, but that day I was able to tell myself to keep going another mile.
I was also happy to see my splits when I came home. Each of the last 3 miles were within a second of each other. In other words, no crashing and burning. A good day for me indeed.
When I started running races (calling it "racing" sounds a bit more elite than I feel), I would come home and crash. After the Spring Lake 5, Don and I went for a 12.5 mile bike ride along the Capital to Coast Trail to Allaire Village. Another huge change for me.
The swag was also lovely -- a women's cut tech shirt I will probably wear again, a nice medal, and a calendar listing all of the races for the next year (the calendar starts in June). I added my green sparkle skirt since I did not take a picture of Flat Jacquie.
One last bonus ... the bibs were mailed to us so I did not have to worry about picking it up in advance of the race. If we were any later, I could have collected the shirt and glass after the race.
As much as I enjoyed myself, though, I probably won't do this race again. It was crowded, and just far enough away to make it a hassle.