Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clean Lakes Festival 2009 Report

Saturday, June 6, 2009
Madison, WI

This was my second 5K ever, the first being back in August of 2008 shortly after I began running. I had one and only one goal: to run it in under 30 minutes, which would beat my previous 5K time (30:31).

After a hot and sunny day on Friday, the weather was perfect for running on Saturday morning. Somewhere around 55 degrees, overcast and lightly drizzling. I had no idea how big or small this race was going to be. I'd never heard of it before, so I couldn't imagine that it would be too big. It turned out to be quite small. 118 runners. About the same size as a previous 5K, actually.

I got there about 20 minutes early and parking was a breeze. It was held in park right on one of Madison's lakes (hence the event name!) There was a lot of runners there by themselves, which always makes me feel better when I'm milling around alone and just waiting for the race to start. I did a bit of jogging to get warmed up and then lined up to start.

We listened to the national anthem and someone counted down from 3 and we were off! This was my first race that was NOT chip timed. I tried to line up a little more toward the start for this reason. Normally I just hang around the back. Thankfully it didn't really matter because there were so few runners.

The course was nice with a few smaller hills. We ran mostly on a path that winds through a couple of parks and under some bridges and tunnels. Very nice little route. After about the first mile, I heard a girl say to someone else that she was shooting to break 29 minutes and I thought, "Okay, I'm just going to make sure that she's in my view the whole time." It worked fairly well and my Garmin helped with my pace too. (Although the poor girl ended up finishing in 29:01 - ouch.)

I was feeling really good until around 2.5 miles in. That's always when I start to lose it. I ran this race without my ipod and this was where I felt its absence. I can always count on a good fast paced song to help motivate me to finish that last little bit. The last .2 miles or so were going up a major hill, which was torture. I couldn't muster any kick, which really disappointed me because I'm usually really good at that. However, the good news...

I finished with a solid 29:17! A new PR and I broke 30 minutes! I came in 64/118 overall and 26/62 women. This obviously wasn't a super fast group of runners. Amazingly, a woman won the entire race! How cool!

Mile 1 - 9:16
Mile 2 - 9:38
Mile 3 - 9:28
Last .1 - :54 (9:14 pace)

Overall, it was a very well run and organized race. I would definitely do it again next year. (Not to mention we got sweet green t-shirts. I always like the colored ones better than the typical white.) There was one water stop in the middle, which I just zoomed right on by. No mile markers, but that didn't bother me since I had on my Garmin. Post-race food was Gatorade, bagels, bananas, oranges, etc. I grabbed a banana, drank some Gatorade and headed home to run another 3 miles with my dog.

For my next 5K, I'm going to try and break 29:00!

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