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Jun 26 / Jane

ETS Firecracker 5k 2013

Since after the marathon I’ve been trying to attend group workouts in Princeton on Tuesday evenings.  I’d made it to three workouts (consistently every other week) when we decided to run our first race together as a team at the ETS Firecracker 5k yesterday evening (in place of our normal Tuesday evening workout).  Three of us were planning to run the race anyway, so we recruited two more Princeton Intervals (PI) members and my mom joined us for an even six on the team.

I’d run this course the past two years and knew it would be hot and hilly.  After Sunday’s race I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself.  I was still really hoping to beat 27minutes, but waiting all day for the evening race, I was beginning to get anxious.  A quick storm rolled through around 4pm and the heat and humidity from the day just dried up the roads in no time.  It ended up staying cloudy for the race, and although it was still humid it did not feel as hot without the sun beating down on us.

I arrived at the same time as mom and we checked our team in.  My friend, Claire, who was running her first 5k race, showed up not too long after (she’d signed up much earlier than our team who handed in our entries on the last possible day, but hopefully she will be joining PI runs in the future!).  The remaining team members trickled in and we started warming up.  Claire and I talked strategy, while the guys talked projected finish times.

We headed to the start and listened to the obligatory announcements.  They’d changed the course this year due to construction on one part of the campus.  Instead of three loops, it was one loop, an out and back and that third loop as before.  I felt good the first mile, came in around 8:20 (although Nike+ said just under 8min, I don’t believe it). I slowed a little on the 2nd mile where we ran uphill into the out and back portion.  I saw our team leaders Brennan and Keith, Bill and then John; then gathered a little more speed on the way back downhill, where I saw mom was about a minute behind me and Claire just behind her.  Running past the finish and into the second loop, I saw our PI coach of the day, Meghan (out on injury) and Claire’s boyfriend, Matt (watching somewhat sullenly from under a tree).  I passed the two mile marker and headed downhill, then back slowly uphill…

I snuck a peak at my watch, but I still haven’t reset the default settings, so I saw 2.3mi and 23min… Which didn’t make sense, so I just kept running.  I’d made a point today to just run, not worry about my watch today.  I tend to go out a little fast, then when I look down and realize it, I give myself permission to slow down a little.  This always ends up being more than a little.  But not this time, it’s only a 5k, time to run strong!

Rounding the corner out of the last loop and into the finish, I was people were lined up all along the last quarter mile to the chute.  I finished among cheering crowds in 27:18, 18seconds off from my goal.  But I felt good, and given the humidity and the hills, okay, fine, next one.  (AND my time was nearly a minute and a half faster than Sunday, yay!)

I grabbed a water and ran back along the route to find mom.  I ran to the chute with her where she finished just under 30minutes in 29:29!  She was expecting to be over 30, closer to 35 even, so this was great!  I ran back again to find Claire and cheered her through the finish a minute later.  She was beaming in the end; what an excellent accomplishment!  I really love this course, but it was not easy.

Claire and mom, two of my favorite runners =)

Claire and mom, two of my favorite runners =)

Princeton Intervals Team Photo

Princeton Intervals Team Photo

We met up with the PI team and had sandwiches outside at the finish while we waited for the awards.  Our top four runners scored impressive times, we might actually have a chance here!  Mom, Keith and Brennan went in to listen for the winners.  Mom came back outside when our number was not called for the raffle prize (darnit).  Keith ran out when they were presenting the team awards, surprise!  We’d won 3rd place overall!!  We stayed and listened to the individual awards, but a lot of competition placed all of us out of the age group categories.  …Well, almost all of us.  We came to find out this morning that Brennan had indeed won her age group but was listed with the men instead of the women.  Oops?

Third Place Team!

Third Place Team!

Overall it was a fun race, hilly and humid as expected.  But it was one of the first races (in a LONG time) that I’d had a big group of friends to run with, and that made all the difference.  It was great to put my speed work to the test and celebrate Claire’s first race and mom’s return to racing (her last race was this one two years ago!). I really can’t tell you how proud I am of Claire and my mom, they both did so awesome!  They’ve also both endured my endless race/running chat for months now so it’s good seeing us all on the same page this time.  =)

I am already looking forward to our next race, which is next week actually!  The Revolutionary Run 10k on my birthday!!

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