Thursday, April 3, 2014

Piece of Cake 5k

I did the Piece of Cake 5k this past Sunday. It was the goal race for the beginning running group that i had been part of since January. It is also the race MCRRC uses to celebrate their anniversary and hold their annual awards ceremony. There is a full brunch afterward, and of course, cake!

The race has always been a 10k in the past and this year was the first time they added the 5k option. It was at Seneca Creek State Park and I knew that the course was hilly because the MCRRC New Year's Day race was there too.

Sadly, it was cold, windy and rainy that morning.  I think that this affected the number of racers. Based on the results, there were 269 10k finishers and 69 5k finishers. So a very small race.  Which was good given the parking situation. Cars could not park on the grass because of hiw wet it was so it was difficult finding spots and there was a but of a walk to the start line even though I was there an hour early. However, the volunteers and park rangers did a great job about directing the parking and helping show us where to park.  

Registration was simple for me since I was already a club member and had my 2014 bib and chip, which I can use for all their low key races in the year. It looked like registration was very quick even for the people registering that morning.  The 10k started at 9am and the 5k 10 minutes afterward.

Registration tents.  Photos courtesy of MCRRC.  I love the free photo downloads.

I'd run the course just a few weeks earlier but it seemed so much harder this day. I assume that's because of the horrible weather. My hands and feet just felt numb after a while.  But I finished in 44:34 with a 14:21 per mile pace according to the official results.  This was 2 minutes slower than when I had done this same course 2 weeks earlier.
I turned it on a bit early and stopped it a bit late.

The course is usually a beautiful run on the roads in the state park with rolling hills and views of the lake and forest. 

But I couldn't think about anything but being done. The course is an out and back and the 10k course starts out the same as the 5k course. At one point, the 10 k runners turn right to keep going and the 5k runners turn left to return. It was very well marked with plenty of volunteers to make the directions clear. 

On the way back, I was running with the back of the pack for the 5k and the speedy 10k participants. There were lots of people cheering at the finish, which was nice.  They were mostly club members heading to the awards brunch, I assume.

Almost done!

After the race, I walked over to the tent where the brunch was being held.  The food was tasty, hot, and plentiful. I definitely appreciated it after the cold run. There were eggs, sausage, potatoes, pancakes, fruit, juice and coffee.  

However, there wasn't much warmth in the tent. I stayed through the beginning of the awards ceremony but left early because I was just getting colder and colder sitting there in my wet clothes. I even left before the cake.  I walked by the cake table on the way out and there were several cakes that all looked delicious.  It seemed like the cake would be plentiful too for those that stayed.

Overall, this was a really well organized race and the small numbers were kind of nice.  The full brunch afterward was great.  But the weather made it hard to fully enjoy.