Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MCRRC New Year's Day 5k

I realized that I haven't posted my review of the Montgomery County Road Runners New Year's Day 5k.  The longer I wait, the less I'll remember about it! I did this race last year as well as this year and again, it was a great way to start out the new year.

The race is at Seneca Creek State Park and started at 9:30am.  We were running a bit late so drove into the park around 9:10.  Thankfully, there is no traffic back up and parking was very well organized.  There were volunteers with flags waving us the right way for parking, which was set up in a big field with plenty of room. I imagine parking could be a problem if it was raining and the field was muddy but this day way bright and clear.  We walked from the parking to near the entrance of the park where the race started.  It was a bit of a walk but not too bad and helped us get warmed up.

This year, unlike last year, there was actually registration available the day before the race as well.  But we still decided on race day registration.  It was inside a park building, which was nice.  The line was a couple people long so we weren't the only ones running late.  We exchanged our member bibs and chips from last year for new ones and it took a couple more minutes to get the chip tied onto my shoe and the bib pinned on.  As we exited the building, we heard the race start so we hurried to get to the start line and cross.  Of course, the last minute rush meant I forgot to start my Garmin until a couple minutes into the race.

You can see where the start is different from the end due to my lateness with the Garmin

The course itself was beautiful.  It was a cold but sunny day and it really felt great to be out there with friends.  We ran on the roads of the park so it never felt too crowded in spite of the more than 400 people running and walking.  There were families, dogs, strollers so the feel was very welcoming.  It is a hilly out and back route but beautiful, especially the parts where you are running by a lake.  There is one water stop on the course at the half way mark.

One of my friends and I decided to run together and catch up while running.  Our strategy was to run pretty much the whole way out since it was mostly downhill so that we could walk on some of the uphills on the way back if it was needed (and it was definitely needed).

I wasn't trying to PR this race given my hurt foot and all the hills, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the time on my Garmin when we finished!

I didn't start it right away and it wasn't accurate, but this average pace would have been a PR for me.  My official time was 39:20 with an average pace of 12:39. Sadly, the official results show this wasn't a PR (my 5k PR is 38:54) but I'm ok with that given the circumstances.  I'm surprised at how close to a PR it was and can't wait until my next flat 5k :)

Overall, this was a great race.  It was really well organized and a scenic run for New Year's Day.  It was very low key and welcoming and never felt overly crowded.