Thursday, April 9, 2015

Piece of Cake 5k

I ran MCRRC's Piece of Cake 5k a couple weekends ago and am now getting around to the review.  I did this race last year as well as it was the goal race for our beginning running training group.  It was the goal race for that group this year as well so it was cool to see some of the coaches and other participants from last year's group.  

I like that this race has both a 10k and 5k option.  In addition, it is one of the club's low key races so it is free to club members.The other cool think about this race is that it is the club's anniversary so there is always a catered breakfast following the race along with a cake contest (!) and an awards ceremony where the club's yearly awards are given out.

It was the weekend following the Rock and Roll Half and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, so I signed up to volunteer at registration for the race.  I figured if I was feeling it, I could jump into the 5k once registration was done, and that's exactly what I did.  The volunteer stint was busy as a lot of club members seemed to use this for their first race of the year and were exchanging last year's chip and bib for this year's.  But everything was really well organized and flowed smoothly.  The only downside was that it was cold but that's not unexpected in March.  At least it wasn't raining like last year!

The 10k started at 9 and the 5k at 9:10.  The kids race started in between those 2.  So I jumped up from the registration table at 9:05 and headed to the start line.  The 10k started right on time, as did the kids race.  The 5k started a couple minutes late so that most of the kids from the kids race could finish up.  I didn't mind at all and it was fun cheering on the kids as they ran past :) They were all so cute!

The race is at Seneca Creek State Park, where the club has a lot of their races. It is a beautiful area with a lot of green and a lake.  We run on the streets in the park so it never seemed too congested.  The club has a lot of their races here and I really enjoy the location.  The course is hilly but I try to tell myself that's part of it's charm :)

Since I was well aware of the hills, my strategy involved abandoning my usual run walk intervals.  Instead, I ran for the first mile and a half or so and then on the way back took walk breaks on the uphills.  You can see the pace differential.

And this ended up being a 5k PR for me!  According to the website, my official time was 37:44.  My previous PR (from the Semper Fi 5k last May) was 38:54. Garmin record below, though the time is a bit longer since I started my watch a little early.  Also, this is the first time my Garmin recorded exactly 3.1 for a 5k race!  It's usually a bit more.

The only real downside of this race was the parking situation.  I don't remember it being this bad last year or at the New Year's race which was at the same location so maybe it was a fluke?  I got there early and therefore was able to park close.  My friend came later to run the race and ended up having to park more than a mile from the start line, along the race course.  So not only was it a long walk to and from the car, it was also hard for her to get out because the race was still going on.  And I waited in a line of cars around 15 minutes just to get out of the park.


But other than that delay at the end, this was a great race.  I love that there are multiple distance options. I love the beauty of the course, and I love how well organized it is.  As well as the free race entry for club members and the free photos!