Total distance: 3.1 miles
MOMENT OF TRUTH... Race Day!
So, a little about this race. The Fool's 5K, an annual event held in proximity to April Fool's Day, possibly entitled as such because we are all crazy for trying to do a race this early in the year, held up in the scenic George Wyth National Park in Waterloo, Iowa. This race caught my attention for a couple reasons - they claimed it to be SUPER FLAT (flat is good) and for it to be one of the most well-organized and/or smoothest-run races in the state, and... there's a crapload of food at the end. Somewhere in the communications was this incredibly interesting article about how race distances are calibrated/measured (and what makes some "official") and how GPS devices work and why the two don't always match. Having just gotten a GPS watch, I found it helpful. I also was really impressed by how much of a pain in the butt it is to officially calibrate a race. I'm guessing most events I've done.... haven't.
Anyway. Me being me, if there is a theme involved, I'll jump all over it. From what I could tell from the website and such, there was a bit of a jester theme, so I located a couple mardi-gras masks for my sister and myself. (I did toy with the idea of an actual jester hat, but that seemed like it might be cumbersome to run with, so I let it go. This time.) The mask got to be a little uncomfortable so it stayed parked on my head for the majority of the race, but I still feel like it was a nice touch.
I have decided that, when possible, I want to wear the race tees at the actual race, so when I take my post-race pictures, I can easily tell at a glance later which race it was from. The shirts for this race ended up being a full dye-sublimation print, which was really cool, but... it was cold, so under the jackets they went.
This was the first race I've done where they had us line up by pace. So, basically... I had to hike it all the way to the end. Ha. Oh well. I'm okay with being a slow runner and it's smart to keep us slowbies out of the way of the fast people.
Despite it being super chilly, the sun did come out, and it warmed up a little bit toward the end. I mean, no one would have mistaken it for being Warm Outside, but it was rather pleasant. I prefer it be a bit cooler when I run anyway... 45-75 is my ideal temperature range. We started out in synchronized intervals, me consulting my faithful Garmin and dictating when to start/stop as per what had worked with my interval experiment. Eventually, my sister got bored and wanted to keep going, so I waved her ahead and off she went. For all her complaining about how she wasn't going to be able to do it at all, she pulled ahead and left me in the dust!
As for me, I ended up beating my goal time of 45 minutes with a finish time of 44:52! Hooray! It was the first time I'd heard my name announced when crossing the finish line, so that was simultaneously cool and surprising. Another cool thing about this race? You could sign up ahead of time to have your finish time texted to you... which I did. It was nice to have instantaneous feedback, especially since I knew my Garmin was a wee bit off. Overall results, 1000 out of 1118 (I feel like I should get a prize for being exactly the 1000th person, right?... 632 out of 734 female runners (all ages), and 64 out of 93 in the "Athena" category, which I chose instead of my age group. (Athena = female runners over 150 lbs. I felt I had a better chance of placing higher in this category than being lumped in with all the skinny, fit people.) Not too shabby for the first time out!