Yiasou Greek Festival 5K

I got up at 5:30 to get ready. After getting dressed and getting everything together, I got out the door just after 6. I didn’t try to eat anything this time. I just grabbed my water bottle and filled it with ice and then water and got a Gatorade Prime. I already had my number from pick up on Thursday. Since I had changed to this race through email, I wanted to deal with any issues before race day. I knew streets would be closed and wasn’t sure where I would park. Well, they already had the main street closed. I followed cars and turned left at the closure. We went down a few blocks and turned back heading the same direction as the church. A couple blocks down, there was a small parking area for Latta Park. I decided to park there since I knew where it was and could easily get out later. I got everything I thought I needed and started the walk to the church. It was about 4 blocks, but an easy walk. The start/finish line was already out and several people were already there. The volunteers were great. They saw me coming to the chip area and had it ready. They had zip ties this time. So, I stepped over to a planter to put down my water bottle, Prime, and cell phone and put on my chip. Then I realized I didn’t have my watch on. I briefly thought about going without, but I need I for my intervals. So, I walked back to my car. I noticed a set of partners a couple cars down. It was obvious one was running and the other was there for support. I would come across them again later. I went back in my car and got my watch deciding to leave my new sunglasses behind. It was overcast and did not look to be clearing anytime soon.

Ready for the run

Ready for the run

After walking back to the church, I noticed a lot more people had arrived. I decided I better get in a bathroom stop since I was afraid it would be bad if I waited. The bathrooms in the church were open for us to use. There was already a line, but it moved quickly.  I am so glad I made that stop. I felt 100 times better after. I still had about 20 minutes to kill so I moved over to the area y the radio station and enjoyed the music for a little bit. Then, I noticed a couple by the festival sign taking a picture. He was running and she was there for support. I got her to take my picture and started talking to them. He was much faster than I am, but had run this race before. He gave me a very useful tip about the end stretch being a deceptive gradual incline. At about 15 minutes until start time, I drank my Gatorade Prime and found a trash can. I walked over to the starting area staying towards the back. I couldn’t hear much, but know they started the jogging strollers before everyone else.

Then, it was time to start. I walked with the crowd until just before the starting mats. Then, I ran starting my phone app and sticking it in my pocket. I must have accidentally paused it as I put it in. I decided to run until the first turn and then start my intervals. At the turn, I pulled out my phone to see how long I had run and saw it had been paused. I quickly un-paused it and locked the screen before putting it back in my pocket. After a short walk break, I started my watch for intervals. I kept to m 2:1 intervals until the last stretch to the finish. The run was nice and shady through the neighborhood surrounding the Greek church. It starts doing a loop through a section of houses. This comes back to the main street. Then you run until about 2 blocks from the church. You turn right into the neighborhood on the other side of the road and run a few blocks before turning on a road to cut back across the main road. During this stretch, I encountered the partner cheering. At this point her runner was slightly in front of me. There were a few slight hills in the course, but nothing large. After cutting across the main road, you take the road going behind the church. Shortly after the turn is the water stop. I had been drinking from my water bottle and had plenty left, so I didn’t stop. That allowed me to get in front of some people. I will say the girls at the water stop were great at trying to encourage everyone and there was plenty of cups and water left when I got there.

We continued on this road until we came back to the first loop. We went around the loop again to the main road. Somewhere during this loop, I encountered the partner again who cheered on my pink sparkle skirt. At this point the runner was behind me somewhere. This time, we took the main road all the way to the church for the finish line. Since the road is straight and a slight incline, it looks deceptively close. I was keeping my 2:1 intervals, but knew I wouldn’t be able to run through the finish line because the incline was getting to me. I decided to turn off my intervals and take a walk break in the middle using medians for reference. I saw the Mile3 timer and realized it said 37. I knew at that point I had a good chance to finish below 37 which I had not done before. They said this was a fast course and they were right, even for a slow runner like me. I kicked it in and ran through the finish line. I had to walk in circles a couple times before I could lean over to take off the timing chip. I also stopped my phone app. I knew its time was off because of the beginning pause. They had baby swimming pools with ice still filled with bottled waters. They also had bananas, granola bars, muffins, and a few other things at a table in the finisher area. This was a nice touch for me after the disaster of the July 4th finish area.

I then walked around the booths and followed a crowd to a back table. This one was handing out the free tickets to the Greek festival the advertised for finishers. Instead of the 2 promised, the lady gave me 4. She was very nice and this little thing really made me smile. I went back to the Toast booth for a fruit skewer. This has become my new favorite post-race snack. They also had real breakfast food like eggs. I ran into the couple I was talking to before the race. He got a time that was as good as he as hoping for although not his best. I told them I had finished close to 38 since when I crossed the gun time was just after 38. I would have been happy with the gun time. I wished them well and checked the posted times. Mine was not up yet.  I grabbed a small baklava from the Greek festival table. There was also a table with breads from a bread company, but I didn’t want any of those.  I tried to hang out until my official time was posted, but they were taking too long. I knew I needed to get home to help with party preparations. I walked back to my car and saw the partners in the lot. I told her she did great and she said the same to me. They were very nice and also commented on my skirt.

I finally checked my official time the next day. This was such a different experience than the July 4th race. I knew that one had to be a fluke. My official time was 37:48. I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I went on to athlinks.com and checked all my old 5k times. I even beat my time in 2009 after C25k! I didn’t just beat it, I beat it by 30 seconds. That may not sound like much if you’re not a big runner, but for a 5k that is huge. I was overjoyed. This gives me real hope for a good 10k and 15k time next month to help with corral placement for my Disney races next year.

About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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