On Saturday, the hubs and I traveled east to Somerdale, New Jersey, home of the Flying Fish brewery, to run the Flying Fish 5K.
We arrived early, could not figure out where to park, finally parked along a random side street near the finish line, and went to pick up our race packets.
The race premium for the 5K was a coaster. The race shirt cost an extra $20. Bill ordered one; I did not.
The shirts were really nice. They were the type of poly-cotton blend that holds their shape but has a nice, soft feel. The women’s shirts had a V-neck, which I like, and I contemplated purchasing one after the race, but, luckily for my pocketbook, they had run out of my size.
The morning was perfect for running – low humidity and sunny, with temperatures hovering right around 70 degrees. Bill and I picked up our bibs and wandered around the area near the race start.
The race was held in conjunction with Somerdale Day. There were vendors’ stands, a tent where beer (Flying Fish, of course) was sold and a band was playing, community groups dispensing free frisbees, candy, pens, and magnets, games for kids, and corn hole and life-sized beer pong for adults. It was a happening place.
We walked back to our car, pinned on our bibs, and got ready to run. Because a half marathon was on our calendar for Sunday, my plan was to take it easy in the 5K. This was to be a fun run, not an all-out mad dash.
I am notorious, however, for thinking I am going to run a comfortable pace, then getting caught up in the excitement of a race. My goal time for the 5K was in the 28-minute range, about the pace I usually run a three-mile training run. I had promised myself to run conservatively.
The 1,000 or so runners lined up at the starting line, listened to the national anthem, and were off at the sound of a horn signaling the race start.
The race took us past a school and through the neighborhoods surrounding the Flying Fish Brewery. There were a few rolling hills, but I would classify the racecourse as mostly flat. Roads were closed and, with one notable exception, traffic was not an issue.
I started the race, as my husband would say, like I was shot out of a cannon, adrenaline pumping. At the one-mile mark, I realized I was running much too fast and told Bill I planned to slow down. I immediately reduced my speed and Bill pulled ahead of me.
Just about that point, an older man backed out of his driveway (in his car) onto the closed racecourse. Parents running with children pulled their kids over to the side of the road in alarm. The cry “Car back!” spread among the runners in the area.
The driver was irritated about not being able to get out of his driveway. Runners were concerned about safety. Angry words were exchanged. The car accelerated to the next intersection, where a race volunteer removed the barricade to allow the driver to get off the racecourse. It was a dangerous situation.
The final miles went by without incident. I was running at a comfortably hard pace, one that I could easily sustain for a 5K. I soon saw the finish line come into view far in the distance.
When I saw the finish line clock, it was ticking towards 27 minutes. For some reason, I wanted to break the 27-minute mark, so I stepped on the gas for the final yards and passed over the finish mat just under 27 minutes. Because I started pretty far back from the starting line, my net time was 26:43, good enough to win my age group. Bill finished around half a minute ahead of me. We munched on some soft pretzels (one of my favorite post-race foods), sipped on our complimentary beer (a very tasty Oktoberfest) in our complimentary Flying Fish beer mug, and sat in the shade waiting for the awards ceremony. The award medal was very heavy, very nice, and also doubles as a bottle opener.
All in all, a wonderful morning.
Here is my (short) list of things I felt could use some improvement:
- The registration fee was pretty steep for a 5K. Even though you received a coaster, beer mug, and beer with the fee, I felt as though the T-shirt should have been included in the price. The T-shirts, while very nice, cost an extra $20, for a total of $65.
- When we arrived before the race, we had no idea where to park. Often there are race volunteers pointing you toward parking spaces. This wasn’t the case here. Some direction would definitely help the parking situation.
There were many things to like about the race. Here are some of them:
- Plenty of communication from the race director prior to the race.
- Efficient packet pick up.
- Plenty of porta-potties. Very short lines.
- Lots of helpful and friendly volunteers on the racecourse.
- At many races where beer is distributed afterward, there is a long wait in the beer line. Not so for this race. The race organizers have beer distribution down to a science.
- Soft pretzels, granola bars, fruit, and water after the race.
- Lots of stuff going on in conjunction with the race, including live music all day.
After the race, Bill and I headed north to the site of our Sunday half marathon. Even though, strictly speaking, I did not keep my promise to run a calm and sedate pace for the whole race, I still felt fine afterward.
I believe I will be in good shape for Sunday’s half marathon. Time will tell. Race report to follow.
I am linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Weekly Rundown, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, My Random Musings for Anything Goes, and Esme Salon for Senior Salon.