Asheville Runway 5K Race Report

I wasn’t able to run the inaugural race last year because I was being treated for an ectopic pregnancy the day before and forbidden to run the race by my Dr. Thankfully given the circumstances, and although the race was normally non refundable, the organizers offered me a 50% credit for this year.

While I had originally signed up for the race in 2011 to see how fast I could run a 5k. I knew it wouldn’t be the case this year! The course is a perfectly flat loop starting from the hangars, going down the taxiway, up the runway and back down the taxiway to the hangars. I don’t think it’s possible to find a flatter course in Asheville.

My goal was to run it for fun. Well ok, as I told a colleague that I met at the start I would be thrilled to finish under 30minutes being that I was 20 weeks pregnant. But if I didn’t, I knew I would be perfectly ok with it.

The race was well organized with plenty of special event parking (free) and shuttles to take you to the start. Although most runners chose to walk to warm up in the “balmy” 50 degree! I had switched to long sleeves at the last minute because it was just too cold for me.  Thankfully the start area was well protected from the wind and I was able to warm up a little.
I had gotten there with plenty of wiggle room because I still needed to pick up my race packet. As it turned out, that only took a minute or so. So I just walked around to keep warm, went to the port-potties a few times, signed up for a chance to win free airfare and checked-out the aviation day tables that would open up later.

The sun rose and things warmed up a good bit. It wasn’t supposed to be very warm that day, but it turned out that the sun broke through the clouds right around race time and that I could have down a T-shirt after all. We lined up for the race and waited… the start was delayed about 15mns due to a plane landing. And then we were off. At first everyone seemed together but quickly the line started to stretch. I was still far from the first turn when I saw the first runners on the other side. The benefit and drawback of a flat open course is that you know exactly how far you are for the top runners. It was really cool however to see all the runners and walkers stretched out around the runway. I found my pace and stuck to it. I was passed in the beginning but started passing people half-way through. Baby was doing good, not jumping on my bladder or sitting in a weird uncomfortable position.

I took the second turn and headed back towards the hangars. I surprised myself by finishing just under 27 minutes. Yeah for flat courses, I had not been this fast in a month. The finish table had whole oranges, apples, bananas and water which I helped myself to. Overall it’s a well organized race when you see how many people participated. And let’s be honest, how often do you get to run on a runway right? I hope to do it again when I’m not pregnant and see if I can get a PR.

I finished 21st/105 of my age group (25-34) and 215/708 runners.

Asheville Chamber Challenge 2012

Photo Credit Olivia Marone

I’ve done this race annually since I started running. It’s put together by the Chamber of Commerce with the goal to promote physical health within businesses. While some people sign up as individuals, this is mostly a group race. Teams sign up and while there is a Female and Male winner overall, the rest of the awards are given to teams only. But this is not about who runs the fastest (well only a little bit). This is about everyone, from the fast racers from the local running stores (I’m pretty sure they went home with all the top prizes) to the  stroller running mom and dads. This is about having fun and gathering at the end of the work day.

It’s both a blessing (early work release) and a curse (it’s hot!) to have the race starting at 4:30pm. The course starts at the parking  lot of the Chamber of Commerce, goes down one hill and then the uphill starts into the Montreat Historic District. There are a few downhills, but the last mile of the race is all uphill on Montford Avenue. It’s always a tough finish.

Thankfully this year we were greeted with rainy and cloudy weather. Temperatures in the high 60’s made this race perfect for once. The sun broke through the clouds right at the end, but not early enough to make it too hot.

I started somewhere towards the front. I new I was starting fast, but I still tried my best to find my pace once we passed the first downhill. I was still shocked to hear a volunteer reading 7 minutes as I passed the first mile marker. With the few seconds it took me to step on the start line I knew this was fast for me. At that point I decided that what the heck, if I’m going crazy, I might as well go for it. Now mind you, that first mile was the one with the most downhill, so I did not go any faster than that. Actually I slowed down after it.

Past that first mile I could tell that a lot of runners around me had started way too fast as I started to pass them. We hit the halfway point before I even knew it, then headed on a slight downhill towards Montford Avenue. Suddenly it was mile 2 already. Wait how did that happen? Oh yes, I know I’m used to do longer runs now 🙂

Montford Avenue… I love hills, but this one is tough, and long. This is not a course to break records! As we started on Montford Avenue I found myself with a group of runners going about the same speed as I was. There was this guy in particular, wearing a grey shirt whom I would pass and who would pass me again. It was annoying me a little. I could hear his breathing, I could tell that he was struggling, so why did he insist on passing me every time? He couldn’t stand being passed by a girl? At least I managed to leave him behind in the section of the hill and I raced to the finish. I knew I would not pass anymore girls in front of me.

As I saw the clock, I knew I would not beat my last 5k time. However… I have doubts that my last 5k was really 5k and it wasn’t chipped. Which makes this my new Official 5K PR and on a rolling hill course as it is. Not to mention it’s a big course PR for me by close to 2 minutes. The Half and Marathon training have paid of.

I waited for my colleagues at the end. We all gathered up and cheered. Then I took a few minutes to go get some (free) beer from the local Highland Brewery. If you ask me it’s one of the best perks of this race… Other co-workers came in, including a new dad with his daughter in the stroller, the mom came a few minutes later. Good moments.

One of the best parts as I waited for my co-workers was when grey shirt guy came a few seconds after me and came to shake me hand to say thank you. It’s always so special to me when you know you helped someone push beyond what they think they could do. He told me he tried to keep up with me (I should have told him my husband learned better, HA!). I said you’re welcome and told him the thought had crossed my mind that he didn’t want to be passed by a girl in a skirt. He said that was part of it, but mostly he just tried to keep up. I feel very happy I was able to pace him.

We all hanged out a little longer to see how we did. You see, girl teams from our company have had a habit of placing in the first three for the last three years. They started the award as we got closer and suddenly we hear a name. Only two of us from the team were still there and we’re like, wait is that us? We didn’t know which name we had been registered under. And yes it was. We placed 2nd female group overall. Not bad at all. We finished just a minute ahead with out total time of the 3rd group but a good 20 minutes behind the first group (all from a running store). Not bad right?

Chip Time: 22:53, 7:24 pace
85th Overall
15th of the Female Overall
2nd of the Female Team

Photo Credit: Olivia Marone

Big thumbs up to the organizers this year: they had the water in the cooler (unlike last year). Nice cold water and bananas were awesome. I also grabbed some healthy goodies such as a 15 day free YMCA membership and two free pilates class. What a great way to inspire local businesses to be healthy. One of those years I want to do it in a costume.

2011 Jingle Bells 5K in Pictures

I wanted to share a few pictures taking by our local newspaper for the Jingle Bell 5k. First of all my favorite team. The won the Best Team Spirit Award for Santa and his raindeer.  I just love the tutus, I look at this picture and I just want to hug the reindeer, seriously, how much cuter can you be?

I think next year I want to wear a tutu!

Santa and his Raindeers

Photo: Margaret Hester

I hear a lot about the Team Sparkle and sparkly skirts. What  better way to use them than dress up as Santa’s Little Helper with bright red colors and a happy smile.

Santa's Little Helper

Photo: Margaret Hester

Now back to business, this is a picture from the beginning of the race. The girl in green to the left won First Female Overall. I stayed fairly close to her the whole time, but she had more in her than I did. The dude in blue also finished in the top. Obviously I’d rather fly than run 🙂

Start of the Jingle Bell 5k 2011

Photo Margaret Hetcher

And the great finale: me acting like a goof. I was actually trying to wave at the photographer and smile. Instead I look more surprised that someone was taking a picture. I go from being way too focus on the finish to well looking like that. Oh and it also happens to be the picture that my HR team picked to put on their door to congratulate me for my result on the race. Which means every single person I work with has seen it. Brilliant! I’m not sure whether to be proud or totally embarrassed.
At least I’m wearing a costume, I think it helps with the goofy look. But I need serious lessons on how to look and act in front of a camera during a race.

Running like and Elf

Photo: Margaret Hetcher

Any lessons to share? Are you usually happy with your racing pictures or do you feel like me that you always goof off?

Elves Can Run Too: a Jingle Bell 5k Race Report

Ever since I ran the Half Marathon, I’ve been wanting to do a 5K. I knew from my training that I had improved my speed, but the question was how much? I also wanted to run a race with my husband, so when he told me “his kids” (from school” were running the Asheville Jingle Bell 5K I knew I had to sign up. I also knew I wanted to wear a costume, after all with a name like that I needed jingle bells.

A $1 Santa hat, an Alabama tube top turned into an elf skirt with a pair of scissors and jingle bells, a cute pair of socks and some ribbon was all I needed. Right before the race I almost lost a bell, so I decided to secure them with safety pins, it was a good call.

The night before my husband was telling me he wasn’t going to run. I gave him a no nonsense speech and told him he didn’t have to do the timed race but that I expected him to run. After all I signed up because I knew he would run too. So he came. At the last minute I handed him a seasonal apron when he told me he didn’t have a costume and off we went.

The race was small, about 200 runners met at the Montford Recreation Center. Perfect sun and temperature in the low 40’s greeted us. There was tons of Santa hats and reindeer antlers. I met up with some colleagues from work and my running team as well. When the starting time drew near, I was surprised to find out we were starting on a randomly drawn line on the road. While the race was chipped, it is only based on the gun and your arrival under the gate. I even mapped the run and it looks more like 3.07 than 3.1 mile. Who cares the hills made up for the difference in my opinion.

2011 Jingle Bell Elf CostumeI was lucky enough to place myself toward the front, so when I started I probably only had 10 people or so in front of me. Two kids were flying up front, I had a few women around me. I wasn’t too worried about the first mile, it takes time for everyone  to settle into their pace.  The first mile was mostly downhill but I was still surprised at the mile marker when I glimpsed at my watch to see 7:15. Wow, I did not think I could keep up at that pace the whole time. But then again it was worth a shot. So I tried to keep it up as we hit the first uphill. I had about 4 girls around me at that point and easily passed one of them who had likely started too fast. I kept up with the other girl for a while until the next uphill.

As we hit mile 2, I was still under 8:00 pace with my time reading at 14:40 or so. There was only one girl with me at that point. I wasn’t sure who else was ahead of us but I could only see one other guy. She was ahead of me and putting some distance. I did almost catch up with her, but on the last hill to the finish she suddenly took off and finished really strong. At that point I felt close to puking and knew I couldn’t push much more. So I just let it go and ran my own race. I heard someone say: “You’re the first girls”. Wait? Say what?

I ran to the finish line, looking at the clock with a very pleasant surprise. I caught up with the other runner and gave her a high five. She smiled and told me how she heard me coming behind me and knew she had to give it a push to win. Oh yes because she did win, first place overall for the female, which made me 2nd female overall!!! I was lucky that she older than me which allowed me to finish 1st of my age group.
I finished in

22: 33.9

A whooping 7:15 pace. Needless to say I’m thrilled, a great PR even if the race wasn’t exactly accurate mileage wise.
I got the great fun to cheer all my friends arriving to the finish line as well as high five my husband who was running with the kids. Now first the amusing part, not only did I win first of the 25-29 age group but I also won best adult costume.

Two Happy RunnersOfficial Stats

Number of Finishers in this Division (5K Run/Walk): 157
Weather conditions at the start: 38 degrees F, 73%RH, calm winds, clear at 10:00am start
Age Group Division for this Race: Female 25 to 29
Overall Winner of this Division (Female): 22:31.5
Total Finishers in Age Group Female 25 to 29: 12
Your Finish Time: 22:33.9
Your Calculated Pace: 7:15/mile
Your Overall Finish Position within Division: 8
Your Overall Finish Position within Division & Age Group: 1
Overall Finish Position Percentile, all age groups: Top 5%
Overall Finish Position Percentile, your age group only: Top 8%

Elf Race Goal

I’m running my first 5k race since June tomorrow. It will actually be in the same area as the Chamber Challenge, so I know to expect hill. I don’t know the exact course because the website doesn’t give much information. My time for that one was 25:48 and it was a really hot day.

So for tomorrow I’m hoping to break under 25:00.

It should be a fun run too. The Jingle Bells 5k is one of many races organized by the Arthritis Foundation. Because of the theme people are encouraged to wear jingle bells and costumes.

So I found myself a red and white stripped Santa Hat, I’ll wear my dark green running group shirt, tights or a running skirt depending on weather with on top of it a homemade skirt with jingle bells at the bottom, fun socks and maybe a black buckle belt. I look forward to it.

Breaking the 23′

I wanted to go run yesterday. But I also needed to deep clean the floors of our house after my in-laws and their dogs visit.

By the time the floors were shiny enough I had less than an hour left before leaving for work. So I decided to run, as fast as I could, on a little 3.1 miles loop around our neighborhood. It was cold and windy which motivated me even more because I needed to warm up.

Maybe it was just what I needed because while this is not an official course in any way, I was back at my mailbox in 22’48”. Not only was I happy to run but thrilled to see my time. That is the best pace (7:21) I’ve run for a sustained period of time. Now I really need to sign up for a 5K and see how I can do in a race.

It sure feels good to get my speed back.

Asheville Chamber Challenge 5K Race Report

Flying to the Finish of the Chamber ChallengeWith the vacation and all I didn’t have much of a chance to mention the Chamber Challenge 5k. I ran it last with barely any running for weeks due to an injury. I finished it then in just under 30 minutes.Nothing spectacular.

This year I was far better trained. It’s a good hilly course with 226 feet of elevation change. The worst is always the last hill, following Montford to the Chamber. But it is also really pretty, going along a lovely history district with several bed and breakfasts.

It was a warm day with temperatures in the high 80’s. Definitely warmer than last year when we had at least some clouds providing shade. My company paid for the event since it’s a team oriented race. We had 8 teams of 4, runners and walkers. Since I was put in a boys teams (3 guys and me) they had hopes for me to finish in 25′ something.

So I made my A goal to finish in 24:59 or under. I’ve only made it in 25:00 once and that was around my flatter neighborhood.
B goal was 25:59 or under.
C goal was in 26:59 or under.

I made it to my B goal. Not only that but it was a PR for a 5k race for me since I made it in 25:48! Yeah. I knew the A goal was a little bit far fetch so I was truly happy when I saw my result. Especially since it was a pretty warm day. I was happy I had water with me and even happier for the cold beer from Highland Brewery at the end.

I did miss my colleagues arrival because I had to go pee. Which in retrospect wasn’t quite the case. I think the heat made me imagine things.
I didn’t really get any good pictures of the race. I almost missed the group shot with my company’s team because I was in the back getting water. You can barely see my little head. I found no half way point pictures and let’s just say that I don’t look at my best on the finish line shots. I do however love the picture my husband took at the arrival [above] which shows me literally flying to the finish with none of my feet touching the ground. I was speeding for the end.

I’m not too happy with the organizers however, not only did they mispelled my name (not unusual), but they listed me as a male. I mean sure I was in a male team but last time I checked I still had all female attributes. Not only that but they messed up big time since all 8 teams from my company where completely ommited from the team’s results. It doesn’t change anything for my team, but from what I saw our girl’s team should have received a 1st place award. They’re looking into fixing it but awards were already distributed and results published in the papers.

Du fait des vacances je n’ai pas eu l’occasion de mentionner la course de 5km du Chamber Challenge. L’an dernier je l’ai couru avec peu d’entrainement suite a une blessure. J’avais fini a peine en dessous de 30 minutes. Rien de spectaculaire.

Cette année j’étais bien mieux entrainée. Le parcours passe par plusieurs collines avec un dénivelé total de 70m. Le pire étant la dernière montée le long de l’avenue de Montford jusqu’à la chambre de commerce. Mais c’est aussi un beau parcours dans un quartier historique avec de nombreux Bed & Breakfast.

Il faisait chaud, 31°C. Plus chaud que l’an dernier où les nuagse offraient un peu de fraicheur. Ma compagnie couvrait les frais d’inscription vu que c’est une course en équipe. Nous avions 8  équipes de 4, des coureurs et des marcheurs. J’avais été ajoutée au groupe des hommes (3 gars et moi) du coup ils esperaient que je finisse la course dans les 25 minutes.

Du coup mon objectif A était de finir en 24:59 ou moins. Je n’ai couru qu’une fois en 25mn et c’était dans mon quartier qui est plus plat.
L’objectif B était 25’59” ou moins.
L’objectif C 26’59” ou moins.

J’ai réalisé l’objectif B. En plus c’est un record personnel pour une course officielle vu que j’ai fini en 25’48”! Je savais que l’objectif A serait difficile a obtenir donc j’étais vraiment contente de mon résultat, surtout qu’il faisait chaud. J’ai apprécié l’eau que j’avais avec moi et encore plus la bière fraiche d’Highland Brewery à la fin.

Par contre j’ai raté l’arrivée de mes collegues car il m’a fallu filler aux toilettes. En fait je pense que c’est la chaleur qui m’a fait imaginer des choses.
Je n’ai pas vraiment de bonnes photos de la course. J’ai quasiment raté les photos de groupe car j’étais à l’arrière à remplir ma bouteille d’eau. On voit à peine ma tête, quand à celle de l’arrivée je fais un peu peur. Il faut que j’apprenne à sourire. Par contre j’adore celle [ci-dessus] où l’on me voit m’envoler vers l’arrivée vu que je ne touche pas le sol. Il faut dire que j’ai bien accéléré à la fin.

Par contre niveau organisateurs ils ont merdé. Non seulement ils ont mal épelé mon nom (pas une grosse surprise), mais je suis marquée comme étant un homme. Oui je fais parti d’un équipe d’homme car la règle est que si il y a 3 homme et une femme le groupe est “male”, mais enfin la derniere fois que j’ai vérifié j’avais encore tous les attributs femelle. En plus de ça il ont réussi à omettre nos 8 groupes des résultats par équipe. Ca ne change rien pour mon équipe mais à priori l’une des équipes filles aurait du être classée comme #1 et recevoir une plaque.  Les organisateurs travaillent à rectifier leur erreur, mais bon les prix ont été distribués et les résultats publié dans le journal.

Thank you stranger for spraying water/ Merci Mr l'inconnu pour l'arrosageFinish Line/ Ligne d'Arrivée

(Photo Credit)