Going into this weekend, I was really excited for a race. I kept thinking how fun it is for races to be back on the calendar after a very hot and humid summer. And while the humidity and heat aren’t gone, we have had enough days below 100 and cool mornings to know it will be here soon. Those were my thoughts until I selected my shirt to wear for the race – the American 4-Miler shirt I got last month. Oops, yes, that was in the summer on a very hot and humid morning.
Anyway, this morning (August 27) was the fourth race of the Charlotte Six-Pack Series called the Yiasou Greek Festival 5K. This was my first time doing this race, but I had heard a lot of good things about it over the years. People like this race because it is flat (not a common thing in Charlotte) and the Greek Fest is a lot of fun. I didn’t realize until the day before that Greek Fest is actually going to be September 10-11, this year, so I wouldn’t get to go to the festival after the race.
I picked up my bib at the Run for Your Life store in University. The lady there told me that the race used to be before the festival, but it was really hard to set up for the festival with roads closed for the race. Oh yes, that makes a lot of sense. They did give us two tickets to attend the festival, so I may check that out in a few weekends.
This race starts at the Greek Orthodox Church on East Blvd. and runs around the Dilworth area. I love this area, so I knew it would be a good race. The houses there are adorable, and it’s covered with trees, so we should get some good shade.
It is essentially two loops of the area (which is how it can be so flat!) around the church.
The race started at 7:30 am in front of the church. The sun was coming out, but it wasn’t fully out. The weather was nice (I think about 21 degrees Celcius or 70 degrees F). It was a bit humid but was a really nice morning for a race. The DJ was playing “Let’s Get It Started in Here,” and we were off.
My goal for the race was to run 2 minutes / walk 30 seconds, which was Coach Twigg’s suggestion. Based on my most recent Magic Mile time, I should do a 5K at 9:14/mile, but I just don’t see that happening. My goal was to PR the race (beating my Hot Chocolate 5K record of 32:45), but I was really nervous about being able to do that. I wanted to do the 2 min/30 steady and just feel strong. Around the Crown is next weekend, and I really want to do a good job there.
There isn’t much to say about the actual run since it kind of ran together. I opted to listen to music since it would only be about 30 minutes, and I needed to get my feet moving. I started running and ran through my first walk break because the path was so congested. Eventually, I made some space for my walk break and was able to sustain that pattern the whole time. There was supposed to be a water stop at mile 1.5, but it was really before mile 2. I was quite thirsty and very grateful for the volunteers and that cup! By the time I got to mile 2, I was feeling really tired, but I knew to keep pushing since I just had a mile to go. It’s so different running a 5K compared to longer distances.
The sun was out, and I was really sweaty by the second mile. I think it was really humid since it wasn’t really that hot. After the race, I checked the dew point, which was 70 F, so I think that’s what did it.
Regardless, I kept trucking and was feeling okay. Finally, I got to the end and could see the finish line in the distance. I wanted to keep going, but I had to take a couple of extra walk breaks to recover. I think I was running too fast, even though I kept telling myself to be steady.
Eventually, I was able to cross the finish line with a final sprint in the last 0.1 miles at an 8:56 pace to finish with an official time of 31:47! A new PR! My splits were 10:08, 10:12, and 10:25; proof that I was getting tired and slowing down. I was so happy when I crossed the finish line! I think a sub-30 is definitely a possibility if I continue my training.
The finish line celebration was fun. I grabbed my cup (their replacement for a medal this year) and some water. After recovering with my water and taking some pictures, I scouted out a banana and then a King of Pop popsicle. This is a local popsicle vendor that is delicious! This is what should be served after all races instead of beer! (I think that comment could earn me a lot of hate, but hey, I like the idea.)
This was a fun, local race. It is small, but a very manageable event. I watched as some runners finished up around the 45-minute mark. I love these events because people of all types and backgrounds can do it, but they are out there doing it. It just makes me happy that there is a community and businesses that hosts these events. There were several families out cheering for us as we passed their houses, too. Thanks for all of the support!