On Saturday, I ran the Iron Girl Columbia 5K. I had initially wanted to run the half marathon, but after all the hip and back muscle issues I had at the end of the IG Columbia Tri in August, I wasn’t sure a hilly half was the best plan. I still have one triathlon left for the season, and I want to be sure that I’m not going into it injured.
As I was saying to a friend, for me, one key about a race is the pre-race logistics. How hard is it going to be for me to get there. It’s a reason I don’t do a lot of races in downtown DC. If I have to find random street parking in the wee hours of the morning, I’m out. Conveniently, this race started across the street from the Columbia Mall and we were allowed to park in a section of their lot. Perfect!
It was a gorgeous morning. Nice and cool, though rain did threaten. This race didn’t have the turnout it used to, likely because it got moved from April to September and people weren’t aware of the change. But I do hope people return. It’s a great race. Well organized and it’s a good course, though challenging.
The half marathon set off first. They had a ton of pacers, which was awesome. The pacers seemed to be having way too much fun. I still can’t comprehend being a 7:30 pacer. That means that you normally race well faster than a 7:30 minute mile. Yikes!
Once the half runners cleared, it was time to get ready for the 5K. While the half was women only, the 5K was family friendly, and it was fun to see all the kids out running. There are some speedy kids!
I positioned myself near the back, knowing that I’m a slower runner. I set off in my run/walk intervals, which is always a bit tough at a race, since immediately, people are passing me left and right. But even in such a short race, by the end, I’m overtaking them.
The 5K course was pretty simple – a nice out and back. Columbia is a really pretty town, so even though we were on city roads, the trees were beautiful. It was overcast and started to rain as we were running, though it wasn’t too bad.
The 5K course isn’t flat, but it’s more gradual hills. No Gatorade Hill like the triathlon! Thank goodness. I was only slightly slower than my race from the week before, and considering that I went from a flat course to hilly course, I’ll take it. My official time was 42:02. Not bad. Someday, I’ll get a sub-40 again. Just not right now.
Post race was really nice. The race was sponsored by Whole Foods, so there was water, coconut water, and chocolate milk to drink, and all sorts of food, including my favorite Kind bars. Delicious. Another thing I loved was that they were registering people for the bone marrow registry onsite. It’s just a cheek swab, so it was really easy. When I registered in college, it was a blood draw. It’s so easy now!
Maybe next year, I’ll be back for the half if it fits into my training schedule. I do hope that everyone who raced had a great time!