I was wide-awake by about 4:00 on Saturday morning for some reason, but that was better than struggling to wake up at 6:00 to head to the races. Our hotel was just under a mile away from the start of the race, so it was only about a 15 minute walk.
I wasn't sure what kind of weather to prepare for, so I brought all kinds of options. I ended up wearing my Heat Gear capris and a tank top, which turned out to be a great choice. The weather was PERFECT for running this morning! 50-something degrees and overcast.
I stopped in the lobby of the hotel to grab a quick breakfast (toast with peanut butter and an apple), and then Charlene and I headed to the race start. We got there way too early, but that ended up being a good thing, because I had time to return a shirt I had bought at a gift shop (I brought it along in my gear check bag just in case I had time). I walked up and down the whole starting line area a few times, and then sat and waited until it was time to get in the corrals. The 5K start time was at 8:00.
The Runner's World announcers, Whit and Bart, both do a fantastic job at making the race really exciting and fun. The atmosphere is really energetic, which I love. And the scenery! The old buildings are so cool. If they were in the bad part of Detroit, the buildings would look trashy; but because they're in the middle of this beautiful city, they just look really cool.
I had no idea what my pace would be during these races. I figured I would aim for 9:30-ish, because my last 10-miler was about 9:45. I got in the corral near the 9:30 pace sign. While I was standing there, a runner near me came over and said she was a reader. Her name is Nicole, and she was with her husband, Ben, and a friend. When she told me that she was from The Dale Road Cat Project blog, I definitely remembered who she was. She sent me a link to her blog a long time ago, and it's been on my blog list ever since.
We chatted for a few minutes, and I discovered she would be doing roughly the same pace as me. I was tempted to ask if she wanted (my) company to run with, but she had her husband and friend there, so I felt bad asking. Just as I was thinking of that, I saw Kristen from Fit Bottomed Girl walking by, heading to the corrals behind me, so I yelled to her and ran over. She was going to be running alone, so I basically just invited myself to run with her at whatever pace she had planned. I wasn't planning to race, so I really wanted some company to run with me!
She liked the idea, too, and said she does a 3:1 run/walk method, which was fine with me (run 3 minutes, walk 1, repeat). I liked the idea of having someone to run with more than trying to aim for a certain pace, so it worked out well.
Once the race started, we quickly fell into conversation, and we had a great time! We didn't care at all about our pace, and we got excited when the walking parts were on the uphills (which actually didn't happen very often, haha). The course was really hilly! (At least it was for me, because I'm not used to any hills at all). Something I noticed about the RW races is that there are a LOT of aid stations, which is awesome. I don't need to stop at every one, but it's nice that there is one when I do need it. The whole time I was running, I kept thinking about how it would be a great first 5K for someone, because it was very runner-friendly, fun, and doesn't have a super competitive vibe (although there were some pretty speedy people there--including Lauren, who ended up winning the 5K!)
We cruised through the finish line of the 5K, and then met up with a bunch of the other bloggers. It was the perfect opportunity for a group photo, so we asked David from Runner's World to take one.
The 10K starting time was at 9:30, so we had a little while to hang out and chat before we had to head to the starting line. Kristen and I decided to run together again. As soon as the race started, I couldn't believe how stiff my legs felt! I felt like I had just run 12 miles, not a 5K. Kristen said hers felt the same, so the first mile or two was really just about trying to loosen back up a little. The 10K was just as hilly as the 5K, but it was fun to have someone with me to help distract me from the hills ;)
We cruised through the finish line with our arms raised high, and just like that, it was over. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be there for the half marathon the next morning, but I was also really excited to go home and be the best spectator ever at my brother's marathon. I walked back to the hotel with Kristen, Ali, and Lauren, and I took a much-needed shower. I really wanted some frozen yogurt, and there was a shop that I had passed several times going to and from the expo center, so I decided to get some for lunch.
I walked there, and unfortunately, the second I opened the door, I smelled Chinese food. It was basically a Chinese restaurant that also had a soft-serve machine with one flavor--plain tart fro-yo. I tasted it, just to see if I wanted some, but I didn't like it at all, so I just left with an empty stomach. I went back to the expo to check out the seminars.
First, I chatted with Golden, founder of Altra running shoes, about the shoes he had sent me. I told him they were super comfortable to walk in, but that after a couple of miles, my heel spur would bother me. He said I had chosen the wrong model, and I should have picked the Paradigm, which is the most similar to the Brooks Adrenalines that I've been wearing for four years. He very generously swapped them out for me, and I couldn't believe the difference it made. The Paradigm ones felt much more like what I was used to, but they still had the zero-drop heel and the foot-shaped toe box, which offer the benefits that he had explained in detail at his presentation. They felt really good, so I wore them for the rest of the day. (I haven't worn them to run in yet, but so far, so good.)
After I talked with him, I was absolutely starving, so I got a flatbread pizza from a food stand in the expo center. It ended up being really good!
I even shared a piece with the Golden Retriever at the table next to mine who was silently pleading with me.
For some reason, I thought that the seminar I'd wanted to see started at 1:00, but it was actually at 1:30. I didn't have time to see it at 1:30, because I had to head back to the airport at 2:30. So, I just ended up walking back to the hotel. I got the rest of my stuff packed up, and then headed downstairs to the lobby. Matt and I both had flights on Saturday evening, so we rode together. When we got to the airport, I said good-bye to him, and then made my way to the gate.
It took a while to get home (first, I had to fly to Boston, then from Boston to Detroit). When I got to Detroit, I noticed that my Fitbit steps were at 33,000-ish. I had never hit 35,000 before, I started walking around at the airport while I waited for my bag to get in some extra steps. That was the most I'd ever gotten in a day! Jerry picked me up at 10:00, and when I got home, I looked at my Fitbit again--34,999. I took one step, and received a new badge!
I went to bed at nearly midnight, knowing I had to get up at 4:00 for Nathan's race today. My bed felt SO good! It was really hard to get up this morning, but I was super excited for Nathan's race. (To be continued on Tuesday... tomorrow is Motivational Monday!)
(A huge thanks to Runner's World for inviting me to take part in the blogger program this weekend. They put on a fantastic "festival" for the weekend, and I am honored to have been a part of it! In full disclosure, Runner's World sponsored my participation in this event by paying for my travel and race fees, but I was not paid for any posts or required to write about it. Everything is, as always, my honest opinion.)