Corner Store Country Run 5k {Recap}

Free and fabulous!!!

That’s what this race was. There was a code for a limited time that gifted runners free entry to this race and you know I jumped on it. I’m SO glad I did!

Swag.

Swag.

The theme, as you can tell from the blog post title and swag, was country and I gladly dusted off the ‘ol hat 😀

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I had registered my husband and I to run but decided I’d just hang out with the kids while he raced. Part of the course was on dirt road and I didn’t want to attempt to navigate it with my spiffy two seater, lol! Plus, there were A LOT of people–I also didn’t want to battle that with two kids in a stroller.

Runners were told to start as close to the front as possible as the their times would start when the race clock started–(those who had purchased chip timed bibs). My husband had a chip timed bib so he parked himself right at the front so as soon as the gun went off, he started his watch and got going.

That view though.

That view though.

I knew it wouldn’t be too long before we saw him again so we walked to the finish line to hang out. Luckily, there were cows to keep us company.

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Race volunteers were distributing cow bells to spectators to cheer in the finishers and my kids certainly loved that (although the bells magically got lost when we got home).

A little after 18 minutes, the first runner made his way through. I knew my husband would be shooting for a sub 20 (yes, even though Chicago marathon was a mere 2 weeks in the past, lol!). I wanted to snag a finish photo but it was tough with the excitement of my kids to navigate my phone camera. Instead, at just over 20 minutes, we screamed and rang the cow bells as loud as we could for daddy.

Garmin time–20:39. NEW PR!!!

But, and big butt but, the race clock registered him at 20:53!! 😦 Whaaa??? He had started at the front–his toe practically touching the start line!

Soon after, another run club member crossed and we saw him pause his watch as soon as passed the line. His time was also off! Oh no!

My husband is reluctant to claim this new PR since the “official” time is different but I’m telling him who the hell cares, count that sucker!! He ended up getting 3rd in his age group, too!

Daddy and his good luck charm <3

Daddy and his good luck charm ❤

The bling.

The bling.

Immediately after, we were given a bag/backpack and the fun began!

We entered Rawhide, which is Western themed park and all along the “road” were different vendors giving away a SHIT TON OF STUFF. All. for. free. We’re talking sunglasses, frisbees, waters, gatorade, soda, protein bars, chips, candy, apples, oranges, slushies, cookies…I wish I would’ve taken a pic but I was too busy tasting this and tasting that. Here’s a pic of the loot a run club buddy scored (our loot wasn’t too far off!).

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Then, at the very end…..

the beer booth.

Yep, they were even giving away free beer.

A showing of your I.D got you two free beers and right next to the saloon were tables to munch away on your goodies while listening to some country & western.

Of course we danced.

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It ended up being such a fun day. My kids napped like champs, too!! 😀

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Later that night, keeping with the country theme, my husband and I went to see…..

GARTH BROOKS!!!

I totally didn’t think it would happen. It was our anniversary Friday and ever since I found out he was coming, I’d thought it’d be a perfect anniversary outing. But, trying to get a babysitter is so tough–we don’t have a regular, or anyone really, lol..

THEN, my father-in-law surprised us with a visit!! He practically pushed us out the door to go (okay, maybe we kinda pushed ourselves) and luckily, there were still tickets available when we arrived at the arena. Unbelievable!!

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IMG_20151024_220325Sometimes the unplanned events turn out to be the funnest–this weekend was pretty amazing. ❤

–You a Garth fan?

–Ever run a free race as awesome as the one we did? (Seriously, look up Corner Store Country Run) And fyi–I was not asked to write this review nor was I provided a free entry for the purpose of writing a review. The free entry was from a code provided by the race’s Facebook page.

 

5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…). I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:

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1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.

Beastmode.

Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

I had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! 😀 (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❤ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?

Run3rd 5k Recap

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Okay, so it’d been a while since I’d ran a race (early February? I don’t count Phoenix since I didn’t finish) and I was looking forward to running this 5k until I got sick because that meant I couldn’t properly train. That changed my goals considerably and I went into this race with a “just finish” and “have fun” mindset. Luckily, both happened 😀

There were also quite a few things I was looking forward to with this race.

1.) It benefits local public school promoting health and fitness for kids and encourages people to run for others. This was a huge appeal for me as I’m a public school teacher and am all about the kids ❤ and I’m all about running for those who can’t.

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1st I run for me.
2nd I run for my family.
3rd I run for YOU.
–from the Run3rd website

2.) Sean Astin! I’m a huge Rudy fan (if you haven’t seen this movie, DO IT!! He’s also in Goonies and Lord of the Rings). He was instrumental in getting this race set up–it was an inaugural race–and he was seriously the most humble, sweetest guy. He helped promote the race months leading up to it showing that he was serious about what and who the race was benefitting. Race day, he was everywhere. You saw him giving the kids a pep talk, talking to the people working booths, and posing for pictures with runners. I never saw or heard him say anything negative and he was in high spirits the entire time.

Pep talk!

Pep talk!

Pre-race pic! :)

Pre-race pic! 🙂

3.) Run Eat Tweet AZ –I’ve mentioned this local running group I’m a part of (they hooked me up with this race entry 🙂 ) and I absolutely love hanging out with them. In fact, I wish I could meet up with them on more events they host but between work and kids, it’s tough. When I am able to though, it’s always a guarantee blast.

Jeremy aka: King of Selfies aka: Confessions of an Amateur Athlete

Jeremy @Confessions of an Amateur Athlete (aka: King of Selfies)

#RunEatTweetAZ

@RunEatTweetAZ (Follow on twitter!)

Okay, on to the race.

My biggest struggle with shorter distance races is starting out too fast and yep, I did it again. The first mile chimed 8:09 and at the time, that felt good. I didn’t even think it was too fast. At the time.

At the start--all smiles :)

At the start–all smiles 🙂

Then my legs started to feel heavy and things were not looking good. I felt myself slow down and I saw 8:37 when I crossed the mile 2 marker. Not too bad but I knew I was struggling. My legs felt heavier and heavier with each step and I kept telling myself I had less than a mile left, finish strong. But really, I was done. Mile 3, 9:20.

The course was flat, mostly on pavement with the start and finish on a high school’s track. When I got to the track at the finish, I picked up pace to attempt whatever kick I might have, and crossed the finish line.

The face. The struggle.

I encourage you to click on this pic for a close up of my face.

The goal was sub 27 and when I looked at my watch, my first thought was “Noooo!!!!” but then I prayed the chip time gods would gift me a few seconds

and they did!

and they did!

When I saw my time on the screen, I was even more shocked to see that I had placed 3rd in my age group!! A huge shocker since I had not felt like I’d done well at all. Several of my friends had also placed so we all waited together for the award ceremony to start.

It took a while for the awards to start–a little over an hour. We were getting a little antsy but then they began. They started with the male awards and gave out all of them before beginning the female awards. I thought this was strange because usually races do male/female age groups.

Anyway, when they announced the 30-34 age group, I started walking up towards the stage until I HEARD ANOTHER NAME CALLED. Yep, someone else had place 3rd!!! I was so confused (and mortified to be honest) as I had seen my name clear as day on the time screen. My husband had seen it, my friends had seen it. We had even taken a glance at it as the male awards were called.

But when we walked back to check after I wasn’t called, there was indeed another runner’s name where mine had been earlier.

It was then that my husband remembered.

About 20 minutes after the race started, a girl had ran towards the start line–clearly late–and began the race. No one had said anything to her –but people did see her–and my husband didn’t think much of it except that it was kinda sorta a lot not fair to start so late and not have to deal with crowds.

This SAME girl was the one who bumped me!!!

I was naturally upset, not so much because I didn’t get an award (like, not at all because of that really) but because I didn’t think it was fair for runners to start waaaay after everyone else. They get an entirely different playing field. Yes, it’s the same course, but there’s no weaving around people–the course is entirely clear. I would’ve been upset for anyone who lost a place because of this happening.

Oh well. In the end, it just means I need to get faster so that it doesn’t matter if someone starts later 😀

EDIT: The race director read my recap and took time out of her busy schedule to let me know what happened!! 🙂 Check it out here.

The race overall was suuuuper fun! It was very relaxed but I appreciated the organizers taking the race seriously (despite that little aforementioned mishap). There was a virtual race option. FREE race photos. Finishers got a t-shirt AND a medal–a rarity for a 5k–AND there were age group awards. AND there were raffles galore. Your entry earned you one ticket and you could put it towards a whole bunch of things being raffled. I put mine in the autographed Rudy poster and purchased extra to increase my odds. Sadly, I did not win anything 😦 But, one of my buddies did!! He won an autographed Rudy helmet!!! Call me jealous!! 🙂

This is definitely going on my calendar as a yearly race. The entire race–pre, during, and post–was so relaxed and just an overall good experience. A total WIN!!

#Run3rd5k

#Run3rd5k

–Have you ran a race someone famous was running?

–Who have you been able to snag a pic with?