On Wednesday evening, for the third year in a row I ran Downtown Westfield’s 5k & Pizza Extravaganza race. And every year, it’s unbearably hot – somehow being just a bit hotter than the previous year. As you can guess from the title of the post, by the time the race was over, I looked like I went for a swim. I really think they should consider changing the name of the race to Sweat Fest. I can’t imagine anyone walked away from that race not needing a cold shower or two.
I’m not really complaining (much), rather stating the facts. I love the race for a few reasons, the biggest being that it’s right through the center of my hometown. Even though it doesn’t start until 7pm and it’s in the middle of the week, it’s still fun. I prepare myself the same each year, by guzzling as much water as I can at work, and reminding myself “it’s okay that it’s hot, it’s only 3.1 miles. It’ll be over before you know it.”
The race started as most do – me standing towards the front but not too far forward, yawning the entire time. When I was swimming, my parents always used to tell me it looked completely ridiculous as I stood behind the block waiting for my race, and I’d be jumping up and down, stretching, and yawning. Turns out that’s just your body’s way of trying to get more oxygen, so I always appreciated the extra yawning – plus it helped to psych out the competition, since they probably thought I was tired! We were of course all squeezed in and I had already started to sweat before the horn even sounded. Once it did, though, I was off and thankfully didn’t find myself needing to weave as much as I had during the Firecracker 4-miler.
Since this is the third year I’ve run the race and it’s in my hometown, I like to think I know the course pretty well. The first mile is pretty much uphill, the second is pretty level, and a large portion of the third is downhill. Since it’s all on residential streets, there are families out with water guns, hoses, and open fire hydrants, which I tried to take advantage of. I didn’t, however, stop for any water. This was somewhat strategic as I didn’t want to waste time, and I also already felt like I had to pee – I didn’t want to make it worse. My hip has been feeling less than stellar the past week (super tight and achy), so I wasn’t really sure how it would hold up during the race. I made sure to foam roll it the best I could beforehand, and I think that helped. I also wore a hat (I am so not a hat person) in hopes that it would keep the burning sweat out of my eyes, and it did!
Per the ususal as I was coming down the home stretch I was hoping no one would be in my way once I stopped just in case my almond butter sandwich decided to pay a visit. I tried to kick it up as much as I could, especially when I rounded the corner and could see the clock slowly ticking away at 23:50. Turns out my gun time was 24:00.01 (go figure), and my chip time was 23:50! I didn’t wear a watch, so I have no idea exactly what my splits were – but I remember my first mile was about a 7:35, and that made me nervous for the rest of the race. However, with my overall average pace of 7:40, it seems like I held on to it pretty well! That time was also good enough to land me 8th in my age group, and 306 overall out of over 2500 runners! I couldn’t be happier considering the injury prone winter and spring I’ve had!
Once it was over, I scored myself some free goodies (they have some pretty sweet sponsors – Shop Rite, Stop ‘n Shop, Balance Bar, etc.), and watched my fiance devour some pizza. It’s called the “Pizza Extravaganza,” so they always have boxes and boxes of pizza for the runners post-race. I have yet to enjoy a slice of pizza after the race, since the last thing I usually want to do is eat (at least for about 30 minutes). We were hot sweaty messes, but I think it’s safe to say it was worth it!
With temperatures rising as the week continues (we’re slated for a high of 102 on Friday!) I have a feeling the rest of the week in terms of running will be done very slowly and/or super early. I also have grand plans of spending Friday in and around the pool in our development, exclusively.