Official Race Recap: Runner's World Half and Festival 5k Edition

Three races = three posts. Believe me, it's better this way.

Before I even made it to the expo, I ran into Monica, from Run Eat Repeat, on a street corner. I awkwardly introduced myself and we took a photo. After we became BFFs, I continued to packet pickup.

Me and Monica, BFFs 4-Evah!
Let me tell you, Runner's World knows how to put on an expo. It wasn't a huge race, so there were only a small number of vendors (a point in RW's favor, in my book), but there were so many other fun things happening, like book signings and films and seminars, and it was in such a unique venue, The ArtsQuest Center, that RW was able to avoid the garage sale feel I've encountered at some expos.

After picking up my bib and swag, I stuck around to watch the kids run. Even though I wanted to get dinner before my viewing of The Spirit of the Marathon II, I couldn't tear myself away from watching so many children enjoying the sheer excitement of running. They had three age-grouped fun runs and then there was a competitive mile at the end - four or five of the kids finished around 6 minutes. Eesh!

3:02 half mile split. :-O
My viewing of the movie was cut short by queasiness but a good night's sleep at the Best Western took care of that. Before bed, I laid out everything and put my shoes in my gear bag so I wouldn't forget them again. I woke at 5 a.m. Saturday and was in my car by 5:30 out of worry that I wouldn't find parking. Not only did I find parking, I found free parking near the finish line.

I was excited for the chance to meet some of my fellow Sub-30 Clubbers, so I headed to the building and texted Andy. Soon enough, I found him, Lauren, and their friend Bonnie (or should I say Kirsten?).

Kate, Lauren, Andy - Sub-30 Represent!
As we were taking photos before the race, we realized that everyone was staring in our direction. The national anthem was playing and we were putzing around under the flag with cops staring at us... *swallow* Also, there was a puppy in a backpack. Just thought you'd want to know that.

Andy and I had talked about running together since he's been injured and I was poorly trained. We all lined up together in the starting corral. Lauren quickly zipped away, Bonnie disappeared into the crowd, and Andy and I moved along together.

I don't remember much about what happened during the race itself except that Andy and I stuck together through the first two miles. As we were crossing the Fahy Bridge during our first mile, the leaders were coming back across, about to finish their second.

As we passed the 2 mile marker, I told Andy I needed to back off and save something for my other two races. Since it was his only race, he decided to kick it up a notch. See ya, Andy!

In the last mile (of all three races), there was a hill. After cresting it, I knew I was in the home stretch. As I approached the finish, two ladies and I struck up a conversation. One of them was running her first 5k. I slowed to a walk dangerously close to the finish line and they grabbed my arm and said, "Run with us!" With their encouragement, I was actually able to finish ahead of them. So, though my time wasn't what I'd always dreamed of, I finished strong, running under a flaming steel arch prompted by strangers who wouldn't let me disappoint myself.

Thanks for catching me at the finish, Lauren!
Stay tuned for 10k details tomorrow...

Have you ever met someone IRL that you knew/followed online? Awkwardly awesome or awesomely awkward?
Have you ever run multiple races in the same day?
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