September 27, 2013

Carrera 5K and Family Day 2013: where work meets healthy

**Last day to enter to win one of FIVE entries to the Seven Bridges Marathon/Half Marathon. Go here to enter

You already know that I think 5Ks are as painful as childbirth (definite exaggeration -- plus they are too short to count in that category), but there were some great (read: not painful) parts of my most recent 5K. 

Mainly the hula hooping part after the race.


But let me rewind. I hardly ever run 5Ks. Part of the reason for not running them is the expense per mile factor. I think that's why I originally got hooked on marathons because they only cost slightly more than half marathons. So if you calculate the cost per mile, marathons are a better bargain. According to the same math/logic, 5Ks are the worst bargain, well usually anyway. The good part about 5Ks is that many of them are for a charitable cause, which increases your value per mile. My most recent 5Ks were benefiting the Children's Hospital, a track for my daughter's elementary school, and Girls on the Run -- all worthwhile causes. 

This weekend's 5K was a little different. First, it was free for us because it was sponsored by my husband's employer. So no entry fees were going to charitable causes, but it was a great way to promote health, fitness, and family fun amongst the employees. Basically, the healthier employees are the better off the company is. I love, love, love this idea and think more businesses should practice it. 

For this event, they provided a healthy lunch, a million (OK, ten, but still) bounce houses, face painters, balloon shapers, hula hooping (above), a timed 5K and a 1-mile fun run. 


Plus the Vulcan, which you can check out if you aren't from my town and don't know why we are Vulcan obsessed around here. 


I ran the 5K, and my two oldest kids joined in the fun run. 


Next year, the kids need to run the 5K because they were pretty disappointed that they didn't pass out awards for the fun run. In their minds, they totally won. 

For my race, I was really, really hoping to get a PR. Not because I had really trained at all for a 5K recently, but just because I wanted to see some visible speed progress. It's the one thing that you don't get on trails because they're all so different and almost impossible to compare one race to the next. 

This course started at Railroad Park, wound around a few blocks and then turned around to come back to the starting point. That would have been a great plan, except about 21 minutes after they started the 5K, they started the 1-mile fun run in the exact same location. So just as I was coming down the finish chute, there was an army of small children, plus parents marching with strollers, bearing down on me in the opposite direction. It was awkward, and I tried to stay to the right as much as possible and give people a heads up that I was coming in the opposite direction. 

My miles went like this:

Mile 1: 6:41. Perfect. Sub-7 was my goal for every mile, and I'm nailing it. My legs feel fresh, and it's not too hot outside.

Mile 2: 7:10. Why did this suddenly become the worst race on the planet? My legs feel like buffaloes just latched onto them to hold me back, and I want to vomit. Part of me thinks, if I just go ahead and vomit that means I can stop and end this torture. Another part of me thinks, wait until the finish line to vomit so that it brings some street cred to this race. Like people will be saying, "Holy shiz, runners were vomiting after the 5K. That course must have been crucial."

Mile 3: 7:05. OK, fine, I made it this far, so I might as well finish. Wait, why are all those kids at the start/finish line?! Are they about to be running this direction? Maybe I can get there before they let loose. Starting horn sounds in the distance. No I cannot. Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me. 

Final time: 21:24. I really had no idea whether or not I PRed. At that point, I was just so happy to be finished with that torture. I gave up on my dreams of PRing after the first mile, but I somehow eked one out by 9 seconds.

My next 5K goal: to get control of those miles. Like shoot for 6:50 for all three miles and not that crazy variance. I really wanted to keep all the miles in the 6:xx zone, but that was a fail. 

After the race, they handed out age-group awards, and I won first in my age group. Then they did this cool thing where they had the top three, male or female, come up to the stage and get a special plaque presented by the BBVA CEO Manolo (far right in pic below). 


I really liked that they just did top three, regardless of gender. 


And we got really lucky with the weather that day. It had been miserably hot the whole month leading up to the race, and the morning of the race, it rained an ocean worth of water on our town. But with a 1:30 race start, we missed the rain and just benefited from the cooling aftereffects. 

The only thing I would change about this event would be to either start the fun run somewhere else or start it later so that runners aren't colliding as they are sprinting in opposite directions. 

My kids would only change that we didn't stay long enough to satisfy their demands for balloon animals and bounce houses. 


And that we made them wash their faces as soon as we got home. 


The whole crew.

Favorite songs from my 5K playlist: 

Does your employer ever sponsor healthy living events? What are they?

If you could convince them to sponsor any healthy living event, what would it be? 

Do your kids get competitive in races? Mine were completely chilled out about the race until they got to the start line. Then they immediately decided to push to the front with a determination win. Hmm, I wonder where they get that from.