We all race for different reasons and every race has its place within a plan. Last time I entered a race was the Christmas City 5 Miler in December, which I run every year but rarely ever race. Last time I raced was Ironman Florida this past November 1. After a laid back few months I decided the time had come to once again pin on a race bib at the Warm Hearts 5k this past Saturday, March 14, 2015.
The race has been around for three years, originally run in Nazareth before making the move to Bethlehem in 2014. Stating at the JBN building on Higland Avenue, the course is on slightly rolling roads, entirely within the industrial park. Roads were open to traffic but quiet. Start time was 10 am.
Normally for my Saturday morning runs I am out the door early for a 7 am or 8 am start time. With such a late start I took my time getting to the race site, giving myself enough time to get my race packet and a 15 minute warm up. A little extra sleep was a nice little benefit.
This race was very my a "C" race for me. I am not a runner and have been doing very little volume or intensity for the past four months. I did not taper (unless you consider the 4 1/2 months between IMFL and this race to be a taper). My only goal here was to get an idea of baseline run fitness. I was hoping to break 20 minutes but whatever the number on the clock I would not be disappointed as long as I gave it a good effort.
Weather conditions were not ideal. And by not ideal, I mean 37 degrees with a steady rain. So basically, the weather sucked. Being that it is the middle of March this did not come as a huge surprise - and it was better than icy road conditions or snow - but that didn't make it any better. In all seriousness, it really turned out to not be all that bad, and this is totally NOT the fault of the race organizers. Weather happens.
The CourseThe course is a lollipop shape with a run out Courtney Street, a right hand turn onto Commerce Way, a loop around Commerce and Broadhead Road, then back to the parking lot via Courtney Street. You can see the course below or on MapMyRun here.
The RaceAfter taking a 15 minute warm up run I lined up near the front of a small field of runners. With the weather being what it was, organizers were quick in getting things started and right at 10 am we were off. About a quarter mile in I passed Mark A with a quick "hi" and settled into a hard but what felt to be a sustainable pace. At the turn onto Commerce Way I had moved into 8th place overall with the eventual winner slowly pulling away from the eventual woman's winner (Lauren, who ran a solid PR time of 18:08) who was slowly pulling away from the rest of us.
Over the next mile or so I passed everyone in front of me before catching the third place finisher at the top of the Brodhead Road incline (it is really not a hill). I managed to stay with her for a 1/4 mile or so before she got a gap on me. After the final turn onto Courtney I was simply holding on to the end. Just before the turn back into the parking lot I was passed for 4th overall. I did manage to hold off the two gentlemen behind me to finish in 5th overall (out of 174 finishers), 3rd Male, 1st in AG40-49 and a time of 19:47.
My ThoughtsNot every race we do is about getting a PR. Here, my goal was simply to run hard and determine my baseline level of fitness. I hoped to be under 20 minutes. From this perspective I would call this effort a success.
As for the race itself, I would recommend it to everyone. From packet pickup to a nice post run spread, the race itself was well organized. Out on course there were more than enough volunteers. The cost was a reasonable $25 and benefits the Sam Vlasics Foundation. The only negative on the day is the cold rain but, as we all know, you cannot control the weather.
Train hard. Stay focused.
Warm Hearts 5k Website
2015 Warm Hearts 5k Race Results
Race Course at MapMyRun.com