Earlier this year I decided I’d set myself the goal of running the Vegas PBS 5k on October 6, 2012. When the FAAN Walk conflicted as it was that same morning, I decided to find another October 5k to try. Mind you, this was all before my spontaneous decision to run the Terminal 3 5K in the middle of my Couch to 5K plan. I finished One Hour Runner at the end of September so I probably should have signed up for the 10K race for October but I had no idea I’d be able to be at a 5K distance at that point, let alone a 10K one! We surprise ourselves sometimes…
Calico Racing is a local outfit with founder Joyce Forier at the helm. I’d heard from other runners that Ms. Forier puts on great races and they were right! I saw her at the start and at the finish cheering folks on and being genuinely happy to be there. Her volunteers were fantastic as well. Even though the theme of the Recycled race was that the shirts and finisher medals offered in exchange for a discounted race entry fee would be recycled, I never felt like the race was an afterthought. Plus, the chosen charity of Calico Racing benefits cats so how could it be anything but an awesome race? My husband and I arrived early at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino and were directed to the parking lot near the registration table. It was windy and cold on October 27, 2012 and we grabbed our packets, Calico Racing themed tech tees, and sat in the Subaru for a while to warm up before going into the casino to wait for the race to start.
I hoped that things would warm up when the sun peeked over the mountains but the wind had other plans. The half marathoners started first, then the 10K runners (pictured below getting ready to head out), and the 5K group (the largest contingent) went last. Our loop was 1.55 miles out and back, though I had read in advance that there would be hills I don’t think I anticipated an uphill stretch right away. The first incline began after the start line you see below, we turned left into an almost U-turn and were off! My husband was very quickly a red blur in the distance but I am nowhere near as fast as he is so we had not planned to actually run the race alongside one another.
When I ran Terminal 3’s 5K the majority of the crowd was ahead of me as I walked the first 5 minutes or so, but running from the get go was a different experience in crowd management for me. I got into my pace for a little bit before weaving around walkers to find my own running spot on the course. I ran the whole thing non-stop! It was a goal of mine and I was really pleased about it. Another goal was to beat my Terminal 3 5K time (43:53) and the hills made me nervous about accomplishing that. A few weeks back a 12 minute mile was “pushing it” for me on a flat course but with my continued training I was shocked to realize that I was keeping an almost 11 minute mile pace the whole way out and back!
I saw my husband on the return loop when I was 15 minutes in so I knew he was going to get his goal of a sub-25 minute 5K – he achieved a 24:24 time to be 7th overall, I’m so proud of him! I managed a time of 34:19 which was a huge improvement since June and you can tell by my smile in the official race pictures (1, 2, and 3 – I put my bib number on the back of my jacket because I worried about needing to unzip it during the race, the pig tails were just for fun) that I felt awesome heading for the final stretch. I think downhill is the perfect way to finish a race, by the way, but my favorite moment was in the first mile when I reached the top of a hill and saw Las Vegas’ skyline stretching out in the distance, framed by the sandy colors of the mountains by the Lake Mead area. Running somewhere so beautiful certainly gave me a boost.
At the finish I loved seeing my husband waiting for me, he’d already had a snack and recovered considerably from his run. I realized that my leg was shaking a bit when I was stopped for the removal of my timing chip from my shoe (thank you to the volunteer who stopped me, by the way, I would have forgotten to return it otherwise). My “Recycled” medal was from Calico’s 2012 Once in a Blue Moon run and it had a recycled sticker on the back so I held that side up for my post-race photo. My husband got the same medal so it helped when we came home and let the kids wear them. E was all over the idea of wearing a medal but R was more interested in the banana I had brought from the finish line food. There was a great selection of food and drink after the race but not much seemed vegan (though I think it all was vegetarian) so I opted for the banana. Then it was time to head home, my mother in law was watching E and R (who both were awake when we left the house for some reason) and we had an event at the park to get to that morning.
I am excited for my next Calico race in January (a 10K!) and finally registered for the one after that: the Red Rock Half Marathon in March 2013. My goal for the 10K is to run the whole way and finish smiling. I think I can finish it in around 75 minutes but it is supposed to be hilly and it will be my first 10K race so I want to just do my best. In January it will have been a year since I started on my journey as an adult-onset runner which is exciting. I know you don’t have to race to run but I think the Recycled 5K boosted my spirits after the rough time I’ve been having just with life in general so I like having another race to look forward to when I need to stay motivated to train and exercise.