the "run to the lights 5k" is a pretty unique event. the event takes place at "silver dollar city" on a friday evening. the race starts at 10 p.m., but participants get access to the park from 6 p.m. until the rides shutdown at 9 p.m. this event is a real bargin for a family. a family could register for $50 and that included long sleeve event shirts, access to the park on race night, and a free pass to come back to the park before the end of the season (a one day pass by itself is usually $54).
we met up with the griffiths after work and caravaned to ozark to pick up one of brittany's friends. dinner was subway in ozark.
once we got to "silver dollar city" and picked up our race packets, the kids went off in their own direction, the women went off in theirs, and scott and i enjoyed some chill time.
the women enjoyed riding a variety of rides, but they got a bit carried away and ended up messing up susan's stomach. she landed the role of "bag lady" during the event and did an excellent job keeping all of our stuff secure.
scott was craving a cookie and this is what he found. i helped him eat it, but he ate enough of it that he got to experience its lingering presence during the race.
once all the rides closed down, our group gathered to get on the appropriate attire. i had some difficulty finding sufficient space to do some warming up. just when i thought i found a section of road to warm-up on, i got addressed over a megaphone by one of the shuttle drivers informing me that i was not permitted access to that road.
all the runners gathered and awaited to be escorted to the start location. the start location was at the top of a hill and the front of the line was packed with little kids. i forced my way up to about the third row. we then were held in this area for 10 to 15 minutes while they waited for all the shuttles to clear the parking lot. any warm-up benefit was totally lost as our heart rates returned to resting rates and our bodies started to get chilled.
once the race started i was able to avoid getting boxed in, but i was distracted a bit due to a couple little kids sprinting around in front of me and by my side. the course started with a good sized descent. i tried to let gravity help me, but i also was not wanting to take it out too hot. once the downhill section was complete, the little kids had cleared out of the way and i finally had an opportunity to get some kind of rhythm going. just when i was starting to feel a bit smooth a 180 degree turn emerged. the map of the course implied a little loop in the parking lot and then a loop section in the actual park, so i had no idea what to expect out in the parking lot. it turned out that more than two-thirds of the course was in the parking lot. it also turned out that we faced 6 180 degree turns throughout the course. i would also like to mention that after the initial down hill section, the remainder of the course was a climb with a couple little downward dips thrown in (downward dips in the dark).
this turned out to be a very tough event for me. i think at about a mile and half in i started facing a mental battle to even keep running. i was endeavoring to relax and find some kind of a smooth glide, but i was having serious difficulties finding any such thing.
once we got into the park i got passed by a couple of runners. one of the only highlights for me was during the final hill. i charged up that hill strong and passed one of those runners back.
regarding my mile splits, nothing very impressive there. i have read that the best way to run a 5k is with a little bit of a pace slide. i had a little more of a slide than i would prefer.
finish time: 20:35.7 (6:37 avergage)
overall place: 26 out of 1,119 finishers
division place: 4 out of 71 finishers (30-39)
i finished this event with a bad taste in my mouth regarding 5k events. i started to recall some of the painful experiences i had running 5k events in high school. i don't think 5k events are my thing. i like some short stuff on the track: 800 meters and 1600 meters, but then i think road racing for me starts at 10,000 meters.
a good time was had by the other participants in our group.