I love racing!
I love racing short distances!
Before yesterday, I had only raced three 5Ks, each a year or more apart. (Turkey Trots FTW.) I know we all (maybe?) get hyped up on marathons and half-marathons and long, endurance-y races. But man, the 5K is so fun!
A few months ago, my friend Emily — a New Jersey girl through-and-through — posted in the November Project Facebook group about her faaaavorite local race: the Party With Purpose 5K in Hoboken. Having just moved to New Jersey, I was all in. We ended up having a fairly large November Project contingent at the race, which was pretty cool. I loved having all my friends come out to my side of the river!
I don’t ever run evening races, so I tried to be pretty cautious about what I ate during the day. (Like I opted for avocado toast for lunch instead of the leftover sesame chicken calling my name from the fridge.) The race started at 7 PM, so I jogged the 4.2 miles to the start and, as usual, was there an hour and a half early.
I was excited that the course would be on the roads I run daily now. Familiar, flat territory! I picked up my bib, bopped around with my teammates, took a group photo, and had several dance parties on the Pier A grass. People, if you think you might want to run this race next year, do it, if only for the pre-race DJ. The music was so good. I didn’t even want to run. I just wanted to stay and dance all night.
I didn’t have a goal for this race. I wanted to run hard, but didn’t expect a PR, and wasn’t running with a watch (still loving this method, BTW). I figured I’d just put forth my best effort and finish where I finished.
My stomach didn’t feel great pre-race, but I wasn’t too concerned since I knew I could probably hang in for 3.1 miles without too much trouble. (And I did! No stomach issues here. Victory!)
After some pre-race announcements and a lovely rendition of the National Anthem, we were off! If there was a start clock at the beginning of the race, I didn’t see one, so I don’t know what my time delay was in crossing the start line.
I was very excited to be running! The course was a bit congested at first, as we took off headed north along the water. But these were my streets! My running routes! My familiar happy places! I loved knowing where I was going. (How quickly the hometown pride kicks in…even if Hoboken isn’t my hometown.)
Once we started running, my new goal became to keep my teammate, Kelly, in my sights. Kelly is much faster than I am, but last week we did a hill workout together and I was able to stay close-ish behind her, and I know she’s a really good runner, so I knew she’d probably pace herself well. I used Kelly as my rabbit, and was able to keep her in my sights until the finish. (Though, TBH, she did start to get further and further ahead of me during that final mile. Not surprising. Good running, Kelly!)
Eventually, we turned off the water slightly, and I loved this because the course is an out-and-back, so we started to see the lead runners coming through. I saw my buddy Jordan, cruising to a fast finish, and I saw Jeanie, our new November Project co-leader hauling ass. I was so proud, and they gave me good motivation to keep moving.
Then, once I turned the corner around the halfway mark (did you guys see the baby/teenage geese all gathered there?! they were cheering for us!!!), I got to see more teammates on the other side. I love out-and-back courses for this very reason. The people watching is the best!
But, after the halfway mark, we also ran directly into an icky headwind, which I did not love. I wanted to be able to pick up the pace as I ran toward the finish, but the wind didn’t want that to happen. So I just kept running. This is such an exciting race recap, I know!
Soon, the finish was in sight! I made a left turn onto Pier A and made a final push toward the finish.
And I loved it! This race was so fun, and I’d absolutely recommend it. The views are amazing, the race is well organized, and the course is flat and fast.
As for my time? I don’t really know! I had my Strava app running on my phone, and according to that timer, I ran for 23:09. (I didn’t stop it right at the finish line, though. I waited until after I crossed to hit stop.) But according to the official results — based on gun time, not chip time — I clocked a 23:24. That’s a big difference in a 5K!
Do I care? Not really. But kind of…because my 5K PR is 23:06! So I actually may have been within a few seconds of that. I’m hoping there might be chip time results released later today, but I can live without them. I placed 158th overall (out of 1,068 runners), was the 29th female (out of 559), and placed 14th in my age group. Cool!
It felt good to know I ran really close to my 5K PR, and I definitely definitely definitely want to start racing more 5Ks!
UPDATED! This just in: My official chip time was 23:04 — a 5K PR! Super excited!
Who’s with me?!
BUT SERIOUSLY… If you have a favorite local 5K (New York, New Jersey area), tell me about it! I want to run it! With you! Ellie will come cheer for us!