It was another great race weekend! I participated in the 39th Annual Sue Crowe Memorial Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts races. There was a 5k, 10k, and 10-miler option. I opted for the 10k.
I’ve done the 10k a few times and it’s always a good, slightly challenging course. There were some changes to the route this year due to campus construction, but that was early on in the race and didn’t add or take away any of the hills for any of the three courses. While I know I could do the 10-miler, the course is pretty unforgiving with virtually no shade along one hilly section. I know I’m in PA, but PA in July tends to be hot and this year was no exception with heat and humidity. So with that said, I stuck with the 10k, which fit perfectly with my marathon training schedule anyway.
For the past few years, my gym has helped many of its members (new and old) train and run their first 5k. In the weeks leading up to the race, they meet for runs twice a week. They are a mixture of walking and running with the time spent walking slowly decreasing as the weeks pass. The gym also orders shirts for all who want them, organizes a group photo the morning of the race, and brings mats and foam rollers for people to use.
The races start separately with the 10-miler beginning at 8:15, the 10k at 8:30 and the 5k at 8:45. They also had three separate clocks at the finish line so you didn’t have to do some mental math to figure out what your time was before they posted results.
All three races begin outside of Beaver Stadium and head downhill before turning right and beginning the first short uphill. After a flat section, you face another short hill, a short downhill and one more short uphill before another flat section. After another longer uphill through one of the residence hall areas on campus, I passed my first 10-miler participants at what was their 3 mile mark.
From there you head straight across campus, through some of the ArtsFest vendor booths and across the bridge to west campus. After crossing the bridge you head toward the golf course. The 10k course and the 10-mile course split at an intersection in the path. The 10-mile course follows the bike path out to Blue Course Drive, while the 10k runs on a gravel path through the course before picking up with the bike path to begin the trek back toward the finish line.
The bike path parallels the golf course heading up a long hill that seems never ending. It then returns you to the bridge to cross back onto the main portion of campus. At this point you’re retracing your steps across campus. About 1 mile from the finish you turn left and head up the pedestrian mall, the last hill, before making a right and heading straight on a flat road to the finish line outside Beaver Stadium.
I finished in 53:59, a minute shy of my PR. I was 7th out of 31 in the 20-29 age group and 58th overall out of 173 participants. I didn’t wear my watch so I’m not sure what my average pace was the first three miles vs. the second, but my goal was to take it easy the first half and then speed up for the second half.
Despite the sun being behind the clouds for most of the race and after, the heat and humidity were definitely a factor. At water stops I took sips and poured water on my neck to help keep me cool. The sweat just wasn’t evaporating from my skin. I was thankful to be in quality running clothes.
If you’re ever visiting the area for ArtsFest, consider doing the races. They’re well-organized, offer great overall and age group prizes, aren’t overly crowded and are chip timed. The staggered start for the three races is a plus and the race fees are in the low $20s regardless of which race you pick.
Now it’s back to the grind. I got in a trip to the gym yesterday and the workout was almost exclusively arms, which turned out to be perfect since I had signed up for a cycle class in the evening. This morning I got up early and got in a 5k before heading to work. It was humid, but at least the sun was behind the clouds.
Have a great week!
Question: Did you run a race over the weekend? How’d it go?