Race Recap -Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k
All week I had been preparing to run in the world’s smallest mountain range, the Sutter Buttes! I knew this was a bigger race so I wanted to have realistic expectations. Instead of setting my sights on a medal, I set my goal to be a new personal record time for 3.1 miles. My husband told me that his best run times come after resting for 3 or 4 days. I wanted to test his theory but I’m trying to lose weight here so I couldn’t convince myself to put my feet up for more than 1 day! So Friday I took a time out. Honestly, I felt restless all morning. I usually only take a rest day after an intense workout the day before. I had been taking it pretty easy most of the week to preserve my legs and knee that has still been bothering me so this wasn’t the case. I had some errands to run in the afternoon so I was able to at least get rid of some energy.
I went to New Earth Market (AKA my favorite health food store) that evening to pick up my bib packet. It was exciting! The pickup table was full of people rushing back and forth grabbing t-shirts and bags. Everyone was cheery and having fun with it. A woman behind the table asked for my name and found me on the list. She asked another lady to grab a shirt for me and while we waited, she was asking me if I was excited and what distance I was running. She was just so friendly and all that excitement around the table just made me feel even more enthusiastic about the race!
The bib packet was this great reusable bag filled with tons of swag!
I had never received such a nice bag of goodies for a race before. It’s usually just a ziploc with your shirt and bib so this was a special surprise!
That night, I got all my things together, ready to go. I took my #flatme picture which, I have to say, is a really fun little pre-race tradition!
I tried to get to bed at 9 P.M. to get plenty of sleep but I didn’t make it until close to 10. At 3 A.M. my son woke up crying because he’s currently teething. I waited about 5 minutes to see if he would fall back asleep but he didn’t so I got up. I had to use the bathroom before I went to check on him but while I was doing that, he did end up falling asleep again. Good for him but bad for me haha! I laid back in bed and tried to sleep but my mind started shuffling through everything I was going to be doing that day. I gave up on sleep by 3:30 and decided to make the most of my time.
I double-checked that everything was ready to go. I got dressed and put on some makeup which might be silly but I knew I’d be taking a lot of pictures for Instagram. Then I had some coffee and breakfast.
After breakfast, I did some really relaxing stretching and used the foam roller on my legs. I wasn’t doing yoga but I felt like it! I was just so zen and I felt really ready to take on the day.
My good friend Katharine (who you may remember from my last 5k recap) came over to babysit and she was kind enough to snap a photo of me in the back yard.
After that, I was off! I drove about a half hour up to Sutter, CA. I went ahead and ate my Clif Bar on the drive so that I wouldn’t be hungry during my run. They are seriously the perfect race fuel.
I got to the venue pretty early so there was no crowd. I was able to go around and take some photos without feeling too dorky.
I couldn’t believe how much colder it was than it had been outside my house. It’s only 9 feet higher in elevation but I was freezing without a jacket. I tried to keep moving and survive until the race.
Shortly before the half marathon was going to start, I bumped into my new runner friend Stephanie of RunStrongRun!
I complimented her cute neon outfit (seriously, she is always perfectly runmatchy!) we had a quick catch up, wished each other luck, and she got in line to do the half. That’s when the start line collapsed under the pressure of the impending 13.1 miles.
Race organizers quickly re-inflated the poor thing, the half marathon runners took off and those of us doing the 5k and 10k started to gather next. I got my running playlist on Spotify started and shook out my nerves while we waited. I looked up and saw somebody waving at me. It was my former running instructor, Crystal! This is the trainer who patiently walked with me on my first run ever and told me not to stop trying (mentioned in this post!) I told her that I started this blog and wrote about her but before we could finish our conversation, we got the signal to start our race!
I learned my lesson from my last 5k and controlled my momentum. The excitement of the race definitely made me want to take off full speed at the start. This time, I took deep breaths, slowed down a bit, and reminded myself of the debacle of my poor pacing last race. Once I did that, everything clicked and I felt great.
This is definitely the prettiest place I’ve run so far. We passed a farm during the first half mile and I saw…and smelled…some sheep. Not the best when you’re trying to breathe in your nose and out your mouth to keep your heart rate down haha! Seriously though, I was just really enjoying myself looking at the hills and breathing the mostly fresh air!
I reached the 1.5 mile mark where there was a water station so I grabbed a cup. I took a couple of the fastest swigs ever, threw the cup in the trash, and turned around to head back in a hurry. Water sloshed on my cheek and chin and when I turned around, there was a photographer there taking my picture! I tried to quickly wipe my face while running but I think she got quite the gem of a photo.
I was pretty pleased at this point with the fact that my run back was going just as well as my first half. Again, my nike+ running app had failed me so I didn’t know my pace but at least this time I knew how far I had gone thanks to the turnaround.
At what I assume was about the 2.5 mile mark, I was starting to lose a little steam. I was focusing on my breathing, putting one foot in front of the other, and envisioning the finish line. I passed a few people walking and then HUMBLE by Kendrick Lamar came on my playlist. It was exactly the song I needed to get my steam back. It’s my current favorite running song so I got really excited! Too excited. I took a screenshot to remember the song that was firing me up for the final stretch of my race, fumbled my phone, and dropped it. Oops. It probably only cost me 4 or 5 seconds but I was trying for a PR so I was worried this would keep that from happening. Note to self: leave your phone in your SPIbelt. Or keep calm when hearing Kendrick Lamar. Yeah I probably won’t do either.
I kicked my pace up a notch after the phone fiasco and made it to the finish line! After catching my breath, I found Crystal again and finished telling her how thankful I am that she encouraged me to keep running last year. She had a hand in changing my life!
After we talked, I found the results laptops to check my time. I was thrilled to find I had indeed achieved my goal of a new PR. I beat my old record of 34:31 and ran it in 33:55! Not a huge difference but hey, I met my goal and improved!
It was such a great race experience from picking up my bib until the end. I’ve even decided that as long as I’m able, I’m going to try for the half marathon next year! It would be an excellent challenge and I’d get to see more of the Sutter Buttes mountains in all their glory.
Are you training for a race right now? I’d love to hear about what race you’re doing and what your goals are. Comment below! Also take a gander at my Races page and sign up to run with me!