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Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

I had been patiently waiting for this race to come around. I was excited because I had heard it was a pretty huge event and it was called Women’s Fitness Festival. I love female empowerment and women supporting each other so I was ready to be surrounded by that kind of energy! Added bonus: my good running friend Stephanie from runstrongrun.com was running the 10k! I always love getting the chance to meet up with her, especially at races.

This event was created by Fleet Feet Sac and supports a very important cause. The proceeds benefit a local program called WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) that helps women suffering from domestic abuse and sexual assault. You can read more about this program here. The Women’s Fitness Festival also has free health screenings for all participants and provides awareness and education on women’s health!

The night before the event, I made my shirt and laid out my #FlatMe per my usual pre-race tradition!

I got up at 4 A.M. to get ready. First things first? Coffee. I sipped it while I got dressed. This was my first time trying out Pro Compression socks. I looked in the mirror and felt a little silly wearing such tall socks but I think they are so cute so I was just gonna roll with it. I asked my husband Chris “How do I look?” and he let out a chuckle. He said I looked like a caricature of myself and that I looked cute haha!

Once everything was together, I hopped in the car at 5:30 for the trek to Sacramento. I feel like I beat the crowd heading down that early because I was able to park right across the street from the capitol building. Speaking of which, what a great backdrop to a race!

I slowly made my way over toward the event while enjoying the scenery and cool morning air. Then I met up with Stephanie!

She was hanging out with her awesome #runsquad of 6 other women! I introduced myself and we chatted while waiting for start time. Everyone was sharing their goals for the race and Stephanie asked what mine was. I told her that I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my run with no expectations. She responded “You’re going to set a PR. It’s just what you do!”

Eventually we realized we were all wearing Pro Compression socks and needed an obligatory sock circle photo!

We honestly did not plan this haha

After that we headed for the Start line!

This photo captures the spirit of this event. Over 4,000 amazing, strong women came together to celebrate each other and our love of running!

This was my first race where they had different pace times divided up. A few of us stood together near the 10:00 min/mile sign.

I knew I couldn’t run a 10:00 mile for 3 miles but I decided I wasn’t going to let the pacer out of my sight. This race was women only but the pacers were mostly men. They dressed the part and paced in drag! 😀

I figured if I could still see him, maybe I would get that PR Stephanie was predicting.

The cute girl in the pink glasses to the right of me is Alandrea AKA Mrs.motherrunner on Instagram! Go follow her!

The race announcer did our countdown and we all slowly shuffled through the Start line. It was very crowded so it took a while for everyone to get a little breathing room. Once we did, Stephanie and the other ladies took off like the speedy runners they are and I just kept my eyes on that 10:00 pace sign.

Like every race, I wanted to go fast but told myself go slow. It’s kind of funny how hard it is to do that! The course took us in a loop through the city streets. On almost every corner, there would be a big group of people, most of which were in costumes or had big signs cheering us on! At one point, I heard a girl on the phone telling her mom “I’m behind the girl with the black and white tube socks.” haha!

While I really enjoyed myself during this race, I ran harder than I had ever run. I only took a few very short (we’re talking less than 15 seconds) walking breaks. That last mile was tough but I could see us getting closer and closer to the capitol and that helped me push myself. I sprinted through the finish line and then I was so relieved when it was over! I have proof…look at this picture!

There were firemen waiting with our completion medals which I thought was really cool! After being handed my medal, someone handed me a water bottle and I found a grassy spot to sit and rest for a minute. After I hydrated and caught my breath, I headed for the Results laptops to check my time. Stephanie had called it. She had gotten in my head and manifested a new personal record for me! At 32:35, I had run this race a whole minute and a half faster than my previous PR set a only month before.

After reading my results, I decided to hit some booths before the crowd got too big. I loved being able to shop for running apparel and accessories after my race! I went straight to the giant Fleet Feet Sports Asics tent and got myself a running tank. Then I saw the Whole Foods tent across the street and walked that way. That’s when I bumped into a few of Stephanie’s friends and we decided to eat all together. We were served the tastiest granola I’ve ever had on top of some greek yogurt with fresh fruit on the side. For the next half hour, I got to know these ladies a little bit and they were so wonderful! I was just a mutual friend of Stephanie’s but they were taking the time to ask about me and share about themselves. They were incredibly nice and interesting women and it was so refreshing getting to know them!

After devouring that seriously delicious granola and seeing a few more booths, we were finally ready for our ultimate race reward: The Mimosa Garden.

Just imagine the sound of angels singing here

We went through the line, got our drinks, and found a table where we continued to enjoy each other’s company.

The mimosa was pretty small but it was SO YUMMY. I was bummed I couldn’t have another!

Stephanie had been enjoying the booths but caught up to us when we finished our drinks. We had to get a picture together with our beautiful medals.

Alas, it was time to part ways. Chris and Alex were waiting for me at home. I told everyone how nice it was to meet them all, said goodbye, and headed home. Also, my socks? They were great! My legs didn’t burn and my toes didn’t go numb. These were issues I’d been having when running 3 or more miles. They’re really comfortable too, not constricting! I always wear them on longer runs now!

I recommend this race to all women! If you can’t attend this race, I encourage you to find an all-women race near you! I absolutely loved participating in an event that celebrates females. I’ll be moving to Germany at the end of this year so unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this race again. It’s a huge bummer! So I need you all to go for me so I can live vicariously 😀

Race Recap -Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k

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.

Fried egg, canteloupe, and strawberries

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!

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