Friday Five: Five Race Day Surprises

Today, I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run for the Friday Five linkup. Each week, the link up has a different theme, and everyone gives their personal insight on the same subject, making it a fun read.

This week’s theme is Five Race Day Surprises.

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Surprise #1: Friends showing up

Most runners race against themselves and do it to *be with others* rather than *beat others*. One of the best race surprises is showing up on race day and seeing someone you haven’t run with in awhile- whether it’s due to injury, not racing much, or visiting from out of town.

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I have a number of running friends from Florence (I used to live there) and Columbia, as well as a few from out of state, and it’s fun to wind up at the same race together.

Surprise #2: Finisher’s medals

Since bling is a major selling point for races these days (some runners won’t do a race without one), most races publicize finisher’s medals. Half and full marathons almost always have a finisher’s medal, but it surprises runners who run a 5K and get a medal.

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I’m volunteering with the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K series this summer, and it’s fun to give out the finisher’s medals and see how happy everyone is to receive a medal and wear it at the after party.

If you haven’t run a Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K, there’s one more in August and you should check it out. Here are some of the medals:

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Surprise #3: Weather

Everyone stalks the various weather websites before a race, and sometimes you go to bed that night expecting the worst- heat, cold, rain, or even storms that could possibly cancel a race.

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Last Thursday’s Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K was threatened by thunderstorms. At one point, six of us working the registration table held down the tents and signs to keep them from blowing away. Holding down a tent is interesting when you’re 5’0″.

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The race went on; the organizers postponed it from 6:30 to 7 PM, and 125 runners stuck it out to race. Best of all, the storms brought slightly cooler temperatures, so people finished with faster times and everyone had a fun time.

Surprise #4: Good food

You can race for bling, beer, and to be with friends, and some people run so they can eat and drink. I’ve run races that offered everything from catered dinners to home-cooked meals to unlimited beer at the finish, and it’s always fun to treat yourself.

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The Race the Landing 5K series has great food, but sometimes the very small, local races surprise you with meals or homemade baked goods.

Surprise #5: Surprise PRs

I saved this one for last, but a shiny new Personal Record is one of the best race day surprises. After being injured for much of the summer of 2014, I ran a few trail races, then showed up at the Fall Equinox 10K, my first road race post-injury. I hadn’t done speedwork, and my mileage wasn’t where I wanted it, but the stars aligned that night and I ran a 46:08.

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I learned that 1.) Just running in the summertime is huge for your fitness, 2.) cross training works, and 3.) I’m a stronger runner than I give myself credit for. Most of my PRs happen when I least expect them and when I tell myself I have nothing to prove.

What’s your favorite race day surprise?

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12 Responses to Friday Five: Five Race Day Surprises

  1. I always love a good surprise PR, but most recently I’ve been surprised by WEATHER! Until my open water swim in July, every single race I did this year was affected by the elements!! LOL!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The weather is why it is important to train in the heat or the cold (obviously not pouring rain or thunderstorms or something dangerous, but you know). Races lately have been hot but I feel better going into them because I know I’ve been running in hotter weather, at least.

      • Yes, the only weather I don’t normally train in is ice. I’ve tried but it’s a little too risky for me! I’m not talking patches of ice on the road that you can avoid, I mean like a straight up ice storm. We had a few last winter and I fell pretty hard once. Treadmill for those days! Otherwise, I brave the elements. You’re right, makes you stronger!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Definitely! I would never train in ice or something dangerous. Obviously safety is way more important than training and fortunately those days when the weather is that bad are few and far between anyway.

  2. Pam says:

    I agree that the surprise PR is the BEST! I ran the Tinkerbell 10k just a few weeks after Boston and food poisoning and got a surprise PR. I was racing for an AG award, but the PR made it oh so sweet. I love the photo of you trying to hold up the tent. That did not look like a very nice day!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That weather was pretty crazy- in fact it was the worst storm we’ve had in awhile. Normally those races have over 200 people, I was glad we got half of that since it was postponed for an hour and obviously few race day registrations, it was still a good crowd and everyone had fun. At least the temperatures felt good!

  3. Bretagey says:

    Congrats on your PR in the 10k! I totally agree with your post on Allison’s comment about training in all weather types. I usually train in the summer which did not help me in the cold, rain weather that for my March half marathon.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I ran 13 miler in the rain last winter when training for the Charleston Half Marathon. I knew after that one I could handle whatever race day brought ;).

      My summer mileage is lower than usual, but I’m really enjoying BodyPump and the Arc Trainer lately- so I guess that makes up for it.

  4. liz says:

    I LOVE those “I felt like running” shirts! I’ve always wanted a t-shirt that says that. 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Me too. It’s the run club I was in when I lived in Florence/Hartsville SC (Fitness World Run Club, through a local gym). I’m still “in” it, just that I don’t get to run there much now.

  5. fitnessmomwinecountry says:

    Amy good for you with the PR. The weather looks crazy, I don’t know if I would be so brave to head out. My running surprise is making it to the finish without having to stop at a porta potty 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. I’ve happily since topped that PR!

      Tummy trouble surprises on runs are not good! Even after years of running, sometimes it just happens. I can never eat foods with much fat in them, or anything peanut butter, pre-run.

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