This week's big running story took place on Saturday, when I ran in my third Strides of March Carrot Run for the Nutrition Council of Greater Cincinnati. The Carrot Run has a special place in my heart as the first 5K I ever ran, and it continues to be a fun (and mercifully flat) little run to kick off the race season. But there were a few changes this year:
- The race T-shirt was printed with two colors this year, not just one. Fancy!
- More costumed food characters at the 5K turnaround. I love those cheering fruits and veggies; wish I had thought to get out my camera before they appeared, but I forgot and didn't want to stop to struggle with pockets and power buttons.
- A sad change to the post-race soup tradition: instead of the Nutrition Council's own recipes for hearty meatless soups featuring carrots, the post-race food included vats and vats of Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Soup. It was OK and all, but it just wasn't the same as the homemade stuff.
- Probably the biggest change was the separation of the 5K and 10K starting guns. In previous years, the two groups lined up in slightly different places, and at the gun, the 10K runners took off down the road while the 5Kers took a loop around the parking lot to let the other guys get ahead. This year, the 5Kers lined up five minutes after the 10Kers, and you could really see what a tiny group we were - the racing results page lists 89 runners and walkers combined.
Which brings me to my results.
I had been hoping (like last year) to finish in under 35 minutes, but I would have been happy with 36 because it would mean I was keeping (barely) under a 12-minute-mile pace. So when a girl with a stopwatch near the end of the race said "Thirty-seven seventeen!" as I passed, I was disappointed and confused - when did we get so far off pace?
Then my dad, running a few paces ahead of me and keeping track on his own stopwatch, said, "That's for the 10K race, Kel! I've got us at 32 minutes!"
Our times, say the official results, were 34:41 (Jim) and 34:42 (Kelly) - a pace of 11:12.
Only three of the 66 5K runners were slower than us, and my dad and I each came in dead last in our age groups. I don't care. 34:42 is a personal best for me, and I will take it.