Event: 2014 Inaugural Barb’s 5K
Event Date: December 13, 2014
Event Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Why I decided to run this race
While vacationing this summer with some of my best friends (you can read about the virtual 10k, we ran and some of my training runs while on that trip, I mentioned that my coach – Jeff Galloway – had jokingly written his inaugural race weekend into my December training plan (part 3 of my training series can be found here). One of my friends, who lives in Atlanta, quickly picked up on the idea and said we should plan a winter Girls’ Weekend to coincide with the race so I could run it. Another friend said she would also sign up for the half marathon. So…it was decided, I would be running in Jeff Galloway’s inaugural race weekend. Since I was supposed to do about 3 miles the day before the long run, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the 5k, too. I mean, if you have to do the miles in an area that’s unfamiliar, you might as well do it on a marked course and get a SMO for it, right?
Getting there/the lead-up to the race
Between my ankle still not being in great shape (though I have been cleared by my doctor to run on it), moving to a new office at work, and my training days being interrupted by freezing rain, I missed several of the training runs I should have done leading up to this race. The addition of some blisters on my heels from new shoes didn’t help matters any. But none of that was going to stop me from having the best race I could.
Separately, I decided that this weekend would be a test for making sure I could make my normal race fuel while traveling. None of the rooms we have booked for our Disney races have kitchens so I need to be able to identify alternate ways of bringing, obtaining, and making the foods I need. Although my friend obviously has a kitchen in her house and a store nearby, I brought as many of the ingredients with me as I could and planned to use my travel heating method to cook my salt and honey mixture for my energy drink.
The race Expo
All of us girls arrived on different schedules and our hostess had to work the day after two of us arrived. So on expo day me and a non-runner friend decided to hit the expo as part of our sightseeing. In theory it was pretty easy to find the expo building, but we couldn’t use the main entrance and that was a little confusing. We had to enter through a parking garage across the street and take the elevator up to the 6th floor before we could cross a pedestrian bridge to the expo building. We eventually figured it out and made it there. To be fair, there were written instructions in our pre-race emails telling us how to access the expo, but I had forgotten to bring those with me and figured my Google Maps would be good enough.
I would say this was a mid-size expo. It wasn’t as big as the Baltimore Marathon expo or a runDisney one, but it was bigger than most local race expos. We arrived early on the first day and there weren’t a lot of people there yet. My friend and I headed straight for the back and got my bibs for the 5k and half marathon events, and also got a bib for my other friend who was running the half but hadn’t made it to town yet. Then we wandered around the expo, chatting with the vendors and making a few purchases.
After we finished looking at all of the vendors, we circled back to the far corner and I finally got to meet my coach, Jeff Galloway! I introduced myself as one of his e-coach clients and he immediately knew who I was. We chatted a bit about my progress and my strategy for the race. We also took a quick picture. With that, my friend and I left the expo to continue our sightseeing tour of Atlanta.
The swag was pretty nice for a 5K. We got a JG13.1 weekend logo drawstring bag, a long-sleeve tech tee with the logo for Barb’s 5k, a temporary tattoo, and a pen. All pretty useful things that fit in my almost-over-the-weight-limit luggage.
It was cold the morning of the 5k but I knew I would warm up a little as I ran. I had a new burgundy Sparkle Skirt with built-in shorts that I wanted to wear, but they wouldn’t cover my legs enough for the cold temperature so I layered the skirt over a pair of older Under Armour capris. On top I wore a black lightweight Reebok long-sleeve shirt with a built-in hood and neck gaiter over a black Nike tank top and purple Adidas sports bra. The rest was pretty standard: Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Bond Band headband, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Amphipod running belt.
I did commit one of the biggest sins in running with this outfit: I wore something in a race that I hadn’t worn while training. While I had worn the skirt on a training run and used to wear that style of capris all the time, I hadn’t worn them together. The slick legs on the capris caused the legs on the skirt to ride up and bunch in my crotch, which was not particularly comfortable but was tolerable for a short race. Thank goodness I figured that out before the half! Also, apparently I was a few pounds lighter last time I wore these capris because they no longer covered my butt well when I moved too much. I was thankful to be wearing a skirt over them since I would have been flashing everyone as I ran! Again, I was glad to discover this before the half.
I knew that the start of the race would be close to my friend’s house, I just didn’t realize how close. I did my usual routine of leaving about an hour before the race. I walked for about a block and then realized I had reached the starting line. Uhhhh… I wish I’d realized this before leaving here house as I would have just stayed inside for another 45 minutes and come out right before the race started. I didn’t have a key with me and didn’t want to bang on the door and wake up everyone, so I just chatted with the folks around me and tried to stay warm.
Because this race was small and started in a residential neighborhood there were none of the typical pre-race things like port-a-potties or big banners for photo ops. This caused some consternation amongst the participants but wasn’t really a problem for me. Also there was a bit of a snafu that caused the race to start about 10 minutes late. While it was a little annoying because it was chilly and I am impatient, it was not a fatal flaw because Jeff and the race organizers maintained constant communication with the runners during the delay. As it turned out, not all of the police had been able to get in place on time and Jeff made it clear to the runners that our safety was of paramount concern so we would wait to give them time to do what they needed to do. I appreciated the honesty and that changed something that could have been a disaster into a mild delay that I quickly got over.
Along the course
I don’t know Atlanta well so it’s hard for me to say where we were for most of the course. We were primarily in a pretty residential neighborhood that was a little hilly but not bad. Jeff had mentioned at the expo that this course was kind of personal for him because he used to log a lot of miles in this area when he first met his wife (Barb, as in Barb’s 5k). We ended at Jeff’s flagship Phidippides running store, where a bluegrass band played us to the finish. I enjoyed the course and I wish I’d paid a little more attention to the houses we passed because I’m a sucker for old architecture. But at the time I was more concerned with my clothes not fitting quite right as opposed to focusing on my surroundings.
It’s unusual to get medals for 5ks, but we got one for this race. It is metal but fairly lightweight, with a color picture of the race logo. I don’t think it makes my list of top 10 medals, but I like it. Barb personally designed it, which makes it special in my book.
The post-race experience
After the race I checked out Jeff’s Phiddipides running store, picked up some Honey Stinger waffles for the next day, then called my friend to pick me up. The girls were waiting for me to start brunch and I wanted to get home for it.
Most of the shuffle mix on this run was pretty unmemorable. But I did find it appropriate that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a song that was on the radio constantly during my first year of college, popped up on the same weekend that I was spending a weekend with the girls I met that year. Please don’t do the math to figure out how long ago I was in college and how old that makes me…
Looking back now
I enjoyed this run. It met the requirements of my training plan, was conveniently located, and I learned a few things about the clothes I wore. I don’t think I would have come down to Atlanta just for this race, but I’m glad I did it since I was here.
Check back next week for Jennifer’s review of the half marathon event during Jeff Galloway’s innaugural race weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.
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