Event: 2015 Sykesville Raiders Day 5K and Nerd Herd Virtual Race “Run, You Clever Nerd”
Event Date: August 1, 2015
Event Location: Sykesville, Maryland
Why I decided to run this race.
My husband and I have a good friend whose kid plays football for a local sports league. The parents of the players organized a 5K as a fundraiser for the football and cheerleading programs, and our friend asked us to run. Since we had to find a race during this weekend in order to fulfill our Nerd Herd virtual race assignment, we went ahead and signed up.
Getting there/the lead-up to the race
During the Arbutus Firecracker 10K race on the 4th of July, I experienced a heel spur. For weeks afterward, every single step I took resulted in shooting pain. Needless to say, my running training, which was already struggling this summer, took a nosedive. By the time this race came around, multiple treatments of physical manipulation and ultrasound therapy by the doctor, icing, stretching, and rest had resolved significant amount of the pain. But I still wasn’t 100%. So our race plan was to take it easy and just have fun.
The race Expo
There was packet pick-up…somewhere…in the days leading up to the event and the morning of. But since our friend was one of the organizers, she just brought our bibs and swag to work one day. Easiest packet pick-up ever!
The race organizers got a lot of stuff donated from the community, which resulted in a pretty good swag bag: a string backpack, a tech shirt (mens and womens cuts), a water bottle, and a can cozy. For a first-time event, they gave us reason to come back.
Just about every person who ran this race had some connection to the sports league—either a parent of a player or a member of the community.
Except for us.
Not only were we the random strangers who showed up for the race, we were the random strangers in Doctor Who costumes!!! The only people in costume. I’m actually kinda surprised they let us stay.
The inspiration: I don’t watch Doctor Who (I know, I know, my geek card is gonna be pulled), but when I Googled pictures I was immediately drawn to the 4th Doctor, mostly because of his awesomely long scarf and crazy mis-matched patterns. Yes, it meant I would have to wear a 12+ foot long knitted scarf in July to run a 5K. But sometimes you have to suffer for your art. My husband dressed as the 11th Doctor, looking dapper in his bow-tie and suspenders.
The costume: Hand-knit striped scarf, cheap brown foam hat, and plaid Sparkle Skirt with build-in shorts.
The rest of the gear: Black Adidas sports bra, black Nike tank top, brown Bondi Band headband, Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Nathan hand-held water bottle.
Because some of the roads inside the park were going to close for the race, we arrived about an hour early. We said hi to our friend, but she had to run off to take care of race organizer stuff. So my husband and I did a little warm-up walk on the trail and then hung out with our friend’s son until the race started.
Along the course
The race organizers did a good job with the theming and keeping the energy up. The starting/finishing chute had great black and silver balloons. And the cheerleaders where hanging out right before the first curve to cheer on the runners.
The course wound through a state park. I had expected that we would stick to the paved trail, but the course actually cut through the park and had us running on both the trails and the grassy hills. If I’d known this, I would have worn my trail shoes since the grass was wet. The wet grass threw me off a bit since I’m paranoid of falling anytime I’m not on flat paved roads ever since I injured my ankle last fall.
Overall it was an enjoyable course. There were some hills but nothing too crazy. There was at least one water stop, which was nice since it was such a hot day. But since we just kept winding around the park seemingly without a plan, it was hard to judge when we were coming up on the finish line. So I ended up spending my kick too early and then struggled up the hill to the finish.
It’s rare for a local 5K to offer a SMO, and this one was no different. We will eventually get one for the virtual miles, but it won’t be mailed out until we finish the whole series. But this one wasn’t about the SMO, it was about raising some money for a couple of good organizations.
The post-race experience
It was hot, and I think my husband and I each guzzled several bottles of water after we crossed the finish line. They also had the typical post-race food like bananas and bagels. We hung out for a little bit with our friend and then headed to Bob Evan’s for breakfast. (Editor’s note: obligatory mention that Bob Evan’s is one of Ohio’s greatest contributions to the universe).
Since the race was short and I was running with my husband, I didn’t carry my iPod. The DJ played a nice mix of rock and pop at the start/finish line, though, which got the crowd pumped.
Looking back now
If I hadn’t been nursing an injury, this would have been a great training run. While I did still have fun, I was really focused on my foot and ankle problems, which took away from the experience. Still, it is fun to occasionally be the random strangers in costume at a race.
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