As somewhat of a reward for finishing the first month of my new running streak, I decided to sign up for the Geneva Super Shuffle 5k that took place on Sunday, February 2nd. Though I’ve run 13 marathons and a number of half-marathons, I’ve actually only run two previous 5k races…I guess I like the longer distances better. But I figured since I’d be running outside anyways on Sunday, I might as well get a free shirt out of it!
Start Line of Super Shuffle 5k
The Course – The race took place mostly on a paved path surrounding a local grassland/park area called Peck Farm. The area got somewhere around 5 or 6 inches of snow on Saturday, but the path was plowed for the race. But as the race organizers repeatedly told us while at the starting line, it was only plowed, but not salted. Translation – lots of ice and slick spots. I saw a few people wipe out on the course, so I was glad to have on my trusty Yaktrax, I think they definitely helped navigate the course better. I actually felt pretty comfortable running on the surface since it was very similar to what I’ve been running on for the last couple of weeks, so no surprises there.
The race started on a road leading to the local middle school, which was good since it seemed there were a quite a few people not lined up in the right pace group. So it gave runners a good half mile or so to get better positioned (a nice little uphill on the road helped as well!) before transitioning to the narrower path. Once on the path, all was good.
My Race – I felt pretty good in the first mile, but probably went out a bit too fast as usual – I was right at an 8 minute pace. My plan for the second mile was to just settle into a more comfortable pace and then see what I had left for the last mile. I slowed to 8:14 for mile two, but couldn’t quite hold that pace in the third mile which started off with the race’s biggest hill, and ended up dropping to an 8:30 pace. Since my daily runs are all closer to the 9 minute range, I felt pretty good with averaging 8:15…especially given the conditions.
I ended up finishing in 24:18 (7:51 pace), which means either my GPS watch was off, or the course was a bit short. Either way, it was still my fastest 5k (and still would have been at the 8:15 pace)! Ok, given that I’ve only run 2 5k’s before, a PR isn’t all that impressive. But it does feel good to run faster than the younger 2004 version of myself, even in sloppy conditions. My time was good for 74 out of 522 overall (top 15%!), and 7 out of 27 in my age group. Considering I don’t typically finish even in the top half of most longer races, I’ll take it! Maybe this running every day thing is starting to pay off…or more likely, people that run a 5k in February are just doing it for fun and to battle the elements.
The Swag – The $35 entry fee (a bit pricey for a 5k in my humble opinion) included a nice hooded sweatshirt, a free drink ticket for the after party (which I didn’t end up going to), and a finisher’s medal. I was a bit surprised at getting a medal for a 5k (is that a thing?), but I guess it makes some sense since there was some suffering involved given the weather.
Overall – It was a fun race and nice to get out with other runners in the middle of a cold and snowy winter. Would definitely recommend!