Saturday morning I ran the Headbands of Hope 5K in Cary. Headbands of Hope is a wonderful organization that donates headbands to children who have lost their hair to a childhood disease. I don’t normally run 5K’s since I run them so often on my own in training and don’t see the point in paying the money when I can just do it in my neighborhood. However, I love this charity and really wanted to support them! The race took place at the soccer complex in Cary. I elected to pick up my packet the morning off and it turned out to be a breeze. It only took about 2 minutes to pick up my packet. I don’t think the timing chips were well explained. In most running races, the timing strip is attached to the race bib. I didn’t think to check the bib I received for this timing strip. While waiting in line to start, I looked back at the packet pick up tent and saw on the side I didn’t walk up to a sign saying “timing chips”. Oh oh. I checked my bib and sure enough there was no timing strip. I started looking around me and about 50% of the participants had chips on their shoes. Since the race was starting in one minute I didn’t have time to try and clear up the issue. Luckily I had my Garmin with me so I knew I could time myself. I really wish they had been clear when handing me my packet that I also need to walk to the other side of the tent to pick up a chip. Nothing in the pre-race emails or packets referenced this. Not a big deal though since I wasn’t going to place.
The race took place on a very hilly cross country course. I don’t think I’ve ever run on one before and I can say it was the hilliest 5k I’ve ever done! All the running was on trails or grass and there was maybe 1/3 of a mile that was flat while the rest was constant uphill and downhill. The above picture is a LONG hill we ran down to start and then had to run UP twice. I was so tempted to walk on the final 1/3 of a mile uphill to the finish line but didn’t allow that to happen. The top of the hill was the race start and there were people standing my the starting line so I assumed it was also the finish. I surged ahead of another woman and was about to stop running when I noticed the other woman hadn’t stopped and then I realized the finish was still about 50 yards away. Oye. Must keep running! I started to feel like I was going to be sick running up the final hill so my last surge to the finish line was me trying not to puke. I don’t know why I always feel sick at the end of races, it is so frustrating! I ended up finishing in 27:31 (unofficially as I didn’t have a timing chip). Although I had been planning to come in under 27 minutes, I’m okay with my time given the hilly course. After the race I wandered around checking out the booths and getting a water when I ran into a few people I knew. The professional photographer was nice enough to let me have my picture taken with the race back drop with my cell phone. I always forget to take off my visor and it casts a weird shadow on my face!When walking back to the car I realized I had picked up the largest rock possible in my shoe, the perils of racing on a cross country course!It was a fun morning and a great cause to support! My only complaint is the timing chip issue. I will be sure to check my bib more thoroughly in the future when running a race!