I haven’t run a 5k solo since 2009 (the last two that I ran, I did with my nephew – so much fun and better than any PR that I could ever get – see here and here) and decided that I needed to change that, so committed to running the Stars and Stripes 5k today. With how the weather has been (insane thunderstorms), I decided to wait until race day to sign up just in case it was canceled due to the weather.
I didn’t do too well in the preparation part of life, ha. Yesterday I did a 10 mile run and went to Alamo Drafthouse to see Avengers followed by some happy hour, so let’s just say carboloading took place through a few beers.
Anyways. The race is held at Camp Mabry, which is located on the west side of Austin. It was extremely humbling to be driving through a military installation (Google tells me that this is the official term for what I would refer to as a base, it’s home to the Texas National Guard as well) on Memorial Day and remembering all of those that have fought for our freedom.
The race was super small and just what I needed. Walked up, registered and had my bib in about two minutes. Unfortunately, I won’t get my race tee for a few weeks (new policy for late registrants), but it’s a nice patriotic one.
The funny thing about small races is that people are always hesitant to be the first by the mat. I was behind some super speedy high school cross country runners and may have started off a tad too fast (my Garmin was telling me 6:30… whoops). I maintained a 7:20 for about the first mile, and the second mile was a bit of a struggle. The humidity was starting to get to me and I kept reminding myself that there’s never a race with ideal conditions. Plus, I had just realized I was the third woman and I wanted to keep that!
After the turn around (it’s an out-and-back course), you had to climb up the big hill that you just ran down. My quads were a little angry at me at that point but I was so worried about being caught that I kept pushing through… the last mile was probably my slowest because everything was screaming, you know – my body is so used to running the long-slow distance it was a little mad.
I gave a Meb-esque look behind me and saw that there was someone in a pinkish red approaching and was like noooo I don’t want to give up third female! I swear, this is what kept me going to the finish line.
And I held her off! By two seconds. Crazy.
Finished in 22:50, a 26-second decrease from my last PR in 2009. Woo woo! I’ll take it!
I ended up in 15th place, 3rd overall female, 1st in my AG. This is another reason why I love small races.
We found out there were awards, so mingled with some people (a lot of out of towners, I think all the Austinites were doing the CapTexTri) and got a sweet medal for my AG finish. What a great way to kick off Memorial Day (and summer)!
What you need to know about the Stars and Stripes 5k
- It’s a very no-frills race. If you are looking for the bells and whistles of the Cap10k, this isn’t the race for you. Very basic, small and down to earth.
- Pretty awesome to run through Camp Mabry! You need your ID to get in, and I think they may inspect your car (they just asked if I had a gun).
- If you register in person, you likely won’t get a shirt that day (apparently this is a new rule), but they will mail it to you after the race.
- Great race for kids — there were a TON of families and I think because it’s a closed course, there’s a little bit more freedom/ability to let older kids run their own race without worrying about them getting lost.
- They do have water on the race if they need it! Along with some fun snacks at the finish line (the kids loved the Oreos).
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