A couple months later, my sister who inspired me to start running asked me what races I was planning. We agreed that the Zoo Run would be fun and a great opportunity to get my nieces and nephews involved. It became a plan!
After an extremely hot and humid early September, the weekend of the race arrived with much cool temperatures, wind and rain. In planning my race kit the night before, I included a tank and long sleeve shirt. A rain poncho and sunglasses. Shorts and a jacket. I wound up choosing a mix of these, long sleeve, shorts, hat. Taking heed of the getting there and parking warnings, I left early and pulled straight into the parking lot with no problems at around 8:20 am. I sat in the parking lot watching people arrive through the rainy windshield. I had a warm car, tea and Timbits to keep me comfortable. Wait, Timbits?!
Yes, I know they say never try anything new on race day. Just like with signing up for the race, I figured I would wing it a bit. I've tested many things on my long run days, but nothing can fully simulate a race morning...like an actual race morning. A lot of things were different with this race: I kept my usual run schedule the week of my race instead of doing any kind of taper. My dinner the night before was not my usual pre-race salmon, rice and beans. Instead it was oatmeal, banana, blueberries and peanut butter. And an hour before the race was to start, I gleefully gobbled up three or four Timbits with strong black tea.
I had yet to decide whether I was going to run with the three of them or aim for a PB. Most of my recent training had revolved around my 15K and half marathon, not focused on a very fast 5K. That said, I had been doing a weekly track work out, so I was curious. This race would be my niece's first 5K race and since she hadn't done much training, they knew they would likely be running/walking. As we approached the corrals to start, I decided. I was going to go for it. After all, I'd never gotten to start in a red corral!
I was also very pleased to see that I was 20th in my age category! Definitely a great way to build my confidence for my next two fall races.