Yesterday morning, I ran the Athleta Unleash the She 5k in Blaine, MN. The event also offers a 10k, as well as a 5k walk.
This event was organized by FinalStretch, which does a fabulous job. The packet pick-up and expo were on Friday night at the National Sports Center. The expo was small, but offered some nice vendors, and the packet pick-up was very efficient. I arrived at 4:45 and there were no lines or crowds. The Athleta fashion show during the expo stars ovarian cancer survivors since the race benefits MOCA (Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance). Following each of the two fashion shows, Athleta gives away two complete Athleta outfits! Too bad I didn’t win!
Because the venue has an abundance of parking, I didn’t worry about arriving too early for my 9:30am start time. The 10k started at 9am and the 5k walk started at 10am. I appreciated the staggered start times because it meant fewer lines and less dodging around walkers during the 5k run! Since there were both indoor restrooms and outdoor porta potties, there were no lines at the porta potties, which I though was fantastic. All-women races tend to have killer lines when there aren’t enough restrooms available.
I arrived at the site at 9:10am and had plenty of time to put on my bib, use the restroom, set up my GPS watch, turn on my music and get lined up….with time to spare! The weather was perfect for running, in my opinion; cloudy, low 40’s and breezy. Absolutely delightful!
As with any larger race, the first mile of the course was crowded and there was some dodging around walkers and figuring out my stride. I went to the race alone (which seems to be a rarity these days), so I plugged in the music and zoned out. When I started feeling a tightness in my left hip around mile 2, I switch my focus away from my music and onto prayer for others. It’s amazing how quickly that last mile flew by! It was even my fastest mile of the race.
For this race, I was able to use my Soleus Fit 1.0 GPS watch for the first time. Once I have some more miles on the watch, I’ll do a review, but so far I think I’m really going to like it. It’s a fairly simple watch but with a price point under $100 (you can find deals on Amazon for $60-$80!).
My finishing time was 34:42.
Mile 1: 11:30
Mile 2: 11:37
Mile 3: 11:12
Final push: 0.22
Although I didn’t meet my goal of a sub-34 race, I feel pretty good that it’s the fastest 5k I’ve done since February and was able to stay right around 11:30 min/mile. My next 5k goal is to get those splits closer to 11 min/miles. Right now, the focus is just on getting back to where I was when I hit my standing PR – after that I’ll start focusing on improving beyond that.
My next race is the Hale to the Bird 5k. I’ll be running with my husband and stepson, so there will be no time goals, just burning calories for Thanksgiving!
Did you race this weekend?