Ok so after Thanksgiving, when watching T.V. with family and the Turkey Trot came on the news and my mother asking me, "why am I not running that today?" and my response being, " I took a day off running to be with my family," I decided Holidays are NOT an excuse to take a day off running. So Christmas Eve I found the FREE Park Run.
For those of you that know me, FREE is my favorite F word.
I truly believe the best things in life are FREE and a Park Run just confirms my beliefs.
|The woman next to me is from NY.|
I found the race on http://www.runningintheusa.com. THis is a great website that has races all over the USA and very organized and easy to find races based on date, location and/or length.
I knew my holiday plans would be in the Bay Area and Found the Crissy Fields 5k on Christmas Eve at 9 a.m. Plenty of time to get my run in and hang out with family in the afternoon.
Upon further investigation at http://www.parkrun.us/crissyfield/ I found out that this event is FREE and all you have to do is register by email and print out a barcode.
Park Runs are run by volunteers and everyone has the same start time but when you finish you are given a piece of plastic that you could put on a key chain when you cross the finish line and turn that in as they scan your barcode. Don't take it home with you.
They had a binder of barcodes for regulars.
And this was their 101st parkrun at this location!
The day before I was in SF taking a CPR/AED class for my personal training exam and it was raining on and off. I drank some caffeinated tea to stay awake in the class as my instructor suggested but paid for it that night not being able to sleep.
I wasn't even sure I was going to make the event the next day. I left around 8 a.m. with the run starting at 9 a.m. Though my destination was a half hour away I knew some kinda traffic could always get in the way of my start time.
Then I remembered my no excuses approach to running on holidays and went. I was early, met the director who was wearing a bright orange vest. They had a little poster explaining the event, and even though I wasn't 100% sure on the starting line, I had a vague idea from the information on the website and their banner confirmed my beliefs.
Park Runs are really COOL! People from all over the world meet up at this specific location and signed up to run 3.1 miles together at a designated time.
You could tell the elites apart from the casual runners and dog walkers. The guy in the Ascis jersey was definetly doing 5 minute miles. I checked out last weeks results and I already could tell who would be finishing top 5 by race outfit and leg muscle.
But I mean who cares? There is no prize money, there is no metal or free T-shirt. There are no bananas, GU, clif bars, Fit Aids or anything at the finish line except that you are invited to get a cup of coffee at this little coffee hut in the park and talk running or whatever with fellow runners after.
It was great weather! Even though it was stormy the day before and there were some puddles on the course it was really beautiful! Lots of pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and Alcatraz. The bay was awesome! If it was raining there would of been a smaller crowd but I still would of went.
Ok so the run. They gather everyone up and go over the course and what not. Then ask where people are from and clap. and then take a group picture.
We all walked passed a huge puddle that I almost slipped on to meet the group and went to the starting line. They explained the course and I saw a map but I knew just to follow the elite runners around the track to really figure out where I was going.
The best part about Crissy Fields is that it is really FLAT. You are right on the water and it can't get any flatter than this course. When we starting running it was on a sandy/ dirt trail for the first mile. Then We were on pavement for another mile and then back to the sandy path for the last mile.
There are a lot of other runners that are not apart of the park run - running through the park and they do ask that we yield to others. So I only had to stop only once when the road was blocked by a huge puddle and let two walkers go past first. If I had brought an extra pair of shoes and socks and really wanted to make some good time I would of ran right through the puddles no problem. Next time.
Then the finish line- they specifically tell you to go BETWEEN THE CONES. If you don't they will not know you are with the running group. They take a picture of you at the finish line and give you your plastic card. Turn it in to get scanned and I fist pounded some of the fellow runners in my time bracket.
One guy said great job and that I run very fast. I thanked him. My time was 35 minutes for 3.1 miles.
Next opportunity I get to be in SF on a Saturday morning at 9 a.m. I will be back.
Results are posted on the website and pictures as well as the facebook page.
Thank you SF for providing this FREE Run. It was my first official 5k run of the year and it was awesome!
This is my best time for miles and a 5k all year.
Did all my racing lead up to this one event?
It feels like it.
I found this run very easy after all my training through out the year.
I pushed hard and I was sore the next day and it was worth it.