Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Race Recap: Shake and Bake 5k Run

When Holly invited me to visit her and water ski, I asked her to find a race for us to run. I couldn't go all the way to Alabama without running a race, right? Apparently, finding a race in August in the south is a bit of a challenge. Kind of like finding a race here in Chicago in the middle of winter. Holly found a 5k, the Shake and Bake. The price was right: $20. Even though I haven't run a 5k in years, I was glad for that distance because I was a little fearful of running in the heat and humidity down south!



We woke up at 5:30 and were on the road by 6:15 to drive the 90 miles to the race. Who does this for a 5k? Runners. Holly promised me a good experience. The race was held in the town of Mt Laurel, which is a Southern Living planned community. Most of our drive was on the interstate, but when we exited, I saw the hills, actually, they looked like mountains to this flatlander, and I got a little nervous. I didn't expect it to be so hilly around there but Birmingham's where the base of the Appalachians start. Remember, I live in the pancake flat area by Chicago!


We parked the car near the starting line and retrieved our race packets. My bib was #3 and Holly was #4. Apparently, people wait until the very last minute to sign up for this one! I looked for #1 and #2 and didn't see them anywhere. Speaking of #2, we looked for a bathroom. First, we went into a general store but the shopkeeper told us there were no public restrooms. You know this isn't true, right? I was a little surprised by his lack of hospitality in this mini-Mayberry.

Holly and I wandered around, looking for a bathroom. Our search turned up empty and we went back to the race site, where we were directed to a trailer hear near the starting line. Instead of the usual portapotties you might expect at a race, there was a PortaLisa, a trailer with flushing toilets and a sink to wash your hands. It was air conditioned and there was even a carpet on the floor. It did kind of smell bad when you walked up to it, but inside it was scent-free. I have to admit, it was pretty nice! Luxurious, in fact!

The PortaLisa: It just felt too nice to use at a race!
After a long speech by the representative from Vapor, the beneficiary of the race, we lined up at the starting line. There was a brief stretching session led by a physical therapist. Doesn't she know you aren't supposed to stretch cold muscles? I said nothing and just played along.

photo courtesy of Shake & Bake 5k
After we stretched there was a prayer. Holly tells me this is quite common at races in the South. There was no Star Spangled Banner. What to do? I bowed my head and prayed for a good race. After the prayer concluded, we were off.

Initially, my legs were a little stiff as they often are when I first start out on a run. I took this as a hidden blessing--it kept my pace down in the beginning. The temperature wasn't as warm as it could be, but the humidity was high. I let everyone pass me and I plodded along. The course wound through the very pretty town. It was really quiet, though. Not a lot of people were out. We did some climbing but I think most people would probably consider these "rolling hills".  I kept my pace steady and drove up the hills, thankful for my CrossFit training, only stopping to walk a couple of times. I had hoped not to walk at all, but the humidity made those hills a challenge. Still, my pacing was good.

There was a woman wearing a mint green shirt who was ahead of me for most of the race and I tried to figure out her age--I thought maybe she'd be in my age group. I could not catch her though! So instead, I let her pace me.

The final hill was long and it was tough. I walked a good part of it, but once we turned around and headed downhill, I flew down to the finish line. I tried to pass mint green shirt but she was running all out as well. I saw the clock at the finish and hoped to beat 27 minutes. As I crossed the finish line, I looked down at my Garmin, which had me at 27:02. I wasn't unhappy about this, but you know how it is with numbers!
photo courtesy of Shake & Bake 5k
I grabbed a couple of waters and waited for Holly to come across the finish line. Once she did, we walked over to grab some post-race treats. There was fresh watermelon, Powerade, cookies, and peaches. There was also a guy handing out popsicles from Steel City Pops. I looked at the menu and asked about the Buttermilk pop. "Like cheesecake," the guy said. Ok, then! Holly and I each had one and it was just the best post race treat I've ever had in my life. Seriously, if you have the chance to try this, I recommend it.

It might not look like much, but that pop is a #holottatasty right there.
We waited quite a while for the results. That was probably the only part of the race that was a little disorganized. Once they got it sorted out, things moved smoothly. There were 10 year age groups and medals were given to the 1st and 2d place males and females. When they called the 50-59 year old female winner, I was excited it was me! As it turns out, mint green shirt wasn't in my age group after all--she was in the 40-49 group--which she won.

50-59 Age Group Winners
Photo courtesy of Shake & Bake 5k


After the race, we used the PortaLisa one more time and headed back to Holly's house, stopping at Peach Park for some post-race peach cobbler. Seriously, does it get any better than that?

I loved this little race. The setting of the town of Mt Laurel was perfect for a 5k. There was a total of about 150 participants making it a pretty small race. I was astonished at the nice portapotty and the extravagant post-race spread--for such a small, inexpensive race, it was really top notch. I've been at much bigger races with a lot less. The race is chip timed and results were posted on the Monday after the race. Race photos were posted on Facebook about 10 days after the race. The photographer did a great job catching everyone crossing the finish line as well as candids of participants throughout the morning.

And that age group win? Well, that was just the icing on the cake. I haven't run a 5k in years and certainly, I'm not going to break any records with my finish time, but I was happy to just run and to run well in the south. Heat and humidity be damned. Oh yes, and RA be damned too!

Official finish time: 27:00:09. Oh so close to breaking that 27 minute mark! But good enough for an AG win. And that's a victory in my book!

What's the best post race treat you've ever had? Have you ever been at a race with one of these luxury portapotties?

I'm linking up with Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches' Corner!




54 comments :

  1. I've seen those fancy trailer bathrooms before but I never knew they were called PortaLisas! Love it! Congratulations on a good race. It's always fun to get an age group win!

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    1. The fancy portapotty seemed too nice for us runners! But I did appreciate it.

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  2. Sounds like this race was just what you needed after a rough few weeks. Congrats to you! And who drives 90 miles for a 5K!!

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    1. Right? But there weren't any other races and so we did. We did talk about bailing on it, though!

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  3. What a great experience! And I feel like I should say welcome to the south- lol. Congrats again on winning your age group --such an accomplishment especially after the week you had.

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    1. Pretty sure those steroids are a banned substance!

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  4. Ooooooh mint green shirt looked older than she is, eh? Heh heh... Okay and what's up with the no bathroom thing? I would have left a little package in one of the cereal boxes...

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    1. She could have been 40...or 49...gotta love those 10 year age groups!

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  5. Woohoo! Congrats! I'm so happy for you.

    PortaLisa sounds luxurious! I need to find a race with one of those. ;)

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  6. First off, I'm simply loving the name of this race, lol.

    Congrats on such a great race and AG award! That PortaLisa looks divine and I wish all races had those!

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    1. Shake and Bake is just perfect for a southern 5k in August!

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  7. CONGRATS, Chicago! You spanked the heat, the humidity and the hills! Unfortunately on this day, they spanked ME. LOL. Now that I know Steel City Pops has a store in Auburn -- I'll be stopping in often!

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  8. So glad you not only had the opportunity to experience a hot, humid and hilly southern race, but you showed it who's boss!! I had to laugh at you taking a picture of the PortaLisa ...you could write a book on potty experiences! :)

    Congratulations lady!

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  9. Yum, that popsicle and the peach cobbler sound delicious! Congrats on the age group win :)

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    1. Yeah, that was just the best post-race food I've had in a very long time!

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  10. You did so absolutely amazing Ms Wendy! When I saw that time I was so happy for you!! You really rocked this race!!

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    1. You know me, I always think I could have run faster. But then I remind myself about the hills and the humidity, oh, and that flare I had earlier in the week.

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  11. Awesome job! I love those PortaLisa's. They had one at the start of MCM and it was EVERYTHING

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  12. Congrats on the win! Popsicles are the best post race treat. There's homemade peach cobbler in my kitchen right now...

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    1. Thinking I need to make some. But peeling those peaches--ugh!

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  13. Wow, who would have thought such a luxurious Porto potty for such a small race?
    We often have prayer before some of our local races too.

    Congrats on the AG win!

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    1. I'm not sure I've ever been to a race with a prayer!

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  14. What a fun race (and with good company). The best post race food I ever had was at the Hillbilly Hike 13.1...it's now only in its 4th year (early November), but a very organized event. They had biscuits and gravy and pie at the finish!

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    1. That sounds perfect for November! August? Not so much..

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  15. I'm amazed Holly was able to find a race - they dry up by May around here because of the heat and humidity! Congrats on the AG win...nice souvenir from Alabama.

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    1. She told me it was going to be a tough find, but she came through for me! I needed to put Alabama on my running map.

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  16. Nice job winning a ten year age group. Never easy! Also love the bathrooms and the fact that you drove 90 miles for a 5k!

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    1. I know that I'll never win my AG in a 5k ever again--but it sure was fun to have it happen!

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  17. Nice job!! You make me want to sign up for more races...the last one I ran was in March!
    That portapotty looks legit!!

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    1. I don't normally do 5ks, but when on vacation with a runner friend, right?

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  18. When I lived in Virginia there were PortaLisa's at races although I had no idea that was the name. Lol! Congrats on a fun trip, great race and a great time!

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    1. I was so intrigued by the fancy portapotties, I had to remember the name.

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  19. Check out that porta potty! Woo Wee!!! Congrats on taking Alabama by storm! Those little southern 5K's in the dead of summer can be a lot of fun!

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    1. You know it was fun! A #holottafun, in fact... :p Sorry, I had to do it...

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  20. Congratulations!!!! And yes, who else would go through all of that for a 5k but runners? It worked out nicely...as nice as that PortaLisa - wow!!! And I love how prayer but not the national anthem started the race. Gotta love the south!

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    1. There were a lot of interesting contrasts to the north....

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  21. Awesome job Wendy! Congratulations on a great race, I love all the pictures too :-)

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    1. I'm still waiting for the race photos!

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  22. Fantastic race. That's so crazy about the luxury porta potty! I have never heard of anything like that. And there is truly nothing like a good popsicle after a warm race.

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    1. I've never had a popsicle like this. Cheesecake on a stick. Yes please!

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  23. Congrats on 1st place!!! That bathroom does look luxurious for a race. When I moved to FLorida I found it odd I couldn't find a summer race, now I know why....lol

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    1. I'm sure Holly thought I was nuts when I asked about a race for my visit!

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  24. Fancy toilets and age group wins! Nice job on your vacation 5K!

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    1. You know I'll never win my age group again in a 5k. So it was kind of cool!

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  25. That is so fabulous Wendy!! Proud of you, the humidity had to feel thick not to mention the hills! I think that is a super 5K time :) Congrats!
    It is fun you got to share a race with Holly and yes, I had a Popsicle too! It is the best treat ever, that was my first after a hot race.
    I have seen one of those POP at the last wedding I went too, very fancy for a race lol

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    1. A fancy POP (I like that term) seems just wrong for a race, doesn't it?

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  26. Congrats on the awesome race, Wendy! Any tips for preparing to run a 5k?

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    1. It has been so long since I raced a 5k--I didn't train for this one. I'd say work on intervals and speed work so you can control your pace!

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  27. Congrats on a great race and AG win, Wendy! Those popsicles sound wonderful for after a hot race.

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    1. I'm sure it will be the only time I ever win my AG in a 5k, but it was fun!

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