async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Race Recap: Backpack Buddies 5k Run

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Race Recap: Backpack Buddies 5k Run

On my recent trip to Alabama, my friend Holly suggested we run a 5k. After all, we are runners, right? The race just happened to be on my birthday. I was a little worried about the waterskiing we did the night before as well as the infamous southern heat, and maybe the wine we drank, but reminded myself that this was just for fun.



Holly, Teresa, and I hit the road by 6:30 to make the drive from her house to Alabaster, Alabama. The sun was coming up and the drive on the country roads was just beautiful! We were also blessed with cooler (70F) and less humid weather, which made this midwesterner very happy. The three of us chatted the entire drive and the time passed quickly. The race was to be held on a fitness path in Veterans' Park, a sports complex. Holly parked the car and we walked over to the shelter to pick up our race packets.

We walked back to the car to pin on our race bibs. I finished up my bottle of Tailwind. We weren't exactly sure where the start line was. There was a finish line set up, but people were gathering at the back of the parking lot, where a yellow line was drawn. As is typical for these smaller races, there were a lot of people wearing the race shirts and all the kids lined up in the front. The three of us stood in the middle of the crowd because we weren't racing, right?

And....we're off!
Some speeches were made and then we were off! We ran through the finish line and onto the fitness path. I looked at my watch and saw that I was running at a 9 m/m pace, which seemed a good pace to start at. I wore my AfterShokz Air and listened to music for this race. This part of the course was mostly shaded and I was thankful for the perfect conditions. I started passing the people who went out fast. Mile 1 8:50 m/m

We continued on the path. Save for a few small uphills, the course was mostly flat. At about the 1.5 mile point, there was an aid station with some very enthusiastic volunteers! I didn't stop to drink, but heard one of the girls complement me on my skirt. Gotta love Inknburn! We turned around at that point and headed back the way we came. I continued to feel good. Mile 2 8:34 m/m

The last part of the course took the runners back the way we came. I don't know why this happens to me, but this is where I started to feel like I might need to walk. I had to do some really stern self-talking at this point. I knew I was fine, but I had to convince my brain to keep moving. There was a woman in orange shorts who passed me right around here and I considered that she might be in my age group. Could I catch her? Do you believe in signs? I decided to give it my all. As we approached the finish line, I came upon a guy walking. As so many runners have done to me, I called out encouragement to him. Heck, if I could keep going, anybody could, right?

The free race photos were not so flattering...
Giving my all and trying to catch orange shorts as I approached the finish line
I crossed the finish line in 26:43, which is an average of 8:36 m/m. My best 5k time of the year. I was ecstatic. Happy birthday to me!



I walked over to the post-race refreshments and grabbed a water out of the cooler. There was also gatorade. The spread looked pretty good with bagels, bananas, oranges, fruit bars, and yogurts. I didn't take anything and walked back over to wait for Holly and Teresa. Soon they came across the finish line. We waited for our finish times to be posted.

Much to my surprise, I won the female masters! The woman in the orange shorts who passed me was in my age group, but came in 3rd overall, beating me by 20 seconds. I didn't know how it worked, but the overall winners are taken out of their age groups, which moves everyone else up. I was pretty excited about this. So much for just running for fun!


Actually, this was pretty fun! I received a medal and had my picture taken. Holly placed in her age group--Teresa came in 4th--so we had a lot to celebrate!


Backpack Buddies was a really fun little race. The race benefits Vineyard Family Services, a faith-based agency which provides aid to families in crisis and kids in need. There were a lot of great door prizes, most likely donated (lamps?). There were also pharmacy students from Auburn doing health screenings and Mary Kay cosmetics representatives. The race was really well organized and if I had the chance, I would definitely do this one again.

By the way, that guy I gave encouragement to near the finish line? He came up to me after the race and thanked me. Said he wouldn't have done so well otherwise.

Backpack Buddies 5k was a fun little race! /via @oldrunningmom #runchat #running 

Have you ever given encouragement to a runner who was walking? Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever won an unusual door prize at a race?

I'm linking up with Zenaida and Kim for Tuesday Topics.


19 comments :

  1. Y’all rocked it! I would consider that to be hot & that would probably not be my friend. Happy birthday to you, indeed! Congrats!

    Unfortunately my birthday is in the depths of winter, probably why I like to travel for a half for it. ��

    I definitely sometimes get encouragement when I walk, which for me is generally planned — even though i’m not doing intervals right now. Gotta admit that can be annoying, although I know people mean well. It’s tricky.

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    1. I don't find it annoying--if I'm doing walk intervals, I say so. But near the finish line? It's time to push!

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  2. Great job to all of you! But you, my friend, did amazing. Great job, Wendy! That was nice of the guy to come up to you at the end. I try to encourage others that are walking but sometimes I am the one that needs the encouragement. :-) And I love the organization that the race benefits.

    Thanks for linking up with us!

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    1. It's always good to pay it forward when you're having a good race. God knows I've had enough bad ones!

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  3. I love to give encouragement during a race, especially if I see someone struggling. I feel like we've all been on the "struggle bus" during a race and hearing some encouraging words always helps!

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    1. It also encourages me--giving positivity to someone else certainly feels good!

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  4. Congrats to all of you! That's so cool to win the Masters category. The one time I placed overall 2nd place in a 5k they only recognized the winner and I simply won my AG, which was a bit of a buzzkill. I always encourage people along the way. How nice the guy appreciated you!

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    1. I don't quite understand it all and it doesn't always feel right--there was, after all, women faster than me!

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  5. Well, that's a great bday celebration ;-) Congrats! And, it's always a bonus to give encouragement on the race course...we all know how good it feels to be on the receiving end. Well done!

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  6. How lovely - very well done! I encouraged a lad during my last marathon and a lady during the ultra and it helped me, let alone them!

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  7. That is a pretty spectacular pace friend! That's a great birthday present to yourself. I find the 5K so tricky as I always start too fast and then kind of burn out. Sounds like this was just the weekend you needed

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    1. It really was fun! I do have a goal of racing 5ks next year, so this was really a confidence booster.

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  8. Great job! And congratulations on the division win! I find 5ks so hard! It's like you're giving it your all for 3 miles. Even when you're just there to have fun. :-)

    Because of my asthma I occasionally have to walk during a longer race and I love the encouragement I get from other runners. The most memorable was when a woman told me she'd been following my ponytail the whole race and I needed to start running again. So I did! :-)

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    1. I had someone tell me something similar at a 5k this summer--that I was 'pacing' her. When I stopped to walk, she said she lost her pacer, lol!

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  9. Congrats on your win! RA has nothing on you!
    I encouraged a young guy to keep running to the finish at the Napa Wine Country Half. It was so hot and we were both feeling pretty worn out but encouraging him gave me the strength to keep going too. I love the running community!

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  10. Nice, congrats! I also usually feel like I need to walk in mile 3. My coach tells me its because your brain perceives the sum total of effort to be drastically more in the 3rd mile of a 5k than it actually is. It like doubles from what you think your effort level is in mile 1 and 2.

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  11. You rocked it Wendy! Congratulations! Nice way to kick off you birthday :)

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