When the alarm goes off at 5am on a Sunday morning, it can only mean one thing: Race Day. But with weather predictions for sunshine and temps in the 50s, I hit the snooze button far less times than normal. Besides, that medal wasn’t going to earn itself.
Spring Classic is a common race on my spring calendar thanks to the great support and swag provided by Why Racing. This year the event was back at Vancouver Lake Park so we had lots of wide open spaces for the before race stretching and after race celebrating. Plus I’d been in that area enough times to know it would be lots of small rolling hills and flat sections for my 10K race. I arrived about an hour before my race start to ensure I beat possible traffic jams from the half marathon starters. The 5K and 10K participants started together at 8am.
All of the vendors were set up before I arrived and packet pick-up was a breeze. I had plenty of time to take my bright new race shirt to the car and pin on the bib before start time. Our portion of the park was filled with walkers and runners while another portion had boats getting set up for their own racing event. It was perfect weather for a day in the park.
The race started by heading out of the park and onto a quiet road for the first mile, then looped back toward the park via a forest trail. The announcer at the starting line had warned us about narrow trails and repeatedly encouraged participants to line up based on expected speeds. Someday I hope to understand why some folks will completely ignore that guidance and enjoy their morning walk with two or three friends in the starting group. Ah well. At least I got around them before the trails got to narrow (and my face got too cranky).
The course split after the trail portion with the lucky 5K folks headed toward the finish and the 10K following the path the half marathoners headed down an hour before. The second half of the race was an out-and-back using a paved trail. We crossed a few streets thanks to kind volunteers with signs to keep the couple of passing cars away. The rolling hills started to feel less small by this portion of the race as somehow the miles seemed longer than before.
Turning back into the park for the final mile, I spotted the 2:00 half marathon pacers ahead of me. Doing some super quick math, I hoped that by catching up to them I would achieve a 1-hour 10K (a feat I haven’t accomplished for a couple years). Thanks to a few songs from the Hamilton Mixtape, I was able to catch-up and even pass the pacers to finish well ahead of my expected time. Volunteers handed out gorgeous wooden medals that had a bike chain border around it (a connection to the duathlon that some athletes would complete later in the morning).