On the Run

Race Recap: Fleet Feet Big Run 5K

I was very happy to see the water station at the end of the race

Hello, internet friends! I’ve been a bit quiet around the blog the last week or so, in large part because I’ve been navigating some stomach issues and been feeling under the weather. The most likely culprit is my IBS, which surprised me by coming back from several long years without any serious flare-ups.

In spite of my tummy troubles, I found myself toeing the starting line for my very first evening race last week, Fleet Feet’s Big Run 5K in celebration of Global Running Day. I do not, stricly speaking, advise anyone to run a race when they’ve not been feeling well, but since I knew the root cause, I decided to give the race a go since I had already signed up.

Many factors combined to make this race less than my best. To begin, I’m more of a morning runner, partly because I’m a morning person and partly because, as a woman who takes hormonal birth control at night, there’s actual hormone cycling that makes the morning my peak performance time. (I learned this from Coach Kelly Roberts of the Badass Lady Gang and cannot recommend her coaching enough for female athletes!)

It was also hot and humid, and I had a two hour meeting with my boss at the tail end of the workday, thereby completely forgetting to think about dinner. I arrived at the race hot and hungry, in no particular mood to run a 5K.

The race itself was pretty lowkey as far as these events go. Packet pickup was easy, with just a bib and pins to grab. It took place in Schenley Park, which meant plenty of children having soccer practice and other events while we racers milled about, and plenty of confused people on the trails as we thundered by during the race itself.

Things ran pretty smoothly, though the sound system struggled to compete with the noise of multiple youth sports practices happening simultaneously behind us. I missed the explanation of the trail because of the noise, but it was well marked and staffed, so I didn’t wind up having any issues because of it.

The trail itself was a simple out and back on the trails, downhill all the way out and uphill all the way back. The aid station at the bottom of the hill had plenty of Nuun* in lemon lime sport, my favorite flavor.

The trail is one that I run with my dog and my husband fairly often, so it was a familiar enough journey. In all, I didn’t struggle as much as I expected to given my crummy start to the week, but the uphill return was a slog and a half.

Would I run this race again? Yes, I think so! Now that I know what to expect of an evening race, I think I can roll in a bit more prepared and ready to go in the future. Plus, it was nice to gather with other runners on Global Running Day, which has been a goal of mine for a few years now.

*(Full disclosure: I am a Nuun hydration ambassador, which I pursued only after years of loving their products.)