It has become my birthday tradition to run the atTAcK Addiction 5K in New Castle, DE, on my birthday weekend. This year for my 37th shin-dig, the race fell on Saturday, March 2, 2019 and held an extra special place in my heart. I ran, in particular, for my sister-in-law Chrissy, who passed away suddenly this summer from an overdose.
The race’s proceeds benefit atTAcK addiction, a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable foundation established to assist individuals and families impacted by addiction. The organization provides support for recovering addicts and their loved ones, advocates for policy changes, educates families about opiate addiction and treatment options, works to prevent drug use, and strives to end the stigma of the disease.
Each year it seems like this race grows leaps and bounds, and this year was no exception! I compared my stats from last year’s race recap, and I was 18 out of 98 in my 30–39 age group in 2018, versus being 36 out of 309 in the same age group this year. I was 201 out of 841 runners in 2018, versus 348 out of 2,444 runners this year. Crazy, huh?!
The weather for this year’s race was slightly warmer, and I was prepared in my BibRave Under Armour Hoodie. I’ve never actually raced in a hoodie before, so I was a little worried that I’d overheat. To compensate, I didn’t wear a hat, and for whatever reason I only wore one glove apparently. I was comfortably toasty but not hellishly hot. Win-win.
Since I usually become a slave driver of epic proportions before a morning race, I thought I would slow my roll a bit and not worry if we were a little bit late (read: “on time” for normal people) to the start. We left the house around 7:30 a.m. EST, since Hubs is the wizard of finding parking spots in Old New Castle, where he grew up. We found a parking sport somewhat near St. Peter School and waded through the throngs of people into the gym to pick up my bib and t-shirt.
Like last year, packet pick-up was a breeze. I didn’t have to wait in a long line, everything was well organized, and I was in and out in a matter of minutes. Then I kissed Hubs and the Angry Kindergartner (AK) goodbye. They were going to drive my birthday cake to my in-laws’ house to drop it off, find a quick bite to eat, and then come back to watch me finish.
This race hosts a lot of walkers and large groups, so I decided to make my way to the start line rather early. I’m not a fast runner by any means, but I knew I wanted to give it my all and get ahead of the larger pack if I could. I found the start line and anxiously waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.
Apparently there were so many people, that the race director/organization stalled the start of the race until a few more busloads of people got to the start. They were shuttling participants from nearby William Penn High School and the Carpenters Local 626 over to St. Peter’s School, since the area around the start of the race really has no dedicated parking. (It does have a parking lot, but it’s full of people on race day.)
The race didn’t actually start until nearly 9:15 a.m. EST, which royally threw off my mental game at first. I was already trying not to put a lot of pressure on myself to run a certain time, and then I had to wait and sit with my own thoughts/anxiety for a whole whoppin’ fifteen minutes until the race began. That was fun.
As we finally started, I had to weave in and out of other runners to try and keep a steady pace. The course itself was the same as last year as far as I could tell, and there are typically two to three spots where I mentally give out—all around the slightest inclines ever. No joke. Not even hills—just inclines that make me want to curse.
I did walk once or twice for maybe 10–20 seconds each, but every time I stopped, I knew it would be better to just keep on running. With 5Ks, I know that they’ll be over in generally 30 minutes or less, so I can endure that type of all-out running for such a short amount of time. I, however, much prefer the full marathon or ultra distances where I don’t care about pace so much, and I’m A-OK with walking whatever I need to.
Here I am toward the finish line looking like a turtle tee hee.
I came in at 29:52 with a pace of 9:37 per mile. These days, that’s extremely fast for me, and I was very proud of my time. I tried not to compare this year’s time to last year’s, which was 29:06. That’s not a huge difference for me, and ultimately I’m humbled to still be able to race a sub-30 5K to be honest!
I’m glad I had my handheld Orange Mud bottle with me though, because I don’t recall seeing any water stops whatsoever. I was also a bit disappointed in the post-race food this year. Last year I remember they had donuts, but this year they just had prepackaged granola bars. Not that either of those factors would make or break the experience for me, but it’s just something to note.
We walked a short distance back to our car and tried to head over to Hubs’s parents’ house literally less than two miles away. Every single street was blocked off in all directions, so we couldn’t get close enough to their house to park. Hubs tried to drop off my birthday cake before the race and ran into the same issue. So we parked as close as we could, parked, and hoofed it to my in-laws’ with an entire cake and the AK in tow. We had to literally cross the stream of race walkers on the course at one point, and folks joked about wanting the cake. It was hilarious!
After the race, Hubs surprised me by asking if we could do the race as a family in 2020. I would absolutely love to do that, and I think the AK will be able to run/walk it by then too. It will be a nice future fitness goal to have as a family, and I can’t wait!