Race Recap: 7th Annual atTAcK addiction E-Racing the Stigma 5K

I attended the 7th Annual atTAcK addiction E-Racing the Stigma 5K on Saturday, March 7, 2020. This race grows larger and larger each year, as it is put on to raise funds for atTAcK addiction—a grassroots organization that 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.

This organization is extremely important to me, as I wrote in last year’s recap for this race, because we lost my sister-in-law Chrissy nearly two years ago to an overdose.

I’ve run this event in previous years, including 2018 and 2019, and it’s one of my favorite races of the year. Just to compare the numbers, I compared my stats from last year’s race recap to this year and 2018. I was 18 out of 98 in my 30–39 age group in 2018, 36 out of 309 in the same age group in 2019, and 36 out of 357 in the same age group this year. I was 201 out of 841 runners in 2018, versus 348 out of 2,444 runners in 2019, and 333 out of 2,764 runners this year. Wow!

This year, my mom (we call her Mimi) and her boyfriend Charlie (we call him Grampy Charlie) were visiting from New Hampshire to celebrate my belated birthday (March 4) and Grampy’s upcoming birthday (March 9). HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRAMPY! WE LOVE YOU!

The Angry First Grader (AFG) had swim lessons at the Y on race morning, so Hubs and I decided to go to the race while Mimi and Grampy graciously brought the AFG to her lesson. They met us at my in-laws after the lesson, which gave Hubs and I plenty of time for the race and for me to shower/get coffee afterward at my in-laws. But I digress.

We left the house around 7:15 a.m. and thankfully didn’t encounter any traffic heading north to Old New Castle. We surprisingly found a parking spot very close to the race start; I was wicked grateful for that, because it was windy and very cold out. (I think it was in the low 30s.) The race also offered bus options from three local schools to the starting area, and bussing started at 6:45 a.m. Thank goodness Hubs grew up in New Castle and always knows where to find a good spot.

As always, packet pick-up on race day was phenomenally easy and quick. It’s held at St. Peter School, which is a fairly small building, but they have the process streamlined and very well organized. All I had to do was walk toward the left-hand side to pick up my bib, since I had already registered, and there was literally no line whatsoever.

Hubs and I hunkered down in the basement area where the bathrooms were before the race started, because it was too brutally cold to wait outside. We were about thirty minutes early, so we chatted with each other, made use of the bathrooms, and said hi to a few folks we knew. With about fifteen minutes to go, a volunteer came down and announced that runners should start lining up at the start.

Hubs and I made our way through the massive crowd, but we both quickly agreed that we should part ways so that I could find the starting line. The crowd was too thick, and I knew Hubs didn’t need or want to stand in the large crowd if he didn’t have to. I politely pushed through the masses, taking in the different groups of walkers/runners paying tribute to lost family members and friends or those currently fighting the battle. It’s so amazing to see such a large outpouring of support!

Before the race trying to stay warm!

For whatever reason, it looked like the starting chute was blocked off, so I stood with a few other runners anxiously awaiting to get in. Someone mentioned that they were just finishing up with the timing mat. At least it didn’t delay the actual start of the race; last year, we waiting around far too long because the buses were running late.

We started just around 9 a.m., and I positioned myself somewhat near the front, knowing that the walkers would be behind me, and the faster runners would be at the very front.

Normally at this race, I literally can’t feel my legs for at least the first portion of the race. This year, I ran in a tank top, BibRave Pro zip-up, long-sleeve, tech shirt, with the blue hoodie that I ran my 50K in so that I’d be warm but not hot. I tend to think I’m going to freeze to death but them warm up like the fires of Hades too quickly.

I shocked myself because I didn’t feel like my legs were ice blocks, and I felt like I was pushing myself while being able to sustain whatever pace I was running for the entire race. I made sure that I couldn’t access my Garmin easily (thanks to thumb holes in two of my three layers) so that I wouldn’t obsess over pace. I just ran as fast as I could, but I didn’t reach that, “Why the heck do I do this to myself?!” mentality at all. Dare I say I actually felt good?! That surprised me especially because we were running into the wind for the beginning portion of the race.

I’m up front and center in my blue goodness!

Before the race, I specifically asked Hubs to spectate at a certain spot on Delaware Street, because that’s the point in the race where I feel like walking and lose my mojo. Little did I know/realize that the course was completely changed this year. Whoops!

We normally turn left fairly quick to run along the water, but we went right instead. Whaaaaaaaa?! I was totally confused, but I didn’t let that throw me off my mental game.

Course Map

It was very interesting to be running down W. 6th Street and W. 7th Street instead of turning left down South Street and heading toward the water. We also ran right near where my in-laws live (see snazzy black box in picture), but I didn’t even notice at the time. I was too focused on running what felt like a consistent pace without any walking. Inevitably during any race, I have a mental blip where I feel defeated and walk. But I didn’t walk any of this 5K! That doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but I beat last year’s time by 10 seconds, and I’m very proud of that!

I absolutely loved this new course, and I hope they keep it in 2021! The longer section of running along the water was gorgeous—it was sunny and the wind was whipping at my left side and thankfully not toward me. At one point, I noticed this young boy (maybe around ten years old?) running close to me. I almost blurted out something super-Mom-ish, but I held my tongue. I was also passed by a father wearing a fun track suit pushing a stroller. I bit my tongue then as well.

Along that section of the course, I noticed that the two-mile marker had blown down. I knew where the three-mile marker was, since we had walked by it to go the St. Peter School before the start, so I told myself that I had made it two-thirds of the way through the race already and didn’t feel gassed out. To top it off, there were plenty of volunteers on the streets who were encouraging and polite. I just love this race!

Since I was focusing so much on being in the moment and not looking at my time, I didn’t text Hubs at all along the course to tell him where I was. I ran through to the finish line as fast as I could and immediately texted Hubs to tell him I had finished. He was at a local cafe grabbing some breakfast and totally didn’t expect me to finish so quickly, so he didn’t see me cross the finish line. Another whoops!

I came in at 29:42 with an average pace of 9:34 per mile. I grabbed a water, called Hubs, and went back to St. Peter School for a post-race soft pretzel and to see my results.

I know it wasn’t in the cards this year for Hubs to run/walk with me (he has been following a Couch25K program though!), but I hope next year we’ll do it together. We hope to get an actual team going in Chrissy’s honor, so stay tuned!

Run on,

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