Sunday, July 17, 2016

REI Trail Series 5K - Frick Park

Over 4th of July, I was chatting with my friend Rachael. She mentioned she was training for a 5K, a trail 5K at that, so I inquired about where. It was at Frick Park, a 600+ acre park in Pittsburgh. I took a look at the info online. The $15 registration fee was appealing...but it was also Sunday, the 17th...the morning after a friends wedding. Was I really going to be in 5K running shape? So, I dismissed it & went about my business.

Then, early last week I was feeling a little bit wild. I was signing myself up for the Two Face 10K but wondered if it was a good idea to make such a crazy race my first trail race. I thought back to the 5K I knew my friend was running & signed myself up! EEK.

Packet pick-up was easy & opened at 9AM at the start // finish line. There was a 5K & 10K  (two loops of 5K course) option, but I chose the 5K. I met up with Rachael & her sister, Becky, who was also running. The even was small, with only about 100 runners between the 5K & 10K. The 10K runners started at 10AM & the 5K followed at about 10:05AM.



Mile 1 // 11:16

The first 5 minutes of the race were uphill. I kept waiting for it to end, but it never did. We got to our first turn of the course, and I foolishly expected flat ground, only to find more hill. The temperature was only in the mid 70's, but it was humid & the sun was shining. Luckily, the first big hill was shaded.



Mile 2 // 8:58

As you can tell from both my time (and the elevation map), mile 2 included a lot of downhill. Rachael had sped past me during mile 1 during our uphill climb, but, I caught back up during the second mile. This was where the shade disappeared & the sun made 75 feel more like 85, with humidity to match. A lot of the "trail" was rocky, poorly crushed limestone. Not at all what I was expecting, which was single track, dirt trails. Honestly, I'm not sure which I would have preferred. I would have liked some experience on single track trails in a race setting, but given that I passed several people in mile 2 I was thankful for the wide trail.



Mile 3 // 10:33

I walked a section of hill during mile 1 & I walked another section during mile 3. I used to have a huge mental block against walking in a race, but, I checked my Garmin & since I was actually moving faster as I walked versus when I attempted to run, I didn't feel so bad. The heat & humidity really started getting to me here. A portion of this mile was on what seemed to be poor condition old concrete. Like an old abandoned road, that's succumb to the weather. I would mark that down as my least favorite running surface.

+.26 // 2:18

I rounded this corner, I hear a cowbell & I see a volunteer waving a huge orange flag. My Garmin shows 3.05 miles, but I figure it's close enough, this must be the finish. So I gun it, only to find the guy with the flag is merely guarding a crosswalk & preventing cars from running us over as we cross. I keep running, and finally make it to the final turn. One that will take me down a set of stairs & the final tenth of a mile to the finish line.

Finish Time // 33:06



After I crossed the finish line, I headed over to grab some water where the "race director" // head volunteer said "This was a pretty long 5K, but we knew that when we made it".
^Umm, FYI, a 5K is a distance, a very specific distance actually. And by creating something you KNOW is not that distance, you have not created a 5K, you've simply created a race approximately a 5K in length. Like, call it a 5K-ish. Geeze people.

Linking up with :
Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights 
 Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run

Ever run a trail race - any advice for my next one?
How was your weekend?
Any one else think calling something a 5K you know is not a 5K is wrong!?

30 comments:

  1. Wow, great job with what sounds like a really hard 5k! That is so weird about knowingly making it longer than a 5k.

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    1. Thanks! I figure exact distances are hard with trails, but I wish they had told us!

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  2. Ah! I hadn't heard about this race or would definitely have done it! I think I know exactly what section of Frick Park you're talking about that has that old, weathered, crappy section of concrete. It sucks! And yeah, a 5K is a 5K, race director! But congrats on your first trail race! Hmm...the Two Face is crazy?! I haven't signed up yet!

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    1. So they just posted the course map & directions, I'll see if I can email it to you so you can run it if you can't make it to the next preview run. Not that it's crazy, I more just meant I'll be running the road 10K first + at least for now a 10K is more trail running than I've ever done. A 5K seemed like a good ease in option.

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  3. That's messed up they dont have exactly 3.1 miles - that irritates the fire out of me when races do that.
    Stairs in a 5k race... ok then.

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    1. Haha, I was surprised too, especially since they are part of what made the race long. But they did warn us about that just before we started. I didn't quite believe them, but I should have...

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  4. You are knocking out some races this summer. I love trail running and have always wanted to do a trail race, but I figure I would be much more prone to tripping and falling. Eeeek

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    1. OMG, I love trail running, a new love of mine, but I do spend the whole run figuring I'm about to trip & bite it. So far, I haven't, but the feeling is there.

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  5. ugh it makes me so mad when they don't make the race the correct distance. like, my races are never spot on for whatever reason but when they purposefully make the longer or shorter, it makes my blood boil. hopefully your next trail run will be better!

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    1. I agree. Like NBD if it's not exact, but you thought it was. I get it. Tangents, etc. But to KNOWINGLY make it wrong, that seems like false advertising.

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  6. What They knew it was long, but that's how they made it? Weird and rude! But I would have been angrier if it was shorter than 3.10.

    Congratulations on your first trail race!

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    1. I agree. I would rather a little long than a little short. I've run short courses before & it just SUCKS. Especially if you're having a good race & now it's not a PR since it's short.

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  7. LOL. 5 K ish ? And they knew it ? What's that about !?

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    1. That was my thought. If you know about it - tell us. It was a pretty low key event. I mean there were STAIRS! Haha.

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  8. Congrats on your first trail race! Concrete (old pavement) is not what I would expect at all. I have run a few 5k trail races. I enjoyed running in the wildlife preserve where they are held. Unfortunately, I've run my share of 5k-ishes. It's one of my pet peeves. At least all racers run the same course? Thanks for linking, Jessie.

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    1. That's a fair point - at least we all run the same course. Yeah, luckily the old pavement was probably only .4 miles or so, but definitely not my favorite.

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  9. Love the spontaneous race sign-up - haha. That could be me. Congrats- you did well! ;)

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    1. That's turned out to be kind of my MO so far this summer. Haha.

      Thanks San!

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  10. Congrats on the race, you did a great job! Starting a race uphill is really tough! I don't get how it can be a "long 5K", I'd be frustrated too!

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    1. I get it, it's trails, hard to make exact. But people do not seem to realize if it's not 3.1 then technically it's not a 5K.

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  11. 5k-ish...lol. That's cute! I find a lot of local smaller races aren't always exact! There is a 5k trail race at my favorite trail but it is really rough terrain. I like running there because it is peaceful and I don't worry about my time. I kind of want to run the race there but I know my time will just stink!

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    1. My time was rough - in my opinion. But, I'm working on coming to terms with the fact that I am just slow going on the trails, but I keep at it because it's enjoyable.

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  12. Sounds like a fun race! Congrats!

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  13. I don't think trail races are ever exact. I've pretty much come to expect that after the 14.5 mile "half marathon" trail race I did a few years ago. It's much harder to create an exact distance when you are working with trails.

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    1. A 14.5 mile HALF!? Oh my, I would have been pretty displeased about that one. That's a pretty big difference! Guess that wasn't a PR race for anyone. ;)

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  14. Way to go on another awesome race, girl! How weird that it wasn't actually 5K though! So weird!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! I try to remember trails are harder to make exact than roads. But, there was actually kind of a perfect finish line spot at 3.1 on my GPS.

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  15. Great race! Sucks it was longer! I would like to do more trail races.

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    1. They're definitely something I'm just getting into. It's such a different atmosphere from road racing. More low key, even compared to small races. And I figure a whole different set of PRs for me to get.

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