Well hello there, Gate City 8K, we finally meet. Haha, this was my first 8K. I've usually been pretty calm lately before races but something about doing my first 8K and my first real race in Greensboro gave me all kinds of anxiety. I guess I was pretty nervous since none of my family would be at the start/finish line for me and so I was there by myself. OH, and Saturday was my Ekadashi fast, which happens 2x a month and just happened to fall of the day of my race. Basically, what that means is the only food I eat are fruits and only some vegetables. This was definitely going to be a test of willpower but I just kept one thought in my mind all day whenever hunger entered my mind-- last June after my grandma passed away, I made a vow (with my mom) to do the Ekadashi fast for at least one year in my grandmother's honor. It's just a little thing I can do to keep her memory going with my mom.
Anyways, onto the race! The HM start time was 8am and the 8K was at 8:20am and the National Anthem was supposed to be at 7:40 so I wanted to get there by that time but that clearly didn't happen! I stayed up late on Friday night (my own fault) and woke up late on Saturday morning. I woke up not feeling so great and had an upset stomach all night/since I woke up but I figured, what the hey, this is going to be a training run for me. I planned to leave my house around 7:15 since the start was just a few miles from my house but I had to take a back road because the usual road I drive to get to downtown Greensboro was actually where the race was taking place! I left my house super late because I forgot my sunglasses (thank god I went back for them) and I didn't account for the time it took me to fill up my new water bottle (more on that in a later post). I knew I wasn't able to have my usual pre-race fuel (luna bar) so I had a banana and a piece of peanut chikki (Indian peanut brittle--nuts and sugar are ok to have) and washed it all down with some water.
I parked in the Church St. parking deck downtown which brought back memories of law school because it was right behind where my friends and I frequented for Wine Wednesdays at Europa! I got to Center City Park and everything was kinda insane. So many people were already there and there was loud music and oh yeah, it was super cold (40 with a windchill in the high 30s) and windy!
Clearly in this picture it doesn't look like many people were there but I waited for a clear shot. Center City Park in downtown Greensboro also brings back memories because it's about 2 blocks from my law school and I had my graduation reception here!
The Start line was packed with the half marathoners when I arrived for the National Anthem around 7:50am. I was surprised to see how many people actually signed up for the half and the 8K in the first year back in Greensboro for this race. About 498 completed the half and about 260 completed the 8K.
I walked into the starting line chute once the half marathoners were off (which also was the finish line chute because we came back up Elm St.) and saw these! Look at all those finisher medals for the half marathoners and 8K runners!
HI! Getting ready to start! We started a couple minutes later than the scheduled time (8:20- started around 8:23) but that was pretty much the only issue I had with this race! Great logistics/organization & planning of this race!
I ALWAYS forget to take pictures when I run (how do people do that without falling on their faces??) but I got a nice girl to take my picture after I finished!
New bling to add to my collection! I loved that all finishers got a medal, especially since it was the inaugural 8K for this race. A little background I learned in my research about this race-- it was originally held in Greensboro in it's first year but then moved to HIgh Point. Then, the races were a full marathon and a half marathon but they didn't hold this event last year in either HP or GSO. The race benefits Foster Friends of NC, an organization that supports children experiencing foster care academically, emotionally, and financially in ways the state cannot. I just think it is such a great organization and I was so happy that this race was so successful that it could help such a worthy organization.
Here are some of my race stats- slowly but surely getting back to my pace from before I got sick in January-February!!!
I feel like my moving pace was great but I need to make sure that during my walk intervals, I keep my walking pace up. Since I do 3:1 run/walk intervals, I always get self-conscious when I do smaller distance races like this one (pretty much anything less than a half haha) but I've been better at ignoring what other people are doing and focus on my own pace and staying focused on my own feet. I just need to be confident that I have my own running plan in my head for my races and I need to focus on that and not what everyone else is doing.
You can see from the map above, the majority of the race was going down and back up Elm Street in downtown Greensboro. This course was rolling hills the ENTIRE race. Not that I can't run hills, I just wasn't mentally focused on those so it just threw me off in the first mile (I started WAY too fast) since the race started downhill and finished going uphill.
I think I was rapping Eminem at this point?? haha I am such an intense runner! (JK)
One of major highlight of this race was that I finally had negative splits! I've been working hard since last fall to get the coveted negative splits in a race and I finally got that in this race! If you are wondering what negative splits are-- it basically means you run the last half of your race (whatever distance) than the first half. The whole point of doing this is conserving your energy at the beginning to go all out at the end. I find it so hard to do this in shorter distance races but as I try to do more 8Ks, 10Ks, and hopefully 15Ks, I will work on it some more to ultimately help with my half marathons.
Overall, I had SUCH a great time at this race! Everyone was so helpful and nice! The other runners were so encouraging and motivating of other runners throughout the race and after. The race was organized so well and everything ran smoothly. I will definitely run this race again next year (if I still live in Greensboro/NC) and maybe the half marathon depending on my race schedule next spring!