Friday, July 1, 2011

Race Report: River Rat 5K

Last Saturday, I ran the River Rat 5K in my hometown.  I completed this race last year and loved it: the course was scenic and flat, it was a small race and I knew several participants, plus I liked the race swag.  This year's race was on my calendar well in advance, and for $15, I couldn't beat the price.

Another nice thing about racing in my hometown is that my parents have the opportunity to watch me run.  I am so grateful for all the support they've given me throughout my life.  They've made plenty of sacrifices for my brothers and me.

Mom, Dad and I headed over to Belle Prairie Park, on the outskirts of town, just before 7:30 a.m.  I like to arrive early to the race start, and this time, I got a nice pre-race jog in along with several potty breaks and picking up my race packet.

The sun was out and the temperatures were warming up fast, so I changed into a running tank, ditching a 2009 race t-shirt I had been wearing.  Like last year, my parents and I saw and talked to several people that we knew.  I also chatted with a girl from up by the Fargo area and she was super nice.

My goals for the race were to beat last year's time (25:16) and to finish second in my age group like I did last year.  I figured I could beat last year's time, but age group placements often depend on who shows up to the race.

At 8:30, a lone gunshot started off the race.  The small number of participants made it easy to find my race pace quickly.  Mom and Dad positioned themselves near the finish line, and since the course looped the paved path three times, they saw me four times during the course of the race.

These photos were taken just after the start of the race:

Mom cut me off in this picture... you can see my right arm and a smile on the right side of the photo :)
A shot of my back side... I'm in the pink tank and black/blue shorts
I tend to go out way too fast in races, so I tried to rein it in as much as I could while still maintaining a fast pace.  The weather wasn't nearly as humid as last year, and I dressed better for the race this time around.

Mile 1 - 7:56

Chasing down the kid after the first loop of the course.  I didn't want to let him beat me!
A portion of the course was right next to the Mississippi River
I was getting bored with my usual race day playlist, so I listened to Christian hip-hop artist J. Alan, who also happens to be future hubs's brother.  His clever lyrics and beats are the perfect music to listen to when I'm running.
During the second loop, I found myself surrounded by the same three guys.  We kept jockeying positions, although there was only one that I wanted to catch.  His name is John and he's a family friend.  His daughter and I graduated from high school together.  He beat me last year, so this year I wanted to beat him.

John (pointing at the camera) says hi to my folks.  I'm gaining on him!
Mile 2 - 7:59

Starting the third and final loop of the course
Because I was sick the day before the race, I was concerned how my stomach would affect my run.  Fortunately, my tummy gave me no problems during the race.

I kept a comfortably difficult pace going for the race.  I knew I could keep it going for the race, but I also knew that I didn't want to go any faster than that.  I didn't want to shoot for a new PR.  I slowed down for a brief period during the final loop of the course, but picked it up again.

Having run this race last year, I knew when to kick it in.  I passed John with about a quarter-mile left to go.

Mile 3 - 8:03

Heading towards the finish line
Final .10-mile - 0:37 (7:16 pace)

Just like at the ALARC Legends 10K, there was an old-school finish chute where a race volunteer ripped the tag off the bottom of my race bib.  Once I made my way out of the chute, I found my parents and then grabbed a banana to eat and a cup of water.

John found me after the race and congratulated me, but then said "Next year, it's on!"  I like our little rivalry.  Bring it, John!

The "River Rat" (a high school kid wearing a rat costume) made a brief appearance.  I didn't get a photo of her, but I did get one with the giant mousetrap.

Next year, I'll get a photo with the River Rat :)
Here are the official results:

Official finish time: 24:33
Average pace: 7:54/mile
Overall place: 45/185
Gender place: 12/112
Division place: 2/16 (20-29 age group)

Door prizes and awards were given out once the kids' fun run finished up:

I won a door prize this year: a bright yellow Anderson Race Management cinch bag.

Age group awards were "chamber bucks" - $5 to be spent at any business in town that is a member of the local chamber of commerce.

Receiving my chamber bucks (AG award)
Mom and Dad also had a good time watching the race and chatting with several people they knew.

The swag: a chocolate-colored t-shirt, coupons, bib number, and my AG chamber bucks
I thoroughly enjoyed the race.  It's always nice to come home to do a race.  I'm also pleased that I reached my two goals for the race.  Yay!

Is there a local race that you enjoy participating in year after year?
Beside the River Rat 5K, I also like doing the Turkey Day 5K in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving with my uncle and future hubs.


  1. First - GIRL YOU ARE FAST!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm beyond impressed!!! Great job achieving your 2 goals for this race!!!! Wow - you are FAST. Oh my goodness!!!

    Second, there is a race called River City Rat Race and is a 5K & 10K in the big city near my house every October. It has a person in a rat costume, but they totally need the trap - how.cute! Hal Higdon said that the River City Rat Race is one of the most scenic 10K's in America - so that's saying something. I have done it the last 2 years and really do enjoy the fall beauty (I'll miss it this year bc I'm doing the RnR St. Louis - bummer).
    Great recap -looks like a lot of fun!!!!! Love that your parents were there to cheer you and be your official race photographer.

  2. Very good job. Got second in your age group - woot! You are fast.

    I do our local July 4th race. VERY low key but fun. I'm glad there aren't many people watching because I feel a little self conscious running in front of people I know.

  3. Great job Richelle!! And in your Ag! AWESOME! Your speed has totally improved!!

    Happy 4th you!!!!!

    I love these race photos btw, you look great!!!

  4. SPEEDY GIRL!!! Congrats on a great race and a fantastic time! I have never done a race more than once.... I would do the Eugene Marathon again tho in a heartbeat

  5. Congrats on a fantastic 5K girl! Awesome age group placement too! You should be super proud of yourself! Fun race report with great pictures!

  6. What a great race!! Congrats! I have done a couple races twice..but I always try to be on the lookout for ones I have never done before. I like to switch it up.