This is a recap of my personal experience at the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k. If you’d like just the nitty-gritty race details, check out my review on BibRave.com here.
Where/When: Williston, VT | May 7, 2016, 9 am
Weather: Sunny, mid-60’s, breezy
This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve run this race, and just as in years past, it’s a well-oiled machine. The race starts and ends at the Allen Brook school, so there’s plenty of parking as long as you get there about 8:30. Runners/walkers have access to real bathrooms and running water, which is always a plus. There’s a DJ, music, face painting and kids’ activities, and registration is a breeze, either online or on site.
Just before 9 am, we were told to head out to the start line. Sharon Keegan, the Administrator of Vermont Respite House, said a few words, and we had a moment of silence to remember our loved ones. Runners started first at 9, and walkers/bikers etc started just after.
On the Course:
I woke up feeling really good that morning, and ready to make a PR attempt, with the understanding that if my quad or foot started acting up, I’d back off immediately. I’m very familiar with the course, having run it two times previously, so I felt pretty comfortable setting out at a 9ish minute mile pace. The course has a couple of decently-sized hills, but also several really nice long downhills, which I definitely used to my advantage. I just LOVE to fly down hills.
My first mile beeped in the low 9s and I was still feeling good, so I just focused on keeping a comfortably hard pace and trying not to over-do it. I have a tendency to let my fear of blowing up keep me from pushing in races, so I was trying to find the balance. Every time I looked at my watch, I was surprised by how fast I was going, and still feeling pretty good. Just before mile 3, I got a rush of adrenaline, which made me feel kind of sick, but also helped me push through with a fast finish. As I crested the final small hill toward the downhill finish, I saw 27:xx on the race clock, and knew I was in for a PR, so I kicked it as much as I could, and finished with 27:32 on my Garmin.
27:32–that’s over a minute off last year’s 5k PR at the same race! And when I checked my splits, the were perfect–9:01, 8:56, 8:43, last .11 at 7:23 pace. I was delighted, but also still feeling kind of sick, so I grabbed a bottle of water and walked around for a bit. I went to my car and changed into sandals, and then went inside for some food. The spread continues to impress–bagels, cider donuts, coffee, water, juice, granola bars, apples, bananas, and cookies.
I sat at a picnic table, watching the finish line, eating my snacks, and basking in the glory of my shiny new birthday PR. When they posted the official race results, it was even more awesome–27:30! Fourth in my age group, just like the last two years. They did the awards ceremony with medals for 1st and 2nd in each 10 year age group, plus medals for overall male and female winners, and then presented certificates to the top fundraisers.
Even without the PR, this is still my favorite race, and I will be back every year. The sense of community is incredible, and the Respite House staff and volunteers are truly so grateful for support and participation. They remember people from year to year. The Respite House Administrator, Sharon Keegan, gave me a huge hug, asked about my family, and took a picture with me to send to my mom. That’s about as good as it gets 🙂
When racing, how do you know when to rein it in and when to push?