Saturday, September 12, 2015

Race Report: New Years Day 2015 Black Eyed Pea Run

As much as I enjoy running marathons, there are other races out there, too. One of the benefits of the grind and pain sometimes associated with the really long runs needed to prepare for marathons is that shorter runs seem easy in comparison. Given my love of and devotion to running, kicking the year off with a race seemed like a great way to get 2015 going!

There are plenty of New Year's Day runs out there; I'm not the only one who loves the idea of accomplishing something physically on the first day of the year. As another example of why living in Fayetteville is so awesome, though, we had the opportunity to join the inaugural Black Eyed Pea run put on by not only locals, but by someone I know!
Jennie, Pauline (awesome race organizer!), me and Shauna
The running community is tight, and that is as true in my hometown as anywhere in the world.

It gets better, though - not only was it local, and the inaugural year, but it was FREE!! Pauline found local businesses to help out, and has enough friends who volunteered to put it on, that it was yet another amazing thing that makes living here so great. I'm not saying I wouldn't have paid for it, but how do you pass up a free race that's in your backyard?! Add to it the best good running friends ever, and I was all in.
Some of my Java Jogger crew, plus kids and Hank the canine member
The atmosphere before the race was unique to any other race I've ever done - it was basically a big group of local friends who were excited to run together on a beautiful, crisp winter morning. There was music, hot chocolate, lots of laughing and a little bit of picture taking, too! I'm not sure if Pauline's neighbors were as excited about the crowd as we were, but I hope they were good sports about it. It cracked me up that packet pick up was in their garage, but at the same time, it ran more smoothly than a lot of races I've paid for in the past! Ha!

Of course, like we say on occasion, we were just running this one for fun. As we lined up at the start line, Shauna and I looked forward to an easy run, knocking out a few miles to help offset the snacks and appetizers I would eat as I watched the New Year's Day football games later. Naturally, the planned easy pace turned into a "let's see if we can make ourselves throw up" pace.
Official time was actually 8:16 pace, 51:13 total. BOOM.
I will someday accept that I cannot pace myself to save my life. Sometimes it's cool that I'm ultra competitive; sometimes I wonder, why?? The thing is, though, Shauna and I didn't really feel like we were going to die for most of the race. We knew we were going fast, but we felt okay, so we kept it up. And the route was along the trails that we know so well, so it truly was like just being out for a run together with no pressure.

No pressure other than the other people running the race who were either just close enough ahead to pass, or coming up on our heels and we wanted to see if we could stay in front of. None of which was ever communicated verbally, of course. But still. Now, when we saw the course photographer, there was the tiny bit of pressure to make your race pictures look like you're having fun and not in pain.
Me and my Twinnie (and random photo bombing runner)!
Any race where my back half fade results in an 8:41 mile, I'll take it. To top it off, the last bit of the race back into Pauline's neighborhood had a CRAZY hill. I'm not sure how I pulled off that 8:41, to be honest. Once that finish line came in view, I must've picked it up a bit, because a sub-8:00 pace of any distance is a rarity in my running these days. With official timing and a finish line arch, this local race felt big at the same time - and then there was bling, too!!
Once at the finish line, the warm drinks and festive atmosphere welcomed us to stay for a while. The problem with perfect running weather, though, is it isn't so great for stand-around weather once you're sweaty. A few more pictures, and it was time to head home, get cleaned up, and celebrate the New Year with our feet up.
Overall, I absolutely loved this race. With both a 5k and a 10k, it was a great mix of casual walk/runners, crazy good runners, and everything in between. It was laid back but super-well run at the same time. It was free to participate, but it still had all of the elements of a bigger race. Packet pick up; swag bag; official timing; arch at the start / finish line; professional photos. And oh-by-the-way, the photographer made all of his amazing pictures available to the race participants for free. Truly, would you find that anywhere other than Fayetteville??

I really, really hope that the Allens put this race on again next year. There are so many reasons I love living here, and this is yet another one to add to the growing list. I love that I've lived here long enough that I know people, and my people are runners. I love that there are people so generous as to put the time, energy, effort and yes, money into something that the local running community can embrace. I love that my friends and I had the ability to not just participate, but to be a part of making it a success. Here's to being a "streaker" and running the local Black Eyed Pea run for years to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment