October brings along my favorite part of race season.
Aside from the cooler running temperatures, it is also time for some of my favorite races in the area! Which also means that I need to pick and choose which ones that I want to run – since I can’t be in multiple places at the same time! This past weekend was one of those decisions. There were 2 events in Green Bay on the same morning and I love both of them! The Bellin Women’s Half Marathon and the Pink Pumpkin 5k. I have run the Bellin Half marathon for the last few years (This year was the 3rd annual run) and I have run the Pink Pumpkin 5k 2 out of the last 4 years. Since they were on the same morning, at virtually the same time, I couldn’t do both!
As much as I wanted to take on the challenge of the half marathon, and join most of my girl friends for a run through Green bay and DePere, my heart told me that the Pink Pumpkin was where I needed to be this year. This event features a timed 5k run as well as an untimed 5k walk. It is designed to bring all of those affected by cancer together to support each other and raise funds to help the organization continue its mission to provide cancer education throughout the community.
Since this event is held at NWTC, and is only 1.5 miles from my house, I decided to walk to the start line. I left early, so that I could get there early to take part in the pre race festivities, including getting my own pink hair extensions and see my dear friend Diane (who just happens to be the Executive Director for the Breast Cancer Family Foundation – the organization that puts on this awesome race!)
many thanks to the crew from the Paul Mitchell School that came out to do the hair extensions! Your time and generosity at the event was greatly appreciated! Plus I got to leave with fun pink hair!
Aside from the hair extensions, there is plenty to do before the race including face painting, refreshments, music, raffle prizes, survivor group photo in the Pumpkin Patch and pink pumpkins for purchase in honor or memory of a loved one or friend. Of course we had to have fun in the photo booth too! GB PhotoBox was there, not only with their photo booth, but also their selfie printer! Any photo’s posted to Instagram and tagged with #PinkPumkinGB were automatically uploaded to the monitor near the photo booth for you to stop by and print out! Too fun – and WAY Cool!!!
Since most of my girlfriends were running the women’s half marathon on the other side of town, I was excited that my friend Ashley was joining me to run this event! We are both on a pair of teams running the Door County Fall 50 relay in a few weeks. Of the 9 of us ladies running on the 2 Fall 50 teams, 8 of us were running today between the 2 events! I love my running friends and the support we all get from each other!
It might have been a rainy morning, but we were not going to let that stop us from having a great time! Time to run, have some fun and have a great morning!
Since I know that Ashley is a much faster runner than me, we headed to the start line together and that would be the last time we would see each other until after I crossed the finish line! We both were on a mission to push the miles hard, just at our own paces!
I will say that this is a small 5k, but I love the course and the challenge that it provides. Even though I live in the area, I actually forgot just how hilly this course was, until I got out there! The first 3/4 of a mile of the course is this amazing, long gradual downhill, which gave me the chance to really get the legs warmed up and stretched out! But this was just the start! I can honestly say that I think I was always either going up or down a hill from the time I left until I crossed the finish line! Normally, when I run hills, I use the flat parts to recover and then just enjoy the downhills as they come. There was no flats to recover on, so it was all out, the whole time! Once you get past the initial downhill stretch, you head into a beautiful residential area where you run past some beautiful homes, and it ALMOST makes you forget about how many hills you are going up and down!
Oh, Remember that long gradual hill that I mentioned at the beginning of the course? Well, in order to get back to the finish line, you need to go back UP that same hill! As I approached that long hill, part of me wanted to walk, but my dear friend Ashleigh (aka The Running Wife) snuck into m y brain. “Don’t stop!! Run when you can, walk if you must, and crawl if you have to!” I will have to say that, although I didn’t have to crawl, I did end up having to walk at a few points on this long hill just to recover a bit, but I was determined NOT to let that hill beat me!
I was ended up playing leapfrog with an older gentleman on the hill who stuck to his own pace and ran that entire hill. Once I turned the last corner, and was on my way up the last hill, I knew that it was time to go for that final push. As I passed that same gentleman again, he turned to me and told me “Go! Get that finish line and finish strong!”
I ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 31:03. Not my best 5k time, but definitely a respectable time considering the rainy conditions… and those hills! Lesson for the day… no matter how many hills you run during training, when there are hills at an event, they have a way of getting into your head! You need to find a way to stop them from getting to you… and just get over them!
I will have to say that my favorite part of the morning was AFTER my race. When I finished and caught up with Ashley to get a post race pic at the photo booth, I headed back towards the finish line and back out onto the course. About halfway back down that long hill that I had just run up, I found me dear friend Katie and her daughter Emma, who were walking with Katie’s mom. This event holds a special place with them and today was not about running or even how long it took to walk the miles, it was all about family and supporting each other. We walked, talked and laughed the rest of the way to the finish line (Emma slept!). I was honored to have been able to cross the finish line with these fine ladies!
Katie, now that I have met your mom, I can see where you get so much of your amazing personality from!! Thank you for letting me join you on the last part of your journey to that finish line!
Once again, Pink Pumpkin 2017 did not disappoint! Always love this event and seeing so many people out there supporting each other!
Come join us next year as we gather to support each other again!