Race: Throo The Zoo 5K
Place: Louisville Zoo, Louisville, Kentucky
Date: May 10, 2014
Less than 12 hours after arriving back at home from the Pro.Active For Life 5K in Frankfort, Kentucky, I was awake, dressed in running clothes once again, and heading out the door to run another 5K. Hi…I might be addicted to racing…again! HAHA!!
My legs were feeling a little tired, but good when I woke up early that morning so I could get in my physical therapy leg stretches prior to the race. I also brewed up a cup of coffee because…I gotta have my coffee. It’s required. Anyway, I stretched and enjoyed a leisurely morning…listening to the sound of the rain outside.
But…after eating some cereal and finishing the race prep stuff, there was a lull in the precipitation. I threw on a rain jacket though and Cathy and I headed back out to hop in the car and make our way to the Louisville Zoo…for another one of the races I seem to have a habit of running…the Throo The Zoo 5K.
The drive over was uneventful and rather easy. And, for once, we weren’t stuck in the long line of cars streaming into the zoo. Nope. Not this time. Cathy went some back way into the Louisville Zoo…and that worked like a charm. We were into the zoo and parked without any problems. As we got out of the car to find packet pickup…the rain kicked in again. We donned our hoods on our rain jackets and made our way toward the zoo entrance, where packet pickup was happening at some tables that were under cover.
Packet pickup was a breeze. I got my race bib and some safety pins at one table and then was sent over to another table to get my t-shirt. The shirt this year was light blue with a white tiger on it. LOVE! Cathy and I then walked back toward the car to toss the t-shirt in there and get me pinned up. Now, normally I would have just sat in the car for a little while and waited on the rain, which was now falling harder to pass…but this, apparently, wasn’t even crossing Cathy’s mind. She pinned me up and was up and walking toward where the start of the race was going to be. There were some tents set up…for Whole Foods (who were dishing up yogurt, berry & granola parfaits), and McDonalds (they had apple slices) and a table with bananas…and the Fleet Feet tent…which was PACKED with people. Cathy and I ducked under a tree…which wasn’t keeping us dry. And that’s when the lightning started. I made some comment about not being under trees during lightning and she got all miffy at me for the comment and…then Fleet Feet’s tent cleared out momentarily…so we ducked under that.
I spotted Laura and Mike from my local running group, as they took cover under the Whole Foods tent. The starting line was still being inflated, but the lightning was very active. Finally, as people started to line up at the start…the announcement came that the race would be delayed for 30 minutes. If there was still lightning, they would make the call on whether the race would be cancelled and rescheduled. After all, the zoo had to open and all at some point.
So, Cathy and I moved over to the Whole Foods tent to talk with Laura and Mike while we waited the official word from the organizers. I always like hanging out with these two. They are so much fun. Anyway…the lightning did stop soon after the race was delayed…and with the rain lightening up, Mike and Laura decided to try to get a light run in prior to the race. So, they headed out.
The announcement came that the race was going ahead, so I got out from under the tent and stepped into the rain. I kept my rain jacket on until about 5 minutes before the official start…maybe closer to 2 minutes…I won’t lie. Finally, I shed it, stepped away from my roomie and got into the starting line. I wasn’t up front, but I wasn’t too far behind it either. I knew my legs were shot from not only spin class on Friday, but also my hard race through Frankfort (with my new 5K PR!), Kentucky the night before. This wasn’t going to be a speedy 5K, but I was going to get these legs moving the best I could. We were all awaiting the horn to send us on our way…in the rain…and through the zoo.
That came soon after…and we were off.
Now, in the two previous years I have run the Throo The Zoo 5K, the course has been mostly through the surrounding streets and neighborhoods, with the last bit going into the zoo, and up Gorilla Hill, before sending us out of the zoo and around to the finish. So, usually it was maybe about the last mile and a half or something. But this year…they changed the course again and MOST of the race was actually done…inside the zoo. This made me so stupidly and incredibly happy.
The start of the race was damp, but we went out fast. I eased up immediately, knowing that my legs were already feeling the night before. But, I pressed on, because I was going to still take this as a challenge. This was not a course to PR on, because there would be narrow areas where only a few people could be across…and some steep inclines to deal with as well. This wasn’t a PR attempt for me, so I was okay with that. The first part of the race happened on the neighborhood roads, for less than half a mile. Then we made a left turn to enter through the back part of the zoo. Mike was standing on the corner cheering as I ran past. That was awesome. Into the zoo I went…where I encountered something akin to mud running. The path was a complete mess…mud everywhere. I was sad that I wore my new compression sleeves because I could feel the mud being kicked up on them already. Ah well…part of being a runner, I suppose. At least I wore my old Newton’s and not my new ones for my shoes that morning.
The next half mile was spent in the zoo itself. I could see quite a few animals as I ran past, which only made me smile. At Mile 1, we left the zoo to wind our way through a couple of the parking lots, past a water station, and then just after Mile 1.5…go back into the zoo for the next mile and a half. This was fun! I loved the variety of animals and the people I was running near or around. One thing that did peeve me off, however, was this dad who was running with his little girl. She was struggling and he turned around and told her that if she wanted to PR, she had to move it! She said her shoe was untied…so she stopped to tie it. I thought he was going to blow a gasket. But I ran past them and didn’t hear from them again. Who knows how that turned out.
After making a few climbs, and some downhills too, I wound my way out of the zoo, hitting Mile 3. The finish line was just ahead, so I put on the afterburners as much as I could, moving as quickly as I could to get across the line. I managed…with a much slower time that last year, indeed. By about a minute and a half. Back to back races are tough, man!
Cathy came over to congratulate me and I went to snag some water from the recovery area. I had a raffle ticket to deposit at the white tent, but Cathy told me to grab water while she dropped it in. I did just that and went to find her afterwards. She wasn’t sure if I placed or not in my age group, so we decided to hang around for a little while. This turned out to be a long, long while…actually. But at least at this point it had stopped raining.
As the race was finishing up, someone did come over to the tent to remind runners to get their raffle tickets into the drawing as that would start soon. I was now getting hungry, so I snagged some apples from the McDonalds table and Cathy got a parfait to at least keep the hunger at bay before we could go get gluten-free crepes at The Flea Off Market from our favorite food truck, Sweet ‘N Savory. They called over everyone in costume for the costume contest and then began some raffle drawings.
I didn’t win. Anything.
That pretty much sums it up. Finally…it was time for some awards. YAY!
They gave away the overall female, male, master, and grandmaster awards…and then…passed it off for the costume contest. At this point, I was starving and really ready to go get some food. But, we cheered those in costume to help decide the winners. The Incredible Kermit…FTW!! And the awards then came back…and I didn’t place in my division either. So…we decided to go get some food…finally!
Except…The Flea Off Market was postponed…so instead…we went to Annie May’s Sweet Café for breakfast sandwiches and some take-n-bake cinnamon rolls and take-n-bake mac & cheese. We ate our sammies…and then headed out to do some grocery shopping and some regular shopping…while killing time. We were meeting up with my good friend, and running buddy, Kelsie, at The Comfy Cow for ice cream at 2 p.m.
Anyway…the experience and the thrill of this run was what made it. The weather didn’t even dampen my spirits too much in the end. I actually found the challenge of back-to-back 5Ks difficult…but one I was really ready to just test myself on. Since the ankle injury, I haven’t been pushing my pace or myself much on my runs. This was a way to test my will to actually push myself…at least a little.
So, the official results of the Throo The Zoo 5K is that I finished the race in 23:45. I was okay with this time. Much slower than last year, but I ran hard just over 12 hours before this one…so…yeah…this was good for me. I was 55/1252 finishers overall. I was the 14/765 female finishers. And I was 5/130 people in my age division! I’ll take that!
It’s good to be back to running races again…of varying length. The 5K distance is not my strongest race because I’m not a sprinter. But…these back-to-back 5Ks were a great challenge and a good exercise for me. I can’t wait to run Throo The Zoo again next year. Preferably without the rain.