Race Recap: Howard County Striders Women’s Distance Festival 5k

So here’s the thing about being a military spouse- active or reserve – you learn to adjust your schedule to your spouses. That was why I “deferred” the Cherry Blossom 10 this year.

Sometimes, I get bummed out when I miss out on fun races. Other times, you make due with what you’ve got, lean on your village and move forward. I stumbled upon the Howard County Strider’s Women’s Distance Festival 5k – an evening race – a few weeks ago and was pretty pumped to sign up. It was drill weekend, but I knew Hubs would be home in time.

Funny thing about evening races, I never know how to fuel for them. I don’t like to eat a whole lot before I run, otherwise I get crampy. But having run on not a lot of gas on Friday evening when it was really warm and I was neither fueled nor hydrated, I know the fine line between being over fueled (crampy and just sluggish) and not fueled enough (no further comparison needed. Like driving a car on empty).

Hubs got home and while I was going to meet up with a pal for a beverage after, she cancelled, so the boys followed me out there after a chick fil a dinner. It wasn’t the perfect dinner but it worked.  Just a simple grilled chicken sandwich about an hour before the race. It wasn’t heavy, had enough protein and carbs. I probably could have made a protein shake but sometimes they make my stomach…grumbly so I didn’t want to risk it. We’ll leave it at that.

They made it just in time to see the warm up that was held (is it bad that I rarely “warm up” in a traditional sense? i was great at it when I was mentoring with Fleet Feet but not really much since) and to see the start. It warms my heart when my boys are there cheering me on. Love them.

howard county striders womens distance festival 5k

Anyhow! The race.

Small race. Insanely well organized. Empty course (cars wise – there were runners, derp)- I guess that’s what happens when you take over a largely commercial/business park section of Columbia on a Saturday night. A touch hillier than I was anticipating but less so than Centennial Park.

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I felt pretty good – the first half mile was at a sub 10:00 pace, then we hit the gradual up hill. My splits were…way off.

The second mile was an out and back spur off the main loop – so a little downhill, a little uphill and a little more downhill and a little more uphill. It was…not entirely un-pleasant. Our neighborhood is mildly hilly so I’m mostly used to gentle hills.

Mile 2 – 3 was more gentle hills (nothing major) with a steady downhill down back onto Columbia Gateway.

I felt pretty solid at the finish – the last quarter mile or so was a solid (though short and not too steep) downhill, with the last .1 flat and a slight up to the finish.

womens distance running festival columbia md

Hubs and Little Man were waiting and cheering me – the crowd, though smaller, was certainly energetic despite the ominous skies that were rolling in by 7:30ish. Little man and I shared a cupcake (they were so good!) and then we headed out! All in all, a really fun race that I would totally do again next year – I believe it’s a part of the Women’s Distance series which includes the Baltimore Women’s 5k in June and the Annapolis Women’s Distance Festival in July

Time: 32:41
Pace: 10:38/mi

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