I have a LOT of photos to share this time so make sure to enjoy the ones in the slide show on the bottom of this post if your subscription via email isn’t displaying them properly. Some of them are of a local 5k but don’t be mislead by the title of this post, they aren’t in the nude. Nor are the ones that represent all of the places I have been streaking around the east coast and midwest lately.

This is our third year to participate in the Juniata County Business and Professional Women’s 5k. We started with its first year and are pleased to have not missed a race since it debuted in 2011. I had also been streaking the Capital 10-miler in Harrisburg but had important family business in Ann Arbor this year and chose to miss it.

2012 Juniata County BPW

2012 Juniata County BPW

The Juniata Co. BPW 5k has a history, for me, of being a pretty challenging race. The course is very nice and the volunteers are the best but I seem to have an annual habit of making it harder for myself than I need too. The first year (see the race photo here) was pouring buckets of ice-cold rain. I was not responsible for the weather but I was not being wise to the fact that I was creating a terrible heal spur with untreated plantar fasciitis. I was in terrible pain in 2011. Last year, I had been up very late to stay with my sister, Tracy, after a late concert she wanted to attend then have a driving buddy to our parents house. It made for a very jolly run in 2012, seeing Tracy across the finish line of her very first 5k but I was quite tired from the lack of sleep.

Here is Jimmy the Eye’s race recap:
The Juniata County Business and Professional Women’s 3rd annual Wellness 5K on April 13, 2013.

Began and ended at Cedar Grove Church in Mifflintown.

We knew we would be doing this race on very little sleep, and since this is one that we are both streaking, we wanted to keep the tradition going. In fact, we joked that the tradition is starting to look like doing this 5K on little sleep, as last year Terri did it with only a few hours rest as well.

After seeing our son perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, we made it back to my in-law’s home in Lewistown in Saturday’s early hours. Soon after 3 a.m. we both agreed to what time to set the alarms to get up. At 6:30 a.m., we both questioned why we needed to get up so early. Stiff from a full day of traveling, we got freshened up and got dressed for the 5K. It was a brisk temperature outside as we enjoyed our coffee and looked at the clock.

As it was going on 8 a.m., we decided to head out and let everyone else sleep. We made early it to where race registration would take place, and agreed to drive the race route just to refresh our memories. We both think that this is a great little 5k route, typical of the terrain of the region — including the “road-apples.” Mentally we noted when the up hills started, where the mile markers were, and where the half-way point/water station would be located. When we can, we find that driving a race route to get familiar with its course really helps us to mentally prepare for the run ahead of us.

Parking is ample at the church, and we chose our spot. The next hour and a half went quickly. Made up of short warm-up jogs and stretches, picking up our race packets, fueling, and deciding what to finally end up wearing. The race packets had our shirts (great teal color this year!), wrist band, coupons, and sponsor’s flyers and we had good time looking through everything. We watched other runners arrive, and tried to determine if they were in our age category. It was nice recognizing folks from either this race or the other regional races. Most importantly, we agreed upon that this run was to be about no injuries, running our own race, and no PRs.

I never feel confident deciding where to be in the pack before the race start. As crowd of around 60 gathered at the line, I looked around and settled behind a gentleman who I thought might have similar if not slightly faster pace. He is in the 60+ group, and is an inspiration to see running. I saw Terri was just a few few feet back from me. I felt pretty good overall, nicely warmed-up, and ready. There was another gentleman ahead of me, and I remembered him from last year’s run. I could just read on his bib that he was 53 years old and so was in my age category. I figured his strategy was to start off quickly, get some distance, and then settle in to his pace. So at this point I tried to only think of my run, keep in a good form and stay in tune with what my body was saying at any given time.

I like playing the mental game of “shark and remora” so as the race began, I staying tucked just a couple of steps off of the 60+ man’s left. I noticed that the 53 year old was just that distance away from his right side. The pace might have been a little quicker that I would have started out at, but I reassured myself that I was warmed up, and my body agreed. I really do not remember much about passing folks or being passed during the first mile — I just was keeping within striking distance with the two other guys as long as it felt right. Ideally, I thought that I would make any move after 2 miles, and to see how they both handled hills and straight aways.

The first hill started its climb, and the older of the two started to slow his pace just a bit. The younger was steady the three of us probably looked like part of a line of geese flying in formation. As the first turn approached and the hill kept climbing, I decided to make my first move. I knew the course and I was in a great spot for taking the tangents and the first half of the course. I kept tight to the turn and eased past the older fellow. Now it was the 53 y.o. and me. I kept off of his left a couple of steps as the hill climbed and turned again. With uphills there are downhills, so I was interested in seeing how he handled this one, which is gentle. We crested the hill, and as we neared the 1 mile mark, he started to back off his pace and coast the hill. Terri is my running inspiration, and her training tips are always insightful. My shins and feet felt great, my form felt good, and I was ready to use this hill to my advantage. I looked at my watch — 10:10 . “Wow, this run is certainly feeling a lot different than a 10:10 pace, but every run is different. ” I tried to efficiently use the downhill and moved on ahead of my shark. Now, the remora becomes the shark, and I had a feeling that he was going to stay right behind me. I did not look around, and really could not hear if anyone was there since I choose not to run with my hearing aids in. When I looked at my watch again I realized that I was looking at the time of day, not my running time. Oh well, I wasn’t going to get hung up on that. I kept up the pace to the halfway point and decided not to slow to take water. I cheered on the folks that had made the turn already, trying to note their age and gender. As I made the turn, I could see my remora my some distance back, but not knowing his style, felt he could still catch up on the next hill. I looked for Terri, and spotted her. We both moved toward to center line and slapped hands as we passed by each other. What a highlight!

I found another shark ahead in the distance. She had a pace similar to mine and we gradually climbed the hill and the 2 mile mark. The next leg is a bit of a blur, but I kept what felt was a steady pace and tried to think of good form. Near the 3 mile mark a younger boy and I jockeyed back and forth for a bit, and I am sure that he didn’t want to be “pappied” and made his kick. I thought about it for a split second, but decided to wait until closer to the finish line. The finish is at the bottom of a small hill in the church parking lot. I turned into the lot, saw the clock, and mentally saw that I could probably make it in just under 25 minutes.

I kicked into high gear, crossed the line, and then just kept walking to the water station. I know from Terri’s and my own experience how important it is to not stop immediately after a run. I looked down the course to see Terri on the final stretch. I grabbed a water and hustled over to cheer her on as she crossed the line.

Tired after the 2013 Juniata Co. BPW 5k

Tired after the 2013 Juniata Co. BPW 5k

We spent some time cheering on other runners and cooling down together until the race awards were handed out. We went back to the finish line to see the finishing times and age groups and saw that we were most likely first in our categories.

Terri picked out a spot good for taking photos, and we clapped for the winners in the younger age groups. As it became time for the 50-59 groups, the announcer said that there was a delay and she talked to another woman or two. We joked that they needed to double-check if there was any doping, and a fellow near us said it was from the poppy seed muffin I had eaten.

Terri was awarded first place in her group and I snapped a photo of her and her group holding their awards. They handed out the wards in the final two categories before wrapping back to the men’s 50-59 group. There were only three runners in the race in that category and we all got awards! Next year it looks like there could be some serious speedy new 50year olds though.

Overall, this is a great little 5K. Not too many people, and a fair share of walk/runners with plenty of crowd support at the end. Its terrain is just what we typically train on, and so feels good to us. The group raises money for a good cause, and I hope this race continues for many years to come. I do hope that in the future, we do get more sleep the night before, but until then, it makes for some good tales as we streak this race.

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