What do the best coffee company in the area, an awesome cause, and 5K running have in common?
THE ROOK RUN!
I am a Rook Coffee fanatic (New Orleans Style is my jam), and was excited when I saw that they had a 5K in Long Branch that benefited The Valerie Fund, but missed last year's because it was in November, after my running season ended.
When I saw that this year's would be on October 11, I jumped on registration back in April, when it was $10 off.
Of course, it felt like FOREVER away, but once race weekend came, it felt like it went too fast.
Now, since this was a run sponsored by a coffee company, you know my shirt had to say coffee on it. ;-) I found this one on Raw Threads and thought it was fitting.
As for the rest? I love orange, so I went with that as the other color. I thought it worked and so many other people loved it too!
The race had a late start at 10:00, but I still had to be in the area early for parking and keeping loose and warm. It was about 50 degrees that morning, but the area was mostly in the sun, so it felt warmer.
Rook was giving away iced New Orleans before and after the race. WIN! I wasn't planning on drinking coffee until it was all said and done, but next thing I knew, I was drinking a sample sized coffee about a half hour before the race. Well, why not.
Next thing I knew, it was time to head over to the start area. This was where I was glad the race was chip timed with a start mat. There were about 2,000 plus runners, so crowding was going to be a factor. I set myself up in the middle somewhere and hoped for the best.
Here's a bird's-eye view of the sea of runners. Photo comes from Holly Migliaccio's Instagram. She is the owner of Rook and one awesome person. =)
Next thing we knew, the horn sounded and we were off!
Once I got going, I had one time goal: All miles below 12:00. I wasn't planning on a PR that day, mostly because of the crowding. I just wanted to have a solid race and a good time.
I accomplished both and then some.
I ran with both my Polar and Caledos app, and started both a little too early, so I had no clue of my EXACT pace, but I did have an idea of where I was in terms of both time and pace.
According to Caledos, I hit the first mile at 11:46. A little too close for my liking, but still on pace for my goal. I tend to go out too fast, but with the crowding, I didn't have that problem. Maybe I should run more races with a few thousand people! ;-)
The course was an out and back, so there would be people on the return as I was still on the first loop. A little discouraging, to be honest, but I knew I would be on the flip side soon enough.
Sooner than I thought I would be, I was.
I hit the second mile a second faster than the first, and still felt strong. I was running when I felt comfortable, and walking when I needed.
I misjudged the finish area, and wound up sprinting sooner than I thought. Oops. Lesson learned for next year!
Still, I had a time of 11:42 for the third mile, which meant I had negative splits in a race for the first time EVER! All while having a blast! I was cheering for other runners, high-fiving the Rook Run crew, and enjoying myself! I can't tell you the last time that happened!
After making the final turn and seeing the finish area for real, I ran with my heart and sprinted like crazy to the finish! I ended up with a 10:46 pace for that final stretch. I leaped over the finish mat, and just like that, my Rook Run was over. I actually was sad to see this race end. It was an awesome time!
I ended up with a clock time of 36:24, which meant a pace of 11:44/mile. I nailed my time goal! Yay! I had no clue what the chip time was, and wouldn't for a few days, but I was still very happy with how I did!
They had a black screen for people to take finisher photos, so you know I was on board for that. ;-)
I also ran into my co-worker Heather, who was one of the volunteers. Of course we had to get a selfie! This one is compliments of her. =)
Oh, and Holly totally recognized me before I recognized her. Haha. She knew of me from Instagram, since I post quite a bit of Rook related stuff. Anyway, we chatted for a few, got this pic, and she thanked me for my support. I thanked her for an awesome company and race.
After a little while of mingling, I decided it was time to head out. I wasn't feeling the post-race party, so I went and got more coffee. Haha.
Before I got in my car though, I had to make being a Rook Runner official. Hey, it's not official until something is on the car, right?
But it turns out I was in for a surprise.
I checked the results two days later, and saw that they posted the chip times on that one.
I came in at 34:33 (11:09/mile). PR by three seconds.
Can we say "Holy cow!"
I didn't think I was that close to a PR at all! I went into this race without the intention of a PR, and I got one. I surprise myself sometimes. =)
This race has become my favorite out of all the ones I've done! Awesome
Is it time for the 2016 Rook Run yet? ;-)