2016 NHS Bear Breakaway 5K – Personal Best!

NHS Bear Breakaway 5KSaturday I ran my first 5K and also my first race of the 2016 season. The 3rd Annual Bear Breakaway 5K. This is my review of all things related to the race.

First of all, I chose the race by seeing where the money raised will be going to. The race benefitted the Norwalk High School Track and Field team.  Coach Moffett runs a free middle school track and field camp, which my daughter is attending, so I wanted to give back so to speak.

The drive to the school was easy it is less than five minutes away from my home. This is in stark contrast to how far I have driven to reach some of my races. There was plenty of parking and no walking to the race packet pickup or starting area.

Packet pickup was a breeze. Norwalk High School has a snack building that was open where they quickly gave us our shirts, and bibs. There was literally no wait at all.

The race began on the track which is pretty cool and allows for a fast start. Despite the many runners it was not as crowded and tight as I would have expected. The course stayed on the track for about 300 meters then moved through the parking lot and down a short hill to the street. I had to take it easy here as my left knee had been bothering me a touch, and was a bit sore on the descent. So I was about 10 seconds behind the lead group. Once we hit the street I must been warmed up well enough as I felt great as I turned and started running out through the local neighborhood. The course had some hills but certainly did not dominate the course. The course was well marked by volunteers, who were quick to provide words of encouragement as well as directions for any turns coming up.

At this point I felt really good. I honestly felt great. The lead pack now was further out of reach but considering my cautious descent of the first hill I was ok with that. I kept pushing myself and at this point was now pretty much by myself. Just after the second mile I got passed by the third place winner of the 19-39 age group. I will still content with where I was as there was a huge gap between myself and whoever I thought was behind me. I finally hit the final corner and there was one final little uphill as we reentered the parking lot. I saw the finish line ahead and if I really kicked I knew I would beat my personal best in the 5k I set last August. I took one last glance at my watch and pushed right through the chute. There were plenty of high school volunteers and others at the finish line to provide a last minute boost to our resolve and heavy legs. There was even someone with a cowbell!

The official timing was quick and we got the results quickly. The only negative with the race was that the overall winner took the trophy and there was none for the age group winner of the Master’s group. To me this is not an issue for me and I will run it again next year.  

The race is convenient, well organized, and the money raised goes to support the local high school track and field team. That is a tough combination to beat. It will definitely be on my race calendar next year.

On a personal note I was extremely happy. I set a new personal best in the 5K by 30 seconds. I came in 5th place overall and 1st in my age group. Though the overall winner actually was in my age group. I truly felt all  aspects of my training come together. From my strength training to my higher intensity running, and recovery, it all just came together at the right time. I am really looking forward to another month of training and then my May races, including my track and field event.