Remembering the 80’s Benton Park 5k Recap

Third time’s a charm, right? Well, the Benton Park race has turned into a little bit of a tradition for me and my friends. Traditionally we all dressed up and had fun with that…

(last year’s post, year before that)

I thought we were doing that this year, but I had a harder time getting a group together, and…well, I dressed up and Chris dressed up and frankly, that’s all that matters!

The race was about two weeks later this year than in the past. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but I like the later date.  We were asked to go on TV to help promote the race, but unfortunately the scheduling just didn’t work out.(which was annoying, because you all know I love being on TV!)

Anyway, packet pickup was a breeze—I love doing packet pickup at Big River Running and the races they time always seem to be well done. I picked up for myself, Chris and Jen, and that was no problem.

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We got a nice tech shirt—unisex fit, AND unisex color!

Anyway, the night before the race we had crazy storms here in St Louis. There were a couple of tornadoes that touched down north and west of the city, and the rain was relentless. Chris and I went to bed thinking that we really hoped it wasn’t raining in the morning, because running a 5k in the rain was not my idea of a good time. (Not to mention, since when IS running anyone’s idea of a good time? Seriously, it is hard and you get sweaty and out of breath, and why is it fun?)

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Naturally it was still raining when we woke up. But we were up, and I got dressed, and we figured, well, we are up, so we might as well head over. First Chris took a few pictures of me, and the cat naturally wanted to be involved. We were pretty sleepy so we didn’t think to come up with a better backdrop. Also he didn’t want me to take a picture of him 🙁

(Ideally I would have just been wearing the pink shorts minus a modesty layer…but…my legs are just too long.)

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Benton Park is a neighborhood that is pretty close to ours, so within ten minutes we were parked on a side street. (There’s tons of parking near the start, just make sure to avoid the streets that are marked for the race.)

After sitting in the car a few minutes we decided to mosey over to the race start. It was busy but organized. Because of the rain I didn’t want to deal with a lot of pictures, and we were also trying to find Jen. There were a variety of tents set up and people were picking up race packets and registering. There were lots of great costumes, including a guy dressed as Pee Wee Herman. We ran into a family of my students who were running and spectating and I chatted with them for a few. The rain started to let up, and by the time 9:00 rolled around, it had basically stopped. A Benton Park 5k MIRACLE.

We lined up, they played a cheesy version of the Star Spangled Banner, off we went. The course was pretty windy and went through the neighborhood and the park. It was a slightly different course than the year before which was fun as I didn’t know quite what to expect. My goal was to try to run the whole thing as slowly as possible, and I almost accomplished that.

The first mile was very slow but I was still going. The second mile is always the worst in a 5k, mentally (for me) because I am usually hurting but I know I’m not near the end. The third mile hurts the most but you know the finish is in sight! I stopped to walk a bit for the second mile, two different times. My hip was holding up okay, but I wanted to give it a break as I’d still been using walk breaks during my training runs a lot.  When I got to the last 1/2 mile or so I really tried to push myself—I may even have appeared, to the naked eye, to be running rather than walking in a strange manner. I kept Chris in sight for most of the race—he’d been dealing with a bad back and was worried he wouldn’t be able to run well, but he looked like he was managing just fine.

My favorite park of the Benton Park 5K is that the end is in the park. My least favorite park is that there is an uphill finish and it becomes kind of a choke point as you enter the park. I tried to sprint to the end, and I WAS DONE. 35:33. Still lots of improvement to get back to where I was, but I’m improving over the past month or two, so that’s good.

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I look tired. Also, my shirt liked to ride up. We got pretzel medals like last year and there was water right at the finish. There was also evidently beer and wine but we had to get to work afterwards.

(I would have worn leg warmers, but I was worried about the rain and that they would just get soaked.)

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We had also run into our friend Zach, who ran the race as his very first 5k. Go Zach!

The new thing this year was that there were race photos online with the results. You could buy them for $10 for all of them, which I think is a great deal IF the pictures are good. Mine were terrible, but Chris’s were nice. He didn’t want them, but he was pleased with them—in one he was actually airborne!

It was a great race and does a nice job of showcasing the neighborhood.  I hope to run it again next year! And I hope that I can convince more people to dress up…it is seriously more fun to run in a costume, I promise!

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