This is the only race that I’ve run every year! This was my 15th time!!!!! (In 2020, it went virtual so actually my 14th in-person FRW race.)
It is always held the Saturday after Memorial Day but due to COVID, the race was moved to September last year. This year, it has retuned to its regular date.
My first FRW was in 2008 (my first year of running). At the time, it was the farthest I’d ever run:
I mentored a beginning running group in 2010 which was very rewarding:
In 2012, it was my first run after serious ankle surgery:
I even ran it in 2013 after breaking my foot at mile 1:
And in 2019, it was the last race for my friend Andrea (who died of cancer).
As you can tell, there is a lot of history attached to this race for me.
In 2020, I was named an Ambassador. That honor has continued into this year, as well.
Believe it not, I chose to skip my high school reunion (also scheduled for today) in order to run this race!!
Pre-Race Preparations and Activities:
As with this race every year, I never know what will happen… I could break my foot again (as I did in 2013) or could have a course PR as I did in 2018. Most likely, it will just be a fun race with lots of women.
And this was also my seventh Freihofer Training Challenge.
Training is a loose term. I kinda just showed up on most Monday runs. But each Monday seemed to follow either a half marathon or a long run. As a result, although I registered for the Advanced group, I never participated in any of their speed drills. Instead I usually ran with the Intermediate group.
But I was excited to be part of it and support all the runners who would be finishing their FIRST 5k. And see my “current and past FTC” buddies who would hopefully PR.
In past years, the day before I walked to Empire State Plaza concourse at lunch to go to the expo and pick up my race packet. They used to have a really big expo with vendors and health-related exhibits. But the past few years, they have held it at a local college.
As I did last year, I signed up to volunteer on Friday evening at packet pick-up and then skipped playing mah jongg in favor of a pizza dinner and time to organize my #flatme.
I hate parking garages and traffic so I parked on the street and walked to the start. I used to do this every year. However, with the new(er) course, it was an even longer hike. Like almost 2 miles!
It was still strange to run down Madison Avenue and not see the race banners and not see the giant poster on the bridge.
Due to construction, they changed the course seven years ago.
They say that this course is faster…less congested and has a less steep hill at the start and finish.
I did run the new course the past seven years and I liked it better than the original..
The start was near a park across from the Capitol Building. I wore a jacket because I thought it would be cool out. Nope. Bright sunshine and warming up quickly.
Soon the start line as in sight.
I ran past it and entered the City Hall park in search of the Training Challenge tent. I left my jacket there. In past years, there was water and lots of snacks. Not this year.
I was quite early so I continued to walk around until more runners arrived. I chatted with many of my running friends and took quite a few pics.
Catching up with everyone made the time go by quickly and soon it was time to line up for our Training Challenge photo.
Though, I didn’t get much out of the training itself, I was happy to be part of this amazing group of women.
I was scheduled to start in corral 3 so I headed that way and bumped into a few friends there too. While I was waiting, I ate a Honey Stinger waffle (with no water … blech)
It is usually very crowded during the first mile but this year were fewer runners than in previous years (about 2500 vs 3500). I never really had to weave and had plenty of space to run comfortably.
The race began with a long steep uphill. It’s a good thing since it kept you at a slower pace.
But I did run the whole uphill… it was slow but I did not have to walk.
Mile 1 continued as we turned left and entered the park (and the hill ended).
There were rolling hills throughout the park. They were not bad and even I could run them without walking.
The worst part were all the potholes and cracks in the roads…There were cones over the potholes but you had to weaving back n forth to avoid them and you had to keep your eyes pealed to ground to make sure you didn’t trip.
There was a water stop around mile 1.25. It was very sunny and I was getting warm so I did stop and walk.
More rolling hills during this mile as you ran around the park circling the lake. Only one of the hills was steep but it was very short.
I tried to pick up the pace for the second mile. I told myself that I would not walk until the next water stop.
That was around mile 2.5. At this point, I was starting to get very warm so I stopped again for a drink and walked longer than before.
Finally we left the park and headed toward the street we started on.
It was a long downhill and I had to remember not to start sprinting too soon. I’ve made that mistake in past years.
Eventually I see the 3 mile sign and I started to run as fast as I could while posing for the photographers and running though the finish line.
I did see that the timing clock read 28:XX…. No course PR for this girl today!
Post Race Activities:
I knew with two walks and zero speed work, I couldn’t come close to a PR (and I was not expecting one). It was a decent time (even if it was slower than all my Freihofer 5ks since 2016) and I was happy!!
I grabbed some snacks (apple sauce, bar, banana). I was hoping as in past years to snag some chocolate milk and maybe a bagel. Nope!!
Then I went back to the finish line to cheer in some friends.
I ran into even more runners again that I knew. Every where I turned, there was someone familiar – from a job, tennis, races, etc. That’s what’s great about running a popular local race.
The first time runners were so excited. That put a smile on my face. I remembered why I love this race and it was never because of my awesome finish times.
Before we left, we checked out our finish times. No award for any of us but a good effort by all.
We were hungry and so we didn’t stay around for the awards. There were, however, some well-known runners in the field. (In past years, Sara Hall and Joan Samuelson ran this race).
And last but not least, this lady at age 92!!!
I walked back (uphill) to my car and then met Heidi and Deb at the diner for brunch.
Additional Race Reflections:
Many runners were excited about their PRs. I may not have run my fastest time but I still enjoyed myself.
You get what you put in. I did not do all the speed workouts so I can’t be disappointed. I also recently ran a half marathon and a 10 mile race and I am no spring chicken. My time may not have been as fast as 2018 (a course PR of 27:37) but it was faster than the previous two 5ks that I’ve run in 2022.
So I was very pleased with that.
And I always enjoy running through Washington Park too.
- Ample parking.
- Well marked course.
- Lots of familiar faces.
- Interesting course (through a beautiful park).
- Downhill finish.
- Friendly and abundant number of volunteers.
- Two water stops (for a 5k)
- The electric atmosphere.
- Virtual option.
- Free finish and start photos
- Immediate results
- Nice Swag for a 5k (tech shirt, medal, cookies, bread)
- All women – all ages, all paces…
- Many free photo stations
- Uphill first mile.
- Uneven pavement in the park
- Sunny and warm
- No chocolate milk or bagels post-race
Would I recommend this race?
Yes. Yes. It’s a great local race. And having it be ALL WOMEN makes it even more special.
Negative splits!!!! Woo Hoo!
I have a 15k is a few weeks and I thought I might run a few more miles so today could also count as a long run.
And I would have if I hadn’t had the brunch option. No will power!
So FRW #15 is in the books!
The tradition is still alive! It was again a great local race with many women running it. Can’t wait to run it again next year.
Adirondack Race to the Lakes 15k
Happy Running! How was your weekend? Did you race? If so, how did it go? Do you have a favorite race that you run every year? Please share.