When I first got to the PACE Race location, I stepped out of my car and was immediately stopped by a volunteer telling me to be sure to hide "anything that looks like it could be worth anything" because a car had already been broken into in the parking lot. With everyone standing around. Ballsy bastards. I tossed my goods into the trunk and headed up to the building to pick up my race packet (I'd SO much rather do this ahead of time, but this was easier) and I confess I was thinking to myself, "I got up early for this?" Admittedly, I was a bit early, which is undoubtedly why the parking lot wasn't packed. Inside, the volunteers handing out packets and taking last minute registrations were friendly and it was a very quick process, and I headed back outside to stretch and wander a bit before this race business commenced. I watched as a few
At 8:50 a.m., more people had showed up by now, and we were lined up and ready to go. An older man and a younger woman (father and daughter, maybe?) were behind me and I overheard a bit of their conversation. "Don't worry about me. You run your race." Dad said. "And don't worry about how fast anybody else goes." That made me smile. Then he said, "just don't leave the race without me!" Awesome! I don't know where Daughter ended up, and I didn't notice her pass me, but Dad held on to my speed a few steps behind for quite some time before falling behind. He didn't exactly look like a runner, if you know what I mean (what DOES a runner look like exactly, anyway?) and I was actually really proud of him. Well, as proud as you can be of a total stranger, after all.
I had picked out a couple women a bit ahead of me that I had decided I was going to pass a bit further on - I'm a bit embarrassed to say that at some point they kind of, um, disappeared. So I chose an older woman (who turned out to be 64) and stayed with her (she probably thought I was a creeper stalking her) until the end, when she pulled ahead to end up 3rd place in her age category. Yes, I was beat by a 64 year old woman. And don't even get me started on the male AND female age categories of 50-80 and their 21-26 minute 5ks. I'm equally acutely annoyed being passed by people up to twice my age, and totally and utterly in awe at the same time. Holy shit, people!
The course was easy, mostly flat, very pretty, and well marked. The volunteers were enthusiastic and very encouraging. People cheered and applauded at the Finish Line. It felt like the longest, most exhausting 5k
Afterwards, they had a Participant Walk (several of the people that the race was put on to fund - for older adults to keep them independent as long as possible!) walk/wheel to the Finish Line while race participants cheered and clapped. I teared up a bit, seriously.
The organizers of this race put forth a wonderful effort with big speakers and excellent music, delicious pancakes (I'm a bit of a pancake connoisseur, too), plenty of ice cold water (even at the 1/2 way mark, the water station had ICE COLD WATER!) and bananas, oranges, and gatorade. Outstanding job, PACE Race.
The parking lot never did fill up. And that was perfectly ok.