Work Out

4 the Wounded 5k / #4TW5k Recap

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4 the Wounded 5k is a race in Charlottesville at UVA’s Research Park. In its fourth year, 100% of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project. On Saturday morning I laced up with my friend who asked if I’d do this with her for her birthday and obviously, I happily said yes.

Race entry was $32.80 which I thought was a great deal given that I signed up four days before the race. There was a cap of 1600 runners, and it was extremely close to the limit when we signed up (but it did look like there was still race day registration on Saturday.) They had two days of packet pickup, Thursday from 3-7 and Friday from 2-6, which I thought was great. I didn’t have to waste my lunch hour driving out to the middle of nowhere (seriously, the research park is almost 20 minutes out of town) and wouldn’t have to worry about lines on Saturday. I grabbed both of our packets around 6 on Thursday without any lines at all. Registration included a tech shirt (which was awesome since I never wear cotton shirts and have rarely gotten tech tee’s at 5ks), a cooling neck wrap, and promo coupons from sponsors.

6:30am Saturday rolled around and I got out of bed, had a banana and grabbed some water to head out to the research park. I’ve been having some extremely bad knee pain lately, so I was nervous about how I’d feel. My friend and I waited in the corral together about 1/3 back through the pack where I seeded myself (she was walking) and dropped back once the race started.

4 the wounded 5k
There I am with my bright yellow sunglasses!

As I began to run, I felt great. Minimal knee pain, no foot pain, and the first mile was almost all downhill. At this point my stomach started to do somersaults every time I picked up the pace. It was frustrating and I have got to figure out this stomach stuff. It was a little hilly, and in the second mile there was a trail course break off for trail runners which I thought was really cool. Throughout the whole race I felt pretty great and finished in 32:29 (a PR!).

4 the wounded 5k

I crossed through the chute, hit the port-a-potties (where my stomach was fine, of course,) went through the finisher’s spread (it was awesome – water, granola bars, banana, oranges, grapes, and yogurt) and then headed back up the course to finish with my friend. She finished around 1:01, and I picked up an extra mile or so.

Another thing I really liked about this race was that even though it was in the middle of nowhere, that meant that the campus was essentially on lockdown. They closed the two entrances to the area, I felt really safe (god bless closed courses,) and the certain panic attack I would normally feel when my friend chose to leave her car keys on top of her tire instead of putting them in her pocket was minimal. (This did also mean that we couldn’t leave the premises until 9:30, but that was fine.)

I thought this race was a great value and would absolutely run it again next year. I have no complaints about it at all – this says a lot, considering I have super high expectations of everything race-related and rarely enjoy small races 😉 and every time I do a local race, I’m reminded of how crazy fast the runners here are – the winners ran something like 17:40s. Insane.

Are you a fan of smaller, local races? Aside from your own time, what makes a race “good” for you?