I have been an employee of Lord Fairfax Community College for 13 years (as of this writing) and this was the 4th running of the Wits for Wellness 5K race held at the college. This would be the first time myself and both of my daughters would be running the race at our own paces to see if we could improve our personal bests.
Last year Caitlin and I attended and ran the race together due to the weather. It was cold and rainy, BUT it was still a fun time (and Caitlin’s first run in challenging weather). This year the weather was completely different…sunny with clear skies. It was slightly cool in the early morning, but by the time the race would get underway at 9 a.m., it was close to 50 degrees. Perfect running weather!
After settling in and getting a photo or two with LFCC’s mascot Leo the Lion, the three of us made our way out to the starting line area and began our warmups. There was a delay with the start time due to a technical glitch by about 9 minutes which led to some fidgety nerves from all of us. With the problem fixed and the announcement made to get ready, I gave the girls each a hug, told them to do their best and have fun, and the race began.
My strategy for the race was to give it my best to see if I could hit a 5K PR. However having set my PR on a flat road course, I knew it would be unlikely. The 5K course at LFCC runs from the parking lot along paved roadways for close to the first mile. Then it transitions into some trail running through grassy fields, a woods, and two steep grassy hill inclines. The last 3/4 of a mile or so is back on the paved roadways.
I stayed with the lead pack for most of the first mile until the elite runners started to separate. I passed a couple of runners and was also passed by one fast runner (the race director’s husband I came to find out) who must have started out towards the back. He never got far enough that I lost sight of him, but I was already pushing it pretty fast and knew I wasn’t going to catch him. I finished with a time of 21:23 (only 10 seconds from a PR), which I was happy with. Once finishing, I immediately turned around and started jogging back out on the course to see where Caitlin was.
It wasn’t long until I saw her making the turn for the last 1/4 mile of the race. I ran along side her to give her some extra motivation for the last stretch and she finished strong all on her own. We checked the time and saw that she had set a new 5K PR of 29:21, crushing her old PR by 1 minute and 3 seconds! With one more member of Team Running Riddles still out on the course, Caitlin grabbed a quick snack and water, and we headed back out along the course to see where Corinne was.
When we saw Corinne nearing the last 1/4 mile, Caitlin did as I had done, and ran along with Corinne pushing her for the last portion of the race. Finishing strong as well, Corinne set her own 5K PR with a time of 39:38…beating her old time by 8 seconds!
The girls celebrated their accomplishments by enjoying a couple pieces of muffin, cookie, and slice of cake given out to celebrate the retirement of one of LFCC’s professors. We stayed for the awards ceremony in which Caitlin placed 1st in her age group (Female 10 and Under and also Female 19 and Under). I finished second in my age group (Male 30-39), 8th overall, and was the first place LFCC employee as well.
I am happy that my employer puts on such a nice 5K race in the area. It is now one of the favorites of Team Running Riddles!
Male 30-39: 2 of 12 (2nd Place Award)
Overall: 8 of 148
Time: 29:21 PR
1st F 10 and Under
1st F 19 and Under
Overall: 34 out of 148
Time: 39:38 PR
4th F 11-19
Overall: 70 out of 148