Greek Festival 5K

Ready… Set…. OPA!!!

That’s how the race started this morning at the Winston Salem Greek Festival 5K.  The race started and ended at the Winston Salem Greek Orthodox church and wound through some of the surrounding residential neighborhoods.  I have to say it was a very hilly course for one that had been advertised as “flat”, I heard several people make similar comments.

I started jogging from the start and made it probably the first half mile or so before I slowed down to walk.  It was a little discouraging since I started near the back and was literally in the back for the first mile, the sponsor van was driving behind me picking up the race volunteers.  There were no walkers/stroller pushers/casual runners in this race, these guys meant business.  When I got to mile one, there was a guy there calling out the time, which was cool (hadn’t seen mile splits before) but also lit a fire under me when I realized I was setting a really good pace.  Here were my splits for the race:

Mile one – 14:40
Mile two – 29:05 (which is 14:25 for mile 2, faster than mile one)
Finish – 45:15 (approx 14:37 for mile 3, and about a 1:22 for the last tenth)

Average Pace (from Dailymile) – 14:35 / mile

I felt like this was going to be a bad race.. it was hot, it was humid.. the morning started with thick pea soup fog and I had a sneezing fit in the car, so I was expecting to have trouble breathing, but I managed OK.  Turns out I set a new PR by over 4 minutes.  My pace was slightly slower than my training runs, but that means I managed about half walking/half jogging.  I did pass a few people by the end, but I don’t think there were more than 3 or 4 people behind me at the finish.  I’ll have to look when the official results get posted in a couple of days.  I think there was probably around 200 people in the race, and unlike the Lillie’s Friends there were no strollers, dogs, bikes, kids, etc that finish in over an hour.  5 minutes after I finished they were probably taking down the finish line, the whole pack finished in under 50 minutes.

The overall male was 16 minutes (which is a 5.2 minute/mile pace!! holy cow!) the overall female was sub-20 minutes also, I don’t remember her exact time.  3rd place in my age group (24-29) was 21 minutes and change, so twice as fast as me.  The next age group (30-34) which I will join in 2 weeks was even faster at 20 minutes.  I have a long way to go before I start winning medals, but for right now that’s not why I’m out there.  Although I will be pretty excited when I finish a 10K, Half or some other long race that gives out finishers medals.  At that point, yes finishing is an accomplishment.

I knew I wouldn’t win, but I stayed for the award ceremony and cheered on those who did.  Some of the 12 and under crowd was also sub 20 minutes.. Boundless energy.  I was sitting next to a lady who was in the 54-59 age bracket, and as they read off the times for 3rd and 2nd place she realized that she was faster than both of those and was about to win first in her age group.  After she had been astonished at some of the younger winning times of 16 minutes, 19 minutes, 20 minutes… she was very shocked to win something with her time of 33 minutes (which is very respectable!).  The lady who finished first in the 60+ age group, was obviously a serious runner and she had a time somewhere around 22-23 minutes.

It was a fun race, although a very difficult course.  My reward for my PR? A Powerade and a couple pieces of Baklava.  OPA!!

*Update: According to the Twin City Track Club, my official time was 44:55, so 20 seconds faster than me looking at the clock and UNDER 45 MINUTES!!

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.