What: 5K road race
Who: Me, Drew, Julie, Joelle, and Jesse, all representing Team Okay!
Benefited: Watertown Free Public Library
Recap: The WFPL 5K first came on my radar last year; as a former citizen of Watertown who frequently used and occasionally volunteered at the Watertown Free Public Library, a 5K that supported that very library seemed like the perfect race for me to run. (As a bonus, it would check another MA town off my list!) Alas, I had to DNS it last year, which made me all the more determined to run it this year…
…and then my dodgy knee happened and running it this year became very unlikely, and even a bit frowned upon by my physio. But my determination stuck, and I decided to walk it. Luckily/unluckily my friend Julie also has a dodgy knee at the moment, so she agreed to walk it with me. I was still sad I didn’t get to run it – especially since friends from Team Okay! were running it – but at least I’d still get to participate.
The race was a nice, small 5K – there were 138 finishers according to the Race Wire results. The packet pickup was a cinch, and since it was at the library there were real bathrooms… always a plus! Pre-registered runners picked up bibs by name, and runners could still register at pickup by making a donation to the library on one of three laptops that were set up at the registration table. Since Julie and I were going to walk the race, I roped Drew into walking it with us, and was able to register him there no problem.
We also all got tech t-shirts, which is always a nice bonus at races like this one that have reasonable registration fees ($25). Unfortunately, the shirts ran pretty large. They had a super cute design that I would have loved to wear around, but I ended up giving my small to Drew and taking his medium to add to my t-shirt quilt pile. I’ve found that most of the cool tech tees I’ve gotten at races run too big for me to wear without swimming in them, but understand that getting fitted ones would probably cost the organizers more. If I had to choose between a fitted shirt and giving more money to the library, I’d choose the latter every time!
After pinning our bibs and having a joyful reunion with our Team Okay! friends, we headed outside to take a picture of our “World’s Okayest Runner” shirts. The weather could not make up its mind… the forecast called for clouds and high humidity before raining around noon (the race started at 10:15), but in a span of about 10 minutes while we chatted and took pictures, the sun came out strong, then it started to rain, then the sun came out again. Having stupidly assumed the forecast would be correct, I hadn’t brought anything to cover my newest tattoo, which is still too new to have sunscreen on. Drew came to the rescue and swaddled my arm with my new race shirt. Looked ridiculous but worked a treat!
We found the start of the race to be a little confusing, mostly because we didn’t know where the starting line actually was! The race website only said to go to the library to register if you had missed online registration. We assumed the start would be at the library, but where? In the street out front? Behind in the parking lot? If I had thought to look closely at the course map, I would have seen that the race start was next to the park next to the library, but as it was I had to dig through the library’s facebook page to find the course map, and once I did find it, it was tiny and a little hard to read. We just followed people as they started moving en masse away from the library and ended up at the starting line.
The race itself
After a few quick announcements thanking the runners, the library Board of Trustees, and the volunteers and cops for helping out, the race began and off we went! We managed to not get swept up in the excitement and kept our walk to a relatively slow, steady pace – neither Julie nor I wanted to exacerbate our knee issues by overdoing it. The weather continued to be wishy-washy, and we experienced both beating sun and rain showers as we walked. The rain felt quite nice though… it cut the humidity for at least a few minutes!
The course was nice, heading down Main Street for several blocks before turning up a big hill and into some residential neighborhoods. We walked through a section of town I had never been in before, and it was fun to get to explore new-to-me areas of my old stomping grounds. A few people were out on their sidewalks to cheer us on, but for the most part we were on our own. At each turn in the course there was a volunteer with a big, glittery sign, but we were left to fend for ourselves at most intersections (I’m not sure how it was for the runners at the front of the pack, but we had to stop and wait at a few red lights). I enjoyed walking by Victory Field and reminiscing about the cold evenings back in 2011 when Colin and I first started Couch to 5K at that very track!
Our trio was cheered down the home stretch by Joelle and Jesse, who had already finished, and we crossed the finish line in just under one hour. Bottles of water were easily accessible past the finish – one thing I love about small races is that they’re usually awesome about finish line water! – and we stood chatting about our race experiences as the organizers packed up. It was very no-frills, and I don’t think there were any awards, though I may be mistaken since we finished SO long after the winners did.
All in all
I liked this race! It would have been helpful if race information had been easier to find – info about parking and easier-to-find info about the start and finish locations would have been especially useful – but this is such a small race that most people who ran it probably thought that information was obvious anyway. Plus, considering it was only the second year this race existed, I think the organizers did a pretty good job. The most important pieces of this race – having fun and supporting the library – were successful, and I’m glad I was able to take part this year! Hopefully next year I’ll be able to run it…
I’m looking forward to more Team Okay! adventures too… Elapse the time! Traverse the distance! #TeamOkay!