First of all, let me tell you how excited I was to get to go to this race! I signed up for the 5k in 2014 and the 10k last year and didn’t make it either time. I was afraid if I registered again, something would come up. The Shepherd crew is right in the middle of a busy/blessed spring season that has been full of soccer, dance, a pageant, and Tball. A free weekend let alone a free Saturday is a rarity! Last weekend was our only free weekend of the month so I took the plunge and registered for the Azalea Trail Run 10k only a few days before race day. Just like the Wine 10k I signed up for last minute, I am so glad I did!
Last week almost went smoothly. My oldest daughter ended up testing positive for strep throat on Thursday. The same day I was having sharp lower abdominal pains. It was very bizarre and out of the blue. More on that later. I took care of my girl Thursday and Friday. I only had one mysterious stabbing pain on Friday. Rain was coming our way, but at 5:15 Saturday morning, I eagerly got up to get ready for my race since hubby would be home. I left the house at 5:50 AM and made it to the Mobile Civic Center a little after 7. I thought I would have more time to look around the expo, but I had to potty before picking up my packet. So happy to be there at my first Azalea Trail Run! 🌺
I picked up my packet and headed back to my truck to pin my bib on and grab my headphones and flip belt. I had to go back into the Civic Center and wait in a looooong line to potty one more time before heading to the starting line. I had no clue where the start was lol! I just followed all the runners with pink bibs! Easy enough! Azalea Trail Maids at the starting line!
I ran into an old friend of mine and her trainer. We chatted for a minute and before you know it, it was time to start the race! We sang the National Anthem and had prayer. I really appreciate when races do that. Then we were off! It was a warm and humid morning and I started pretty fast. My main goal was to beat my time from the Wine 10k I ran 2 weeks ago which was 1:02:22. I admit, I didn’t take a walk break that first mile. I ran mile one at 9:16… oopsie. After that speedy first mile, I was more disciplined with the walk breaks. I noticed the road slanted on both sides and remember my friend, Debra @happyrunningsole, hurt her knee running in Mobile. I had to run in the middle of the road and when it was time to walk, I moved out of the way and made sure to raise my hand to let those behind me know I was stopping. I learned that at Disney Princess. I had never seen anyone do that and I’ve done it the last 3 races. I even had a man turn around and give me a compliment for the hand raise. You’re welcome nice gentleman!
So miles 2-3, I struggled with my music. It really is funny because I had made an awesome playlist, but Amazon music would just cut off after one or two songs and my phone kept saying “out of storage.” Ooooooh eemmm geeee. So during those miles, I would fight with my flip belt to get my phone out, turn my music back on, and fight to put my iPhone 7 back into the smallest hole known to any runner in that dad gum flip belt. I can’t believe I fought with it for 2 miles, but my paces were good. Mile 2–9:30, mile 3–9:41. Finally at mile 4, I went to iTunes and all I had was my Praise and Worship playlist available. I clicked on it and put my phone back into the belt for the 556th time. Good grief! My paces were in the 9’s so all I could do was laugh at the music issues. Oh, aaaaand my timing chip fell off my shoe around mile 3 🙈. Thankfully, only a young boy was running behind me when I turned around to grab it off the ground. I stuck it in the back pocket of my shorts and just kept running. Mile 4–9:56…
Now mile 4 was when I was really feeling the heat. I was HOT and sweat was dripping eeer where. I had to slow down and just pray I could finish strong. I was on pace to sub 1 hour too, but had to drop due to the heat. Mile 5– 10:16. This was taken after I took my second water break around mile 5. The photographer told me to flex… uuuuuum okay?? So I did and this picture is probably one of my favorite race pictures ever. Who knew I had muscles?? Did I mention, I never lift weights.. like ever. Just body weight strength training is all I do.
So I noticed, I slowed down at mile 5 and tried to pick up my pace for the last mile. I finished mile 6 at 9:52 and finished the race in 1:01:40 official time! I even managed to sprint at the end! I had accomplished my goal of beating my time from the Wine 10k and I did it in much warmer conditions. The course was flatter than Birmingham, but I was so excited! No PR, but mission accomplished.
I had such a great race at my first Azalea Trail Run! I am really loving this distance. My PR is 58:18 and it is possible to get that shiny PR before race season ends. I’m already looking at a 10k in Pass Christian next month! Running and walking is really working for me y’all and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it!!
Have you ever had any funny mishaps during a race? Music trouble, belt issues? Losing your timing chip? I think it’s time to find a new belt huh? 😂