As I mentioned earlier this week, the JA and I were both running the NFL’s Back to Football 5K last night. The weather broke Tuesday night, leaving yesterday cool and crisp in the morning while warming up during the day. By the time the 5K started at 7p, the weather was PERFECT.
The pre-race activities were fantastic, in my opinion. A DJ was spinning tunes, autographs were being given, Under Armour was giving away things, and M&T Bank Stadium gave runners plenty of room to stretch.
At about 6:30p, we were asked to start gathering in our corrals. The JA & I parted ways, but kept in touch via text. This lag time to start, as well as the fact that I felt squished into my corral, we’re the only ‘downfalls’ of the race. Not to bad!
Matt Stover, legendary Ravens kicker, started the race with a kickoff. The first wave started, the second went, and then it was my turn!
The route was great. Not too hilly, not too flat. I was feeling good & knew I could conquer this. My other two 5Ks this year didn’t go as well as I had hoped, and I didn’t want to be over confident. (At the BWC 5K I got spooked & the Miles that Matter 5K was better, but still got the best of me.)
I’m happy to report that I ran the whole thing! I knew I could, having run 3+ miles prior, but I have focused on building my mental toughness. The race went really well & I don’t need to dig too deep, but I felt really accomplished crossing that line.
My chip time was 28:40, and this is what I’m using as my time to beat moving forward. I consider it my first official 5K time, being that I completed it the way I wanted. (Not to mention, it’s not a bad time at all!) My Timex was a bit off (in both time & distance), but I hear that’s normal & I’m still working out the kinks.
The race finished at the 50-yard line. It was such an invigorating experience to run through the tunnel onto the field. I took a glance into the stands and it was awe-inspiring. I can even imagine it on game day when the stadium is filled with enthusiastic fans!
Once we crossed the finish line, runners were asked to move back to allow others the ability to funnel through, but I knew I wanted to see the JA cross the finish. He came in a few minutes later, with a chip time of 31:40. I am so proud of him for setting this goal & achieving it.
The post-race amenities were fine – plenty of water, opportunity for pictures on the field, a free beer (for those of age), and a medal – not too shabby! Food was available for purchase.
All in all, the Back to Football 5K is a race that I’d definitely do again. Great views, fun course, the race support crew was so enthusiastic & it now holds a special place in my heart.