I woke up at six o’clock this morning and headed out to Raleigh for The Chick-fil-A Race Series, a national running series that partners with Chick-fil-a restaurants across the country and benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation®. Since this is the second race of twenty Chick-fil-A Race Series locations, I thought I’d do a quick recap for those who are considering participating at another location.

The night before: What made this race especially interesting for me was that I had completely forgotten about it until the night before. Don’t judge my absentmindedness, most races send out an email reminder and I signed up for the event over a month ago. Maybe it’s all the basketball hype (Go Heels!), I don’t know, but for some reason it completely slipped my mind. Luckily someone, I’m guessing Christy, had remembered the date for me and posted a “Good Luck, Erin” post on the blog. I’m so happy that the Tribe James blog is proving to be not only an effective motivation tool, but also a great tool for making sure we all keep up our training.

Waking up:  I could hear the rain before I even got out of bed this morning. So the first thing I did was check the weather. This is what it looked like:

I’m fine with running in the rain so long as it’s not cold, but I’m not fine running in a thunderstorm. I decided to have a little hope and got dressed and headed out to Raleigh anyway. Since I had signed up for the 5K course, I was also able to have a tiny cup of coffee and a miniature bowl of cereal (I wanted a banana, but I didn’t have any 😦 ).

Packet pick-up and pre-race atmosphere: I love packet pick-up. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but it’s true. When I line up to get my packet and bib, a tiny shiver of excitement shoots down my spine and I start doing little jumps. Unlike the MCM, packet pick-up for 5ks and 10Ks are usually the morning of the race, not the day before. For this race you had to pick up your bib by 7:50. My only complaint is that I  had to wait in the A-M line, which was the only line with a ton of people waiting. I really don’t think A through M was a good range for one line, but everyone around me was in a cow costume or t-shirt so I really couldn’t be upset. Plus, the ladies at the tent were super smiley and efficient so I was very pleased. In the packet was a coupon for Chick-fil-A, some Carolina Hurricane decals, a tire pressure gauge, two pens and an athletic tee (shirt pic below).

The run: The race series allows participants to choose between a 10K and 5K course. I opted for the 5K for two reasons. The first reason was that it was my first race of the season. The second reason was that there was no way to distinguish who was running which course because the finish line was the same. The only difference between the 5K and 10K was that the 5K runners turned around sooner than the 10K runners – I really didn’t like that. I wish the 10K guys would have at least had different bib colors so I could tell who was absolutely crushing it (I love watching the really fast guys come down the other side of the course as they make their way to the finish line). My only other complaint with the run was that they messed up the mileage signs (which I would have freaked about if it were a longer race).

As for the weather that I mentioned earlier, it didn’t thunder or lightning, but boy did it rain! At one point I even thought I might be in danger of getting trench foot (Don’t worry, I didn’t). I actually felt pretty good throughout the whole race. There were only two big hills and there were a TON of little kids and parents with strollers. I know not everyone likes strollers but I do, especially when the dads crush everyone. I also saw two soldiers running in full gear, including packs and boots. They reminded me of our teams overall mission and left a smile on my face 🙂

Post-race: The crowd at the finish line was amazing. I haven’t heard a crowd that loud at any other 5K and I couldn’t help but smile as I crossed the finish line, I felt like a winner (which, by the way, I was not). Kind of a bummer I wasn’t one of the winners because they won free Chick-fil-A for a Year!

The post-race celebration had free Chick-fil-A breakfast biscuits and yogurt with granola. There was also music, more cows, BANANAS, water bottles and a one mile fun run.


So that’s what I did with my Saturday morning. What did you do with yours?