Nothing but fun here.

Every February, Ripon celebrates the Almond Blossom Festival.  It’s that time of year where the trees come alive, and the parades, carnival, and baking contests come to town.  There’s always an 8K, and I have never once run it, because I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for it!  Plus, there’s always an urge for me to go out of town.  This year, my son asked me if I would be at the parade, since he was riding on the football float, so I decided to stay.  On Friday night, I was cooking pre-race pancakes, so it seemed I would also be running the 8K.

Saturday morning, I drove to the start of the race, bought a bib just as they were setting up, and drove home.  Something really nice about living 1.5 miles from the start line.  I spent 2 hours just relaxing, and then drove back to the start line.

It was windy, but not horrid.  I got in the pack, and the race field of 460 took off when the guy yelled through his megaphone.  Yes, it’s that small of a race.

I thought I would be bored, since I have run these streets weekly since 2009, but after we turned on Spring Creek, the race went out through homes and streets that I’ve never seen.

We got to Santos road, about 2.5 miles in, and I was at about 11:15 pace, which is AMAZING for me, post stress fracture.  About a mile earlier, I had started picking off racers.  One by one, I just kept my eye on the person in front of me. There was supposed to be a water station here, so again I cursed myself as to why I didn’t bring my own water.  (A lesson I learned in marathon training).  As I turned the corner, I remember Kim and I stashing candy in the bushes for a 15 miler that we would run…oh so many years ago, before fuel belts and serious training.

I felt amazing.  We ran through bees that were busy trying to pollinate, but it was pretty cool…and and at mile 4.2 or so, I started to get thirsty.  We headed back down Spring Creek, and I knew the park was very close, so I didn’t stress.

Post race:  Water, orange juice, oranges, and a lone quarter of a bagel.  My only gripe about the race would be the post race “nutrition” and water station that never materialized.

My final:  8K~57.18, an 11:32 pace.  I was 19/32 in the 50-59 age group, and 225/300 overall.  Best of all.  It was a blast.


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