A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Happy Camper 5K Race Recap

on June 24, 2014

On our very soggy Saturday morning this weekend, we set out for Lake Zorinsky for the Happy Camper 5K and 1 mile Family Fun Run. The rain had stopped, but things were definitely wet after a night of storms!


When I signed up for the 5K earlier in the month, we’d talked about going as a family because we knew from my prior runs in this park that there was a playground O and Darrell could hang out at while I ran. There was a kid’s carnival scheduled for after the races, so we thought it would be a great family weekend outing. After O had such a good time at the Boys Time race a few weeks ago, I asked Darrell if maybe all 3 of us should do the 1 mile run? It was for a good cause (summer camp for foster kids) and we were all going to be there anyway, so he reluctantly agreed. I didn’t realize until we headed out that morning that this would be his first official running event! He is such a great supporter for me, but hadn’t ever signed for any of these himself. I’m glad he decided to come along with us!

Gorgeous day at the lake

Gorgeous day at the lake

A big sponsor of the event was a local toy store, so we had the very cool packet pick up I mentioned earlier this week. The race didn’t start until 8:30, so it was nice to get a slow start on Saturday morning (relatively speaking) to get us all loaded up and out the door. Oliver took eating his oatmeal before his race very seriously and essentially followed me all morning, doing everything I did from breakfast to drinking to some yoga stretches to a last minute potty break. Toddlers doing the half fishes stretch are so cute!!

When we saw how wet the ground and paths at the park were, I immediately tossed my time goal out the window. Things were very soggy, with water covering the entire path at some point and lots of debris down from the trees. I’ve slipped on this trail before, so I decided I didn’t want to risk hurting myself for a fun run and thus decided to run without a time in mind. It was a very low tech event without a big starting line or any timing chips. Turns out, they wanted to do pull tab timing where there was a perforated strip at the bottom of your bib, with your age and number printed on it. They were going to pull those off as you crossed the finish line and string them on a line to keep track of the order and time you came in. That would have been great if they’d told people that at packet pick up but they didn’t, so about a third of the people (myself included) had pulled off the extra perforated piece when we pinned on our numbers. Oops! For us, we got “turkey tagged” where they used a blank tag with our number hand written on it as we crossed the finish line. Thank goodness I wasn’t worried about a PR time or anything here. 🙂

Turns out this should have stayed stuck to the bib. Oops!

Turns out this should have stayed stuck to the bib. Oops!

There were a lot of families involved in the race, including strollers, kids and dogs. I spent part of the race running behind a mom and her daughter (about 8-9) doing the daughter’s first 5K race, which was cute. There were lots of signs with quotes from the campers about how much camp meant to them and running jokes written on the path in side walk chalk.

All in all, a nice little low-key run. They had volunteers at each mile calling out the time from the starting gun as you passed, so even though I wasn’t really looking at my pace on my Garmin often I could tell I was moving along at a decent pace. I was surprised at how much faster my “easier” pace was than it used to be. I definitely wasn’t in race mentality and slowed down any time we hit water or debris or a downward incline, as that’s how I’d wiped out before. I also stopped for pictures, so I was really surprised to come toward the finish line and realize I was coming in under 33 minutes, which was the time goal I’d set for myself back at the beginning of the month (32:40)! Not blazing fast, but at least breaking out of the 11-12 minute mile rut I’ve been in since the Princess Half Marathon and that was my goal. I definitely think I’ll be able to beat my PR sometime in the fall when the weather is better and I’m back to real training! I finished in the top half of women overall and my age group, which are pretty good performances for me. 🙂

There was a mix of sidewalk, asphalt and gravel paths to keep things interesting.

There was a mix of sidewalk, asphalt and gravel paths to keep things interesting.

One thing I really appreciated about this event, aside from the fact that it was a great family atmosphere, was the fact that there was a crowd of volunteers cheering people in until the very last person came through. That was really awesome! They sounded just as excited for the person who crossed 15 minutes after me as they did when I crossed.

Cheering in the finishers down to the last one!

Cheering in the finishers down to the last one!

After the 5K finished, they had us start the mile, which was the event we were all 3 doing. Darrell and O had their numbers pinned on and O got a kick out of telling Daddy how to do it since O was the more experienced racer. 😉 There were lots of littler kids involved in this race crowd. For the first quarter mile, we were in the parking lot because of all of the water on the side walks. During this section, O held both of our hands and walked without running. I didn’t realize until we hit the trail and he took off to run that of course he wouldn’t run in the parking lot – that’s against the rules. O is big on rules these days and especially safety rules and he knows that we always walk, not run, and hold a grown up’s hand in the parking lot. 🙂

Holding hands for the parking lot portion of the race

Holding hands for the parking lot portion of the race

Once we hit the trail, he had a great time running along the path with the other kids. It was really narrow in spots, especially since it was an out and back path! I was terrified he’d crash and hurt himself or someone else. Thankfully, the only person he ran into was another kid about the same size at the turn around point and no one hit the ground. He ran about half a mile and then was done, so I carried him the rest of the way. We had a great time chatting with a foster mom with two young boys who were also walking along at the finish. When we got close to the finish line, O got down to run again across the finish so he could collect his applause and his fruit snacks.

Darrell jogged with us to keep up when we were running, so he really did run his first race. I’m so glad he did it with us, even if he did say he didn’t really see the point and just wanted to donate money next time. He’s a world class supporter even if doesn’t want to be the runner again and I’m glad we all did this together!


6 responses to “Happy Camper 5K Race Recap

  1. How cute is it that O followed you around before the race and did all of the pre-race rituals with you? Love that! You are setting such an amazing example for him. I also loved that he adhered to the “no running in the parking lot rule” during the race. 🙂 And kudos to your hubby for being such a great support! So glad you all had a great day!

    • I didn’t think about the parking lot thing until he took off running on the trail. I thought he just wasn’t in the mood to run. 🙂

      On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:31 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:


  2. Sounds like a perfect family day/race! Glad you had a good time!

  3. […] Run my 5K for the month in less than 33 minutes: Done! Unexpectedly, I might add given the soggy conditions. I’m feeling good about a real PR […]

  4. […] brought our first family race, including Darrell! We did a one mile family run/walk at our local park. Darrell said he’d just buy the t-shirt next time. […]

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