Sunrise Run 5K 2014

Hea, Mike, and me ready to run together! Pic by James Sciandra.
Our first race of the season! It's always an exciting time, even though I'm only signed up for two more races at the moment. One of my favorites, the Women's Half Marathon here in November, was canceled for no given reason. I've heard from a reliable source that a low number of sign-ups was the cause. That seems crazy to me because it's always a huge turnout.

Anyway, back to the Sunrise Run! This is one of my favorite 5Ks ever. Karen VanderPloeg, a sweet friend and sister in Christ, created this faith-based race several years ago. Because of her health, she was unable to have the run for the last couple of years. I was so happy when she announced that it was coming back. Many friends from the church I used to attend and the one where I attend now were there either volunteering or running. What a blessing to reconnect with these dear friends, some that I hadn't seen in years!

Stephanie, Korey, Terry, and me (all members of the Calvary Chapel Running Team). Pic by James Sciandra.
I understand from Karen that she had major support from the local race director of Florida Road Races, Chris Lauber. From a participant's perspective, this was a well-organized event with lots of fun things to do for spectators and families. At Vinoy Park, there were giant inflatables for the kids, several booths with food and running-related vendors. After the events (5K, 1 mile walk, and kids run) bands performed onstage and awards were given.

Just before the 5K, the CCRT prayed together, and the person making announcements prayed. I love that this event is all about pointing to God and his son, Jesus, the one in whom I place my hope, while reaching out to the community, welcoming anyone and everyone to join in.

Hea, Mike, and I planned to stay together for this one. Sadly, Hea had been sick all week so she wasn't feeling great. But she still showed up ready to go. And because I'm slower than both of them, they were happy to just run at my pace, so it worked out for me! The route follows the waterfront in downtown St. Pete out and back from the Vinoy with one trip around the pier. It was beautiful! A bit humid, but not as hot as it had been all summer.

I wasn't feeling 100% percent either, even though I had no excuse like Hea did. We originally talked about running this one all out, but I had felt kinda sluggish during the week and was relieved when Hea said she wasn't going to be able to do that either. So we pushed ourselves as far as we felt we needed to and came in at just under 33 minutes. Not too shabby! A little over 10.5 min/mile pace. We were all perfectly content with that.

With Hea still not feeling great, she and Mike left shortly after the race. I stayed for a while visiting with all those dear friends I mentioned above while enjoying complimentary Panera bagels (hello, somebody). Actually, the first thing I ate was an orange slice. That is my favorite post-race food of all time! Just seeing that basket of freshly sliced oranges made me happy. There's something about the way it takes the saltiness out of my mouth while refreshing me and tasting so good. Love it.

The next race for Team Hea and Bria is the Halloween Halfathon. We're still trying to figure out if we'll be dressing up, and I think we will at least a little bit. Some people go all out (if you don't believe me, click on the site). Two years ago, Alyssa and I had a lot of fun dressing up for this one (see post from 2012).

In preparation, Hea and I are doing 14 miles this coming Friday night. Because running ridiculously long distances is what Friday night is all about.