Hello and happy Tuesday! We are two short days away from Thanksgiving, and (weather permitting) two days away from the Turkey Trot! In the spirit of race week, and the fall themed races that I set out to accomplish this year, I thought I’d recap this past weekend’s Pumpkin Spice 5k in Fort Worth! The race was held by Run Project, a North Texas running event team that hosts several races throughout the year, all of which tend to be extraordinarily organized, themed, but most importantly, a lot of fun! As long as weather doesn’t get in the way, I am almost always participating in a Run Project race, and not once have I been let down. For any of my non-runner friends out there, it may sound silly. “How could any race be different? It’s a just a 3 mile course!” Well, true, but I have a bit of a checklist that I like to be met when it comes to my races. Such as:
- Awesome t-shirts (duh)
- Fun vendors and sponsors (Gotta get those free snacks, ya’ll)
- Race volunteers who seem to actually know what’s going on (or just be there at least)
- Port-A-Potties, and not just like one or two, you need to accommodate the number of participants expected.
- A safe, clean, course that is honest about the level of difficulty beforehand. I’ve had a number of instances where a course was described as “mostly flat” on the website, only to run it and meet a huge hill every quarter of a mile. Girl, I wasn’t ready for that!
Thankfully, Run Project always manages to meet my silly checklist, and often exceeds it, and this race was no exception!
The 5k portion of the race that my dad and I were competing in started at 8:30 am, but the 10k and 15k’rs kicked off at 8 am. We arrived about 40 minutes early so we could partake in pre-race activites, as well as check out all of the vendors (Hello, free stuff). Saturday morning was the first big freeze of the year, and it was COLD. I’m not sure if the race directors anticipated this, but good on them for housing the vendors indoors, and even more applause goes to the indoor venue being The Shack in the Panther Island Pavilion of Fort Worth.
I had never been to The Shack before, but it’s essentially a remodeled barn house turned indoor stage complete with twinkling string lights, and plenty of space house concert goers, and in this case, runners looking to get free mugs and coffee.
The race directors used the stage as a warm-up station for one of the sponsors, Orange Theory Fitness, a popular fitness chain in the area. Once the warmup was over, the 10k and 15k participants went out and started the race. In the meantime, I stood in line for the Port-A-Potties (#luxury), and bided time putzing around in The Shack. A little before 8:30 my dad and I made are way down to the start line and got ready for the race.
Once 8:30 hit the clock, we were off and running! The course made it’s way through the Trinity Trail, a really scenic (and clean!) park area of Fort Worth, but most importantly, it was mostly FLAT. I encountered about two small inclines (bridges over the Trinity River), but they were not challenging in the slightest, and I was able to maintain a pretty steady pace throughout the run! Shortly after meeting mile 3, runners were given the option to either continue on the course, or pass through the “Spice Station”, where race volunteers would douse you with orange cornstarch, and of course I took that route. I got a good amount of orange on me, but the wind managed to dust most of it off of me, but I highly recommend all races include a color station towards the end of the course. It gave me the last little push I needed to finish strong, and seemed to bode well for me since I ended up clocking in around 34:20 for my time (I tend to be in the 35-36 min range)! Once I passed through the finish line, it was an immediate bee line back to The Shack to pick up post race goodies, free pumpkin beer!
I opted for the Rahr pumpkin beer, and while it was delicious, it was quite filling (a la Ron Burgandy’s burrito), so I wasn’t able to finish the whole thing. For shame, I know. We also walked away with fun color changing mugs, and snacks and coffee galore. While we could have stuck around a little longer, but I was ready to change out my orange tinted wardrobe and head back home. All in all though, I really enjoyed the race and thought it was definitely another success for the Run Project series!