About two Saturdays ago, my alarm woke me at 5:30 am to get ready for the Martian Invasion 5k (Meteor) race. I’ve heard of the Martian Invasion of Races a few times already. It seemed to be really popular, hosting all the events (full, half, 10k, 5k, and a kids’ “marathon”), and perfect timing for a late spring race.

Since it was a little further away, I left the house at 6 am. (I know! On a Saturday when I could be sleeping in! *gasp!*) Although the 5k started 45 minutes after the full marathon racers took off, I didn’t know what streets would close and what the parking situation would be like. (Y’all know me and parking!)

Sure enough I found a relatively close parking spot easily and met my cousin Dan at 6:45 am. We grabbed our bibs and shirts near the start area (well organized, by the way) and since it was 42 degrees F we went back to sit in the car for a little bit. It was maybe 20 minutes to the start of our race before we left the car again. There were ample free parking lots but the people who arrived later for their race did have to park further away. The drivers looked rushed.

The announcer was hilarious. He was very energetic, just the right kind of person needed to get everyone excited and take away serious attitudes that didn’t need to be there. I expected no less considering the playful race website.

The start line was well-organized with large pace banners. I lined up slightly behind the 8:00 min/mile runners. After the Canadian and USA national anthems, we were off right on time. My goal for this race was to run sub-24 minutes and being as close to 23 minutes would be even better.

March was a hectic month; I didn’t keep up with my New Year resolution of cooking a new recipe each week. I haven’t done any speedwork except the Saturday before, in which I did two miles of speed within the one-hour workout.

At the time the heart-rate monitor part of my watch wasn’t working but I know I was working harder than usual during the race. My watch had my splits as 7:47, 7:46, and 7:34 (average 7:42 pace). But with my official time at 23:16, I suspect the course was slightly short because the results had my average at 7:30 pace. Either my watch was funky and off because the heart rate part was also acting up, or it wasn’t a short course and the official time is true.

I’m excited that my 5k time was what it was! I placed 60 of 1328 runners (what a big 5k!) There were nearly 700 10k participants, too! I was also 15th female of 785 and 5th in my age group of 65.

Anyways, the neighborhood we ran through was really nice. There were a few small hills but I hardly noticed them. At least starting up ahead with my pace group didn’t cause any bogging down with other runners randomly stopping in front. The race even shared race etiquette in one of their pre-race emails.

Although I wanted to wear shorts for the race, I opted for leggings and a long sleeve shirt. My hands didn’t really warm up that much but gloves may have been unnecessary.

There were a decent amount of kids who ran the 5k distance, despite there being their own kids’ race. The finish line stretch was great, too. I could see how a new runner could easily start to sprint to the end and not realize just how far away the line was. Near the end, I’m glad that finish line was so close because I was starting to feel sick from exertion and that doesn’t happen often.

As soon as I left the finish area and walked over to the other spectators awaiting their family and friends, I spotted my cousin finishing. So quick! I didn’t even have time to get my phone out to take a finishing picture. For afterwards, they had chips, cookies, bananas, and bagels. It goes without saying but I picked the chips and cookie instead.

This race even has a 5k and half marathon combo! We took some pictures and waited for the half marathon runners to take off before we left ourselves.

What a great morning that was! It was sunny and everyone was in a good mood A nice way to start the day and a good race to start the year off.