So Sunday I ran the St. Louis Zoo’s Make Tracks Through the Zoo 5k. This was the second year that you actually got to run through the Zoo, which is nice because the keepers get the animals out a little earlier than normal and you get to see several of them as you pass by their enclosures on your way to the finish line. Here’s my recap from the event!
I did run a little bit before this race, but I didn’t really train for it or anything like that. But I went into the whole thing with an open mind and no real goals other than to just finish. The weather was about the same as last year’s race, so that wasn’t too much of a factor, although it was humid as hell out for only being 66° out. I walked quite a bit more than I normally would, mostly because I hadn’t trained or been running much and also because I’ve been trying to be a bit more conscious of my heart while running. I spend a lot of time in the second highest HR zone, and keeping your heart rate so high all the time or spending too much time in the highest heart zones isn’t really beneficial. So I’d walk on most of the uphills and keep an eye on my heart rate. When I felt like it had dropped back down to a more comfortable level, I’d start running again.
You can tell from my splits that I ran the entire first mile, probably going out a little too fast, but then walked quite a bit in the second mile, which is where most of the hills happened. I took a few walk breaks in the third mile, but there were fewer uphills and that’s when we entered the Zoo, so it was easier to keep motivated. Plus, there was a woman who was running with her friend and she was so supportive that I just kind of hung around them for a bit and soaked up her positive energy. Much better than the mom who did nothing but scold her child for the entirety of the race. Maybe the kid could have had a better, more positive attitude if she wasn’t being told how much of a brat she was being for an hour?
But all in all, it was a good race day. I didn’t have the parking issues this year like I had last year, which I will attribute partly to the weather possibly scaring off some of the participants and partly due to the fact that I got up and left well over an hour earlier this year than last year, as I was anticipating the parking issues. Since the Zoo changed the route to go through instead of around, the race has been selling out and last year, even though I got there an hour before the race start, I still wound up being late to the start line and starting well after the race had begun because I had to park at least .5 if not more miles away and haul ass to the starting area. It was an issue I had never before experienced with this particular race, but I learned my lesson and now leave quite a bit earlier. I’m pretty happy with how this race turned out for me, and I’m not feeling bad about my paces and how much I had to walk. I’m already looking forward to next years race and improving on my times!