Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Women for Women 5k/10k

Attention all South Florida women runners!  This was a great local 10k.  Perfect for getting those valuable proof of time stats up! I found this race through accuchip timing.  They provide course support for many of the local races and list all of their upcoming races on their site.  Just a plug for accuchip- they are wonderful to work with and they have official race results online within hours of the race.

The Women for Women 5k/10k is a women-only race benefiting Girls on the Run and the Palms West Foundation.  Palms West Foundation is the non-profit arm of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and provides community events and scholarship programs for residents in the Lake Worth area.

Girls on the Run is a national non-profit dedicated to providing pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences.  Their curriculum isn't all about running or physical activity, rather the 24-lesson program, taught by Girls on the Run coaches, includes three parts: understanding yourself,  valuing relationships and teamwork and helping young women understand how they connect with and shape the world at large. The mission of the program is to help girls develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society.  There is also a service component to the program. And finally, at the end of the 24 sessions the group completes a community organized 5k.  According to the Girls on the Run site:

Lake Worth Pier and Start Line
              In some cities this is a large, community wide event and in others, it's an inspiring gathering of friends and family. Completing a 5k gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The results are the same—making the seemingly impossible, possible.

With these extraordinary organizations participating- there were teams and teams of girls from the girls on the run program- this race had a wonderful "feel" to it.  The course started at the newly redesigned Lake Worth Casino Building.  It is right on the water and having not seen it since it was finished, I was incredibly impressed.  It is a beautiful boardwalk space with restaurants and coffee shops.  I will definitely be back to enjoy the new development. But back to the race. 

Lake Worth Casino and Finish Line
There were probably 15 vendors in the start/finish area giving away free treats-including collapsible water bottles which were wonderful for the first really hot race of the year. The gift bags from the race itself were fantastic- they weren't just a backpack, but had handles and all sorts of goodies inside, including a free manicure at a beautiful Palm Beach salon! Best of all were the t-shirts.  Gender specific fit and great v-neck design meant that it went in my drawer of things to wear, rather than in the pile of shirts to turn into a quilt (more on that idea later). 

The race course ran along the beach and then up and over the Lake Worth bridge.  Both the 5k and 10k courses headed through downtown Lake Worth.  Lake Worth is known for being, and I think that this is a fair statement- Lake Worthians please feel free to correct me if I am wrong- a little weird.  In cool way though.  That good-weirdness was on full display Saturday morning.  In the neighborhoods surrounding downtown residents came out to watch the runners go by.  Frankly, I think they were a little surprised, but then delighted to have something to watch with their morning coffee. 

The course split off and 5k runners headed back over the bridge to the finish line as we continued through downtown and back into its surrounding neighborhoods.  There I saw not one but two cars drive through the course, while a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy ran them down!  They both nailed the cones PBSO had put out and nearly side-swiped the guy's patrol car.  Thankfully they were moving very slowly (it is south florida after all), but it made for some great on course entertainment.  There were water stops about every 2 miles which was really nice because it was really hot.  I needed the water more to cool myself down than to hydrate. 

By the time we headed back to the bridge (mile 5) my legs were nearly cooked and I had to drop my pace down to walk to get up the incline. This was definetly one of those times that I had wished that I had looked more carefully at the course map, because I started to push it coming off the bridge. And then realized based on my watch and by the line of people in front of me that we had a ways to go.  There was a last little climb up to the finish area and then we were surrounded by cheers, music and celebration.   I was incredibly happy with my time, a new PR for the 10k distance, finally breaking the hour mark.  

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
The finishers medals (same as the logo above) were great quality and um. um. um. yes. they were handed out by these guys. Nice.

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