Race #26 – MoDOT Work Zone 5K

The first full day of Spring found me hitting the pavement again, in my fifth race in as many weeks.

I’d heard about the MoDOT Work Zone 5K last year, but for some reason, I never signed up for it.  But I remembered the race, and added it to my “Conquer St. Louis By Foot” tour.

Selfie with Cone Man
Selfie with Cone Man

I picked up my race shirt and bib yesterday.  I really wish more races would do race-specific bibs for their races.  This one, like an awful lot of races I’ve run over the last few years, had a generic Fleet Feet bib. Nothing against Fleet Feet, but a race-specific bib would mean a lot more.

And then there was the shirt.

This race was to promote work zone safety.  I don’t know what I should’ve expected, but the shirt is bright enough that it can be seen from space.  I’m sure someone on the International Space Station gazed down upon St. Louis this morning, and wondered why all those extraordinarily bright yellow traffic cones were all moving around.

One of the problems with running 5K’s around St. Louis — when I can find ones that have medals — is that there’s a few venues that get used all the time.  Forest Park.  Downtown.  Old town St. Charles.  I’ve run ’em all.  A lot.

This race was held on roads I’d never run upon, which was awesome. It paralleled I-64 on the northside, crossed over the interstate, and then paralleled the interstate again on the south.  I liked that!  From anywhere on the course, you could see the whole course.  I really like seeing the water stops, the halfway point and the end of race as I’m moving along the road.  For this, MoDOT scores with this race course!

However, there were hills.

This Is Far Too Much Credit!
This Is Far Too Much Credit!

Have you driven through Missouri recently?  It ain’t exactly flat, and while rolling hills are cool in my Jeep, they’re a pain when I’m running up them.  The first kilometer was an awesome, fast downhill run.  But when you go downhill, and have to return to the start line, it’s a fact that you will go uphill at some point.

And so we did.

I started getting close to the finish, and I’d already relegated myself to a “goldilocks” race time — not too slow, not too fast, just right.  I turned the corner, saw the clock at the finish line, and couldn’t believe the time.  It was much lower than I was expecting.  Huh?  I looked at my watch (and yeah, there was that whole deal again with chip time and gun time, but you’ve read that before) and realized that the course was short by about a tenth of a mile.  That’s not a huge thing, but it definitely made me feel good coming across the finish.

Normally, I don’t hang out for the awards.  I already have the only awards I’m gonna get — a race shirt, a finisher’s medal, a bottle of water, and a snack of some kind — and I know I’m not getting an age group award.  However, the dude that won my age group did the course in less than half my time.  That is stunnnnning.  Somehow, I’ve gotta find some speed!

So today was another good race, with good weather, a good course, and another medal on the medal tree.  Next week, it’s back-to-back races to close out my winter-into-spring racing until sometime in May.

Race Course:

MoDOT Work Zone 5K