Strawberry Strut 10K/5K

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The 34th annual Strawberry Strut 10K/5K was held Sunday morning in Ponchatoula, LA. The run was held in conjunction with the Strawberry Festival which was held nearby at the Fairgrounds.

It had been several years since I had done this race. The 5K was a new addition as well as the location, which was now off the Fairgrounds. I was semi relieved to see a course change. The old course took us on the service road of Interstate 55 (car fumes, yuck) and past the vendors beginning their day of deep frying food (I think I almost vomited passing the smell of fried Oreos at mile 5).

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I worked a 12 hour shift the night before the race. I actually had some energy but made myself take a quick hour nap. I missed my alarm several times but peeled myself off the couch with 45 minutes to the race start.

I made it to the new race location, Ponchatoula Junior High, with 20 minutes to spare. My race number was not assigned to me yet so I had the option of the 5K or 10K. I was tempted to pick the 5K since I was running on no sleep but the masochist inside of me went with the 10K.

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I had no race plan and did not even know what the course was. I decided to wing it and see how I felt.

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Going into the first mile I was in sixth place. The 5K runners did not turn yet so I had no idea who to pace or try to catch up to. I finished mile 1 in 7:34.

I did not see any females turn off for the 5K so I tried to stick with pack in front of me. I finished mile 2 in 7:44.

The weather was gorgeous with cool temperatures in the 60s and sunny skies. I was taking it all in and enjoying the rural route. I kept the pace with two female runners and mile three was here before I knew it, 7:52.

Mile 4 felt a little harder and fatigue started to creep in. I was trying to pace the female in front of me but every time I would get even with her she would do a 100 meter sprint then slow down again.

I stuck by myself for miles 4 and 5, finishing in 7:54 and 7:56.

During mile 6 I started to do the math in my head of what my finish time could be. I realized I would be under 50 minutes and I was excited for a fast time.

I caught up with my sprinter friend again at the mile 6 mark, 7:58. She took off in a mad dash and I tried to keep a sprint pace. I was about 200 meters out when I realized I would be well under 49 minutes. I pushed hard to the finish and completed the 10K in 48:25.

All finishers were awarded a custom medal at the finish line.

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I knew this could possibly be a PR so I went straight to my car to look up my Garmin statistics on my cell phone. The result? I tied my previous PR which I set at the Crescent City Classic in 2014.

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I was beyond thrilled because it was completely unexpected.

The post race party included fruit, snacks, water, and strawberry shortcake made from Ponchatoula strawberries. The strawberry shortcake was delicious and hit the spot.

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The costume contest and awards were held after the completion of the 10K. I finished 7th overall and 4th age group. 30-39 is a tough age group.

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The lack of sleep was definitely worth it to tie my PR. 10K season is coming to a close but I look forward to attempting my next goal: breaking 48 minutes.

Until next time!