The weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect for a 5K -- not too hot and with a nice bit of breeze. The race started and ended at Lakewood Park which I had only really been to once before when I ran the Nature's Bin 5K a year and a half ago but this time I got there early enough to walk around while I warmed up.
Lakewood Park is gorgeous with lovely views of the lake and lots of recreation options. Both the baseball fields had games going on, there was yoga happening on the back porch of the indoor pavilion, tons of kids on the huge playground, and lots of runners and walkers just enjoying the lovely day. I may need to add it to my list of parks that offer good running locations.
There is also this super cute gazebo which had a picture perfect view of the skyline.
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Later, my friend Kelly told me that most of Lakewood High School takes prom photos at the gazebo while my friend Corinne said me that she had friends who were at the park yesterday and got engaged there. Awwwww.
The course for this 5K was (I think) the exact same course as the Nature's Bin 5K, which I was anticipating since both are hosted by Hermes, which is one of Cleveland's road racing management companies. It's entirely flat and winds through some of Lakewood's nearby neighborhoods.
After the half marathon a couple weekends not going nearly as well as I had hoped, I really, really needed a good, strong race to get me back into my running groove. I actually hadn't been running since the half, just because I was feeling kind of blah about the whole activity. With the shoes, I opted to wear an older pair after the ankle fiasco and they were just fine so I think maybe I just got a bad right shoe or something.
This race was just what I needed and after running a decent 3 miles, right at the very end when we turned the corner from Lake Avenue and head back into the park and towards the finish line I was able to really pick up speed and finish with a chip time of 45:22. With an average mile pace of 14:38, that's my fastest time in almost a year and my first sub-15 mile since July! (Well, technically, at the Garage Sale 5K I ran a 14:56 but that's close enough to just round up).
To say I was happy with that time is an understatement and I've already started looking for more 5Ks to run in the next couple of months before I start training for RnR CLE.
Speaking of Nature's Bin, since I was in the neighborhood I swung by after the race and was delighted when I saw they had their vegan S'more cake that day.
That's right. I said vegan. Even the marshmallow. Seriously, whenever I go to Nature's Bin I always go for the vegan baked goods over the regular ones because they are so fucking good. (The red velvet is my favorite, but this is a very close second.) After such a good run it was a nice and yummy way to celebrate adding another race to the books!
Love from the ashes,