A couple of weeks ago the bestie and I were talking about how we wanted to hit up the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. They had a few baby animals that we wanted to check out. While I was looking around the zoo website I found out that there was a fun run 5k coming up and admission to the zoo was included in your registration. I mentioned it to Laura and by that afternoon I signed up for the race. The plan was for me to do the race in the morning, shower & change, grab some lunch, and then head back to the zoo. When I talked to the special events person at the zoo I found out that if I kept my wristband on after the race that would get me back into the zoo later, but that there would also be another free ticket in my goodie bag – SCORE! So three of us went to the zoo, but we only had to pay to get one person in.
This was the first real “fun run” that I had done. There were no timing chips (in fact the only “clock” was at the finish line, you just picked your race bib out of a stack at the check in table, and there were less than 500 participants.
I was honestly worried about being one of the last people to finish with such a smaller group of runners, but since it was a fun run there were plenty of people behind me. The first mile was around some areas surrounding the zoo, and then for the second mile we headed into the zoo. It was pretty neat running through the zoo before it was open. Some of the pathways were a little smaller and had some crazy turns, but it really made the mile fly by. I didn’t get to see a lot of animals but I enjoyed the ones I did get to see.
The last mile took us down by the river and then we back tracked a portion of the first mile to take us back to the entrance of the zoo and the finish line. I knew that I had maintained around a 10:30 min mile for the first two miles, but I knew that I had slowed down for the last mile. I hadn’t checked my time and just focused on keeping up the pace and finishing the race. Since the race wasn’t chipped, I had to go with what my Nike+ Running app told me when I crossed the finish line. I hit stop on the app and was shocked when it told me I finished in 33:19 – a full 2 minutes and 3 seconds faster than my previous 5k PR! I couldn’t believe it! Of course it happens during a race that wasn’t officially timed, but I didn’t care. I improved my 5k time by 2+ minutes in the last 5 weeks. It was awesome! I really enjoyed the race and would totally do it again!
The rest of my day included hitting up a couple of thrift shops, lunch at my favorite sub shop (Subport), and then heading back to the zoo with the bestie & husband for the afternoon. We even stopped and got HUGE strawberry shortcake sundaes on the way home. I was so full that I just skipped dinner all together. Now that I’m back home I’m enjoying some time on the couch with the pup. It is a little cold here tonight so we are keeping each other warm. Now if only I didn’t have to go upstairs to go to sleep… oh well.