Homecoming weekend at Oakland University has typically taken place in the winter, but this year it was was moved to the weekend of September 19-21. Matt earned a couple degrees from OU and works there now, so we tend to be fairly involved with campus activities. We went to a BBQ and caught some volleyball and football on Saturday. On Sunday, we participated in the 4K run around campus.
We enjoyed running the Homecoming 5K back in January 2011, but there has been no race to coincide with Homecoming the last couple of years. The campus roads are well-maintained during the winter and it was nice to race during the time of year when there are few races to choose from. However, it was so cold that tears ran down my face and froze, so I was looking forward to racing in more reasonable conditions this time.
A 9:30 start meant we didn’t have to wake up crazy early, and it was refreshing to have temperatures in the low 60s by the start of the race. We collected our bibs and cotton t-shirts in the O’rena lobby. It was nice to have the building open for the sake of having restroom facilities and a place to hang out before the start.
Although it was a little windy, it was a beautiful morning to run around the campus. The Grizz statue and the brand new Elliott Tower looked especially photogenic.
Because this was a 4K, I figured I could try to run a little faster than my usual 5K pace. However, I had run 11 miles the day before and knew the campus hills wouldn’t make it easy. I had to laugh when Paul Rice, OU’s head track and cross country coach, said the race would be all downhill with the wind at our backs. I sure knew that wasn’t true! Luckily, the race did start downhill, providing some good momentum at the beginning. I lost most of that momentum half a mile into the race when I headed right into the wind. Once I made the turn out of the wind, that’s when the climb started. We probably climbed close to 100 feet through the second mile, and that was enough to slow me down significantly. The bonus is that there was only half a mile left after that, and we did get another downhill stretch before the finish. I finished in 17:39 and averaged 7:05 per mile. That was 10 seconds per mile slower than last weekend’s 5K at the Detroit Zoo, but this course and the wind made things more challenging, so I was still plenty happy with my time.
Water, bananas, and bagels were available in the O’rena lobby after the race.
We were told ahead of time that they weren’t going to have an awards ceremony, so we could collect awards in the lobby when the results were ready. This was a pretty small race and both Matt and I were speedy enough to collect prizes. I was the first woman in my age group, and Matt was second in his age group. We were thrilled to find out that we received gift certificates to Runnin’ Gear! I’ll take that over a medal any day. :)
We really enjoy running around OU’s campus and we were glad that the Homecoming run made a comeback this year. Hopefully it will become a solid part of the Homecoming weekend tradition because we’ll certainly be back to run the race again!
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