The marketing and branding surrounding this event, or shall we say simply, the HYPE made me think that I wasn’t going to enjoy this race that much because it wasn’t “serious” enough about the running.
There was a VIP cocktail hour, Kate Hudson’s fitness brand Fabletics was a sponsor, and celebrity fitness instructors and chefs were touted as post-race entertainment.
And sure, it wasn’t the Olympic Trials, but that wasn’t the point. What I can tell you is I had a blast out there, start to finish, including the racing part. It was a great experience being a race ambassador for this event.
I hadn’t run much since my last race at the Music City Distance Fest in Nashville on June 6, instead taking a short “down time” from running where I was letting myself off the hook from 6 a.m. alarms and gym sessions. The result is that I got to the starting line of the race fresh and excited to run, with relatively low expectations for myself – which I think is exactly how you want to go into a race (especially after a particularly high pressure race like the one before).
And once the gun went off, I just ran for pure fun. I ran 5:14 for the first mile (what?! Spicy), 5:30 for mile 2 and 6:00 to finish up (there was some gravel trail and sidewalks thrown in). But get this, it wasn’t even hard. I felt great! For going into this race with only with the expectation of enjoying myself, slowing down that much from mile to mile was a great strategy. Foolproof, I might venture! Start fast and feel good, then slow down when the going gets hard…? Just don’t actually follow that advice for trying to set any PRs. That’s what’s happened to me in a lot of races in my life and it sucks. Don’t be like me.
Anyway, I took first place for the women, and my friend Kate sailed into the finish soon after. We enjoyed a chatty cooldown, and then set out for the post-race expo. This blew your normal post-race bananas and bagel halves out of the water. Living up to the foodie name, there were local and national foodie brands with vendors set up in two huge areas. There were a ton of samples to snack and sip, with everything from a maple bacon granola to beet salad and steak fajitas, and then even more packaged treats to take home like chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and black bean pasta. I had a Tito’s + green juice mini cocktail as well as some red wine … all before 10 a.m.
The food and fitness celebrities were there as promised (there was a plank challenge I did not attempt, for those who did, good work), there was a photo booth, and everyone just seemed to be having a great time.
So now I’m sitting at home sipping from my bright blue, double-walled insulation mason jar tumbler with a flavor infuser (this was another post-race prize, and it was filled with cold water, watermelon and fresh mint!) and I’m thinking that this is precisely the type of product I would have despised before for its seeming uselessness and tackiness … but actually, I love it. Sometimes it’s good to let the hair down and try new things, like the Fit Foodie 5k, that you think you might be above. Because they’re a lot of freaking fun.
There will be other races when it’s time to get serious, and that’s great. But I have to hand it to the Fit Foodie for creating a well-rounded, well-run event with simply a ton of energy and fun. It was a completely approachable event for experienced and newbie runners alike, as well as a rewarding foodie experience. Win-win. Thanks for everything, Fit Foodie Run!