Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

I Heart Nerds 5K Race Recap

posted by Leila Z. on

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I consider myself to be a (math) nerd with the best of them, so I had extra incentive to sign up for the I Heart Nerds 5K (aside from just wanting to run a 5K). The inaugural event took place Sunday morning in Marymoor Park in Redmond, which I had never visited in my 5+ years here. Probably because it's on the Eastside and is both a lake AND a toll away from Seattle.

The race started at 9AM, so I got up a bit before 7 and had an egg and toast, got ready to go, and coasted traffic-free over to the Eastside. There was plenty of parking for $1 at Marymoor Park and the race, which began and ended at the climbing wall, was easy to find. When I arrived, the D20 Brass Band ("Seattle's Nerdfunk Street Band") was warming up in the parking lot, which added a festive air to the proceedings.

I checked in and got my I Heart Nerds T-shirt ("You're not looking very nerdy", the guy at check-in told me admonishingly. I told him when you're as nerdy as I am, you don't need to flaunt it!) I had time to do my hair, hit the (actual, non-Porta-potty) bathrooms, and then do a quick mile-ish warmup and a few strides before the start of the race. I ran into my former housemate Clara, who had biked over to watch the race. Somewhere in there I realized, first, that I hadn't gotten my chip timer, and second, that there was no mat which meant there was no chip timing at all. Not what I was expecting (and I heard a few people grumbling about it), but I had my Garmin so at least I could keep track of myself.

About 400-ish people lined up for the start. The announcer asked us to line up "runners, then joggers, then walkers", which gave me a flash of irritation and then confusion: I'm not speedy but do consider myself to be a runner, so then what? I tried to line up among people wearing about the same amount of running attire as I was (about a third to a half of the way back). And we were off! I started strong, and Garmin clocked the first mile in 9:03, feeling pushed but strong, despite it feeling significantly hotter than when I usually run (it was NOT Oklahoma hot but I've become a PNW wimp and feel sapped by nearly any blazing sun).

About halfway through the second mile, though, I got a horrible side stitch and had to walk for a bit (actually, it was a side stitch/overfull stomach one-two punch; I could have dealt with the latter but not the former). I resumed running but had to walk several more times before trudging to the finish line. I finished in 30:27 (9:45/mile), according to my Garmin, which was a disappointment but understandable because of 1) side stitch, 2) weather, and 3) eating too much/too close to racing. I was disappointed that I hadn't had the mental toughness to keep going, but honestly in those moments I thought I would throw up and couldn't think of anything except stopping. Luckily, this race was mostly a check-in for me on the way to the Green Lake Gobble in November, so I have a clear idea of areas to focus on before then!   

In terms of the race itself, here is my list of what worked and what didn't:


  • D20 marching band! They were festively dressed and as funky as they claimed to be. They played at the beginning (which pumped everyone up) and at the end (when I was already deflated and didn't notice). Probably my favorite aspect of the race.
  • Cost. Race was pretty cheap -- I think I paid $30, but saw that many people had taken advantage of an Amazon Local deal, which was probably much less. 
  • Location. Marymoor Park is beautiful and flat, and I (mostly, see below) liked racing there very much. 
  • The race started on time, precisely at 9AM.
  • Free cookies! OK, these were from a vendor and not actually from the race, which only provided small bottles of water post-race. This probably is more of a neutral, but I felt like I should include it somewhere...
  • No chip timing. This was advertised as a "timed" race, but turned out to be only "gun-timed". I suppose it is my own fault for assuming that it would be chip-timed, but I might not have participated if I had known this ahead of time. (My husband commented that it would have been much more nerdy for them to time things extra exactly -- maybe to the hundredths of a second or something...) 
  • Gravel course. A short but not insubstantial portion of the course was over unpacked gravel that felt a bit like running on sand -- I was not a fan.
  • Start time. In my opinion, a race in August should have an earlier start time. Even 8 or 8:30AM would have kept us out of direct sunshine for a greater portion of the race (good for vampires like me).
All in all, it was neither my favorite race nor my favorite racing day, but after a very little post-race moping, by the end of the day I was again grateful for a body that can run and the opportunity and will to keep improving! 5K, I'll be back!

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