Main image for Women's Distance Festival 2016 Time to Read: ~4 min

Running with Friends

Every year Elizabeth and I run this race! We have ended up having other people join us almost every year and this year was no exception. We signed up the two of us using our now familiar team name, The LizERDs where the ERD comes from Elizabeth's initials so we KNOW it is spelled incorrectly. Elizabeth learned that her band teacher was signed up to run and we asked her if she'd like to ride with us.  My friend Katie had been asked to be the lead biker for the race but she decided she would rather run it. We asked her if she'd like to come with us and she was in too! Read Katie's race report.

That day, the forecast during the Women's Distance Festival 5K was terrible. Weather called for 93 degrees and humid with a really high chance of thunderstorms. Last year it was pouring rain so we braced ourselves for more of the same. Actually it was really fun in the rain, so we weren't all that worried about weather.

That morning though the forecast changed. Our revised forecast: sunny, warm and humid. We could manage that! A hot run in July at 6:30 - count us in!!

The Race

We headed to pick up Sarah and Katie and there was NO traffic to Ithaca so we were really early to get them. No traffic on the way to Dryden either so we were there with plenty of time to spare.

On the way over we discussed goals. We all had our own and some of them depended on who showed up. Last year Elizabeth and I placed 2nd as a mother/daughter team. The daughter in the mother/daughter team that beat us WON the race! As soon as we arrived we saw. They saw us and we all joked about being each other's competition. We picked up our bibs and Katie registered and soon we were standing on the start line. There were not very many participants for this year's Women's Distance Festival. We weren't sure if it was because of the terrible weather last year, the rough forecast (that didn't materialize) or the time of day (6:30 p.m.) but this was the smallest field we'd ever seen here.

And off we go!

As we headed to the start I shared that I was SO scared. The 5K distance is my biggest challenge - it should be all out running for the entire time. I really struggle with hitting a pace that I can hold for the full 3 miles. There is a fine line between the pace that's going to give you a cramp at mile 2 and the one that you can get to the finish with. I think Elizabeth has a similar struggle with this.

Moments before the start I asked her if she had any goals. She wasn't feeling very well so I wasn't sure what she was thinking for the race. I really wanted to know if she hoped to run together. She said she didn't have a goal, so I started the race not quite sure what to expect.

I settled into a pace next to the mom from the mother/daughter team we were competing against but she pulled ahead of me not far into the course. Soon, Elizabeth and I settled into pace next to each other. I passed her on the hill thinking I would beat her. Famous last thoughts.

Just before the water stop which is located halfway up the largest hill on the course, Elizabeth pulled ahead of me. Ian, owner of our local running store, manned the water stop. Unfortunately, I fumbled with my water, spilling it and ended up walking through and I lost more space to Elizabeth.

Miles 2 and 3

On the way to the Women's Distance Festival, Katie and Sarah asked us about the course. I described it this way.

The first mile is along a horse track and it is really nice and shaded. Then you turn left and hit an uphill that goes on FOREVER and it feels impossible. Then you hit the last half mile and it is a lovely downhill into the finish.

As I was running along enjoying the rolling hills between the 2nd and 3rd mile I realized that my description wasn't really that accurate.

Step, step, yes she's still up there. I look back and there is NO ONE behind me. I am solidly in 5th place and Elizabeth, about 10 seconds ahead of me, is in 4th. The other team has 1st and 3rd. I have never been in a race so small that it is feasible to be in the top 5. My pace is hovering at around 8 minute miles, not spectacular at all. As is typical, I didn't check my time from last year so I don't have a time I'm trying to beat.

As I comfortably run, I watch my daughter. She has a comfortable stride and seems like she can run forever at this pace. I wonder if someone would get that same sense looking at me from behind. I also wonder why I struggle so much with pushing myself faster than is comfortable. I must work on this. I feel like my ability for self preservation is VERY strong.


I tried to catch Elizabeth and she tried to catch the person in front of her, but we stayed in our 4/5 spots respectively. It was the first time she's ever beaten me in a 5K - by 10 seconds! I was really excited for her!

When I finished the race, I turned around and ran the course in reverse. As I ran up the hill out from the finish and enjoyed the rolling hills in reverse, again I realized just how incorrect my description of the course was for Katie and Sarah. Note to self, "don't scare people in the future."

It was fun to cheer people on while running it as a cool down at an easy pace! When I arrived back at the finish, Elizabeth was waiting for me. They had given roses to all the runners after us (they ordered 3 dozen but there were 40 participants). She was REALLY bummed not to get a rose. She said the woman told her that there may be one left at the end so I walked over with her. No luck. She was really bummed. While she had been waiting for me, they gave the last couple to others that had also not received one, so I felt bad that she missed a chance to get one because she was waiting for me.

Jennifer, Lesley, Katie, me, Sarah, Elizabeth

Jennifer, Lesley, Katie, me, Sarah, Elizabeth

After the race we received our age group awards and/or team awards (the benefits of a small race) so we posed for a picture with our friend Lesley and her mom. It was a fun evening for everyone!!

And of course, we couldn't break tradition. Our evening ended with Elizabeth, Sarah and me enjoying a fantastic dinner at Viva Taqueria in Ithaca.


Amy 25:05.6 5/40, Elizabeth 24:55.6 4/40; Official Results