Balloonfest 5k


I ran my second 5k this past Saturday. And in a few weeks I will run another! Bam!

This one was another one in my own town. Two in one year for this small town, crazy. It was the inaugural Balloonfest “Morning Launch” 5k. For this first time, there were many glitches. But, oh well.

Through my running neighbor, I met two new women from the area that are close to my age and are new at running. Now this is cool! First, that my neighbor is inspiring all of us to run πŸ™‚ and second, that there are other women my age new to running in the area πŸ™‚

The morning registration included some music with a DJ. Pretty nice way to start out the morning and get everyone in a good mood. I spied a donut stand nearby too, but that was the last thing I wanted with my nervous stomach. Shortly before start time we had some guided warm ups, also a much appreciated thing.

This was an interesting course, which we only found out on the morning of. It turns out many people were a little surprised by it. And I’m pretty sure that I might not of signed up had I known it. We started out on grass. Then went up a short steep hill onto a narrow trail in a pine stand. This rooty, rocky trail continued until it emptied out on grass just shy of a mile. At this point we were diverted onto a road and faced yet another hill. And it was hill after hill. They weren’t big hills, after all it’s only 5k, but for me who can’t do hills it seemed like an eternity of hills. Did I mention there were people with strollers? On the grass. And on the hills. Funny how there seems to be so many uphills and so few downhills. I tried the mantra “I love hills!” with some success. (Thank you to all of you who suggested using mantras.) The road portion looped through a subdivision and got to a point where we were heading back along the route we came out on. Back through the pines and grass to the same place we started from.

It amazes me that even though I was exhausted- the same old huffing and puffing and can’t catch my breath- that I could find this incredible energy the last stretch across the grass to sprint through the finish. There were only 210 of us and I came in at 146. I managed to improve my time from two weeks ago and got a PR of 43:03. I have no idea how that happened. It sure felt like I was going slow with all the hills. Maybe they mis-measured the course (wouldn’t surprise me…) But I’m happy with the time. There were no age-group awards, only top 3 under-18 and top 3 18+. Darn, I was hoping to pull the age-card again!

balloonfest 5k

It was a great course (I loved the trail through the pine trees), but tough for a beginner. And tough for children and tough for strollers. I don’t know if they will change it next year due to our complaining. I guess it depends on where they’re going with this 5k. Do they want a family friendly (aka strollers and kids running) course or something more competitive? Either way, better communication would be good, so we all know what we’re signing up for.


I was disappointed that the balloons were not launched while we ran (as advertised). They had already taken off well before 7 am when we arrived. So I wasn’t able to get pictures as I had hoped. We didn’t even attend the two day festival this year, so I had to get some pictures from others. For the festival, they launch the balloons in the morning and evening and do a nighttime glow. Saturday after dinner we could see them in the distance in the sky as we left the restaurant, so we drove close enough to get some photos. The one below is my own. The balloons by then were pretty far off and I had to use the full zoom on the iPhone, but even then most were too far. This one turned out great.


23 thoughts on “Balloonfest 5k

  1. Congrats on your race! Maybe not knowing the lay of the land was a challenge, but not a bad thing. Looks like you had adapted pretty well to the terrain and finished with a new time. Outstanding!


    • Thanks Rob. It was good I didn’t know ahead, because then I wouldn’t have signed up!! I’m pretty competitive with myself and once I start a run I don’t quit, even if I feel like it. I’m learning so much, about myself and about how to run. It’s very interesting.


  2. Great job!! You are an inspiration. And you’re right, that last picture is gorgeous! Thanks again for all the encouragement you’ve given me. I really appreciate it. This morning the scale moved in the right direction, so that’s good news. ;o)


  3. CONGRATS!! I love PRs!!! It’s too bad that they didn’t launch the balloons when they said they were going to, but that is still such an awesome idea for a 5K! I’ve always wanted to go to a balloon festival. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you! I did have the usual wanting to quit about 2/3rds through and slowed way down. But that didn’t last long and I pulled it together. I am one to love the finish- completing anything I start is almost more fulfilling than the process to it. Good luck with your race!


  4. Cynthia, I hope you’re incredibly proud of yourself. I feel now that you’ve begun the 5ks, there will be no stopping you! I wish I could run, but walking is the best I can do. Here in the running capital (Eugene) and home of Nike, we have so many races here you can’t keep track of all of them! In spite of the disorganization this last race sounds interesting and certainly not dull.I’m sure they’ll get better if they continue it annually. You are so inspirational!


    • Thank you. I am proud. But I still have lots of doubts too. I really hope I can keep up the running, it’s been so good for me! I remember back when I couldn’t even walk. So that’s where I started. I was sure I could never run! But gradually I could πŸ™‚


  5. Congratulations on your PR! The pictures are great and I think I would have loved it. I enjoy different terrains. I can imagine it wasn’t so good for strollers, though. You are a runner, Cynthia! πŸ™‚


  6. Congrats to all on the 5k!!! They have a balloon fest here too, but it’s too crowded. Luckily people are constantly flying them here just randomly so I see them pretty regularly. Yours looks beautiful tho!


    • Thanks, Scott. Our fest is pretty small, not much going on besides the balloons. Some lame music and not so great food. It started about 4 years ago, so they’re working on it, each year it gets a little better. I would love to attend the big balloonfest out in New Mexico some day, but Texas works too!


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