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.