My First Race of 2023: Eat and Run ScholaRun

After three years, ScholaRun is back!  It’s coincidentally also my first race of the year, and here’s my story.

At the activity area before the 5K event started.

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 edition of the event was never realized, and it was only this year when it finally resumed.  And as the materials were already produced, it’d be such a waste to throw them away, that’s why I liked that the organizers chose to use what they had (bibs, medals, and all) for this year’s event.  I actually realized it only when I saw the date on the bib.

I haven’t really run much since the pandemic started so events like these “forces” me to wake up early and run a prescribed distance.  I know how slow I’ve become so too avoid shocking my system too much, I signed up for a 5K.  It was my favorite distance when I was just starting, and it’s my favorite now as I feel like a newbie again.

The event was held at the CCP grounds and for some reason, it’s one of the (if not the) earliest 5K gun start I’ve ever experienced.  At 4:45AM, it was a dark start for this time of the year.  I would’ve understood the timing if it were summer, but I’m not really complaining as we get to enjoy the cool weather.  Surprisingly, I actually arrived early!  Not too early though, as the 5K started shortly after I deposited my belongings in the baggage counter.

Attendance was considerably smaller than its previous years before the pandemic, but still sizable enough to remind you that you’re in an actual race!  And as the crowd isn’t that huge for 5K, I was able to avoid getting stuck and able to run at my own pace—which wasn’t that fast!  But as I haven’t joined a race for so long, I actually forgot how to start my trackers (apps, Fitbit, etc.) quickly as the race started so I was already meters away from the starting line when I started my recording.

I wasn’t aiming for anything with this race, but a sub-30 minute finish would be nice.  But I never really consciously did anything to target that—all that mattered to me as I started the race was be able to run continuously (without walking) at a pace I’m comfortable with.  It was a challenge for me to monitor my pace as well as my Fitbit’s screen is set not to turn on automatically when it’s early morning.  And I didn’t bother looking at my phone during the run as I might panic if I realize I’m running too fast or too slow!  So, I just ran by feeling… 😊

The first hydration station was around the first kilometer on the 5K route, and it was packed with food!  I think the food served were a little too heavy for me to eat as I run and I brought my own hydration bottle so I didn’t really have a need to stop for water and I only took a look.  The other hydration stations also have their own food so I guess that’s great value for your money if you’re hungry and not in a hurry.

I think I was just right on time to complete my 5K under 30 minutes, but I was stopped as I crossed the finish line when someone asked for my name and listed it.  It was the first time I experienced it so I was confused—did I make it to the podium?  I’m pretty sure I was too slow for that, but I found it interesting.  Unfortunately though, that also meant I was unable to stop my timer immediately (I actually forgot how to quickly stop them) so by the time I did, it was already around 32 minutes on my clock.  To make things worse, the app I was using (adidas Running) didn’t record my run!  Either I didn’t start it properly in the first place, or I unknowingly closed it without stopping it.  Good thing my Fitbit worked as expected.

Imagine me taking eight minutes to finish the last 300m?! 🤣

I was hoping to get some validation from the official race results, unfortunately, that was also a dead end as it reflected that I finished my 5K in 45:41 (chip time)!  I guess I’ll never know what my race time was, but I was glad to complete it running non-stop with no injuries and in good disposition.

Overall, I enjoyed my return to running with this event.  And I liked that they reused their 2020 materials for this year’s event—somehow, it’s a reminder of what we’ve been through with the pandemic and how we’re getting back to how it was.  The food along the route was certainly a treat, and the nice weather was an added bonus.  I wasn’t a fan of how early the 5K though—but given how busy the roads they used, it’s understandable.  I hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as I did, and I hope to join again next year—hopefully with properly recorded timing!

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