I remember it well. The warm, August evening. One. Year. Ago.

Four hours until the big race, I google: “What to eat before a 5k.”

Oatmeal. Hmmm… I sat at my office desk perched above the Town Center Parking Lot watching the City of Dublin and IGS Energy prepare for an event, the Dublin Irish Festival 5k. You know, because hosting one of the world’s largest Irish festivals isn’t quite enough for this City.

In 2002, the 5k became the Thursday “Kick-off” tradition for the now 24-year old Dublin Irish Festival. (Like OMG I’m as old as the Irish Festival.) The 5k has grown from 400 to 1400 runners from around Ohio.

I always wondered why people run 5k’s. I had never run one before and I wanted to unveil the mystery.

I am here to tell the tale—and how you too, can survive the 2011 Dublin Irish Festival 5k.

1.       Feel comfortable. Wear your favorite spandex outfit or running gear if you prefer to not say “spandex.” I actually bought new sneakers in preparation for the event. Not necessary for everyone, but I had convinced myself that I would run faster with new shoes from the Columbus Running Co.

2.        Make your music mix. What gets your body moving? Some Gaelic Storm? (Shameless Irish Festival entertainment headliner plug) Some heart-pumping music can help you get through a gradual, yet surprisingly grueling hill.

3.       Talk to people. I signed up for the 5k without forcing any of my friends to join. Participants congregate in the Historic Dublin Town Center Parking Lot. One lady I met was a marathon runner. I learned she runs 5k’s to help her “kick.” I immediately felt worse about myself, but she had some great running tips.

4.       Choose your balloon. I was worried about setting my pace, but guess what? There are people you can run with that are pace setters- genius! They run with a balloon tied to them and it lists their distinctive minute per mile pace. I chose a balloon that had my 9 minute mile pace and it immediately took away stress I had about reaching my goal.

5.       Be a water diva. The “grab a cup of water while you’re running” technique is quite difficult. This is no time to be polite. Spot your water cup person on the side of the road, go in for the chug, and slam your cup on the ground. You’re an athlete today. (But don’t forget to gasp a ‘thank you.’)

6.       Maintain your bubble. A lot of people are running in front, beside, behind and maybe slightly on top of you. Break off from those runners that have no sense of personal space. I developed the ‘juke and sprint’ move to swiftly secure my bubble and my pace. Please contact apotter@IrishisanAttitude.com for a diagram and/or lesson.

7.       Finish strong. If the large “FINISH” sign isn’t enough motivation to run faster, a crowd of people cheering you on will certainly help. I personally tricked myself into thinking everyone was there for just me. It worked!

8.       Reward yourself. It’s a fact: After a 3.1 mile run your body is dehydrated. That’s why there is an opportunity to replenish. This opportunity is known as The Dub Crawl. The Dub Crawl starts at 5 p.m. in Historic Dublin. Right where the race ends, how convenient! So drink up and say Slainte! (Cheers) you just notched a ticket to the Irish Festival, a T-shirt and talking points for a few days, “Hey guys… Yeah I ran the Irish Fest 5k… and I SURVIVED.”

Other important tidbits:

The Irish Fest 5k begins at 7 p.m. in Historic Dublin. You can register online or at the event. To register or learn more visit: www.irishfestrun.com

Live entertainment throughout the Historic District includes:

  • The Kells (5:30 – 6:45 pm) Ha’Penny Bridge Import Shop
  • Capital City Pipe & Drum (6:30 – 7 pm) Dublin Cornet Band (7:45 – 9 pm) BriHi Square Plaza
  • Two Too Many (7:45 – 9 pm) Dublin Village Tavern
  • Brigid’s Cross (8 – 11 pm) Brazenhead Irish Pub

Shops will be open with extended hours and many offer Irish Festival specials.

I’m highly favored to place first in the men’s and women’s divisions within all age groups.

-Post by Allison