Women Of Wonder Race Recap (and my ideal women's race)

A couple of months ago, Oiselle hosted a ladies night at my favorite local running store - Everyday Athlete in Kirkland.  After a nice group run, we were treated to local wines, chocolates and a raffle with awesome prizes.  I was pretty stoked to win an entry to the Women of Wonder race at Greenlake and I promptly signed up for the 5K.  

Despite not having done much speed work all summer, I felt like my fitness was better than the last time I ran a 5K way back in March and hoped to better that time at the very least.  My 'A' goal being to improve at least 45 seconds and my 'B' goal was to place in the top 10 of my age group.  Normally, any kind of placing is not within my goals - but based on last year's results, my recent 5K time would have got me 3rd in my age group.  So yeah, this is a popular race for first time 5K-ers.

Race day finally rolled around and I was super glad that Dawn had decided to sign up and we drove over together around 8AM for a 9:30 start, in order to pick up our packets and catch some Jasyoga, of course.  

I love seeing familiar faces at a race and after hanging with the Jasyoga peeps, I had the pleasure of seeing Julie (last year Ragnar teammate) and Amanda (this year's Ragnar teammate) at the start line.  Amanda also placed 2nd overall, coming in juuuuust over 20 minutes.  

In addition to the Jasyoga prep, I tried really hard to channel Lauren Fleshman's most recent blog post on how to run the perfect 5K.  I did some mobility exercises, a 10 minute warm up with a few strides and (as mentioned above) set my A, B, and C goals.  The real kicker was that I executed the race strategy almost perfectly!  This was what I was most proud of at the end of the day.  I remember reading an article a few years back that contrary to popular opinion, you should go ALL OUT at the the beginning of a 5K, as that actually results in faster overall times.  However, I think this was probably meant for much more skilled runners, because that has just not been working for me!  SO, I tried to get into a fast but maintainable pace for the first mile and it went by so quickly. Yay! I should also point out that I had no idea what this pace was, because I inadvertently let my Garmin time out just as the race was about to start.  In mile two, I did my absolute crazy best to stay focused (per Lauren's instruction), because that's normally where the wheels fall off for me.  I barely remember mile two, just that my mouth was so very, very, dry and that I kept repeating mantras ('I am/here now', 'faster as a master', 'head up/wings out') and mile two was OVER.  Focus for the win!  However, it just seemed to push back my usual meltdown into mile three.  About half way through that mile I could feel myself slowing down, my legs turning to jello and the self doubt talk crept in.  But, this is a much better point in the race to have this happen!  The doubt and negativity can only hang around for less than half a mile, rather than a whole mile and a half.  With a time of 26:22 I ended up meeting my 'C' goal, doing a wee bit better than my last 5K, and I met my 'B' goal by placing 5th in my age group (30th woman overall out of about 800).  
post race with Dawn
Women of Wonder is mostly geared toward the fun-run and first-timer crowd, so there's lots of pomp and circumstance to lure those runners.  I enjoyed my post race brownie, they had lots of great vendors/sponsors, and sure I'll take a medal for a 5K!  And I might have taken more advantage of the mimosa/beer garden if the race was on a Saturday.  I really do love the idea of getting more women interested in running (I wish ALL my girlfriends were runners!).  However, there are some aspects to these kinds of races I love, and others, not so much...

Like I said, I really wish all races could be held on Saturdays.  It just lends itself to more people hanging, celebrating, etc.  Adding beer to the mimosa garden this year was a fantastic call.  My ideal women's running event would also involve not only mimosas or champagne at the finish, but beer as well - because, hello, women like beer, too!   

Jasyoga would also be a part of my ideal race, and kudos again for the organizers for including them.  Although, I wish they were given more spotlight - maybe even a microphone and a bigger area for yoga next year, by the community center?  And if my race couldn't nail down Jasyoga, maybe some local elite runners to lead everyone in some warm up and activation exercises.

Even though I've run a few 5Ks in my day and knew going into this race that there would be a lot of new runners, I know that we are all indeed RUNNERS.  Notably, the race corrals should reflect this fact.  Because I'm running slower than an 8 minute pace does not make me a JOGGER.  And running slower than a 12 minute mile does not make one a SHUFFLER, GOOD GOD.  Just post the paces for runners and a spot for walkers.  Easy peasy.

So, this is personal preference, but I would have neither pastel pink nor lavender (really any pastel color) themed ANYTHING - tees, medals, etc.  It's like the girls toy aisle in Target: pink or lavender people, those are your only choices.  I'm just not into it. 

Why the foofy shade of pink?  Why butterflies?  With a Superwoman themed race, where was the red, white and blue?  I like the navy shirt but I'd rather the theme be more simple and bold with NO BUTTERFLIES.  ALWAYS NO BUTTERFLIES AT ALL.  (This is a take on a Friends reference, in case you missed it.)  

I suppose ideally I would want Oiselle to design a kick ass race tee with strong, bold lines and pink that you can totally rock.  Like Kara Goucher at New York Fashion Week.  FEMININE FIERCE people.  Failing that, I'm still waiting for the offer of pajama pants as race swag.

If I had to pay for this race, I'd say it's a little pricey for a run around Greenlake, of which there is one almost every weekend.  However, if it's your first 5K and you really want a medal, fun atmosphere, or an opportunity for your kiddos to run, it's got everything you're looking for.  It would definitely be a race I'd consider running with my girl one day.  It's very family friendly and, in addition to a free kids dash, you can register as a mother and daughter duo with kids 12 and older.  She would most certainly be down with the butterflies and pastel pink...


  1. I am so with you that all races should be on Saturdays! Also, never butterflies please!

    1. haha, totally a personal preference, but I think I miiiight share it with a number of other women... :)

  2. Great job with your race! Pleeeeeeese don't tell me that they really labeled the corrals that way!? Agreed on the butterfly thing...