NJ 5K XC Series Race 1 Recap

Last night I ran my first 5K that is part of the NJ 5K XC Series. I discovered this group last summer on their last race of the year (of course) and have been so excited for it to start back up this spring/summer.

The NJ Trail Series group organizes a 5K every Wednesday evening at Central Park in Morris Plains, NJ. The best part is that it’s only $10, or if you pay for the full series ($75) it comes out to like, $4 a race!

Your $10 includes chip timing and food and refreshments at the end. Yesterday they had pretzels, brownies, chips, juice packs, beer and more.

They actually used some high-tech timing that I have yet to see at other races. They placed a velcro chip around your ankle (like an ankle monitor) which you gave back at the end. I personally liked it better than having to pin something on my shirt and take it off at the end to return it to them for the next race. I’m lazy, I know.

The course is actually a cross country course. The local high school XC team has meets at this park, and big meets (sectionals, counties, etc.) are held here as well. 

My dad ran the race with me, and my mom and aunt (who is visiting from Argentina) came to watch and cheer us on. I love that my dad came to run a 5K with me on his birthday! 

NJ 5K XC Series
The race itself wasn’t anything great for me, time-wise. But I knew that going in. First of all, it’s a XC course, meaning it’s all grass, gravel or dirt. Second of all, I took about 2 weeks off because I was sick before the half marathon I was supposed to run, so I wasn’t in 100% shape. But it was still awesome!!

I don’t know why, but I was so nervous driving to the race and lining up…like butterflies in my stomach. I thought to myself, “Why am I so nervous for this fun run 5K race where I know I’m not even going to PR??”

The race starts in this grassy field then goes out to a dirt, grass and gravel path where we did 2 loops. There are about 3 hills, the first one is really short but steep, the second is longer but not super steep, and the third goes straight up. I swear it felt like I was running at a 90 degree angle. It’s only a few feet long but I had to stop and walk once I got to the top. 

I mean, check out this elevation profile:

I also like that the updated RunKeeper shows you how many steps you take per minute…very handy! I run around 175-180 steps apparently.

Anyway, I struggled a bit on the second loop but told myself once my RunKeeper told me I had a mile to go I would try to push it. My splits were 9:43, 10:48, 10:15. Like I said, that second mile was tough.

I finished in about 30 minutes and my dad finished in 27:XX minutes. Despite my time, I felt great afterwards. Just happy to be there and happy to be running. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high! I’m really excited to keep running every Wednesday with this group, and perhaps I’ll make some new runner friends! It will be a great way to get in a workout once a week as well, especially on trails.

If you live in New Jersey, I highly suggest you come to a race! Everyone is really nice and welcoming and it is not a competitive atmosphere at all.

Have you run a 5K series or something similar before?

Would you prefer an ankle monitor type thing for racing or good ol’ bibs?


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  1. that impressive elevation. The series sounds nice. Bucks County RoadRunners has a winter series in Tyler Park that is similar, although mostly on paved trails since it is winter and often snowy.
    Kelli recently posted…Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3 – Training UpdateMy Profile

  2. How fun! Those hills though – rough! The ankle strap didn’t chafe or anything?
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Fit, Focused & Fun Finds (from around the web!) #32My Profile

  3. Seems like you had a great race! 30 minutes is awesome (says the girl who runs more than she races). It’s all about enjoying the moment. I hate hills btw…so yes, you rocked it! That series sounds nice!
    Artney @ My Pretty Brown recently posted…Super Shred: Week 1 Complete! There is a Light!My Profile

  4. I hate hills so it sounds torturous, but congrats on finishing and doign a pretty awesome job too!
    Toni @runninglovingliving recently posted…2015 Long Island 10K RecapMy Profile

  5. I know I said this on your Instagram but I can’t get over that I used to live down the street from Central Park! I wonder if they had these races when I lived there, which is now more than 6 years ago. That’s a fun summer series :)
    Emily @MyHealthyishLife recently posted…Defining “Out of Shape”My Profile

  6. Yikes look at that course! Running on grass is no picnic either. I love that you dad ran with you!
    Marcia recently posted…April? It’s a WrapMy Profile

  7. I love this kind of 5K series especially on trail. I love that you participate in these races with your family members, such fun!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Food Talk. Why Organic Matters. The Issue of Roundup.My Profile

  8. Congrats on the race! I love small local races, especially ones on the trail :) 5 Ks are definitely not my favourite though, because I feel like I need to sprint and want to vomit at the end. The half marathon is definitely my fav!
    Bri recently posted…{thinking out loud} Are you self-creating stress?My Profile

    • lol I’m the opposite! I love 5Ks because it’s over fast, I do like half marathons too but they are a lot more challenging for me.

  9. I prefer ankle things. There is something about “series” races that is fun. My husband and I do a trail run series every year.

    Congrats on the race!
    jill conyers recently posted…Inside a Gluten Free Vegetarian PantryMy Profile

  10. Wow, that’s a lot to have included for only $10! Sounds like the race is well organized too!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Friday Five – May 8th – Five Reasons I Love Running with My HusbandMy Profile

  11. I’ve never done a series race before but it sounds like fun. I’ll have to find a course with a lot less hills though! Those look brutal.
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…20 Delicious and Healthy Smoothie RecipesMy Profile

  12. this is so cool! I wish they organized something similar in GA. Awesome for you for signing up and running a 5k every week!
    Jessica recently posted…Staying MotivatedMy Profile

  13. Great job on your race! Holy HILLS batman! Way to go!
    Rachel recently posted…Healthy Living Starts With Your Gums #YourGumsMatterMy Profile


  1. […] I had no expectations since it is on a trail/XC course and the hills are crazy (see hill profile in my previous recap). My goal for the second race was to just do better than the first […]

  2. […] Summer XC Series 5K. You can read more about this race in my other recaps. This was the third time I ran it and it was pretty bad. I did a 1.5 mile warm up, ran the […]

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