This past Saturday I ran a little race around these parts known as the 5/3 River Bank Run 25k. This 25k is the largest 25k in the country (and I believe the national championship). The day also includes a 10k run, 5k run, 5k walk and junior events, with participants totaling over 21,000 people. Needless to say, it's a pretty big party for the running community and city of Grand Rapids.
Leading up to the event, I was feeling unusually relaxed. I'd had other stuff stressing me out but not the race. Maybe this was because I was planning to just use the race as a training run for the Bayshore Half coming up in 2 weeks. In any case, I wasn't stressing too much unless you count stressing a little about the weather. Friday at lunch time, I scooted downtown to pick up my packet. I spent more time trying to find parking than I did in the actual expo. It's a really good expo if you have time to walk around. Lots of vendors, other races you can register for, etc. Basically I just ran in, grabbed my packet, and ran back out.
|I'll be buying another Altheta Relay Skort - so comfy and NO chaffing!|
I pretty much split this race into thirds in my head, so that's how I'm going to report it.
Miles 1-5 - We start heading out of downtown and into the Kent Trails system. The number of people running is just crazy for such a small area and Mindy and I spent a lot of the first 5 miles weaving in and out of the crowds. I wasn't feeling great in the first miles - my foot and ankle were hurting pretty much from the start and I didn't think I'd be able to maintain my goal pace. This section is really flat but Indian Mounds Drive is cambered with rumble strips down the center. It was hard to find an even section to run on. Splits: 10:11 - 10:23 - 10:21 - 10:28 - 10:38
Miles 6-10 - Right around mile 6 was the cheer station staffed by Grandville Public Schools cheerleaders and football players. I got a hug from Julie, the cheer coach who is also the preschool teacher at my school, and lots of high-fives from former students. This gave me a nice boost and a smile. We headed across the river and past Johnson Park. I had friends spectating there but never saw them. Around mile 7, Mindy and I parted ways. I was feeling really strong and comfortable. This is an area that I've done many training runs on and I wasn't worried about the hills coming up on Butterworth. The biggest climb starts around mile 9.5 and the hills continue through around mile 12. Splits: 10:32 - 10:25 - 10:32 - 10:21 - 10:44
Miles 11-15.5 - The biggest section of hills (rollers really) started around mile 10. Just before the mile 11 marker, Zac Brown Band's "Quiet Your Mind" came on. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. "Quiet your mind, soak it all in" was exactly what I was trying to do through this area. I'd done many long runs on this section of Butterworth and I knew those rollers like the back of my hand. I don't think I've ever felt so strong or run with more smiles than I did during this portion of the race. After the several miles of hills, we headed back into downtown, which was very flat again. I remembered running this race 2 years ago and hitting the zoo at mile 13.1 and knowing I was setting a distance PR. I set another distance PR at this point on Saturday - the farthest I'd run since getting injured and the farthest I'd run since my full marathon back in October 2011. In the zoo section, I heard one of my running buddies yell my name. I had no idea she'd be there and didn't see her at first. This made me smile again. I was starting to feel tired but kept telling myself "you can run 2 more miles - you've done this hundreds of times." When I crossed the bridge on Fulton there were a ton of funny signs. "Smile if you aren't wearing any underwear." "Run now, beer later." "Keep running, your beer misses you!" I could hear the finish line area and with 1/2 a mile to go, I really kicked it in. It's a bit cruel that this race finishes on an uphill, but there you go. My last 1.5 miles were my fastest miles of the entire race. Splits: 10:16 - 10:24 - 10:25 - 10:20 - 9:58 - 5:42 (9:18 pace).
|data from my Garmin|
I set out intending this to be a training run, but as a friend said later, I was weak - I let the thrill of racing get the better of me :) I've discovered that I can't NOT race in a race environment. I care about my time and I was definitely finding targets and picking people off. The chick with a flower in her hair - roadkill. The dude in a tutu with a sign on his back that said "Never lose a bet against your better half" - roadkill. I stopped counting at 15 people passed in the last mile. But am I upset with myself for racing this training run? Hellz. No. I'm extremely proud of myself for running a very smart race. I think I could've pushed myself much harder than I did but I would've ended up much worse for wear. Instead, I'm left with some muscle soreness and a sore foot, but nothing that I'd consider an "injury" at this point. The next few days will be devoted to recovery. I started my recovery right after the race with a beer and pulled pork sammie. :)
So, my "training run" turned out to be a nice race with a PR and bling. Not too shabby for a morning's work. I'd set 4 goals for myself in Friday's blog post:
- Finish with a smile on my face - CHECK ( I really can't wait to see the race photos)
- Finish without any injuries - CHECK (I think - jury is still out on the foot)
- Be proud of how far I've come this year - MEGA CHECK
And if I'm feeling really good....
- Finish in under 2:52:55 - CHECK!!
My "unwritten" time goal was to finish under 2:45:xx - I'd managed to hit that goal as well!
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?