For those of you familiar with my running, you know I love long distances. Give me a half or a full marathon any day; however, I am starting to embrace the suck that is a 5K. 5Ks, though short, are a full-out pain fest, in my opinion. My legs feel like lead about half a mile into the race, and my lungs are screaming for mercy. I managed to snag my last 5K PR in September 2015 when I ran the Downtown Willoughby 5K, and I was incredibly pleased with that accomplishment. Still, as I started to get faster and train harder, I was interested to see what I could do. Coincidentally, I found the most perfect race – the Chardon Brewfest Run for Suds 5K. Running and craft beer? Sign me up! I also
aggressively cohered encouraged my dad, sister, and brother-in-law to join in the fun.
To prep for this race, I did something I had never done before – made speedwork a priority and a regular part of my training. Being able to run intervals on the local high school’s track was key. I felt like a gazelle flying around the track but with much stumpier legs and a lot less fast, but whatever, it was awesome and addictive. When I would look down at my watch during 400s and see a pace in the low 6s, I was like, “Holy crap! This is what it feels like to be Ryan or Jess or Pam or Steve or Jamie any of my other super fast running friend!!!”
My big race day was quickly approaching – Saturday, August 12. Dad and I arrived at packet pick-up super early. I am not sure why I am always paranoid there is going to be a long line, but I am and that makes for a lot of standing around. Sarah, Rhett, her friend Stephanie, and my niece and nephew arrived shortly after. The kids were beyond excited for “their race” and the fact they would receive a medal at the end for running (truth: Sarah and Rhett did all the running while pushing them in a double stroller contraption with at least 100 pounds of weight…beast mode!).
Before the race started, I was scoping out the competition. I saw a few ladies who I figured were on the quicker side, and there were two young girls, around my oldest daughter’s age, who looked like cross country runners. Since they were lined up right in the front, I figured they were planning to fly. Things going through my head before the start of the race –
- Steph, did you see the overall winner awards? Wouldn’t it be cool to get one of those?
- Little girls can’t appreciate those Das Boot beer mugs, so you better run your ass off.
- I hope you don’t crash and burn on the hills!
- Sweet Jesus, stomach, please cooperate for this race!!!
Then…we were off! I was thankful I warmed up a little before the start of the race because I didn’t feel as though I was instantly dying. It also helped that the very beginning of the race was downhill. The cross country girls were fast like I suspected, but I hung right with them. The one little girl was leading until around mile 1, but I got ahead of her as we circled the square in Chardon. That is right; I was LEADING the women’s race, on a hilly course no less!
After rounding the square, we had a brief respite with some downhill, but after making a turn, it was back to rolling hills. At the second mile mark, I was still hanging strong but could feel myself getting tired. ONE MORE MILE! I could do this.
We had a turn around mile 2.3, and then it was one long, uphill stretch until the finish. I kept checking the pace on my watch and cursing my legs to go faster. I was starting to get a little sick to my stomach because my body was not used to going that speed for that long, but I kept pushing. When I hit mile 3, I was both happy and a little defeated. I am no distance wiz, but I knew we still had more than .1 mile left on the course. My goal was to come in under 23 minutes on their clock, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
The sadness was short-lived because when I made the final turn into the parking lot, I saw the race organizers stretching the ribbon across. That was truly a “HOLY SHIT” moment for me because, obviously, that had never happened before and may not happen again. I smiled, pushed on, and broke the ribbon with a huge smile on my face!
It took a few minutes for me to catch my breath, wipe the copious amounts of sweat off my face, and process what actually happened. Then it was time to cheer on my family. I was so proud when I saw my dad coming down the finish, and he was running his butt off! He looked tired but ran an excellent race, especially considering he does not run! Next in were Sarah and Rhett with their littles in the stroller. I was shocked at how quickly they finished and was thankful it was them and not me pushing them up those hills.
After the awards, it was time to celebrate with a post-race beverage at my parents’ house and the Chardon Brewfest. Run all the miles; drink all the beer, am I right?! It was the perfect ending to my new 5K PR and best race ever! Thanks, Great Lakes Race Timing, for yet another awesome race! Looking forward to running more with you!