Even though I haven’t been keeping up with race recaps, I have run some races. None of the races went particularly well, none of them were goal races, none of them were races I had ‘trained’ for. They were just races I’ve run because, well, they were convenient and part of a race series I’d committed to back in March.
The area where I live holds the Grand River Valley Charity Race Series every year. The series consists of 1 race per month between the months of March and August. Points are awarded based on performance at each race and at the end of the series the person with the most points wins! Last year I only ran 3 races and I wasn’t eligible to place in the series because you need to run 4 races to be eligible. Last year I wasted any series points I was awarded because I didn’t run enough races. Rookie mistake. This year I don’t want to waste my points so I committed to run all 6 races no matter what.
The first race was the Sequoia Glen 5k on March 17th.
The second race was the Grand River Gallop 5k on April 7th.
The third race was the Silt Historical Park Hobble 5k. This race was a disaster, not the race itself but my experience. I went into this race feeling sick to my stomach, unable to stay out of the bathroom the morning of the race, and unable to eat breakfast. I barely made it to the race. The warm up I attempted sent me straight back to the bathroom. I felt like a knife was stabbing into my abdomen. As I said, I had committed to running this entire race series and I’ve taken that commitment very seriously the last 5+ months, even the day of this race when I was super sick. I’ve run a lot of races in my life and I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes with running. Running this race is probably in the top 10 stupid things I’ve done running wise. There is no reason I should have run this race as sick as I was, and I am not proud to admit that I did this. When I say I am going to do something I do it, and unfortunately sometimes I cannot separate follow through from foolishness.
Anyway, the race was surprisingly hilly and I felt horrible as soon as it began. I went out way to fast and I couldn’t hold onto the pace. I guess I thought the faster I ran the faster I could stop running…..it was rough. At the turn around point I just shut down and gave up. There was no way that I was going to run the time I wanted because I was feeling worse and worse with each step. The way back to the start/finish was pure agony and I was regretting even getting out of bed. Finally, I finished the race as the 2nd overall woman with a time of 23:19. I promptly removed myself from the finish line area and sat on the ground writhing in pain. This continued throughout the award ceremony, the drive home, and the rest of the day. As soon as I got home I went right to bed until later that day when I had to go to a Cinco De Mayo block party we were hosting at work. I felt better but not great. I still have no idea what was wrong with me that day but my guess is that I ate something bad the day before. A perk of suffering through this race is the neon yellow t-shirt I received with a picture of an old man hobbling. I do love that t-shirt! Oh, and I earned series points for placing second—worth it but not really because I can still feel that pain if I think about it hard enough.
The following week I drove toward the desert for the Girls on the Run 5k. This spring I volunteered to coach Girls on the Run at the local middle school. The experience was much more rewarding than I ever imagined it would be. Back in the winter when I was considering what to do about my lack of coaching options for track season I decided that I was going to sign up to coach Girls on the Run. I had wanted to coach Girls on the Run for a while but I never had the time to get involved before. The timing was finally right and I went for it! At the end of the season the girls, the coaches, and their parents can compete in an untimed 5k. This 5k isn’t about time, it’s about accomplishing the goal of getting to the finish line. We had one girl on our team who was planning to go all out. The other coaches and I decided to disperse ourselves amongst the girls so none of them were running alone. It was suggested that I run with the girl who wanted to go all out. She ended up running 26:45ish, I had to time it. She also almost won the entire race!
The race itself was a really cool experience. There were so many girls and women supporting each other and reaching goals. The energy was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
A few weeks later I ran the fourth race in the Grand River Valley Charity Race Series, the Run for their lives 5k. This race supported the local wildlife rescue. A few weeks prior to this race I went down to the wildlife foundation to drop off a gift certificate I donated to the race, and I was lucky enough to be able to take a tour. I got to see bobcats, a wolf, a fox, a lot of birds, and some cats that just hang out at the wildlife rescue! Anyway, on race day I was a little bit nervous because I had been doing some faster paced runs and running more in general. I wanted a time to gage where I was and to measure any progress I had made. I knew the course was hilly but I didn’t let that get to me. When the race started we began climbing almost immediately. A lot of people went out really fast and I didn’t because I knew it wasn’t worth it. Short, quick, steady steps on the uphill are most effective for me and I know that I perform better when I control my pace in races like this. By a mile in I was the second woman. The hills would come and go. For every uphill there seemed to be a downhill. I used those downhills and just maintained my composure on the uphills. Half way through the race I took over as the lead women. I was feeling great. This was the first race in a really long time where my heart was completely in it. It had nothing to do with being in the lead and everything to do with that feeling of pushing myself. The achilles injury I had last fall and early winter defeated me and it has been difficult to connect with running like I did before. I’ve just been going through the motions and doing the runs without letting myself really connect to it, but that day something clicked. And as soon as it clicked, I got misdirected off course. With less than a mile to go a volunteer at one of the intersections wasn’t paying attention and myself and the second place woman made a wrong turn taking us off the race course. I had no idea what had even happened until she shouted up to me saying we went the wrong way. By the time we got back on course and made our way to the finish line, coming from the wrong direction, we had run an extra half mile. I have no idea what my time would have been but I can assume it would have been a high 21 based on my pace.
I was frustrated I didn’t have a time but I wasn’t angry. Things happen. It wasn’t meant to be and that’s okay. I wanted to gage my fitness so I could build from that race forward, but in the end I was happy that I felt good running and finally felt like my heart was in it again. As an added bonus, I was really excited that the race director still gave me a prize and the series points!!!
The final lost race of spring 2018 was Ragnar Snowmass. I have a lot to say about Ragnar Snowmass so I’ll leave you with a cliff hanger……..