The longer I live away from the big city, the more I love running in the country. There’s just something special about running with the rollings hills of road in front of you and not another person around. Add 600 or so other runners and the fresh smell of cows and you’ve got the setting for Saturday’s 5k. Miles for Madison 5k was in Creston, a small town in the middle of no where Ohio. I picked up my packet on Friday night, which had my shirt and free candle donated by Root Candles. I had also won free train tickets to Lodi Station, so I was able to give these back for a family with children who would really appreciate the ride.
I scoped out some of the course and noticed it was really flat, but had a bit of wind. Seemed to be a pretty easy course to run on the next day. I was really excited for the race, not only would I be hitting these country roads with speed, but this entire race was for one little girl. Madison was diagnosed with SJS last year. She’s in recovery, but it was a great way for others to learn about this rare skin disease and help raise money to a great fund. The event was put on by Medina County Road Runners and the family expected maybe 200 people to show up. They were blown away when 600+ people were there on race day. Even more awesome, many of Madison’s classmates came out to run as well. Cue the tears.
Saturday morning came and I was ready to go. I was feeling pretty good and was hoping to get close to my PR. It was a little windy, but I didn’t think it would be a big issue. After a warm up, I made it to the start line and took my place between the 8-9 mile markers. We started the race and I tried to find a pace I was comfortable with. I knew to ignore Garmin for a while so I could focus on what my legs wanted. A half mile in and I was pushing 7:50. I had no business being anywhere near that number so I quickly tried to slow myself down. I felt like I was moving in slow motion, but I hit the first mile in 8:15.
Shortly before the mile marker we turned a corner and were heading straight into the wind. I’m not sure what happened, but I slowed way down, almost to a point that I felt I was running backwards. I had a sudden change of heart, I didn’t want to run any longer, and I wanted to just sit down and stop. My legs felt heavy and it was as though I had already run 10 miles, not one. With so many 5ks under my belt, I knew that sometimes you get good races, and sometimes you get bad races. I kept going, knowing that since the race was flat, it shouldn’t be a total struggle to make it to the finish. I hit mile two somewhere around 17:xx.
With one mile to go, I focused on finishing. We rounded another turn and I could see a few rolling hills up in the distance. I didn’t expect these and wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to muster up the final half mile. All I could think about was how does someone plan to have hills in the last half mile? Obviously I still don’t love hills. I could hear my college coaches voice in my head, charge the hill, charge that hill in front of you. I told myself this over and over as I passed people and made it to the top. Half mile to go and I was at 22:xx.
There was a slight downhill that lead us to the school and around the back to the track. I started to pick up my speed and gave it all I had left in me. I crossed the line at 26:14.
It wasn’t my best race, but I’ve done a lot worse. I was surprised with how close my time was to last week. Ok, 45 seconds may not be close, but I was pretty sure I’d finish between 27-28 minutes. It was a mentally rough day, between the brutal wind and my legs and the last few hills near the finish, but I completed the race.
Afterword I stood in line for my 5 minute massage and had my hamstrings stretched out. The woman working on me proceeded to tell me that my back was a mess and so were my hips. Thank you for reassuring me with something I already know. She gave me a few stretches and hopefully I can work these out in the future. Maybe this is what’s holding me back from running a quicker pace.
By 10:30 the awards started, I didn’t expect to win anything, but wanted to stick around and find out the fastest times. Little Madison was also handing out the awards, so I felt it was only right to stay for a while. When they got to the 20-24 age group, they called my name in third place. Completely shocked I went up to grab my award, a brick from one of the old local schools. How awesome.
I didn’t realize until I was on my way home, but it would be the last time I ran a 5k in the 20-24 age group. A bittersweet moment that will allow me to jump up to 25-29 and probably never place. But hopefully, it will push me to be a faster runner.
The race was such a great event that was put on in honor of one little girl. MCRR did such a fantastic job, and I hope that this race continues each year. I was impressed with the goodies from our grab bag too. They included a shirt, water bottle, a candle and some coupons for ice cream. Along with the grab bag, the treats after the race were all donated by local companies. They had quite the spread of chocolate milk, cookies, subway sandwiches and I think some ice cream. Seriously a community effort on this event.
Overall Place: 131/616
Female Overall: 39/382
AG 20-24: 3/20