Gosh, I'm not even sure where to start. Usually at these 5Ks there is some conflict, some drama that I can write about. But not this time. This race was just a straight up 5K, with great participants and fantastic spectators (especially at the finish line!).
So what to talk about.
This race is a big deal in a small, Midwestern town. The backstory of the race is of a young man too soon taken. Dean A Frigo was a student at the local high school, an athlete and a football player. My brother has taught in this system for many years and has coached the football team for about as long. And he did coach this young man. Mr. Frigo was killed on his way to school in a car accident. Dean's family created a foundation in his honor. This organization offers scholarships to athlete students from the high school. This race is one of the foundation's major fund raisers.
For myself, this was a race I thought I might want to do. My sis-in-law has run it for the last few years (she's also a teacher in the same school system as my brother). I vaguely knew of the backstory and the mission of the fund raiser. I just thought it would be awesome if my family could combine a visit to my brother's and have an excuse to run.
Well, I knew it was coming up in August...but I still hadn't determined if my kids could make it. Their cross country teams often run local 5Ks on the weekends during the summer. So I kept putting it off. But less than two weeks ago, my brother asked if I still wanted to. And I said yes-despite having not really trained for a race over the summer. My youngest daughter and I planned to run. My son wanted to take a break from training and said he'd go as a spectator. My wife had to work and my oldest daughter was away on a trip. So it was just the three of us.
I woke up on race day at 4:30 AM. This is not good. The race wasn't until 8:00...and it was less than a mile from my brother's house. But I could not get back to sleep. After about an hour, I gave up trying, dressed out and walked for a mile. I decided it was my warm up.
After everyone else in the house got ready, we headed down to the high school for packet pick up. This was a little nuts. My brother had arranged for our packets to be sorted with the football team's rather than the general public pickup. So my bib, and my daughter's, were supposed to be in the pile set aside for the team. Except they weren't, along with half of the team. This resulted in a minor scramble on the part of the volunteers to find our packets. Eventually all was straightened out with just about 10 minutes before start time.
We walked down to the starting area. It was a chipped event, but they did not have a starting pad, just one at the finish line, so I accepted that my "chip time" would be the same as my "clock time." But my complaint is small. This is a small event in the scale of things, with about 360 participants. There were some announcements that no one could hear, the anthem, and we were off.
Walkers who walk 8 abreast at the starting line piss me off. 'Nuff said. No, not 'nuff said. When they wear matching florescent yellow shirts and white caps...that pisses me off too.
Also, course descriptions that lie piss me off. This was touted as a fast, flat course. It was uphill all the way. All. The. Way. That said, it was a very pretty course, taking a route out to the farmland north of the town, then back to the high school.
No comments on my size. No comments on my pacing. Just running. And when I came to the homestretch, I got a cheer from the crowd that was, frankly, a little overwhelming! I relished it!
I ran with a 4/2 run/walk plan. I confess that my 2 minute walk as I approached the second mile turned into a 3 minute walk as I decided to stroll through the water stop. I had hoped for negative splits, but since it was uphill All. The. Way., that plan was quickly scratched. Even still, I made my secondary goal of beating 50 minutes with a time of 46:12. I was 310th out of 363 and 11th in my age group out of 12.
My brother was #12.
The fact that my brother came in behind me was actually a given. He walked it (and my son was convinced to sign up and walk with him). My sister-in-law set a PR. My daughter cracked 30 minutes. My son wasn't moody. Successes all the way around.
So, my race was what it was...a good, hard run sandwiched between great time with my family. We spent the rest of the day at my brother's. We left in early evening, and I just got home.
It's been a great day.