Thursday, June 16, 2016

Race Report: Flag Day 5K/2 Mile Walk 6.15.16

The Flag Day 5K/2 Mile Walk is put on by my running club every year and it benefits not only their scholarship fund, but all a local center for special needs/developmental disabled youth and adults. Before the race started, they had a “challenge race,” a short distance where several of the clients from three centers got to show the efforts of their training. It was pretty cool because all of us runners and walkers stood around and cheered them on. They also served as race workers and handed out water at water stop so this was definitely one of those “feel good” races where it didn’t really matter how you did, it was for a good cause. It was hot and muggy but not as bad as it could have been with temps in the low 80’s. It was cloudy up until race time (of course) but luckily most of the course was shaded so the sun really didn’t interfere.

Since this was put on by the running club, I assumed all the top ladies in my AG would be there (and they are fast!!!) and since I was still recouping from Ragnar, I decided to use this race as a training run and not worry about my time. It was billed as Ohio’s largest Flag Day race so I assumed there would be a ton of people there so I was surprised when we got there and there weren’t as many people as I expected; 251 runners and 32 walkers. I guess I expected a lot more. Anyway, the RD, whom I see at a lot of my races, has been telling me about this race for the last two years and has always said it was a nice, flat course. OH HE LIED, HE LIED LIKE RUG. It was anything but! Paul and I did a quick warm up run and when I realized there were going to be hills, I could hear my legs protesting. I was already going into this race knowing there would be no fancy footwork and that with all the “real” runners at the race, there was no chance for an AG placing but after getting a taste of what it was going to be like? Yeah, this was going to probably be one of my slowest races to date…and I was ok with that. I was planning on running this race with Paul but when we got there, he said he didn’t want to run with me, which was ok, so I just decided I’d run however I felt and see what happens. I was also going to run with only one ear bud in and the music turned down low and see how I fared.

Since it was a gun start and I wasn’t really worried about a time, I didn’t get right up front with the real runners but kind of hung mid pack. The start of the race was down hill so I had some pretty good momentum going which of course is never a good thing at the beginning of the race but I just went with it anyway. I was actually surprised how good I felt so even though I checked my watch a couple of times just to see where I was at for curiosity sake, I really didn’t speed up or slow down, I just ran. Running with one ear bud didn’t last long because there was someone behind me breathing so hard it was driving me up a wall so in went the other ear bud and up went the music. Up down up down up down went the course through an apartment complex and exercise path. One of the residents had their hose out and was spraying the runners (there was enough room to get away from it if you didn’t want to get wet) and even though I was already drenched in sweat, it was a welcome relief.

We got to one hill towards the end where a couple of people were walking. My legs were tired and I admit I stopped running for a couple of steps but then I noticed a woman pushing a stroller who had been ahead of me most of the race didn’t stop, she didn’t even slow down so I said if she could do it pushing a stroller, so could I. The course looped around so the home stretch was the downhill from the beginning and then a straightway to the finish. My legs welcomed that “boost” and I decided it was time to kick it into overdrive…my goal to hopefully pass the woman in the stroller. And I did. As I was passing her, she congratulated me and I told her thank you for helping me because I was chasing her the entire race and through the shoot I went with the time clock at 26:00. What the?!? Really?? Sure enough, I stopped my Garmin as I crossed the timing mat and it read 25:59.5. Sweet!!! I know how fast the ladies are in my AG are so while I was excited about my time, I figured it wouldn’t be fast enough for a placing. It's all good, I wasn’t expecting one anyway. I waited for Paul to come down the straightway toward the finish and cheered him on as he went past. Jaime will get a kick out of this but I asked him if he wanted me to get him some water and felt the need to get it and bring it to him while he was cooling down (you can take the girl from Ragnar but you can’t take Ragnar from the girl LOL). This race has live results so I went over to check my time and officially it was 26:05 but holy macaroni, I placed 3rd in my AG!!! Guess most of the real runners stayed home!!

After the race, they had a ton of goodies, including pasta salad and this concoction made of brown rice a black beans that was REALLY good and since I would be getting an award, we decided to stay. Thankfully it was air conditioned.

Official time: 26:05
3/13 AG
31/116 females
92/251 overall

Even though the course was not the flat course I thought it was initially, I would definitely run it again. It was for a good cause and it was very well run and hey, the post race snacks were awesome, what's not to love about that!