12 May 2013

2013 RBR 25K

It happened again! I ran the River Bank Run 25K race for the fifth time on Saturday. I was a little unsure about how this race would come together. I've been running/training pretty consistently since January. I maybe didn't rack up as many miles during the week as I have in past years, but managed to make all my long runs happen. Going into the race, I just wanted to finish and finish strong with a time that I could be happy with.

The forecast was for cool temps and it included rain. The weather for River Bank Run is infamously rainy or threatening to rain. So I've grown to expect that. They said it probably wouldn't rain until later in the day. I left my house wearing long sleeves, capri running pants and my fingers crossed. While it was a bit windy on certain stretches of the course, it DID NOT rain! The temperature was perfect - probably around 45, maybe 50 degrees toward the end of the race.

I started off the race with one my running group buddies, who I happened to spot in the chute. We couldn't find any of our other friends, so we ran and just kept looking. My buddy is faster than me, so once he got warmed up, around the three mile mark heading onto Indian Mounds Road, I lost sight of his neon yellow shorts. So I was on my own in the midst of 6,600 or so other runners!

Indian Mounds is notoriously non-descript. You're on a paved path through the woods next to the Grand River for about four miles, with nothing but tree after tree to your left and right. Thankfully, I think there are two aid stations to break it up, but otherwise, it's you and the trees. My strategy for getting through the woods and most of the race without over-thinking anything was to keep my head down and limit my sight line to the few steps ahead of me. All about staying in the moment so I could stay on pace.

I was pretty happy to find as I passed each official time clock at the mile markers that I was keeping the exact pace I wanted - 10 minute miles. Just after the half-way mark coming out of Johnson Park, I was surprised to run into another running buddy. We chatted into the hills on Butterworth before turning onto Maynard and then drifted apart.

Turning off Maynard back onto Butterworth, there was an aid station with handing out tissues. There was a lady standing there with a box of tissues and she was like an angel! It may seem like such a small thing, but with the cooler air, my nose had been sniffling a bit, so a tissue was super appreciated. So she deserves a huge shout out!

I could tell I was slowing down just a bit, and made a point that if walked at all through the aid stations, that I would try my best to hustle for a bit before leveling my pace off so I could make up the time. It seemed to have worked. When I hit the "one mile left" marker, it was looking really good for me to make my goal time, if I kept hustling.

Another great energy push is seeing people you know along the course! My friend K, her husband and boys were out cheering at the turn from Garfield to Lake Michigan Drive. Seeing them right there as the last few miles were coming together was perfect! A few of the guys from the Running Club were out there along the course giving high fives and cheering. Their presence is always appreciated.

Turning the corner onto Ottawa, I kept my head down to make it up the hill. It's funny to call it a hill, because when you drive that street in your car, you'd never even notice that you're going down hill. It's a one way when driving, but running up the incline after you've run 14 or so miles, you're definitely conscious of the fact that you're going up hill! I just kept running. As I neared the finish line, I heard my mom call my name. She was cheering me on and it worked! I found an extra bit of energy to sprint it out to the finish line, crossing just under my goal time.

My official time was 2:39:24. That's a personal record for me!! I'm so excited!! And get this, it's 14 minutes and 32 seconds faster than last year (I have no idea what happened last year - it was and hopefully always will be my worst RBR 25K time!) I felt great afterward, even jogged on an off back to the car since I had started to cool off and knew I'd be warmer if I wasn't walking.

I'm not sure what's next. Do I go for another marathon? Do I do a few half marathons? If we have another sweltering summer like last year, I can tell you one thing, I won't be racing. The heat it just too much. I'm going to take a few days off, and then get back to my runs during the week and something a bit longer on the weekends.

Grateful for such a good race!