Ok so after a week of strange events, I set a new 5k PR @ 18:59 and placed second overall in the Go Red Heart (benefits women’s heart disease) 5k in Mt. Pleasant this past Saturday. Coming off my 4th place finish the previous Saturday, I had high expectations for this race.
I wanted to train hard during the week between races, but that was derailed by a severe migraine that hit me right before a warm-up run Monday evening. The migraine lingered for a few days therefore I was unable to run until Thursday. I ran a nice warmup run that day but did feel some tightness in my calf. I did some speed and core work, and ran a 6:15 mile. I started out on another mile trying to keep the same 6:15 pace, but had to stop around the half mile mark because my left calf was cramping up. This was not good!
I iced down my calf and babied it for the remainder of time up to the race on Saturday. I would ice it down after walking and put the heat pad on it before activity. I had a lot of down time that week due to the migraine and the calf incident, so I spent some time on the internet looking at different running related articles. I came across this article about a lady named Sherry Arnold. Sherry was a runner and a mother who was brutally murdered this past January after being abducted a mile from her home in Montana. Her sister held a virtual run for her the same day of my race so I printed out the bib and tagged it to my back. On race day I woke up early and ran 1.25 miles with a compression sock on my calf. It seemed to be ok, so I suited up in all of my cool FREE Brooks Running gear and headed to Mt. Pleasant.
When I got there i realized this wasn’t going to be an easy race. The temperature was in the upper 40’s and the wind was swirling. I was scoping out the competition when I noticed a guy doing warmup sprints. He was decked out in Brooks gear from head to toe and I began to wonder if he was a fellow ID member. That’s when I turned to Diana and said, “You see that guy? He’s probably going to win the race!” I noticed the girl that he was with was also covered in Brooks gear, and I thought, maybe they were just sponsored by a local running store or something. After doing some quick stretching, warmups, and a kiss from the most beautiful lady in the world, I was ready to run!
The race director started the count down, 5….4….3…..2…..1! We were flying. The guy that I saw warming up shot out of the corral like a bullet! I immediately took the second place position and tried to catch him but soon realized that was never going to happen! HE. WAS. FAST. Thats when I decided to do whatever I could to hold SECOND! The wind was swirling and I could feel some strong head winds at times and some tail winds too. However, I settled in to a nice pace by mile 1 and created some distance between myself the competitors behind me. By this point, the leader was already at the turnaround point and on his way back to the finish. As I approached the halfway point I looked over my shoulder to gauge my situation. They were closing the gap…..
As soon as I hit the turnaround point, a gust of wind smacked me in my face! I realized the last half was not going to be easy at all! I kept my head up and fought through the wind knowing that there were 100+ runners behind me…..trying to catch me.
Between miles two and three, I unknowingly began to increase my pace. When I’m in the moment, the last thing I want to do is check my watch. I just think to myself, Run Faster! Leading up to mile three I began to hear something that I hadn’t heard all race…..the pitter patter of feet and heavy breathing behind me. I began to lengthen my stride and swing my arms a little faster with each step. I thought to myself again, I’ve held second for this entire race and there’s no way in HELL I’m letting it go now!
My watch beeped at the 3rd mile mark and I turned on the jets. There was a 90 degree right turn coming up and thats when the teenager behind me was going to make his move. He began to pass me on my left (on the outside) just at the right turn, and that was his mistake! I immediately took the sharpest right turn (on his inside), slightly off road and found my line heading back to the corral we started from. I could hear the kid grunting with every step behind me, but I didn’t let up. I held me ground, held my head up, and took second place by only TWO seconds….
What a race….. Definitely my favorite thus far. Maybe it was the extra motivation I had from the memory of Sherry Arnold? Maybe it was the exciting second place finish? Maybe it was because my good friend Spud was there to take these awesome pics for me and for his photography class? Maybe it was because my beautiful girlfriend Diana was there to cheer me on from start to finish…..Maybe it was all of the above and hopefully I will have many more of these great memories to come! Until then and as always happy running/walking/any activity at all people!