Normally I wouldn’t sign up for a race during track season, but when a flyer for the Cancer Crushin 5k was put on my dad’s windshield at the Indian Rock 10k, he was all for us signing up for it. His dad had lymphoma so he likes to run races that benefit cancer research. I figured it was a close to home race (held in Jacobus) and since the money went to a good cause I might as well run it too. Our running buddy, Armand, and my husband, Jason, decided to sign up as well.
Jason and dad preran the course last Thurs., but as I had a volleyball game to work after track I wasn’t able to join them. I was forewarned that the last mile contained a hill about a half mile long. I had no real expectations going into the race since I haven’t been regularly training, but was still hoping to run in the 24’s. I also wanted to focus on pacing Jason for at least the first mile as he’s inclined to go out faster than he should.
The near 70* temperature this afternoon was a nice change from the sometimes cooler than usual temps we’ve had so far this spring. The 1pm start time on a Sunday afternoon was uncommon for a race, but a nice change from the usual early Saturday morning races. There were a lot of community groups volunteering and participating, and I saw 2 other track coaches as well as a few athletes.
Our group of 4 lined up fairly close to start line to avoid getting stuck in a pack. Dad took off well ahead of Jason and me. The first mile began downhill which provided for a quick start. It then had some rolling hills through a development before another downhill that led to a gravel trail. Jason and I tried to work the downhills and hit a 7:24 first mile.
The trail slightly inclined as it went on until we connected to road once more. I cheered for dad before we reached the turn around point. Once more Jason and I tried to quicken our pace on the slight declines as we knew we’d lose time on the hill. We grabbed water from the aid station, something I don’t normally do during a 5k, but the increasing sun and decreasing breeze made it feel more necessary. We reached the 2 mile mark in an 8:34, not far from where the trail connected back to the road again.
Once we came off the trail we had to climb the hill. At that point I pulled away from Jason having given him some reminders to keep his eyes focused a few feet in front of him and to drive his arms if he felt tired. I had in my sight Les, a local runner I often talk to at races and a member of the Flying Feet racing team as well, and eventually caught him near the top of the hill. There were two girls ahead of me who Jason and I had passed on a downhill, but who came back on us while on the trail. The hill flattened out and I turned onto a road that traveled behind the intermediate school.
With a quarter mile to go I quickened my pace. I was slowly closing the gap on the two girls ahead of me, but doubted my ability to run them down. Throughout the race I felt as if I could keep running, but never felt like I had the speed to pick up my pace a whole lot. Turning into the final corner towards the finish the two girls started running harder, and I had no kick to go after them. I crossed the line in a 25:05.
My dad had hoped to break 23 minutes and didn’t and Jason didn’t run as fast as he had hoped to either. We attributed it to the heat/sun affecting us more than we expected. Jason still managed to finish first in his age group though and received a nice medal.
Awards were only given to the overall male and female and the top person in each age group; the girl who won mine beat me by 5 seconds. I know that had I been able to kick like I did in past races I could’ve beat her. Loss of speed is a consequence of inconsistent training and decreased mileage, but I’m grateful to be able to maintain my overall endurance and strength. I would like to run that course sometime when I’m in prime shape as it was challenging but certainly my kind of course.