Monday, June 13, 2011

Run for the Rose 5K

One Friday when we had barely moved to Millersport, I saw a sign advertising the first running of a 5K race in Lancaster, Ohio - slated for the very next day. I made it out for the run and finished in 21:31. I promised a recap and pictures, but I guess things were a little busy, as we were in the process of moving...

I ran the race again in 2009, but last year I had to miss it (I hadn't returned from Annual Conference yet). This year we came home early so the boys could play in their baseball game, so I was available to run. Saturday morning I woke up to a solid rain. I was second-guessing my decision to run (but not much, because I hadn't yet paid the registration fee). As race time approached, the rain slowed down, and finally, as I headed to Lancaster, the rain stopped altogether.

I registered easily for the race (premierraces does a good job with this) - the only "glitch" was that they didn't have change for me ($25 for walk-up registration) - so they only charged me $20 (which was the cost for advance registration). I was looking around for familiar faces, but I didn't see many. I did see one runner friend, but she was working the registration, and I saw a pastor friend, but he was volunteering for the event.

This race is put on by the local MRDD bureau at a special needs' school called Forest Rose (thus the "rose" theme). One neat thing about this race is the focus on special needs kids. One young man sang the National Anthem, and he did a nice job. There were several parents, running with their special needs' children in jogging strollers as well. The organizers also had plenty of activities for the children.

After a warm-up, I approached the start line and looked around for competition. I am usually "in the gap" in these local 5K races; I'm not fast enough to be an "elite" runner, but I'm well ahead of the pack. Often running pretty much alone. But in this race, the elites weren't there. I asked a young guy (Corey) what his target time was, and he answered 19:30, depending on the competition. I told him that is around my race PR, and I figured I had found my competition.

When the "gun" went off, Corey and I went out fast - only two young boys were in front of us (but we passed them shortly). I ducked in behind Corey, letting him take the wind (it wasn't too windy - but it was breezy enough that it made a difference to draft off him). A third runner tucked in behind me, and the three of us blew out at a pretty quick pace. In fact, at the first mile, the girl there called out 5:25 (turns out she was wrong by 30 seconds).

The first mile was straight south along a road, and just before the halfway point, the path turned. I took this opportunity to pass Corey, meaning I was in the lead. I hadn't had this experience since I was in junior high. I began to have thoughts of winning - it was now a possibility. Dick and I looped around a middle school parking lot, and I snuck a glance back - to see nobody. Corey had dropped off, and the next runner (John) was well behind him.

Dick took this chance to pass me and to open up a lead over me. I let him go, not exactly having what he did at that moment. I counted him 12 seconds ahead at the 2 mile mark, and while I gained a little ground on him over the rest of the race, I knew I didn't have it to catch him. Meanwhile, I knew I was safe in second place.

Immediately before the finish line is a loop (one of those agonizing moments if you don't know the course; it looks like you're heading straight for the end, but you have to take a loop - up a hill! - and back down to finish. I cruised this part and finished with a time of 19:44. They gave roses to everyone as finisher prizes.

I was honestly disappointed in my time - Dick and Corey and I all agreed that the third mile was a bit long (I mapped it out and it seemed to be about .1 long). Still, 2nd place overall was a big surprise for me - I was extremely psyched about it!

Here are the overall race results.

They didn't do anything for age groups, but as one of the overall winners, I got a nice plaque and a cash prize as well!

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