Just for Fun! 

The past few months I’ve been running without a specific goal (other than my general thousand mile goal). It’s been surprisingly freeing. Equally surprising is that I’ve actually been running more without following a plan that’s building up to a race. Okay maybe not more miles total but more regularly. Like five to six days a week frequently.

And it’s been fun! Not being so end-goal focused has allowed me to rediscover a real love for running.

In the spirit of said fun, I ended up doing two 5k’s in the past two weeks. I know that’s not a real feat of any sort but, again, both races were super fun. It helped that one was a glow and the other beer themed.

Finishers beers all in a row; what a beautiful site.

On Friday a friend and I did the Hightail to Ale 5k in Detroit. It was cold. It was rainy. But it was also very fun.

The run was sponsored by Atwater brewery and the course was a flat out and back type loop near the Detroit riverfront. It was a pretty big run and the start was staggered in waves; standing in the dreary drizzle waiting to run wasn’t the best but once we were running the weather wasn’t a big deal. And after the race there was beer for everyone! Well, everyone over 21 I suppose. When registering for the race there was the option to purchase a meal ticket to use at your choice of the food trucks in the post race celebration area. We did not do this but the food smelled amazing! If it had been dry or warmer we would have perused the food truck offerings. Atwater had their tap room open and a band playing so instead we crowded in with the other wet runners to finish our beers and enjoy the music. 

Despite the chill and rain (it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) the atmosphere was light and festive. The race swag was pretty decent too. The shirts are soft & fitted with good quality and colors and there were pint glasses and medals.

Maybe next year it’ll be more like a typical May day on Cinco do Mayo. I’m certainly hoping so because I’d love to do this race again.

Last week’s fun 5k was a small, local glow run. Another family from my cross country team (the one I coach & a couple of my kids run on) were doing this so three of my boys and I joined them. Along with the perk of being local, this race was cheap and in the evening.  It was a win win win.

Excuse my tired face, I worked the nights before.

 

There was no kid’s race but my little guy wanted to run. I had signed him up for the 5k but was slightly concerned that he’d be scared or overwhelmed but he did great. He hung with me and a high schooler for the first mile and wasn’t far behind us for the second. The kid finished the race with a time of 33:33, just under a minute after his brother.

Doing races with my kids is The Best!

This time last year I was gearing up to run the Cleveland Half marathon with loose plans to do another half in the fall. And while I’m toying with the idea of signing up for the Detroit half again  (I’ll decide for sure before the price goes up again at the end of this month.), right now I’m just enjoying running for the sake and love of running.

A Pair of Rainy Day Races

 

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Very wet & slightly muddy shoes, socks,and compression sleeves post rainy trail 10k

Lately it seems I only race when it rains. I know that’s not entirely true, there was that one race back in August when it didn’t, but I don’t actually do all that many races so when three of the last four are in the pouring rain it starts to feel like I only race when it rains. Mostly, I don’t mind a good rainy run. When it’s also a cold run, like it was for the Cleveland half, I start to mind a little more.

Two weeks ago I ran the U.S. Only Detroit half marathon  (as opposed to the international half matathon that crosses over into Canada) and this past weekend  I ran a small 10k put on by my kids’school’s athletic boosters. Other than the rain these two races could not have been more different.

The half was in Detroit and was big. A few thousand people ran. I’m not all the familiar with downtown Detroit so I left home early to find parking, check my gear, & get to the start line. The 10k was at a local metropolitan where a bunch of the midle and high school cross country meets are. In fact, the first meet I coached this season was at this same metropark. AND then three more after that.  Plus I’ve run the 5k course there once or twice. And, in contrast to the Detroit race, it was a small race. Maybe 20 people ran the 10k. I heard there were  more signed up but apparently the weather was a deterent.

One of the biggest difference’s between these two races was the atmosphere. I went to the half alone so even with the crowds it was just me and my run. There was a time that going to big race in an unfamiliar place would intimidate and overwhelm me but I really enjoyed the experience. Taking in the sights and sounds, interacting with fellow  runners, it was out of my comfort zone but actually fun. At the 10k I knew a lot of people there. Some of the middle school runners I coached were running a race, the high school runners were there running or working the event, parents, the other coach, the schools athletic director, and a couple of my kids were there watching and cheering me on. It could not have been more different than the Detroit experience…but you know what?   That was really fun too!

In Detroit I didn’t have my best race. The first 9 to 9.75 miles were great. I felt good and was running (relatively) fast. Four miles in I was right behind the 2 hour pacer. I was super excited. “Maybe, just maybe, I’ll PR” I thought as I chugged away the miles in the rain which was alternating between  a drizzle and steady pouring. We ran around Belle Isle, which was so cool, and I was still passing people. My pace was still close to the 9:30/mile goal I had set for myself. I was soaked to the bone but at least it wasn’t cold.

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Obviously I did not take this picture (it was raining, not snowing) but running around this giant statue on Belle Isle was one of my favorite parts of the race.

 

After recrossing the Belle Isle bridge, the course winds around by the river front. Somewhere in there right around mile ten I started to feel the fluid moving in my lungs, a subtle  but persistent phlegm rattling around as I was breathing in and out. It was driving me crazy. I stopped and walked to try and cough the crap up but it wasn’t going anywhere. It started to feel like I wasn’t either. After that picking my legs up and putting them back down again over and over got much more difficult to do. I tried to rally myself and stay with the 2:10 pacer but there was a small hill in the 11th mile and I just couldn’t .

I did finish the race running but just barely. It was my worst half marathon time yet at 2:12:17…five minutes slower than I ran in Cleveland. I wasn’t really disappointed though. Being sick a few weeks before the race took its toll. I got out of it what I put in. That’s how it works and I ed okay with that.

During the two weeks between the half and the 10k I only ran twice. I took the week after the race easy on purpose, the other week just ended up being busy enough that I couldn’t get regular runs in. I wasn’t too worried about it, I’m conditioned enough to run a 10k without putting in extra training effort and that’s pretty damn cool. The only thing that gave me hesitation  was knowing that people would be watching me. As in specifically paying attention to my running. My goal was to not embarrass myself .

I still don’t know what my time for the 10k was but I’m confident I successfully reached my goal. I ran the whole course, pushed myself, and even finished with a kick. I was the 3rd female finisher too which came with a medal And a gift card. My two kids who ran got overall and age group placings in their races too which made it extra fun.

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My oldest son clearly inherited the Bad Picture Face Gene

I’m not sure what my next race will be but I’m really hoping it’s not raining…especially since it’ll be in November or even December by then. Rainy race days are okay, cold and rainy a little less so.

P.S.-The results were finally posted and I did get a 10K PR with a time of 57:03. That’s over a minute faster than my last year’s best.