Saturday I ran the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K Race in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
I’ve run 15+ miles a handful of times so I wasn’t crazy nervous for this race. It was a semi-last minute decision to register for it and I really only decided to do it so I could spend time with friends. Then, my father-in-law decided to run the 10K, so it ended up being a great opportunity to spend time with family, too.
The Hubs and I left for Grand Rapids Friday night around 5:15pm. I ended up leaving work early that afternoon because my tooth was KILLING me and I was just a dazed, zoned out mess. So, I left work around 2 and napped til we left. I was SO worried the tooth pain was going to screw up the whole weekend, let alone the race. I felt much better when I woke up from my nap, so that was definitely a big relief. I still had some pain, but nothing a few ibuprofen couldn’t handle.
We got to Grand Rapids around 7:15pm. Since the expo was closing at 8 I had a friend pick up my packet for me, so I didn’t get to check out the expo. I’ve heard it wasn’t really that great and I only had ONE freebie in my race bag (a sample of vegetable oil… so weird) so I wasn’t impressed. Oh well.
We headed out to dinner that night at a local restaurant near where we were staying and it was OMG so good. I got the mac and cheese… it had goat cheese, pancetta, and like 10 other times of crazy cheeses. It was SO rich. Retrospectively, probably not a great pre-race meal. Carbs, sure… but, the cheesy richness wasn’t the world’s smartest choice, especially with all tummy issues.
We headed back to our friends house where we were staying, went through our race bags, did some pre-race game plans/chatting and hit the hay by 10:30. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep with my huge nap and my not-so-smart dinner choice, but I PASSED OUT. I slept hard and woke up at 6:30 the next working feeling refreshed and ready.
Saturday morning I had breakfast (1 piece of wheat toast w/ PB and jelly and a snickers) and we were out the door and to the race by 7:45am, just enough time to see my father in law start his race at 8!
He's the tall guy in the blue! GREAT JOB!!!
He did SUCH a great job! Finished around 57-58:00ish. ROCKED his goal of finishing in under an hour. It was his first 10K and I am SO proud of him.
The 25K started at 8:20, so after a quick portapottie pit stop, we left our spectators (the Hubs, my mother in law, and a good friend of mine whose husband was also running the 25K) started lining up. Amy and I started heading back to the 9:00+ pace groups and OMG—we seriously walked back and back and back until we FINALLY gave up and decided to just hug the side and hop into the group when it came running past. We were honestly a solid quarter mile from the start line. Crazy.
At 8:20 exactly, the race started, right on time. It took about a minute for the crowd to start really moving and then it was super easy to hop into the pace group. I said bye to this girl, switched on the iPod and started the Garmin (a few seconds too early! I’m always over zealous!).
My plan before we started was to stay with the 9:30 pace group and when I started ahead of them I told myself to slow down and wait form them at about .5 mile. 2 second later I see them 10 feet ahead of me way on the other side of the road. I, of course, flipped out and ran ahead to get a bit ahead of them. I never saw the pace group again (spoiler alert: I finished in faster than a 9:30 pace!!). I swore I could feel them right behind me for a few miles, but I never turned to look.
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:27
Around mile 4 (I think? It’s so hard to remember!), we entered into a wooded shaded area. I thought it was PERFECT running weather. Overcast and cool. Not cold. Not hot. Perfect. I was definitely sweating like a BEAST and it was humid, which this wooded area seemed to intensify. It was crowded and there was NO crowd support. But, the aid stations were great and frequent.
As I was running this section I was a few feet behind 2 girls with t-shirts that read “Stay 100 feet back” or something. I made it my mission to stay just behind them til mile 5. I have no idea why mile 5, but I figured I could stay strong til then and that then I’d fall back with the 9:30 pace group. At mile 5, I felt fine, so said stay w/ them til mile 6. Then I said, just stay with them til the half way point, which somehow I convinced myself was mile 6.5. Man, was I pissed when I did the math a few miles later and realized I was W-R-O-N-G
(and kinda dumb).
Mile 4: 9:22
Mile 5: 9:17
Mile 6: 9:16
Mile 7: 9:18
I took my first Gu (I had to do a Gu b/c of my temp crown… I didn’t want to break it by taking a Chomp or something mid-race. I was definitely nervous to take a Gu, as they’ve never been very friendly on my tummy, but it ended up working out great… and didn’t taste too bad! I might try it again soon.) at mile 6.5.
At the half way point we got some crowd support (finally!!) and it was a great pick me up. I surged ahead of the Stay 100 feet back-girls and never saw them again. I felt great for the next few miles and remember thinking about what my second marathon would be and how fast the time was flying by.
Mile 8: 9:23
Mile 9: 9:22 (took ½ a pack of sports beans here… 1 at a time, stretching it out over a full mile)
Mile 10: 9:25
Mile 11: 9:22
There were a LOT more hills than I was prepared for. Every time I hit one I told myself “Ok, legs. This is the last hill. I promise!” and then of course there would be another one. UGH! Those hills took it out of me, but I never walked and honestly felt pretty good the whole time.
It wasn’t until mile 12 that I started feeling it. This is about when I realized… CRAP! This isn’t a half marathon! I still have OMG SO FAR TO GO! I started panicking a little and definitely felt my pace slow and felt myself struggle to hold on. I kept telling myself “All it takes is all you got” which I saw on a sign along the way.
Mile 12: 9:33
Mile 13: 9:23 (I don’t really know where this came from… we got some more crowd support, so maybe that just gave me an extra surge)
Mile 14: 9:35 (DYING! OMG! I still have HOW much left?!?!)
Mile 15: 9:34 (UPHILL finish??? You have to be kidding me!!!)
Last .69: 6:36 (9:35 pace)
Official Garmin time: 2:28:01 (I kinda forgot to stop it when I crossed the finish line for bit and I started it early). My official chip time was 2:27:22.
I was SPENT by the end. I was getting PISSED that the signs weren’t matching my Garmin so I’d be all “YAY! Only 1 mile left!!” and then, .25 miles later I’d see a “1 mile left” sign. My legs were tired, I was hot and I was so ready to be done running. I honestly pushed AS HARD AS I COULD the last quarter mile and I was probably really going SO slow. I just didn’t have anything left.
It felt good to feel like I gave it 100%. It felt good to see 2:27:22 when my goal was 2:30. It felt good to finish. It just felt good.
It was hard, but I loved every second. I love to run. Simple as that.
We watched this girl finish looking strong.
Then we hung around for a while and enjoyed the post-race party for a bit before heading back to shower and get some FOOD.
Post-race pic! Love her!!
It was a great weekend and a great race! So proud of everyone who raced and SO grateful to the spectators (especially the Hubs, my mother in law, and my friend K).
Sunday, I was SORE. My legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each and they were yelling at me every time I moved. I was TIRED and HUNGRY all day. But, I was SO, beyond happy. I rode that runner’s high as long as I could.
And, I’ve already been looking up more races. Like I said, I love to run. Simple as that.