The Rockford MELD 8K on the Fourth of July took a lot out of me. Despite the difficulty of that race, Ellen and I were signed up to run the Frontier Days Stampede Run 10K that same Sunday, just a few days after our previous race.
We wasted no time getting ready for the 10K as we chose to drive the course and run it on Friday. We certainly did not go all-out because we just wanted to get a feel for the course. It was relatively flat and easy to follow.
We took a day to rest on Saturday and prepare for our longest race yet. The race started at 7:30 a.m., so it wasn’t the earliest race of our summer but still pretty early. When we got there, we ended up parking at Windsor School and walking across a field to get to near where the start line was. The only thing I regret about pre-race was that we really didn’t have that much time to stretch because we didn’t get there super-early and had to use the bathroom.
Once we got situated over by the start line, we made final preparations, and before you knew it we were off. It was a humid morning and the temperature was around 73 degrees.
I made it a point to not go out as fast as I did a few days prior in the MELD 8K race. I didn’t want to expend too much energy early, especially because this race was about 6.2 miles.
Even though I made it a point to not go out as fast, my first mile still registered in about 5:47. I wasn’t near the front group of runners, but I knew I needed to just run my own race. The 5K and the 10K course were the same for the first 2.5 miles, so I knew some of the runners had a lot shorter of a distance to go. Even though my first mile was fast, I felt strong and not gassed like I was in Rockford.
I did the second mile somewhere in the 6:00-6:15 range. The course went by the side of Prospect High School and turned back onto Grove Street, which would lead us back to Windsor Drive. It was another smooth mile, as I didn’t really feel much distress. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle the water stations because I know I’d have to slow down to grab a cup, and it’s very difficult to drink on the run. I skipped the first water station at the two-mile marker.
The next mile was particularly enjoyable because my parents were on the route as race marshals. Once we passed the 2.5 mile point where the race split up the 5K and 10K runners, my parents were just shy of the three-mile marker, stationed out on the corner of Euclid Road. They had their cameras ready to get some action shots of Ellen and I as we ran by.
|Chugging along just shy of three miles in.|
One runner passed me around mile three, but I knew that if I kept him close to me, I’d be in good shape. The humidity made me decide that at the next water station after mile four I’d need to get a drink.
As I reached the water station, I grabbed a cup but quickly realized it was yellow Gatorade. On top of that, I spilled half of the cup because I didn’t slow down enough to drink it. Knowing that this was a lost cause, I did what any intelligent runner would do: I threw the cup of yellow, sticky, lukewarm Gatorade on my head.
I hope you sensed my sarcasm when I said intelligent. I knew the rest of the race I’d be thirsty and covered in Gatorade.
Somewhere near five miles, I passed the guy I had been running behind for most of the race. I knew the end was nearing, and I stayed strong for the last stretch of the race.
I crossed the line in 39:10 (6:19 mile pace), which was good enough for 12th place overall and first in my age group. I grabbed some refreshments and waited for Ellen to come in.
Running 6.2 miles in cross trainers is no easy task, but she accomplished her goal of finishing the race and also didn’t walk at all. I’m proud that she did well on a muggy morning. She wasn’t even certain a few days prior that she’d be able to finish. I am always thrilled to see her at the finish line, ear buds in and finishing the race strong with a big smile directed towards me.
The 10K race actually felt easier to me than the 8K race. I am truly blessed by God to even be able to run and give him glory doing it. I’m thankful that God has given me the opportunity to participate in and finish these races.