Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chili Bowl Classic 5K

It's been a while.  But I'm going to just jump right in and ignore that little 5 month blog hiatus, K?

I don't often run 5Ks.

a) The cost per mile...it's a bit ridiculous.  When I can pay about the same and run a longer race...more bang for my buck!
b) 5Ks hurt.  They hurt bad.  Marathons hurt, but it takes 4 and a half hours to earn that hurt.  A 5K is over likity-split and it hurts.

Well, when a fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador, who lives in the Cleveland area, suggested an Ohio Skirt Sister meet up, and it just so happened that I had nothing on the calendar for that day...of course I had to quick sign up for a 5K!

Ok, yes.  The event was in Cleveland.

Yessss....I said I was never going back to Cleveland.  Twice.  The first time after the Cleveland Marathon in 2012 and again after Green Jewel not-so-50K in 2015.

But maybe the third time's the charm for me and Cleveland?

On Saturday, February 25, I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off.  Rather than tossing and turning for a half hour and waking Randy up, I got up and did a load of laundry.  Ha.  At 5:45am, I hit the open road and headed north to Cleveland.

The Chili Bowl Classic 5K started and finished at The Galleria, a mall in downtown Cleveland that's not really used as a mall anymore.  It's a great location for the runners to have a warm, indoor area to wait before the start and a warm, indoor area to hang out after.

Speaking of "after"...following the 5K is a chili cook off!  The local firemen and police officers compete in a chili competition and the runners get to taste it all and vote for the favorites.  I love chili and would have been all over this part but with some recent food allergy testing, I've found out that I'm allergic to beans and peppers, so......no chili for me.  It smelled wonderful, though.

Before the race started, I met four other Skirt Sports Ambassadors.  I don't have a nice "before" pic, so here's an "after":
From left to right: Walisa, me, Mary, Melissa, Christy.

The race started at 9:30am, which is practically dinner time for this predawn girl, and I didn't really have a race plan.  To be perfectly honest, I was hungry for a PR, however, I haven't trained for speed in a long time and I'm up a few pounds still from eating my feelings last year after I lost two dogs within three months.

My plan became as follows: run as fast as I can for as long as I can.

I set the screen on my Garmin to show heart rate only, no pace, no time, only heart rate to make sure I was pushing as hard as I could and not wimping out.

I had no idea what the course was like.  I knew it was an out and back, but as far as hills...no clue.

Unfortunately, the morning turned out to be a windy one.  18-20mph wind.  And there were hills.  Awesome.  My standing PR was from the Game Day 5K, 3+ years ago on a flat course.

Before the start, I was standing with Melissa, who is a new momma and didn't have any time goal for this event, so when we started moving, she shooed me away to run my own race.

Tall buildings mess with the GPS a bit.

Mile 1 was my fastest because it was mostly downhill.  Unfortunately, that meant that mile 3 would be mostly uphill.  I banked time and hoped it wouldn't come back to bite me.

I missed the sign for mile 2, but it was before then that we crossed over train tracks.  Which meant climbing a bridge.  And, oh yea, we had to do it again on the way back.

The wind was ridiculous and as I climbed the bridge to cross the tracks on the way back (after mile 2) the wind was pushing me backward.  My quads were on fire, my calves were aching, my lungs were burning....I wanted to walk so bad.  And I almost did, but I said to myself:

"Self.  We said we were going to do our best today.  If we come really close to our PR time but barely miss it because we WALKED, we're going to be really upset."

I love getting expert advice on the race course.  I kept running.  Even after I made it up and over the bridge, the rest of the course was a gradual incline.  And it really, really sucked.

There were course marshals at mile 3, yelling and cheering.  That was a nice boost.  We turned a corner and there was the finish line.  I pushed as hard as I could, the race clock already said 26 minutes when I finished, but I know it took me a bit before I crossed the starting line so maybe I made it...

I checked my watch....25:49.  One freaking second.  If I was off with my starting or stopping, it was possible that I did not beat my time according to the official chip time.  I had to wait for a while before the official times would be posted.  Regardless, I gave it my all and I was pleased with my performance given the wind and hills....and the extra few pounds I'm carrying around. 

The five of us chatted for a bit, took a few pictures then parted ways.  Walisa and Melissa had to take off for other commitments but Mary, Christy and I didn't have curfews so we headed out to find some lunch.  The smell of chili was making me hungry.  And sad that I couldn't eat it.  (Maybe I'll talk more about that in another post.)

On the way to lunch, I checked the race website and official times were posted!

PR and 5th in my age group!

There was some hooting and hollering in the car...25:45!  A FIVE SECOND PR!

It would appear that Cleveland and I have settled our differences.

Of course my next thought was, "We should find a flat 5K and see what our time is...."

Shut up, Self.  5Ks hurt.

True story.
Do you often have dialogues with yourself?  I know I can't be alone in this...right?