Today, I ran the Big House Big Heart 5k in downtown Ann Arbor. It is a great race that finishes on the fifty yard line of Michigan Stadium. I’ve ran it for a few years now, and it has always been a splendid time.
This year, I woke up early to get ready for it, and there was thunder crashing all around with lightning splitting the sky from where I was all the way to west. I considered perhaps not doing the race.
I took a shower and started to get ready anyway, just to see what the weather would be like. Round about half six in the morning, the weather slackened a little bit as the thunder stopped.
I headed out of my apartment about five minutes to seven and it didn’t seem too bad, though it was still raining pretty heavily.
I met a few friends, and we hung out for a bit before the race.
When it came time for the race, I peeled out of my rain gear and shivered my way to the starting line. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle, but my body was still pretty cold. While I was listening to the people giving speeches, I touched my hand to my chest, and I was surprised at how incredibly warm my chest felt. So then, I crossed my arms to warm my hands while I waited for the start. Before too long, the horn sounded for the start of the race.
The race itself went very well. I ran out hard from the beginning and especially worked the hill up Division Street. Then, I drafted a little off a gentleman who seemed to have a similar pace to mine. I hadn’t trained too hard for this race because I have had a bit of knee pain since my bike trip to Lansing. I thought I was prepared for that trip physically, but perhaps I wasn’t! But I digress…
As the race progressed, we wound our way downtown and passed the mile marker. Right about this time, the rain seemed to stop, or more likely, I stopped noticing it. My watch told me I had done that mile in 6:30.5. My heart rate was 171.
I slowed my pace a little bit and that really felt good. This one girl and I kept trading positions during the second mile, though. She was pretty fast on turns and could break away from me, but she didn’t seem to have a sense of pace. I would slowly work back up to her and pass her. A little while later, she would pass me, and that went back and forth for a while.
In all that fun, I missed the second mile marker. I realized as I coasted down the hill on State Street that “the end was near.” So, I started speeding up little by little. As I turned the corner into the last half mile or so, I realized that my breath had become pretty ragged and my heart rate was running upwards of 186. I wondered how long it had been that way.
Nevertheless, I pressed on and tried to really kick it in once I got into the stadium. It was a marvelous feeling to sprint hard and finish with a gusto. I didn’t feel all that marvelous afterwards, though. I had worked my body pretty hard and I found myself really gasping for breath.
My final time (according to my watch) was 20:22.3. Overall, I’m very happy with that. As I said, I haven’t been training all that hard since my bike trip to Lansing, so I think it was a pretty decent time overall, and I will say that I really enjoyed myself doing it!
Update: I came in forty second out of four thousand one hundred twenty four runners, and I came in twelfth out of two hundred thirteen in my age group. My “chip time” was 20:18.7!