Yesterday I ran the Great Train Race 5K in Ypsilanti. Race time was 8:10 am; we arrived at the Corner Brewery around 7:20 for packet pick-up. It was raining off and on and the temperature was hovering around 55. I stretched in the car as best I could and then around 7:50 we walked down to the start. I decided to keep my jacket on for the race because of the temperature. Shortly before the start one of the race organizers told everyone that the reason it was called "the great train race" was because a train was going to pass by (we were next to the train tracks in Ypsilanti's Depot Town). Sure enough, not two minutes after he said that, a slow-moving Amtrak passenger train went by. Everybody waved. Then we started.
As soon as I took off it began to rain in earnest. By the time I reached Mile 1 I was completely soaked. I ran that first mile in 8:22, a pace which I felt I could sustain for the rest of the race. I felt good. Really good, in fact. The rain felt wonderfully refreshing. It was a welcome change from having salty sweat run in my eyes.
There was a long hill from mile 1.5 to mile 2 which I ran as if it was flat. I was surprised by how little extra effort I felt I was expending to climb the hill. I managed to permanently drop a few male runners who had been hanging around, which made me feel even better. When I reached mile 2 and turned the corner I was greeted by the glorious sight of a long, gradual downhill, of which I took full advantage. That downhill lasted all the way to the finish line. I coasted along feeling pretty darn good about everything. I finished in 26:36, which was exactly what I had wanted from this race (to finish under 27:00). I averaged 8:35/mile. I was totally 100% drenched from head to toe. I felt great!
I changed into my stash of dry clothes at the Corner and grabbed a post-race breakfast from the spread which had been set out. I wanted to hang around long enough to find out if I had placed in my age group. I suspected that the size of the field was small enough that my chances of placing were good. When the results were posted I looked and discovered that not only had I placed in my age group, I won my age group! Well, well, well! Yeah, so, there were only 5 people in my age group. Who cares! I won! I got a little medal with a pin. I joked to John that I was going to wear it around the house all day. (I didn't.)
I was curious to see how I would perform in this race given my additional 8 weeks of half marathon training since my last race (June 23). What an improvement! I felt so much stronger. The distance went by so quickly now that I'm more accustomed to running 4 to 6 miles at once. And of course, I shaved another 26 seconds off my previous time.
My next scheduled road race is the Big House Big Heart 5K at the end of September. That is the race which concludes on the field at Michigan Stadium. I'm so freaking excited!
Here's me at the end of the Great Train Race.
And here I am after receiving my medal for winning my age group!