Race: Pro.Active For Life 5K
Place: Downtown Frankfort, Frankfort, Kentucky
Date: May 17, 2013
I have said it before…and I will say it again. I absolutely love this race. I do. I always have. I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those races that won me over and not being a part of it just doesn’t feel right. It’s one of those races I wish I had known about before…except I only started running 2 years ago…so I learned about it all in due time.
But…let me reiterate here…that I am so very glad I did discover the magic of this race.
The Pro.Active For Life 5K is the second race of the Frankfort Trifecta, Frankfort’s very own three race series. This year, thankfully, none of the races coincided with those of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, which I also love participating in. Last year I did both series. This year…I wasn’t going to miss the chance to do both again.
Especially this race.
But…but…I always complain about 5K races, right? I don’t complain…it’s just not a distance I am built for. I don’t have speed at the end of a race. Speed and I do not mix. Endurance and I…we’re best mates. So, 5K races are a bit stressful for me…a bit…more difficult for my body to run, ironically, than a 5K race. I think I put more pressure and more strain on my muscles and body during a 5K than a half marathon. No joke. It’s all because of that speed factor. When you have the gift of speed, you got it. When you tire with each passing mile, but keep pushing on because…you are in a 5K…a sprint…well, the journey isn’t as rewarding.
But…this 5K…The Pro.Active For Life 5K…is not your everyday 5K. The organizers will even tell you that! And they are right. They are so right!
Honestly, the only thing that stressed me out about this race was how to logistically get there after work, eat before without eating something that wouldn’t sit right, and hoping that the weather held out. Because, let’s face it…I’m heading to Frankfort to run. That means…it will rain. If Frankfort ever has a drought…they just need to hold a race, have me run, and the dry spell would be broken…I swear.
So, after stressing myself out for much of the week leading up to this race over what my roommate and I would eat for dinner…I finally came to a conclusion on Thursday evening. I would make myself a gluten-free peanut butter and jelly sandwich and we could easily pick up something for her along the way. I’m the food allergy queen…and she, luckily, can eat anywhere and anything she wants. So…I adapted to the situation and the stress level went away. I’d make my sandwich the night before and take it to work with me. Eat in the car on the way, giving it ample time to. Perfect.
After putting in a full day at the office on Friday, I ducked into the bathroom there and changed into my racing clothes. This is not an uncommon thing for me to do at my office, so coworkers don’t even look at me weird anymore. I was all about purple and blue that day. I don’t know why. That’s just what I happened to throw into my running bag, along with my shoes. My good shoes, as I was dictating that this would be their final run. So if it rained…who cared? I had new shoes to break in on Saturday morning. Mine…had exceeded their mileage.
At 4:00 p.m., my roommate and I left the office and hopped into the car. We needed to stop to get her dinner…which we accomplished at a notable fast food chain (kids meal for the win!), and then we hit the road. She ate, but I waited. It was way too early for me to even think about eating. This is that delicate balance…of when to eat. Because if you eat too early, you’re hungry at race time (and that sucks!), but if you eat too late, you have dinner in your stomach still during the run. Evening races throw me off so bad because I just can’t seem to figure out how to fuel for them. I have the morning races (of any length) down pat. Those evening races, though…so frustrating at times. I have to make sure I eat enough during the day without eating too much…and dinner…well it has to be enough, but also…not too much, not too heavy…you get the picture.
Anyway, with no traffic problems this year, Cathy and I hit Frankfort in record time. We had tons of time to kill. And, finding a parking space on the road was very easy. No problem at all. So…early to the race. Not such a bad thing. Better than scrambling to get there in time, stumbling into packet pickup with only seconds to spare, getting pinned up and heading for that start line without any moment to breathe and soak in the atmosphere. Nope…I’d rather be early.
We headed to the McClure Building, where packet pickup was going on and I ducked inside to retrieve my race packet. I was asked my name, and I told them…and none of the volunteers could find my packet. Pardon me while a bit of panic sets in. I told them I was registered for all three races in the series, so I certainly should be part of this one. Not to mention, I won the free entry into this race on Facebook. But, just as soon as they said they couldn’t find me…one of the volunteers did. WHEW! Race packet was now in hand and I was heading out the door to get pinned up.
No sooner was I pinned, but Debbie Brown, the organizer of the Pro.Active For Life 5K, came over to introduce herself in person. We’d been having friendly banter back and forth on Facebook regarding the rain always coming to Frankfort when I run. It was nice to finally meet her in person. We talked for a moment about the race shirt fit and I mentioned dropping off some Sports Beans for them to put out for anyone to take.
And so, now I had some time to kill. Cathy and I decided we would take a stroll through Frankfort’s downtown area. Which, we did. Nice and easy…just taking in some of the area. We stopped to look at their summer movie series that is showing this year. Every movie was something I’d be interested in seeing. So, I’m a wee bit jealous of that. And as we made our way back to the main stretch…I ducked into the coffee shop to make use of their bathroom before heading back out to the streets to get some stretching in.
Now, I’m horrible about stretching. Really, really horrible about it. I don’t like doing it before…and I often forget to do it after. But…I had been dealing with a tight calf muscle for a couple of weeks…so, not only were the compression socks a must, but stretching had to happen. So, I made my way over to a clear patch of sidewalk and began to get some minor stretching in, not wanting to tug the calf muscle too much. It was sore…so I knew that running this race was going to be one of those mind over matter sort of runs. But if it really started to hurt, I was going to have to take it easy.
As I was stretching, a train came through, drowning out the start line music. I stopped stretching and watched as the train made its way down the center of the road, and when it passed…the music returned and the festivities were back underway. Cathy really wanted to nab a good spot at the start/finish line…but then…it started to sprinkle. Yep. Rain. Told you…it rains every time I run in Frankfort. This, of course, put Cathy in a mood because she had my sign out there and she didn’t want it to get ruined by the rain. And she had left her rain jacket in the car. So, we hurried back to where we parked the car so she could put the sign away and grab her jacket. She had her jacket on for all of four minutes before the rain sort of backed off and she said it was too hot to really wear it. Oy vey!
We returned to the start line just as things were about to get underway. Runners were lining up on the street, with the speedy ones in the 6 minute mile and me standing in the middle…about where the 7:30 minute mile would be located. There was a lot of energy at the beginning of the race with a lot of runners, especially children, ready to get running. They were discussing how fast they could run and I felt like I should have moved because there were a lot of kids in front of me and I always end up having to dodge them. But, I stayed put. I was pretty comfortable where I was.
They made a few announcements and then…Debbie gave the countdown to the starting gun. And with a bang…we were off, taking to the familiar streets of downtown Frankfort, Kentucky for one of my favorite 5K races to run. I actually got shoved by one of the children and elbowed by another pretty soon out of the start gate…but I kept on running. Hey…it’s always crazy at the start of the race…especially when kids line up near the front. You just roll with it.
Mile 1 is mostly flat, save for the steep incline at the corner of West Main Street to Capital Avenue. That is a short hill, but steep. But once you get up that, it’s a straightaway toward the Capital building. Mile 1 happens before you reach the Capital building. I clocked off a quick mile at a 6:50 pace. Another mile in under 7 minutes. WOOT! But that hill had really given my sore calf muscle a workout and I was really starting to feel it. I slowed my pace…slightly…and passed a few people who had been ahead of me regardless. And we went up another slight incline to run around the Capital building. This year they made sure the annex was blocked off so our race would be exactly 3.1 miles…and not longer like last year. That incline once again slowed me down due to my tight calf muscle, but I kept on going.
Thankfully, that does level out and then you get the sweet, sweet journey back down the other side. Finally…some downhill time. I embraced this portion of the run, despite running it slower than I ran that first mile. The last thing I wanted to do, so close to where my marathon training kicks into gear, was to injure myself on a 5K race. Better to play it safe…slow up a little…and just do my best.
But as I hit Mile 2, the volunteers happily informed me that I was the second female overall. Second female…OVERALL! I knew who the first one was. The 11-year-old I see at a lot of my races. She is lightning. She’s fast. She’s…trained to be fast and, if she can keep doing it, is going to be quite the running star. So…no shame in being second to her.
But…as I’m running and being told I’m second overall…I could hear a woman right on my heels, thanking the volunteers as she passed them. In fact, she must have been close (I refused to look) because one of the volunteers, as I ran down the incline back to West Main Street told me that I was second female overall…possibly third…
I just focused on my run…and how my legs were feeling. They were pushing hard, without pushing past my limit. I was going to listen to my body, even if it meant I had to walk the last part of it. I didn’t though. I was in my last mile…and I knew that final turn to the stretch to the finish was coming. I rounded a corner and headed down the street. I could see that final turn…and I took it. Then, I put on as much speed as I dared to make it up the slight incline toward the road to take me to the finish line. I got passed by one man…but kept on running.
And with Cathy screaming at me to “GO”, I crossed the finish line. No new PR…but I had managed to run the race on a very sore calf muscle and make it to the finish line…and finish it as the Second Female Overall!! I was surprised. Ecstatic. Cathy came over to hug me and celebrate my placement overall. I turned around to see the woman who was right behind me. She clapped me on the shoulder and said she had never run a race that fast and thanked me for pushing her harder than she ever had before. I high-fived her and congratulated her on a good run. Then, I went to go snag some water and happily down it, while moving around on my leg…to keep it from really tightening up.
In fact, I started to stretch a little bit after crossing that finish line and was downing another cup of water when they said that results would soon be posted on the dance school windows. We eventually made it over that way to get my stats.
So, as it stands, I finished the Pro.Active For Life 5K in 22:27, not a new PR, but a great time regardless. This is not an easy course. Frankfort never is. I was 39/859 finishers overall. I was 2/503 women to cross the finish line. And as for division…well, I would have been 1/64 in my age division. But…as I was 2nd Female Overall in this race…there would be no division award for me. That’s okay though…I’ll take overall quite happily.
We stayed around for the award ceremony. What’s great about this race and what makes it so different from other 5Ks out there…is that this one also awards newcomers to running. If this is your first 5K and you are one of the first to cross that finish line…you get an award. Those are really fun awards to see handed out. I love that aspect of this race. Overall awards followed that and Debbie once again heckled me about the rain. It made me laugh…a lot. What can I say…I bring the rain.
Once again, another great run in Frankfort. And this 5K will continue to be one of my favorites that I return to time and time again. Honestly, so glad I was able to take part in this one again…and even improve on last year’s time. Loving every moment of it.
And to Pro.Active For Life…thank you, once again, for putting on a successful race and such a fun event. You are part of the reason this race is so successful and so much fun to run. I continue to come back because you continue to make it possible for me to do so…with a smile on my face…and maybe some rain to boot.
After that race, I did a long run the following day…and then my calf and ankle told me…ENOUGH. I’ve been resting it the past two days. Looking at a slow run tomorrow should my leg and ankle agree to it. Here’s hoping. Not running is killing me.