Race: Pro.Active For Life 5K
Place: Downtown Frankfort, Frankfort, Kentucky
Date: May 09, 2014
I was so close to hitting my sub-22 minute 5K goal on this race. It’s a bit of a letdown to be that close to my goal and to fall short. By two…freakin’…seconds.
However, I don’t feel that this is a disappointment at all. In fact, I still count this as a victory. Not only did I clock a new 5K PR by 26 seconds…but I did this…on my recovering ankle. Yes…the very ankle that has been plaguing me since February. The very same ankle I rehabbed…and that has mentally left me feeling nervous and, yes, scared, to really push on the roads. I don’t want to damage it again. I don’t want to push too much too fast and end up back to square one on the recovery. I can’t afford another round of physical therapy…that’s for damn sure!
Anyway…that being said, I went into the Pro.Active For Life 5K (the second leg of the Frankfort Trifecta) with only one thing in mind…and it wasn’t defending my title. Nope. Not one bit. It was to just…have fun. That had been my goal all along. After not even placing in my age division during the Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K (the first race in the Trifecta), I didn’t even consider defending my title I won last year. Nope. And it still isn’t even a glimmer in my eye for the next race in June. The entire goal this time…was to enjoy the run. To have fun. To…maybe test myself a little.
But first, I had to get through the workday. And in order to make sure that I could leave on time to drive to Frankfort and deal with any traffic…I wore my running skirt to work. I will probably never do this again, because I got teased unmercifully over it. And…while I am a good sport about things…this really bothered me. Probably because it was my place of business. None of my bosses had a problem with it. But, some of my co-workers made some comments that just…bothered me. So…yeah…I’ll just stop what I’m doing even if I don’t have the time to do so, and change like I normally do. So much for trying to streamline the process, right? It was also supposed to storm. Like…right at race time. I watched the weather all day, because, as we know…if I run in Frankfort, Kentucky…it will either rain before, during, or after I do so. I was so not looking forward to running in the rain…and this meant I had to wear my old shoes for rainy conditions…MEH! But…it was time to stop watching the weather and pack up to get on the road.
Cathy and I actually left a couple of minutes early and we hit the road. About half an hour later…she was ready for her peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I had packed for our dinner. I wanted to wait a bit longer, but was told we would make our usual Kroger stop for snacks as we got into Frankfort. This is also where I go and use a real bathroom instead of a port-a-potty! There is a method to this madness. HAHA! So, I gave in and removed the sammie from the cooler, along with the last of our paleo cookies and our water bottles. And we commenced the noshing.
The food died a messy death. I think I was hungrier than I thought I was. And, soon, we were pulling into the parking lot of Kroger. I went to throw away the baggies that held our sandwiches and go to use the restroom while Cathy went to grab snacks for us (Doritos for her…a banana for me!). We were back on our way to the race in no time. And, for some reason beyond even her knowledge, Cathy turned the wrong way. So, we had to pull over and wait for a break in the traffic to turn around and head the right way to the parking garage where we normally park for Frankfort races. We parked in the same spot we always park in before stashing some of our stuff in the trunk and heading up to the street level to get to packet pickup.
It was a short walk, and I stepped inside to a madhouse. It was packed and busy and buzzing. YAY! Energy! It took a few minutes, but I finally worked my way up to the table and gave them my name. I was asked if I was doing the Trifecta, and I said I was…so the volunteer helping me when to find my bag. While I waited, I snagged four safety pins. The man returned with my bag with my tech shirt (I paid for an upgrade!) and my bib and a few goodies and informational handouts tucked inside. I thanked him and removed myself from the building, heading outside to meet up with Cathy and get pinned up for the start of the race. I ate my banana and we moved to stand on the lawn of the old Capitol building so I could do some stretching. I promised my physical therapists I would be good about stretching…and Cathy has been holding me to it.
I even did some strides. Nothing hard and fast. Nothing all-out. Just an easy jog down and up the road. I did this for a few paces…until the cars were becoming bothersome (the roads weren’t completely closed yet) and went to stand on the sidewalk opposite the Capitol to do a few more stretches and await the official line-up portion of the race. This came to be moments later, and Cathy gave me a hug and told me to have fun before going to find a place to stand to spectate. I moved to the starting lineup, staying rather close to the front, wanting to avoid the children that would, inevitably, crowd the front of the start line. I love this race, but that is the most difficult part of this race. Some of the kids can hold their own…but some are just trying to be up front…and that can be dangerous. And, wouldn’t you know it? I blinked and suddenly was in a sea of children, one with a dog on a rope, lining up near the front. They weren’t the contenders you would expect at the front…I could tell from the conversation. The, “My goal is just to keep up with the dog,” comment was a dead giveaway. But, this is their race too…and everyone signs that waver.
Debbie Brown got on the microphone and began to give some instructions. Unfortunately, the running crowd wasn’t quieting down…so I heard none of this. She did get us ready to run though, faking us out with an “On your mark…” And then making us stretch. HAHA!! EVIL! But soon, she gave the word…and the starting gun went off!
And I was off. Kind of. Because those I was pushed and elbowed by the woman standing next to me, hard enough that her arm shut off my Garmin watch. I had to restart it. And all those kids that had lined up near the front…I saw a little girl go down in the fray…and Cathy said another kid, a boy, was also pushed down. Dangerous…see. I know it’s exciting, but I hate seeing kids get hurt at the start of a race because they lined up in the front, where the competitive runners are trying to position themselves.
That being said…I moved onward, heading down the street and making the left turn on the course to start on the path toward the Capitol. My legs felt heavy and tired. I guess going to spinning on Friday morning probably wasn’t the wisest thing I had done on a race day. I pressed on though, and felt that I was moving at a good clip regardless. I made another turn and was heading up the street toward the incline that would take us over the bridge and toward the Capitol where we would make our turn to come back toward the finish line. About halfway up the street, just before the water stop, I hit my first mile. My watched beeped a moment later, and apparently I went out hard…hitting that first mile in 6:54. Whew. But, the rest of my race was certainly more conservative. I passed up the water and made my way up the small incline to dash around the annex area and come back around. There was a nice downhill awaiting the runners there, and I slightly pulled up so as not to strain my quads. I passed up the water again and carried myself through to Mile 2. Just over a mile to go. I pressed on, passing some people and being passed by others. The legs were screaming at me, but I kept going. I headed back over the bridge and, this time, down the steep incline to make my way down the street to make the final two turns before the finish line would come into view. It was when the street leveled out that my legs really began to feel fatigued. I was determined though. I might have slowed down, but I was still moving forward.
I made the final turn and headed up the ramp that would carry us to the main street where the finish line was waiting. I couldn’t make out the clock at the moment, but I was pushing as much as I dared. I just wanted to get to that finish. As I got closer…I saw…21:57…21:58…I tried to kick it into gear, and I crossed the finish line at a point I couldn’t tell if I hit sub-22 or not. I had to wait for official results. But I was worn out, tired, thirsty, but feeling rather awesome at that point. Cathy came rushing over…declaring…”You were third female!” I was shocked by that too, as I wasn’t aiming to win, place, or show in this race. I just wanted to run it…and do the best I could. I guess I had more gas in the tank than I thought.
I moved through the finish area, being handed a bottle of water and then went to just walk around as we awaited results. I didn’t care where I placed…I wanted to see if I hit that sub-22. It was going to be SO close. Cathy and I decided to walk to the other side of the square and cheer on runners as they came down the street before making their final turns to the finish. That was fun. I love cheering people on…I know it lifts me up while on the run, so I wanted to lift them up. We moved on to go cheer at the finish line…just walking back and forth. As I was heading back to the finish line, I was stopped by a nice lady with a stroller who asked how I did. I told her that I did well…I beat last year’s time if nothing else. She said she knew I had been worried about it with my ankle and was glad to hear it. YAY!! BLOG READER!!
Soon after, results were starting to get put up, so we meandered over there. Cathy moved up ahead of me and looked at the results before I had the chance to do so myself. She said…”You finished in 22:01!” “SO CLOSE!” was my response. I was just 2 seconds away from a sub-22 minute 5K. SO close!! Finishing in the top three females was an added bonus and not something I was even shooting for. I love an added confidence booster.
So, this meant we needed to hang around for the awards…which was fine…just not something we actually had planned for. A much later return home now…but I wasn’t going to complain. I was feeling so much better about my running now. And, after a moment, I went to chat up the winner of the 5K, not Kendall…she came in second this year…a nice woman who is a teacher in Frankfort…Robin Lawhorn. Why randomly go chat her up? Why not? Well…one reason was she was wearing Newton’s. Just like me. We have great taste in shoes and since I know how hard it is to find Newton’s in this area…well…I had to talk to her. Turns out she picked hers up at a triathlon store in Lexington. Going to have to look that up next time I head to Lexington, for sure!
Cathy and I went to walk around the old Capitol building a little bit to pass the time before the awards. But we soon just went down toward the street to watch the last of the walkers come in and to dance with the music that was being played. After a little while, Debbie grabbed the microphone and asked if any children wanted to help pass out the medals. She was consumed by a bunch of volunteers. So…it was medal time. And they started with the overall males and then moved to the overall females. And as I came in third…I was called up first…and handed the wrong medal…and a very nice gift bag. My picture was taken I then went to track down someone to give the gold medal back to and exchange it for the bronze. I finally got that cleared up, and after some photos with Kendal and Robin…I got my stuff together to head home.
I normally would have stayed for more awards…but…I had another race on Saturday morning in Louisville. So I needed to get home…and storms were apparently coming. And, true to form, it stormed on us pretty bad on the drive back to Louisville. Never fails. If I keep running in Frankfort, they will never have a drought.
That being said, the official results of the Pro.Active For Life 5K are that I finished in 22:01, setting a new PR for myself. I know I can hit that sub-22 goal this year…I’m just really going to have to work hard for it. I intend to do just that though…for sure. I was 28/843 finishers overall. I was 3/509 female finishers. And, would have been 1/70 in my age division. But, as I came in 3rd Female Overall…no age division award for me. I’m okay with that, because I totally exceeded all expectations of myself. I don’t know where that came from, but I’m so glad that somewhere inside…my body remembered what it felt like to fly.
Another year of running the Pro.Active For Life 5K behind me and I’m already looking forward to next year’s race. I swear, there is something so near and dear to me about this race. It’s a challenging, but fun course…and I was able to run it better this year than I did last year. I hope to continue to come back to Frankfort for not only this race, but the Trifecta, year in and year out. As it stands, I’m feeling a little better about pushing myself a little harder. I’m still tentative…my mind not quite overcoming the natural fear of getting hurt again or doing further damage. But…this race proves that I’m getting there. And I’ll only continue to get there…as long as I run smart and run with all my heart.
See you next year!!