Race: Pro.Active For Life 5K
Place: Frankfort, Kentucky
Date: April 22, 2016
It’s that time of year. Normally, this would be the 2nd race of the Frankfort Trifecta Run/Walk series…but there is no longer a Frankfort Trifecta. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do some of my favorite races in one of my favorite cities to run.
Why is it my favorite? THE PEOPLE!!
The runners in the Frankfort, Kentucky community are awesome. Seriously, some of the most welcoming, nicest people I have ever met in my life. I have met and made so many great friends there…ongoing friendships…since a few years ago when I started making the trek from Louisville to Frankfort for the race series.
That being said…we all know how I feel about 5K races. Well, this is a 5K race I never, ever, would dream of missing (I had to last year…it ran while I was in Boston). While 5K races are one of my least favorite distances (I am NOT a sprinter), they are valuable to being a well-rounded runner. Speedwork…my enemy. HA!
I was a bit more prepared to make the trek to Frankfort this Friday evening rather than how I was for the Run For The Gold 3K on St. Patrick’s Day. I bought my dinner the night before (vegetarian sushi) and had a drink ready. No stopping. Clock out at work (already changed for the race) and head that way. We actually made decent time. We parked in the same place we always do for Frankfort races and made the walk to McClure Building, where packet pickup is always held. At least this race has everything in their normal spot and routine. I wasn’t as confused (or as rushed) as I was for Run For The Gold when it came to packet pickup…so that was less stress. I had my little bag with my race shirt and bib in a matter of moments. I got pinned up and then put my name in for some door prizes. I don’t think I won any of them…I had to leave before that even happened. But, it was fun. After that, I stepped outside and walked over to the Earth Day festivities happening on the lawn of the Old State Capitol. And I did a lot of people watching. I met up with Linda and we chatted and she showed me pictures from the Blue Ridge Half Marathon that she did in Roanoke, VA. LOVED it. She said it was one of the toughest half marathons she has run. And she does Run The Bluegrass. HA. The incline and hill they climb at the start…INSANE! She went to go and roll out her calf muscles prior to race start and I wandered around for a few more minutes. And then…people started to line up. It was almost go-time!
I wandered up to stand between the 6 minute mile and the 8 minute mile groups. I figured that was as good a spot for me as any. Linda and Becca came over to stand with me, which was nice. Linda was still hurting from her race the weekend before and Becca wasn’t feeling good and hadn’t eaten anything all day…so she was running on empty. And me…I was mentally prepping for a long run the following morning…which I wasn’t sure how that would go after a 5K race. We were all quite the team. They rope across the front was moved out of the way and we all moved up. And then…the gun was fired and we were off!
Now, the first mile of this race is a good one. But there is 1-1/2 hills to climb and one of them is short, but quite steep. I was behind both Becca and Linda here up until around Mile 1. The three of us all ran in tandom for a moment, which was quite fun. Linda was struggling, I could tell. She looked at me and said that there were only 4 women ahead of me. I broke the pack and moved ahead.
This…just happened to be the fastest mile I ever ran. I just wasn’t aware of it at that point.
Mile 2 takes you up Capital Avenue, around the Capital building and…finally…back down a hill. My legs were feeling that first mile but I pressed on. To my surprise…I wasn’t hurting. Not yet. That was nice. Sort of lifted my spirits more than a little. After coming back down…there is a slight incline as you cross a bridge…where there is always a cluster of people cheering and the walkers coming the other way…all cheering you on. It’s one of my favorite points of any Frankfort race involving this corner. Back down the steep hill and down a long road to start making the final turns toward the finish line.
On the last turn, a woman was handing out popsicles of something. I never grab anything from race corners, but it was nice on a 65 degree evening. Some people did snag them, only to toss them aside in the final stretch. It was just a short climb up the ramp and straight on to the finish line. I had no idea where I was in the standings…I just knew my legs were ready to be done. I heard Cathy screaming at me and I just pushed and ran as hard as I could manage and crossed the line.
The course was about 0.06 miles short. It was close. But it seems like everyone was coming up just slightly short at the end. Ah well. Another (almost) 5K…DONE! My watch told me I had done it in 22:06…which was a nice surprise as I went to save it to my watch. Wow. That was actually very close to my PR time, which is from this race. No joke.
Soon after I finished in came Linda and Becca. Linda was limping. NO GOOD! She said her calf muscle cramped up so she had to slow and then she had to walk some. She still managed first in her age division though. So…badass. Becca won her age division as well. Let’s here it for a repeat from the Run For The Gold! YAY!! Linda went to get ice and I had to go and do my plyometrics that my physical therapist assigned me for after I ran. I told Cathy that I wasn’t hurting at all and I did all the jumping exercises and the leg swings. The forward leg swing with the right leg usually is an issue. It wasn’t this time. I felt incredibly blessed.
To keep me feeling good, we started walking around the area while we waited on the awards ceremony. I placed first in my age division, so I was one of the lucky recipients of one of the custom made medals for the different age division winners and the first timer awards. This made me incredibly happy because I had been saying I wanted one, but had been having some bad runs lately and this was a race. That being said…I was handed one at the award ceremony.
I stuck around to cheer for Becca and for Linda…and then Tim as well. Tim is another one of Linda’s runners (she’s an amazing coach) who hit a new PR at this race. YAY!! We took a big group photo at the end before I headed out to get home. It was getting late and I had a long, long run to do the following morning.
So, the official results of the Pro.Active For Life 5K are that I finished in 22:07, just shy of the PR I set there in 2013 (when I was in my best running shape and form). I was 22/630 finishers overall. I was 4/422 female finishers. And, I was 1/45 in my age division. For the record, my first mile was done in 6:53. After that, I was back to the mid-7 minute mile times. It would be so nice to one day be able to hold a sub-7 minute mile, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. And that’s fine. The whole thing that made this race my happy place was that at no point did I hurt. Not once. So, it might have been a fly-and-die (although, my 3rd mile was faster than my 2nd mile), I consider it a total win when I come out of any run pain free.
It’s weird not having the Frankfort Trifecta to train for, but being able to take part in the races that made that series so great has been very rewarding for me this year. I had to skip last year, but coming back to it this year, I have taken nothing for granted. Not the hills, not the courses, and definitely…not the people who have seen me through it all.
Frankfort…thank you…for always being so wonderful and welcoming…and fun! I can’t wait to come back for the next one!