Race: Anthem 5K Fitness Classic
Place: Louisville, Kentucky
Date: March 4, 2017
Ugh! Asterisk time. I hate having to put that little thing near a time on a race…but it’s only fair because I can’t call this a PR. Not even close to one. Seems that the Anthem 5K was actually the Anthem 4.7K.
I. AM. NOT. JOKING.
Granted, I wasn’t on tap for a PR time…but I wasn’t pushing myself through this race either. Still, I know a lot of people who were thrilled with their HUGE PR times, and I wonder if they just didn’t bother, or didn’t care, to check their watches. I never even got to 3 miles…and others didn’t either. Those who were, like me, cognizant of this fact, were rather angry, rather than celebrating PRs that were not PRs. I mean, most (not all, I admit to that) runners do wear some sort of GPS watch and that, right there, is an instant snapshot of your race. It might not be 100% accurate on the time…but the distance…that’s usually pretty spot on. My Garmin never even beeped a third time before I crossed the finish line. So, I wasn’t putting it out there that I had a HUGE PR (not that this would have been HUGE even if it was a PR pace)…but still…
OH…did I forget to mention that in all of this…I was told to run a race?
Yep. This soon. Already. As in…yesterday.
Because my physical therapist thought that it would be a good mental boost for me. I was really leery…because of every race that runs in Louisville…the Anthem 5K is my least favorite. It’s crowded. It’s hard to find parking. And this year…the LMPD, apparently, used last year’s course map and cut 944 feet off the race course. So, it wasn’t even a 5K. And, I’m sorry, I paid almost $50 for registration for this race…I want to get my money’s worth. This race should have been 3.1 miles. NOT 2.93…NOT 3.2…but an accurate and exact 3.1. And it wasn’t.
Anyway…enough of my grousing. Let’s move on, shall we? Where was I?
Ah yes…I was racing. Kinda. The deal with my physical therapist was that I should and could do the Anthem 5K because, he felt, it could be the mental boost I needed because, let’s face it, I have played it overly cautious with my comebacks because…just as I start falling into a rhythm…something else on me breaks or falls apart or however you look at it. It’s the proverbial shit hitting the fan at times, and I’m sort of done with that. So…my PT felt that it would be good for me, as long as I didn’t all-out run it, to actually sign up and participate in my least favorite local race.
And that, my dear friends, is how I ended up with a race bib for the Anthem 5 (4.7)K Fitness Classic.
I registered for the race on Thursday afternoon, after I had seen Daniel that morning for my physical therapy session. After he checked out my ankle (the opposite ankle was giving me some issues) he had me do a dynamic warmup and then took me outside to run so he could take a look at my form and make sure I wasn’t compensating. He said everything looked great and that the only thing he noticed was my high cadence, which is normal for me. And then he said…to give the 5K a go on Saturday. So, I registered…coughing up $50 I didn’t really have to run a race I really didn’t like. Easy come, easy go.
Friday, my bib number was listed on the site and after work (we were trying to make up time due to the Sting concert that happened Tuesday night and the big storms that went through the midwest delayed the return drive long enough that it would eat into personal time if I took a lunch). SO…right after work, it was over the river to Slugger Field. Packet pick-up was a breeze. It was easy to remember my bib number…6061…and I was at the very end of the table due to my late registration. But we were in and out of there in no time. No problems. No issues. Back over the river…a quick stop at the grocery store for some supplies (I am batch cooking good, healthy, real food for people) and then…home.
Dinner…a gluten-free and vegan BBQ Ranch Pizza.
Night before a race = pizza.
I keep trying to find something else that works, but pizza seems to be the key. So much for my plan to cut back on pizza.
I never really sat down that night. I went from cooking up lentils and making sauce and baking potatoes to…my PT exercises and stretches. AND…foam rolling for a brief moment. I had every intention of going to bed early too. That didn’t happen. I had to have my foot taped (the right foot that had the whole plantar flare-up back in the early fall). So, I got to bed just before 10:00 pm.
AND…I set my alarm for 3:30 am. Why? Because I needed to run through all my PT stuff prior to heading out for the race. My roommate was getting up at 6:15, and these take me close to 2 hours if I do everything I am supposed to do. So, I got up and bundled up, headed outside to do my dynamic warm-ups, my marches, my lunges, my steps, my lunge matrix, my hops and jumps…before heading inside for the resistance band stuff, the hip stretches and exercises, and even some work on the BOSU. I finished up at 5:30 am. I was tired. I made tea.
I packed my breakfast to go. I did that because I didn’t have a banana (I usually always eat a banana 30 minutes before a race) and with all my PT stuff, I never really had time to dart out to the grocery store and get one. My local Kroger usually has bananas that aren’t ripe enough anyway. So, I packed my Freedom Foods Rainbow Rocks cereal (think Fruity Pebbles made from real ingredients and not LOADED down with sugar) in a baggy, packed coffee cups for after the race, got protein bars ready for AFTER the race, and the roomie was up and eating some cereal soon after that. We were out the door just slightly ahead of schedule. It was freezing cold outside. Thankfully, the windows hadn’t frosted over. So, we made our trek over the river to downtown Louisville, where we ended up parking randomly in a street lot as the rest of the road was blocked off for the race. Thankfully, there were a few spots left. We paid the substantial $15 fee for the “convenience” to park there, then began walking down toward Market Street. I had an Ambassador meet-up at 7:40 am at the Jimmy John’s. Except…it was still REALLY early. So…yeah…
I was miserable and cold. The sunrise was gorgeous. But I was more focused on finding a spot where something (like a building) could act as a windbreak. This race is ALWAYS cold. I swear.As meet-up time came…I was still all by myself in front of the Jimmy John’s. But not more than a moment later, I see my amazing friend (and fellow #KDFMarathon Ambassador), Melissa and her husband, Paul, coming our way. They had already had a hell of a morning…had just picked up their race bibs…and Cathy was already pinning Melissa’s bib on her. This has become a trend. HA! I actually had a gift for Melissa…which I handed over while she was being pinned. Here’s the thing…Melissa and I are basically the Injury Crew (she’s been dealing with knee issues since The Light Side…and I’ve been dealing with the hip issue since…the beginning of the year). Anyway…when I purchased mine, I knew, as a fellow injured runner, how sometimes you just need a little motivation. She’s amazing…and she’s going to do amazing things. We waited for a few minutes, but none of the other ambassadors showed up. So…with needing to the start line and into the corrals (that no one really enforced)…we took the picture. And for being as cold and miserable as we were, the picture was super cute!
And being super cute is what is important, friends!!
We trekked to the start line…and as I was standing in Corral B…I get spotted by my good friend, Tammy. We sort of hung together while her boyfriend, Dean, moved up with all the fast elite types. Because…he’s fast and elite. Tammy knows what it’s like to have goods and bads and ups and downs, as she has been dealing with it for awhile. It was so good to see her and run with her through the start gate. I lost her after that.
So…one thing I dislike about Anthem is how crowded this race is. Honestly, you never get out of the pack. And I think that’s one reason that when I went out…I went out way faster than I intended to run. The good thing was, the hip didn’t flare up on me or twinge or anything. So…as I don’t check my watch for pace while running, I thought it felt comfortable and just went with it. I maintained. Honestly. My splits are pretty much the same. The first mile was amazing…it made me feel good, even if I was dodging a few people and maneuvering over some rather rough pavement at times.
Mile 2, however, was where the issues began. Leading into it I was feeling good. And, honestly, when I run, I get tunnel-vision. I rarely notice anything around me. Well, I’m just doing my thing and as we come around a corner, there is Mile 2. Okay. Wow. I noted the time on the clock on the mile marker had just hit 14 minutes. In order for that to happen, I would have had to blast off a 6-something minute mile and, honestly, this body is not up to that right now. And as I ran beyond it, I noted that my Garmin hadn’t beeped at me yet either to indicate the 2nd mile. So…I glanced at my watch. The top. For the mileage. And I was only at 1.88 miles. So, the marker had to be at least 0.15 miles off. I had hoped that it was an oversite and it would correct itself as the race goes on. Sometimes this happens. BUT…not this time. I rounded the corner and made the long slog down Main Street, taking it upon myself to glance at my watch after the 2 mile beep happened. I still hoped for a course correction in miles,but as I kept going, and when I could finally see that Finish Line…I hadn’t even gotten my third beep to mark a third mile. I hustled into the finish line…stopped my Garmin, and checked.
2.96 miles after crossing the finish line. Not even 3 miles. And there were a lot of angry people at that finish line. Every fast, elite, and finisher who gave a damn was pretty much discontent and having a little bitch session. I waited for Cathy, who was walking down to meet me and called her over to say, “The course was short! It wasn’t even 3 miles.” I double-checked with some runners who looked unhappy and they were, “It was WAY short and I’m pissed.” My friend Amber and her husband felt the same way.
Seemed like everyone PR’d that day…because they PR’d on a short course. I knew it before I crossed the finish line. I think everyone else did too.
Was I on pace for a new PR? Nope. But…I might have beaten my 2013 time…which would have been cool. But we’ll never know now. The race people went back to measure the course and did find that they were 944 feet off. They said that the Louisville Metro Police Department had barricades up in the wrong place as they used last year’s course map. Regardless…this is a HUGE race here…it always kicks off the Triple Crown of Running. You’d think they could get it right.
Like I said, when you pay as much money as this 5K race asks, you expect a little more in the end. Needless to say, this might have been my last Anthem 5K. Unless I get the Triple Crown bug again…but I’m happy just churning out the 10K and 10 miler, to be honest.
So…the official results of the Anthem 5K (4.7K) Fitness Classic are that I finished in 21:55. No new PR…not even on pace to set one. Even with the course mishap. I was 515/5315 finishers overall. I was the 91/3037 for women finishers. And I was 19/412 in my age division. I’m pretty proud, considering I’m still nursing an injury.
I will say this…I was able to run a pace that I haven’t seen since December, and have it feel comfortable. This hip never once twinged at me while I was running. I felt good and like I could hold that pace forever. To me…I count all of that as a win. PRs aren’t what I run for anymore. I run because I can…because it makes me feel alive…because it makes me feel good. Finishing this race was a mental boost that I needed. Daniel was right. So, in the end…I take with me the fact that I ran my heart out and I overcame another setback on my running journey. And that means more to me than the length of a course or the time on the clock.