The 5/3 Riverbank 25k is the largest road race of its distance in the country. As I mentioned yesterday, 7,000 people take to the streets of Grand Rapids, MI and there are runners from all over.
I spent the night with friends who live about 25 minutes away from downtown GR. Hanging out with friends the night before a race is a great way to ease any anxieties. Pre-race fueling of pizza and a beer, playing with an adorable munchkin (who loved saying my name – it was adorable) and hitting the sack around 11:30 pm was the order of the night. I woke up on time (and multiple times during the night) and despite my game plan to leave at 6:45 am I made it out the door at 7 am.
I ate a bit too much pizza the night before as I was too hungry by the time it arrived. I mention this because on the drive to the start, I almost had to pull over and throw up. Jostling around for the next few hours was not appetizing and I didn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich until I arrived. I did manage to drink some coffee though – priorities.
I drank some Vega Sport Pre-Workout Enegizer 20 minutes before the start. I will post a review of this product in the next few days and it’s quality. I’ve now tried it with training along with a race and I’m impressed. The race started right on time, 8:20 am and I made it over the start line at 8:29 and this was the 11 min pace group. The race is efficient.
I felt good for the first 5 miles. I was using my quads and kept my ipod in my pocket so I could be in the moment. I got stuck behind one guy who was complaining up a storm because the shirts didn’t say 25k on them. It was a universal shirt for the 5k, 10k and 25k. You could pay extra for a tech shirt with 25k on it ($15) but he “certainly” wasn’t going to do that. He also said how he was going to send a nasty email to the director later this week. Now mind you, I paid $35 for this race. CHEAP! Suck it up dude…
At mile 5 I took a powergel – provided, and turned on my tunes. The water stops started at about 1.5 miles and they were approximately every mile and half after this, sometimes two miles. The volunteers were incredible. There was water, Gatorade followed by oranges and more water and then ICE! Oh my goodness, I have never been offered cups of ice in a race but it was magical. It was probably around mile 7 when it started and I would take a cup at each one hereafter. It was heavenly.
After mile 6 miles my quads started cramping a bit. Mile 8 was my magic mile as I knew at this point there would be no question to me finishing. This was also my first lovely embrace with some biofreeze. I think mile 7 was the start of the hills. Man oh man, the hills kept coming! I had forgotten about them, conveniently I might add, but I took them in stride = I walked many of them.
While I was keeping 11 min miles in the beginning, this crept to 12 by the halfway point. Mile 1o I took another gel. I also kept focusing on what a cool experience this was and how lucky I was. The last time I did this race, my mental attitude was already in the toilet at this point.
The last five and half miles were tough. More hills, more quad cramping, one more biofreeze stop and lots of water. It was a beautiful day with a breeze, which was lovely but I was seriously reaching my “I’m done” point. The last mile and half took forever and horror of horrors you have to run UP a hill to the finish line.
My leg muscles were melting at this point. I kept saying, “c’mon legs” almost yelling at them as I wasn’t sure if I could stay standing. It was so, so tough! I had nothing left – heck, even the girl who was puking her guts out that I passed a few feet behind me managed to beat me. I made it though.
Hard/enjoyable race and I ran my buns off. I have some work to do before my next half (it’s in 3 weeks) and I’m keeping some of my newly employed racing strategies. Good gel timing, starting my music later and a positive mental attitude – putting these into practice again!