It was that time again. It was my dad's birthday and the annual Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium 5k, for the family was upon us. I was super excited for this day and ready to retain my title, as family champ. I had even given my family a handicap by doing a full distance triathlon (or ironman for those who don't give a sh*t who owns the name rights) the weekend before.
Those over 50+ years of age had a great shot at PRing, but those of us under, well not so much.
A-train was about as nervous as I had ever seen him. He was dreading the race as he was pretty much doing the abbrevitated couch potato to 5k training program, completing it in less than 24 hours. I had celebrated too much throughout the week and felt a wee bit heavier than normal and sluggish. God, this was going to be fun.
After getting our numbers and schwag, one of which is a really nice dri-fit shirt (score!) We opted to run backwards to the 2 mile marker and back for a warm-up. We partook in some family friendly trash talking and teasing while we lined up at the start. The temp was 50-60's and sunny. It was a perfect day, just like last year. A-train and I are way through the 500+ participants, but not quite far enough as we had to run around people for the first 1/2 mile.
A-train pulled ahead of me about 5-10 seconds and although I wanted to push the pace to catch up to him, I felt it a much wiser choice to stay where I was at. The first mile I split 7:38. I was hoping for 7:40-7:50 pace on the day, so that was good. The course is set-up so your first mile should be the fastest and last the slowest with the uphills or inclines, whatever you want to call them.
I spent a large part of the race trying to get my intensity up without blowing up. All summer, I had trained to go long and under control, only doing a few hard paced runs. I felt "off" and out of sorts. I kept remining myself "You've got a lot of endurance. You aren't gonna get tired in 3.1 miles, just go with it." It didn't matter. I still backed off on mile 2, complacently settling into a pace that felt a little hard, but nothing pressing. I was rewarded with and 8:00/mile. Damn!! I got what I deserved though. Although some runners were still coming back to me, probably just as many had passed me.
I tried to surge like last year and push myselft that last mile and it worked. A-train turned left at the corner and looked back. I thought he saw me so I waved (afterwards, he said he didn't). I made the turn too and started pushing. One-by-one people I started to pass people. I even made up ground going up the hills. Training for Rev had made me stronger than I realized. And then it happened....
On the last climb, I caught A-train. He was tired and when I pulled up along side him I encouraged him to pick it up and come with me. He waved me on. I didn't want to make it any worse, so I pushed up the climb to the top. At the top, I forced myself to keep the pressure on to the 3 mile marker and split 7:56.
As I made the final right turn to the finish, it occurred to me that A-train may come back on me and run me down at the line. I was okay with that. He was doing this for me, because I had asked him and it took a lot for him to swallow his pride and suffer through a 5k when your so far from the runner you used to be. I continued to push the pace all the way to the line, but one girl came SCREAMING by like a fighter plane and I was not going to fight her. The last thing I needed to do was let my ego take over and hurt myself by being dumb. The last 0.1 was :54 seconds.
Finished in 24:27, avg. 7:53/mile. I just eeked out A-train by a few seconds.
I saw J.R., owner of Ritchies Sporting Goods at the finish, gave him a big hug and said "hi," before
A-train and I went back to look for my mom. We saw her at the top of the last climb. She looked too good. I jogged in with her while A-train went back for my dad. The RD M.R. of Northcoast Multisports was nice enough to make an announcement "here come the Heier women" which was awesome. Mom actually, ended up with a PR and went sub-13 min/mile -- FINALLY! I am so proud of her.
I ran over to the car and grabbed A-train's camera phone (and I would post pics if he would send the darn things to me!!) and snapped pics while he was finishing. T.S. and a few of the ladies at the final turn started singing happy birthday to my dad as he came around the last turn. Dad finished with a PR and without getting hurt on his birthday -- Whoo Hoo!!
In the end, I retained my title as family champ. Next year, I am gonna 3-peat baby!!