Highground Veteran’s Memorial 5K

I haven’t run in more than 6 weeks.  This race was supposed to be a half marathon; a nice warm up to the half marathon PR attempt I was going to be running in a couple weeks. 

Instead, I have been saddled with a persistent injury.  It has left me pretty depressed about the state of my running…and, if I’m being honest, about a lot of other stuff.  It’s amazing how much running helps me deal with the rest of the stressors in my life.

Anyway, since I couldn’t run the half marathon, I downgraded to the 5K and ran it with Jaden.  This was a very small race, only about 140 athletes in the 5K and half marathon combined. 

The race was held at the Highground Memorial in Neillsville.  I don’t think I’ve been to the Memorial since we took a field trip there in elementary school.  It is a very nice memorial to Wisconsin’s fallen soldiers from all eras of combat.  Prior to the race, Jaden and I found the memorial stone that was placed for my grandfather.  He served in WWII.

Going into this race, I knew that it wouldn’t be a race.  Obviously, with the injury, I wasn’t going to be setting any land speed records.  But, I was hoping that Jaden and I could run together and have a good time…without experiencing too much hip pain.

Jaden has a hard time with pacing.  Like most kids, his only two gears are stop and go.  I was hoping that if I ran a nice, slow pace that he would fall inline with me and we could enjoy each other’s company.  Instead, he stuck with me for the first quarter mile or so, and then took off.  Every once in a while, he would get tired and start walking until I could catch up.  I tried to keep it nice and slow, so that my hip injury wouldn’t get too angry with me.

There he goes!

One of the biggest problems that we both encountered was that it was cold.  My feet were frozen.  My fingers were completely numb, which made it really hard to take pictures.  Jaden kept telling me that he had to walk because his feet hurt.  I think it was because they were so cold.  I’m glad that it wasn’t really windy, or it would have been miserable.

The course was an out and back on paved roads.  There were a few hills, but at my slow pace, they weren’t an issue.  There wasn’t much to look at, other than the fields and the countryside.  It was kinda peaceful.

One of the neat things about this race, is the involvement of the Challenge Incarceration Program.  This is a group of young men who ran the 5K in formation…chanting all the way.  Jaden kept up to them for a while after the turnaround.  It is a pretty neat program that provides inmates with “strenuous physical exercise, manual labor, personal development counseling, substance abuse treatment and education, military drill and ceremony and counseling in preparation for release on parole or extended supervision.”

As for my injury…it hurt the entire time I was running.  It was never a sharp or stabbing pain, but it was always there, reminding me that I shouldn’t be doing what I was doing.  That is pretty depressing.  I have spent the days after the race icing my knee and hip.  I took a few ibuprofen Saturday afternoon and evening. 

My 5K PR would have netted me overall female winner.  Even a decent 5K pace would have gotten me a top three spot.  Of course, this is a super-small local race and it doesn’t matter anyway.  But, local races are the only chances I ever have of placing in my age group. 

More importantly, Jaden got a PR by about a minute and a half.  As we were nearing the finish line, I told him that we were close to a PR.  Suddenly, he wasn’t tired any more and he wanted to run faster.

There he goes to the finish.  I really had to hurry to catch up to him!

We crossed the finish line holding hands.

I love running with this guy…and I’ll put up with the pain.  It’s worth it.

After the race, Jaden got to ring the Freedom Bell. 

Our splits weren’t anything exciting.  I don’t know what happened to the .1 from the Garmin.  When I figure our overall time (33:42), we were booking it the last tenth.  You can see where we took our walk break at the turnaround spot.  That was Jaden’s favorite part—the water stop!!

Our neighbor is a very dedicated supporter of the Highground.  She made this sign for Jaden and we saw it when we got home.

Pros:

* Local race, amazing organization

*Fantastic volunteers

*Well marked course

*Jaden had a blast!

Cons:

*It was cold!

*I was injured.

*No shirt.  Jaden loves collecting race shirts.

Overall Grade: B+

I would like to do this race again.  Maybe next year I can do the half marathon.  This is a very worthwhile organization and everyone associated with the event did a great job.  There is nothing that can be done about the weather—March in Wisconsin is unpredictable.  It would be nice to change up the course, so it isn’t just an out-and-back, but it does make the permitting and road closures easier.

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