Balloon Launch 5K

I’m a little late in getting this posted.  It must be because summer is so busy. 

Last Saturday, we all headed over to Wausau for the Balloon Launch 5K.  This is a new event that takes place during the Wausau Balloon Rally.  The balloons actually take off a bit earlier in the morning—we saw them as we were driving to the event.  The event is at the park next to the small, municipal airport.  I had a few friends from work who were also running it.

Tim surprised me by getting the day off work, so he was able to run with Jaden and I was able to run on my own for the first time this year.

I lined up toward the front of the race and decided that I was going to work hard and see what happened.  It has been a long time since I have given it all I have in a 5K.  The course is really flat (only 24 feet of elevation gain) and pretty boring.  Lots of turns through residential neighborhoods.  It is kinda a bummer because there are much nicer areas to run through.

It took me a little while to find a groove.  I kept looking at my watch during the first mile and seeing that I was running a sub-8:00/mile pace.  I made a conscious choice to not slow down.  I was having too much fun pushing myself and I figured that I would crash and burn soon enough.  Mile one: 7:51

As I neared the end of the first mile, I saw a lady in an orange tank top ahead of me and I worked really hard to real her in.  I passed her just before the first mile marker.  I kept working hard and kept waiting for the crash and burn to hit me, but I was still holding on.  I think it was during that second mile that I started telling myself that I can do anything for three miles.  “It’s only a 5K.”  “Work hard. Don’t quit.”  I came up with any mantra I could.  And my playlist was awesome!  I had it on random, but I got some great songs to keep me going.  Mile 2: 7:46

Around the end of mile two, the lady in the orange tank top pulled back ahead of me.  I think my exact thought was “Oh Hell NO!”  There was no way that I was going to work that hard and then let her pass me.  I stuck with her as closely as I could.  I tried to make sure that I got the inside on some of the turns.  I felt like I was being all strategic and stuff.  Way too much mental work for a 5K.  I stayed right with her for the entire third mile.  At about 2.8, the course made a left hand turn and I got the inside corner on her and I was ahead of her after that point.  One more right had turn and a sprint to the finish.  Mile 3: 7:46

The course was a little short, but I am still going to count this as a PR.  I beat my previous PR by a whopping 2 seconds!

I managed to get 4th in my age group.  Not bad for 400+ runners.  I could see the third place girl ahead of me for the entire race, but I couldn’t catch her.

When I showed my dad my splits, he said that I should work on my consistency.  Open-mouthed smile

I finished the race and watch my friends and Tim and Jaden all finish.  I saw the lady in the orange tank top and went over to thank her for pushing me.  She said that she was so happy I had pushed her.  She was in a different age group and I pushed her to 2nd place.  It was awesome to find someone I matched with so perfectly.

After the race, I was ecstatic with how everything went.  I never imagined that I would run it that quickly.  In fact, my dad was there with Logan and he never got a picture of me finishing because he wasn’t expecting me for a few more minutes!

I am just so grateful that I was able to do this.  After dealing with this back injury for almost 2 years, it felt so great to push myself and for my body to respond so well.  And the feeling that I got after this race fed a part of my soul that I hadn’t realized had been starving for so long.  It was just so fulfilling.  I may or may not have cried. 

I know that I won’t work that hard again for a while.  My doctor certainly won’t want me to.  I have been a bit sore the days after the race, although part of that might be because of the two hour car ride to our family reunion right after the race.


*Flat course

*Pancake breakfast included in race entry

*Nice shirt

*Easy registration/packet pick up

*Seeing friends and getting to cheer them on.


*Really boring course

*Balloons launched before we got there

*Tim didn’t get a shirt because he registered late

Overall:  A-

I would probably do this race again.  I hope that they explore different options for the layout of the course.  And maybe the balloons could hold off for a little while and start launching closer to the start of the race.  And my friends would have to be there again.

Up next…Jamison Kampmeyer Memorial Run…in about 13 hours.


One thought on “Balloon Launch 5K

  1. Pingback: Reflections and Resolutions | (G)O'Donnell

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