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.

Pros:

*Flat course

*Pancake breakfast included in race entry

*Nice shirt

*Easy registration/packet pick up

*Seeing friends and getting to cheer them on.

Cons:

*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.

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One thought on “Balloon Launch 5K

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

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