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.
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.
*Pancake breakfast included in race entry
*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
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.