Anthem 5K Fitness Classic – Louisville KY (March 3, 2012)
Race: Anthem 5K Fitness Classic
Place: Downtown Louisville, KY
Date: March 3, 2012
So, it finally happened. I finally set a new PR for a 5K race. And, believe it or not, it once again happened while running a race in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. My previous PR was set at the Louisville Komen Race for the Cure back in October 2011.
It was, by no means, a large margin of time that I beat it by. But it was a full 26 seconds, which, in a road race…is awesome!
During the week, the weather had been absolutely stunning. We were in the 60s most of the days. But then came Friday, the day before the race, and things got a little crazy. That morning we were greeted with some heavy rain. But it moved out of the area rather quickly. That being said, on lunch, I darted down to Louisville Slugger Field to pick up my race packet so it was one less line to stand in on race morning and one less thing to worry about. That was an easy trip. Over and back in record time.
Then, that afternoon, a storm front moved through. Crazy storms. Strong winds. Hard rain. Tornadoes touched down in some areas. Most of the people in my office scattered like leaves in the wind when they heard of the potential for tornadoes. My opinion still stands. If there is a tornado near where I live…why hop in my car and go toward it? Myself, my roommate, and the receptionist stuck it out at the office during the worst of it. We got strong winds and hard rain, but not much else.
Of course, the storm brought a nice cold front with it, which meant my mild weather was gone again. Right in time for race morning. Because that is Mother Nature’s mojo this winter. Nice weekdays…freezing weekends. Why? Because I slip into running shorts and race. It’s a cruel joke, really, since I hate cold weather.
That being said, it was in the low 30s that morning when I put on my running shorts and sat down to have a quick bite of Honey Nut Chex cereal before heading out to the race. My roommate scarfed down a breakfast and got dressed in record time (for her). I got my number pinned onto my jacket, which given the temperature I would be wearing, and we headed out. We stopped off at the gas station for her to grab some much needed Diet Mt. Dew and I snagged a Smart Water for after the race.
Downtown we went, earlier than we needed to, but knowing that this race was a big freakin’ deal and parking might be hard to come by. It wasn’t. We got to Slugger Field and parked in their lot without an issue at all. It’s nice to have the car so close when the race is done and the cool down is over. My roommate grabbed my sign and we headed inside to where people were milling about, runners were stretching, or signing up, or getting their packets. We found a clear space along the wall and took up residence there. I stretched a little, then decided to go use the bathroom. Good thing I decided that then because the line was stupid long and Slugger Field only opened up one of their bathrooms for the thousands of race participants there. And the bathroom only had four stalls in it. So it was a slow line, but I stuck it out.
Upon returning, I shed my long pants to acclimate myself to the cooler weather. I had time for a couple more stretches, but then we decided to start toward the finish line. We had about 20 minutes to race time, but my roommate wanted to get a good spot to cheer for me as I went through the start. This, despite being freezing cold out, was also a good idea. The start line was already swimming with runners lining up to get their spots. Including a team from Kenya (of which one would walk away the winner). It was craziness. So, I found a nice spot under an overpass in the mid-front of the pack and took up residence there while music played, announcements were made, and the National Anthem was sung. After that, we had about 5 minutes where the announcer went through some stats, like how over 9000 people signed up to participate in this race. Amazing. This was bigger than I thought. And I absolutely love big races!
I got my iPod ready to go and just as I did, we were off. It took about a minute or so to get to the start itself, despite not being that far away from it. But as soon as I was through, I was off with the crowd, setting a good, but challenging pace, and taking part in the first race of my first ever Louisville Triple Crown of Running.
What I love about running in downtown Louisville is that it means the inclines are minor and the path is usually pretty flat. Perhaps that has attributed to my fastest times being run on courses down there. Whatever it was, I know my legs were stiff from the cold so my first mile I pushed, but not too hard, in an attempt to warm them up. They finally got there, even in the cold weather and the very strong gusts of wind that met us as we churned through the course. After what seemed like an eternity, mile marker 2 came into view. My time said 17 minutes and some-odd seconds. Wow. I really did go out like a shot. And between that and my body trying to compensate for the cold by using more energy to keep it warm…this is about where I started to get hungry. So now, instead of focusing on my stride, my pace, my run, I was focusing on how completely empty I felt.
No. Not this. Not now.
I could feel myself slowing down. I hated that. I tried to shake it off. Push more. Knowing that at the end, a banana or apple would await me. I rounded a corner, and I could see the finish line in the distance. I was getting there. I just needed to push through it all and really, really get there. So, I dug deep, mentally noting that I need to work on race morning eats when it’s cold out. My pace picked up slightly and I pushed hard…then harder…crossing the finish line as the clock ticked toward 27 minutes. I figured my Race for the Cure PR still stood. The difficult task of finding my roommate in the sea of people was now the important matter. Thankfully, after a couple minutes of discombobulated searching, I found her on a sideline a ways down from the finish. It was the closest she could get, which meant, no finish line shot. She did say that we would by the professional shot from Brightroom of me crossing the finish though (except they didn’t get a picture of me at all in this race, so I’m more than bummed about that). I told her to stick there while I went to go find some fruit to eat. I snagged a banana and apple before heading back to where she was standing.
She had made friends with a nice lady whose husband was running his first 5K. They were waiting on him to come in as well and throughout the race, Cathy was giving her race day tips and things she’s learned in her year-long journey of living with a runner. After he came in, we all said our goodbyes and I went to change out of my running clothes and into some regular clothes so I could head to brunch at a local restaurant called Hillbilly Tea. The restrooms in Slugger Field were not as crowded this time, but as they are outside it was a cold, cold change. But I got sorted and I bid adieu to Slugger Field and the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic.
It was only later in the day that I got the results, which resulted in me doing a lot of squeeing in the car. My official time was my fastest 5K time yet, at 25:33 seconds, which is by no means fast, but it feels good when you beat your previous best time. As for the official standings, I was 52/724 in my age division and 1424/8496 finishers. Considering the day before I had turned to my roommate and said, “My goal is to be in the top 2000, which doesn’t look likely, but hey…”
So, there it stands. My first race in my first ever Louisville Triple Crown of Running and I’m off to a good start so far. The Rhodes City Run 10K is up next on St. Patrick’s Day (followed by another race that evening in Frankfort, Kentucky, kicking off the Frankfort Trifecta Run/Walk Series). I couldn’t be happier with how this race turned out. Perhaps Mother Nature will give us some beautiful weather for the 10K on March 17. Until then, back to training.