Friday, June 7, 2013

Lady Bomber 5K

**DISCLAIMER** No ladies were harmed during this run.

Michele Caputo picked quite a run to have dedicated. It's a big day for me.

Today's run was a 5K race. I've made a goal of researching all of the local 5Ks for the summer, with an eye on running as many of them as possible. I love small towns, and I especially love their 5Ks. Last summer Kate and I tried to visit as many local "Days" as possible. Small town festivals are wonderful. Lots to eat, fun crafts to buy and great parades, etc.

This particular 5K was a part of Barnum, Minnesota's "Spring Fever Days." Now, you might be asking, why would a town have a Spring Fever Days in June? Well, let's just say that summer(and spring) came late to the area this year. Kate and I decided to head to Barnum for the race because I thought it wasn't too far from Duluth. We headed into Duluth for the afternoon and set out for Barnum around 4:45. The race was scheduled for 6pm, so the timing was perfect. Or so I thought. We hit road construction traffic immediately upon leaving Duluth and I decided to check the Google Map directions to get to Barnum. That's when I found out it was 37 miles away. Gulp. I started to think that the whole trip down to Duluth and to Barnum was going to turn out to be a complete waste of time.

Nervously, I kept driving and the traffic eventually broke. We reached Barnum in time to register, change and warm up.

Here's where it gets interesting.

This summer I've made a goal of trying to run a sub 20 minute 5K. It's a really fast pace for me, but I've been close in the past so it's reasonable. I kept this in mind as I set out at the starting gun on the Lady Bomber 5K (which is named for the Barnum High School's basketball team, not a misogynistic sadist routine, by the way). I started the race hot, as usual and ran my first mile in less than 7 minutes. That was good, because I had been obsessively working out paces all afternoon. It was uncomfortable, but not impossible. There were only a few people in front of me, but I was out to achieve my goal, not win the race. After the turn-around (it was an out-and-back) I noticed that none of the frontrunners had an orange sticker that indicated my age group. If I could maintain my pace, I'd break my goal and win my age division. That was good motivation to keep it up and my second mile came in slower than the first, but in the low seven minute plus range. Chugging along into the third mile, I started looking for inspiration as I looked at my watch and remembered why I run. My fundraising is important to me and this year it's more important than ever. I channeled my son Ellis and asked for a little bit of help, thought of my wife and my son Arlo waiting at the finish line and I decided that I was going to make the haul to Barnum worth it. I dug in and kept the hard pace. Around that time, a young kid passed me. I thought to myself, "I could use him to pace me and get me in on time." That lasted for about 2 yards as he cruised past. Damn 17 year-olds.

I knew it was going to be close as the finish line came into view. I was full out sprinting as the next 5 seconds stood still. I looked at my watch and had no idea what I saw. I saw the finish line clock at 19:something. I saw Kate with her hand in the air, yelling at me to push it for the last few strides. Then I saw the kid in front of me buckle (I thought he was passing out). Then I saw the lady in front of him waving us to the right so we would hit the finish chute. I ducked under a ribbon and another lady (maybe a Bomber?) took off my finishing tab. That was at 20:something.

The next few minutes were doubts and questions. Did I finish under 20? Would I have if I didn't have to duck and swerve at the end? How close was I?

The doubts stuck in my head until Monday when the results were posted and I saw my name as the 5th overall, 1st in age group, 19:59 finisher.

I did it!

Thanks again for the donations! They really make a difference.

Distance - 5K
Time - 19:59
Soundtrack - Assorted Green Day songs, of all things.

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