Happy 2013! I hope you all had a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve last night. My evening was pretty chill (read: dull), but my afternoon had a bit of excitement: one last race for 2012!
Yesterday, I ran the Wolverine Resolution Run, a four miler around Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids. I’ve had friends that have run this race before, but it was both a new-to-me race and a new-to-me race distance.
I conned my sister into standing in the cold to watch me run, which made this one of two races this year where I’ve had familial support. Obviously I don’t expect my family to traipse down to Chicago to watch every random race I decide to run, but it was nice to have someone there to cheer me on this time.
I picked up my “packet” (my bib and the race shirt) on race day. Not gonna lie: I think the race shirt design is pretty cool.
I wandered around the gym area of East Grand Rapids High School for awhile with my sister to avoid the cold outside. Eventually, a fair number of people started leaving the school, so I followed them.
One of the things that really struck me about this race was how disorganized everything felt. Maybe I’m just too used to running races put on by professional event management companies, but for a race that’s in its 29th year, I was surprised by the lack of communication I got from the race. There were no reminder e-mails, there was no gear check (so thank goodness my sister was there to be my gear check 😉 ), there was no signage leading to the start line, and there was no pace organization at the start line. I haven’t been running long enough to know what races were like before running became as popular as it has lately, but I have a feeling this race was a good indicator of what races used to be like.
The race got started on time and fortunately I had managed to line up near people running about my pace. I’ve been running consistently and since I’ve been on break I’ve been running a little bit more, but I really didn’t know what to expect out of myself for the race. I kind of thought I’d run around a 10:00 pace, so needless to say I was a big surprised when my first mile split was a 9:05. I was also surprised when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I had actually hit a mile. In addition to the start line weirdness, there were no mile markers anywhere on the course. I’ve run some pretty low-key races, including a 5K with about 50 participants, but I’ve never run a race with no mile markers at all.
As I kept going, I came across these strange areas of road where the elevation increased and decreased rapidly. I heard some people refer to these as “hills,” but as a Chicago runner, I’m not used to encountering such strange topography over and over again. There was a really great downhill section in the second mile that definitely helped out my mile split–9:01–but the rolling roads didn’t do me many favors in the third mile, where I ran a 9:22.
I was actually really surprised when I finished the third mile, because it felt like I should have a lot farther to go than one more mile. I had never really been around Reeds Lake at all, let alone run around it, so I was kind of blindly following everyone in front of me and trusted my Garmin’s measurement.
If I can brag for a bit, I had a pretty bomb fourth mile. I felt like I had a good amount of energy left, so I pushed myself a bit and ran an 8:38 split — awww yeah 🙂 I also was able to increase my speed pretty steadily for the last .75 miles, which was a nice contrast to feeling like I would die in the last mile of the Jingle Bell 5K a couple weeks ago.
My Garmin said I ran a 36:11, but my official results say I ran a 36:08 for a 9:02 pace, so I’ll go with that 🙂 . Considering I sort of expected to run a 40:00 race, I’m pretty stoked that I ran a 36:08.
The weird lack of communication continued after the race. There was no food or water at the finish line, but I told my sister I wanted to back in the gym to stretch before we headed home. As it turns out, all the food and water was inside. I can’t say I blame the organizers for putting it in there because it was COLD, but if I had chosen to just go straight home, I would’ve missed out both on the refreshments and the water bottle they handed out to participants after the race.
Even though I thought the organization of the race left something to be desired, I had a really good run and I’m very happy with how I did. It was a good race to close out a solid year of running, and it was a nice end to a beautiful relationship I had with these dear friends:
My 890s are officially dead 😦 It’s a bit distressing, since these are the shoes that carried me through two 5K PRs, 9 PDRs, my first 10K, a 10K PR, and my first half marathon. I became a Runner in these shoes, and I’m really bummed to see them go. I bought some new shoes on Saturday, so it’s time to let these ones go. It’s been a good run, 890s — actually, it’s been a lot of good runs 😉
Have you ever run a New Year’s race? I actually had three races in mind to run either on NYE or New Year’s Day, but ended up settling on the Resolution Run.