A Change of Pace

Posted: November 9, 2012 in 5k, race, Running
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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On November 4, 2012 the 7th annual Bloomer Boogie 5k race was scheduled to take place. Each year it is held at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, MI. It’s a beautiful park that is perched atop a hill overlooking the Clinton River. The course is set on the mountain bike trails that snake up, down, and across the hill. I ran this race last year with my friend Gen. It was her very first race, so I ran with her to keep her motivated and have a little fun along the way. This year I decided to go back and run it solo. Although most of my races are spent running with friends and having as much fun as possible, I decided to go out there and give it all I’ve got. Even though I do a lot of races, I rarely enter them with a competitive spirit. This time it was different. I had been in somewhat of a funk over the past few weeks due to personal issues, and really needed something to give me a boost of confidence.

My brother was flying in very early that morning, and I needed to pick him up at the airport at 6AM. I only get to see him a couple of times each year since he lives in Santa Monica, CA. I was really happy to have him there for my race. He’s such an inspiration to me.

After picking him up at Detroit Metro Airport, we stopped for coffee and then headed to Bloomer Park. The day started with the temperature at a mere 34 degrees. Frost coated the ground, and there was a gentle breeze adding a slight chill to the already cold weather. I knew this race was a small event, hosting only 92 runners the prior year. I figured this year there would be about 100 runners or so, which gave me a great chance for my best overall finish ever. My previous best finish was 11th place overall, so I really wanted to make the top 10 for the first time.

Although I’m considered by my running friends to be a “fast” runner, the 5k distance was definitely not my specialty. I spent the entire spring and summer this year training for my first 50 mile ultramarathon, which I successfully completed back in September. So, literally all of my running over the past 6 or 7 months was focused on distance rather than speed.

As we lined up for the start, I couldn’t help but be a little bit nervous. I had somewhat high expectations for myself, and also wanted to make my brother proud. I started out very fast. After the first half mile, my running app on my phone (Strava Run for Android) announced my pace at 6:56. This made me even more nervous. Thoughts started to race thru my mind as jetted along. Did I start out too fast? How long would it take for me to die out? There’s no way I can keep this up. But I kept pushing.

After mile 1 I heard my next pace announcement of 7:07. I was elated to hear that, but with over 2 miles remaining anything could happen. By this time the runners were pretty spread out. I knew I was in a good position, but was only able to see one guy in front of me. I didn’t really pay attention at the start, so I really had no idea what my exact place was. The terrain in this section had a lot of small rolling hills and I could feel my lungs burning. I saw my brother at the first water station. He looked so proud, which gave me the motivation to keep blazing along.

A short time later I heard my 2 mile announcement at 7:12. I started to feel strong, almost unstoppable at this point. My doubts started to fade away and my confidence took a huge boost. With just over a mile remaining, I knew I had it in me to finish close to this pace. I started to get closer to the only other runner in sight. Either he was dying out, or my pace had gotten slightly faster. Either way, I felt great. There was a short section of the trail that widened out, so I saw that as a great opportunity to take his position.

Mile 3 at a 7:07 pace. I could feel the finish line getting close now. At this point the afterburners kicked in and I took off sprinting to the finish. As I crossed the finish, I was greeted by my brother and a race official holding a medal. She said “Great job! You were really flying!”.

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I found out that I placed 2nd in my division. This was only my second time placing 2nd, so that was a really big deal to me. I asked the race official if she knew what my overall place was, but she wasn’t sure. I would have to wait a little bit before the results were posted. My brother told me he thought I might have actually made the top 10, but I had to wait it out and see. I took this time to eat a couple of bananas and granola bars that were being served at the pavillion near the finish. My brother and I went to my car so we could warm up for a little bit. A few minutes later I could see a man taping sheets of paper up on a wall. I anxiously ran over to get my official time and place.

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As I approached the lists, my name stood out right away. I actually did it! I placed 7th overall. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I would have been extremely happy with 10th, but I exceeded my goal by quite a bit. This is exactly what I needed.

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PROs
*Beautiful course
*Small crowd, no traffic jams on the course
*Well-marked trail
*Very friendly, encouraging volunteers and race staff

CONs
*Little crowd support
*No photographers on course

The bottom line:
If you enjoy small events and beautiful fall scenery then this is a great race. Although this was a trail race, the course was fairly easy. No big ascents or descents.

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Comments
  1. pierrmorgan says:

    Thanks for following. Whoo-hoo! Way 2 go. Bravo! Was exciting to read about it. Nice recap. I was a runner a lonnng time ago, but I still feel that rush when I’m walk in the park and a pack of runners go by. All the best.

  2. Congratulations, Timothy! All that hard training is truly paying off. What an accomplishment!

  3. MikeW says:

    Strong work and good coverage of the race. Many thanks!

  4. sudebaker says:

    Hi Tim! I guess we never get over race day jitters, no matter how short the distance. Thanks for following my blog and I look forward to reading more about your races 🙂

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