This past Sunday I agreed to head to the races with the broski. He was dying to partake in the 10th annual Racing for Recovery 5K. Racing for Recovery is a non-profit that was founded by Todd Crandell that focuses on saving lives and improving the quality of life of addicts and their friends and families by promoting a lifestyle of health, fitness and sobriety. How amazeballs is that?! And the organization is based out of the good old Buckeye State, up in Sylvania, Ohio. The annual race aims to “bring together struggling and recovering addicts, family, friends, volunteers, everyday athletes, sponsors, donors, supporters and the entire community to enjoy the outdoors, get fresh air, exercise and see that, “With Sobriety, Anything is Possible.”
We woke up bright and early and were on the road shortly after 5:00 am, as the race was a solid 2.5 hours away. I ate my usual breakfast, and began chugging water and gatorade on the drive to keep myself peppy. By the time we hit the Bowling Green State University area I was in dire need of a caffeine-boost, so we swung by Starbucks and I got a black Pike’s Place. I’ve never drank coffee before a workout or race and I was nervous as to how my body would react, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
After some sips of the coffee I got my second wind. We arrived at the race location, Lourdes College and registered. I needed to go for a solid 30 minute warm-up, which I got lost on, and made it back in time with about 10 minutes to spare before the start gun went off. I needed to pee SO badly and the line for the ladies’ restroom was outrageous so I decided to pop a squat behind a giant pine tree, only to be interrupted mid-stream by a senior citizen who was on the same wavelength. He may or may not have gotten a free show of my unmentionables, I’m not so sure, because his sneak attach scared the daylights out of me and I ended up peeing on my shorts. Awesome.
After this close encounter I elbowed my way to the start line. I don’t normally race 10K’s, I think I’ve participated in maybe four total in my life. Each one took place during the mid summer months and were all equally hot as balls and miserable. But I felt it would be a good workout for me, and would be a nice little mental preparation going into the marathon in a few weeks since one you hit that 20 mile marker there is only a 10K left to go. After doing some number crunching I thought if all went perfectly and I raced well I could go low 42’s or maybe even dip in the 41:xx as my finish time.
When the gun went off, I took off at what seemed like a solid, but a tad conservative of a pace, I didn’t feel winded or that I was going too fast, the first mile clicked off at 6:15. Whoops. So I decided to real in my pace a bit the rest of the race. I honestly have no idea what the rest of my splits were, while wearing gloves since it was a brisk morning, I fumbled a bunch with my watch and decided it didn’t really matter what my true splits were, just the finish time on the clock. The first 1.5 miles of the course I really enjoyed, we ran on some residential streets, then out of nowhere we were forces to run on the sidewalk. Ugh. Not cool. So from mile 1.5 to mile 2.5 or so we continued on sidewalk until we made a turn and were permitted back on the roads. Kinda strange, that’s never happened to me before in all my years of running, but I survived. After passing the finish area for the 5K the 10K participants continued on back on the same exact course we just ran, which has its pros and cons but knowing what to expect on the rest of the course is always a positive. For most of the race I ran all by myself. The lead woman was out of sight and at the half-way point I got passed by another woman, but I didn’t really care and made no attempt to keep up with her.
It was so strange, the whole entire race I didn’t feel like I was actually racing, but out for a nice tempo workout. I was really relaxed and just enjoyed a nice blood-pumping effort. When it came time to round the last turn with about 400 meters left to go I decided to switch gears and pick-up the pace, I caught up to the 2nd place woman but she managed to cross the finish line a mere second in front of me. I congratulated her, as she was bent over and huffing and puffing, and I was standing up talking like I hadn’t even finished running, like I had been standing there for the past 43 minutes. Totally bizarre.
I immediately found my brother who did great, his time was in the low 30’s for the 5K! He asked how I did and I said ‘Well, I was hoping to break 43 minutes, but for some reason I’m okay with my time and whatever’. I’m not sure if it was early wake-up call and long drive, but I just didn’t feel like running all-out, I just felt like running more of a tempo pace.
43:06 was my official finishing time, and overall pace of 6:56. I placed 3rd overall for women in the 10K, not bad, especially since I didn’t feel like I gave it an all-out effort. This gave me a nice little confidence boost as it is a new 10K PR and a great way to cap off my New York City Marathon training. During the awards ceremony something happened and the race company messed up and has no record of my finish time or my brother’s. I’m pretty sure it was because we registered that morning and the woman who took our money didn’t seem to organized and most likely failed to enter our names into the computer system. I didn’t care though because I wasn’t out to win a trophy that would only collect dust on a bookshelf, and I was just happy to have had another day to run and spend a day with my brother. So I didn’t tell anyone about the mistake that a woman who finished much further behind me received my award. Never know, it may have made her day that she won an award and I’m cool with that.
Post-race we hung out for the awards ceremony and to listen to Todd speak. The awesome thing about this race, is it truly is a celebration of life, health, friends, family and the idea that sobriety rocks. Before the race awards were distributed, Todd gave out awards to individuals who were inspiring and working hard towards leading a cleaner life, and some awards went to family members and friends who provided support for those who are working at staying sober. It was really neat to hear other people’s stories and to witness the emotions tied into it all. Fact of the matter is, no matter who you are, friends and family are the most important things in our lives. No matter what our goals, dreams and ambitions may be, none of us could accomplish those things without the support of our loved ones. Remember that.
I felt blessed and honored to be able to share this day with my brother and that he asked me to accompany him. We have already decided that we would like to make this an annual event, just next time we will probably get a hotel room the night before. I know that my brother has made amazing strides with overcoming alcoholism and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for him, especially with running.