Cleveland weather always is a toss up between November until about mid May. If you ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon last year, you would know.
This past week, I ran the Frozen 4K (presented by University Hospitals Geauga) in Chardon, Ohio. An inaugural race, the Frozen 4K was held on a balmy mid-50 °F Saturday afternoon.
I’ve been trying to get into the habit of actually meeting the mileage on my training plan every week. Last year, I would end up about 10 miles short some weeks because of one excuse or another.
A 12-mile long run was on my schedule that day, and I had missed a six-mile easy run earlier in the week. So, I decided to get at least five miles in before the race and move the long run to Sunday.
I ran the race route to get an idea of the course, which was hillier than I expected, but not ridiculous. For once, I was confident that I was prepared for this test.
The start of the race was perfect. This is the first time I wasn’t worried about going out too fast or blowing it in the end. I was warmed up and knew exactly how I wanted to handle the 2.5 miles.
My first mile was around 7:06, according to the volunteer at the mile marker. I never wear my watch during races so I’m not tempted to look, but that pace felt comfortable to me. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to carry it for a half marathon, but I knew I wasn’t going to burn out by the end.
At the turnaround, I decided it was time to pick things up. The gently rolling course was going to wear on everyone, including me, but I knew if I played it smart I could move up in the rankings. At this point, I was around third or 4th overall female with some other ladies nearby.
Something in my mind just clicked. I had done this a million times. 2.5 miles is nothing, I thought, minuscule compared to the long run I had planned the next day. I can do this. So, one-by-one I glided by the competitors who were in my eyesight the whole time. I wanted this.
At mile 2, Angela, a fantastic volunteer, runner and all-around awesome person, gave me the boilerplate “You’re almost there! Only x miles to go!” volunteer chant. This time, it was true, I thought to myself.
I wanted to hold onto second overall female, but to do so would have to sprint. I could hear their breaths behind me. I would have to I was slightly out of breath, but my legs were fine. How many miles did I run last week? 45? 2.5 is nothing.
So, I ran. These three words seem simple, and they are. To me, the last half mile was simple.
Three years ago, I never thought I would be told, “You’re fast!” or “I couldn’t keep up with you,” or “You were flying!” This past Saturday, it happened, and I am hesitant to say I’m proud at how far I’ve come because I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging.
However, I’m not afraid to say I’ve been putting in significant work, especially in 2016. To go from a 37-minute 5K to a 7:25/mile pace still is mind boggling to me. This past Saturday, all of that work finally paid off.
Would I run the Frozen 4K again? Absolutely, but it’s not because I achieved 2nd overall female. This race put a smile on my face from the time I pulled into the driveway to the time I left. The polar bear logo is on point, the course is challenging but reasonable and the event is all-inclusive – anyone from the casual walker to the first-time racer can enjoy themselves.
Frozen 4k presented by University Hospitals Geauga
January 21, 2017
Place: 2nd Overall Female