Tag Archives: super bowl

2015 Super 5K: 26 and Done

RIDDLE OF THE DAY: What causes schools to close, leads to massive traffic accidents, requires huge trucks and tons of salt to control, but has absolutely no effect on runners?

Meme - Late for Run - Snow

Sunday morning was the 2015 Running Fit Super 5K, and over 1,500 unstoppable runners showed up – because, after all, what else would they do on Sunday morning before the Super Bowl? While they’re all badass, especially the ten runners aged 70 and over, I think the baddest were the 20 who took over an hour to finish. That’s a long time to slog through slush and cold for a medal, pint glass, and a hot dog or two.

Super 5K starting line

The snow had already been falling a while when I pulled out of my driveway and headed to Novi. I gave myself extra drive time and arrived early enough to get my race bib and warm up (somewhat). Thankfully, the venue had changed from the Novi Civic Center to the high school, avoiding the frostbite-inducing quarter mile march of previous years to the starting line.

Super 5K - Me at start

The consecutive streak ends at 26! My bib number was an unintended tribute, I guess.

As the roads had not been fully cleared. I wore my Saucony Peregrine trail shoes for extra traction. Others wore Yaktrax or put sheet metal screws in the soles. While snowy and windy, the temperature was in the low 20s, positively tropical compared to the last four years, so my Heater Hog and a light wind vest kept me plenty warm, once I got going.

The race starts down a main road and tucks into a private subdivision about a half mile in. Although it’s a loop, it seemed like twice as much uphill as downhill, especially in the second half. This actually helped my cause, as I passed a lot of people losing steam on the long, slow rises. I was breathing pretty hard myself, but all that trail running pays off in races like this.

I finished a minute faster than last year, which was in deeper snow. I managed third in my age group, but once again, like in Bigfoot, I beat everyone in the age group below mine. “I wish I were 49 again,” I said to a friend. “I’d be winning my age group!” Maybe I’ll have to start lying about my age. On the other hand, the finishers over 70 got the most applause.

Super 5K finish line

Super 5K finish line 2

The post-race food was junkier than average, by design due to the Super Bowl tie-in. 9:30 a.m. is too early for me to eat a hot dog, but I broke down and had some of the meatballs – and went back for seconds. Dang, they were good. Turned out I needed those calories, as I spent the rest of Sunday, and Monday morning, shoveling my driveway.

This was a bittersweet race for me. It marks the end of 26 consecutive Running Fit events, starting with the 2013 Holiday Hustle through every event in 2014 and the first two events of 2015. Due to other commitments, I won’t be at the Dances with Dirt Green Swamp and Shamrocks & Shenanigans races next month. Ah, well – looking forward to the Pi Day run with my daughter on March 14!

At least this streak continues! Me with fellow PR Fitness racing fiend Michael.

At least this streak continues! Post-race with fellow PR Fitness racing fiend Michael.

Supercooled

THE 15 DEGREE FORECAST FOR SUNDAY’S RACE TURNED OUT TO BE OPTIMISTIC. When I arrived at the Novi Civic Center for the Super 5K, my car’s thermometer read 9 degrees. I didn’t want to think about the wind chill. And yet over 1,400 runners showed up. That’s the count of finishers, anyway. I’m not sure how many were dug out of snowbanks by the rescue dogs.

25 degrees - that's not so bad! Oh wait, we're still inside...

And this is what people were wearing *inside* to keep warm…

Usually I warm up for a race with a mile or so at an easy pace, followed by some dynamic stretches and a few strides (short sprints). This time I warmed up by huddling inside with everyone else. When the time came, I reluctantly changed into my lighter jacket and briskly walked the quarter mile to the starting line. With the serious runners also shedding their outer gear, there was a lot of jumping in place in the starting chute. After the gun, it took about a half mile to start feeling warm, although my hands and feet never really thawed completely.

Let's get fired up! Woo! Woo! Woo!

Let’s get fired up! Woo! Woo! Woo!

The route, new this year, took us through a nearby subdivision, which helps with traffic control and normally increases the spectator count. But for some reason there weren’t too many this year. Big kudos to the volunteers pointing the way and handing out the Gatorade; running the race was hard enough, but they had to stand in place the entire time.

Now here's motivation! How could I live down losing to a couch potato?

Now here’s motivation! How could I live down losing to a couch potato?

Following a slow start, I finished in 21:22, which I considered respectable for the conditions. As the streets still had a dusting of snow, I’d decided that staying upright took precedence over a record time. My goal had been to place in the top 5 of my age group, and the preliminary results had me at #4. But that evening the final results showed I’d dropped into a tie for sixth, missing out on an award by 3 seconds. Arggh! At least I managed to edge out the lady on the right. Whew!

There are handy excuses, of course – the temperature, the decision to focus on safety over speed, lack of proper warmup, and so on. But I could have run a few seconds faster without knocking myself out. So that’s what it really comes down to – at a certain level of performance, the winners are often those who wanted it more. I was capable of running stronger – probably much stronger – but that day, I didn’t really want to.

So while I’m a bit bummed about the result, it’s got me thinking about my approach to running races. When I started, I had no particular expectations; winning my age group was a fantasy. Now I’m fast enough to compete for a top spot in races from 5K up to 10K. Do I have to lay it all out every time to feel satisfied? If I don’t place well, can I still say that I ran a good race and had fun? If not, then why am I running races at all? Certainly not for fame and fortune. If it’s the personal challenge, then I need to figure out what’s left to prove.

And then there are folks with no competitive worries...

And then there were folks with no competitive worries…

But while I sort out the cosmic stuff, there’s the next race to plan for – the Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K in Ann Arbor on March 10. Fair warning to everyone in my age group – I’m going to be wanting it this time. Really wanting it.