It’s early Monday morning; the first light of dawn is cracking and the metropolitan park area is abuzz with the running community. Cones are being dispersed, tables setup, and the first of many waves of runners are in attendance for what historically has been a fun, fast-finish race. Each year, the Brian Kraft Memorial 5k draws some of the best competition in the state, and this year looks to be no exception. It’s a great event, donating considerable proceeds to cancer research, in honor of the eponymous Bemidji runner. Rewind a few hours, for a glimpse of my complete race recap below...
The morning arrives too quickly, as it always does on a Monday. I awake, groggy, and lay in bed till half-past too-late o'clock. Realizing the time, I hurriedly begin my morning routine.
7:20 - We depart our suburban homestead en route to our destination, beautiful Lake Nokomis.
7:55 - I told Heather we would be there at 7:45, that was ten minutes ago. We arrive, discover the packet pick-up zone and, lo-and-behold, Heather too! Among life’s few predictable outcomes, death and taxes, resides my friend’s penchant for punctuality, or lack thereof. But not today! I am so proud of Heather for arriving so early! #goheather #proudofyou
8:00 - We pick up my packet and set out for a warm-up.
8:20 - Jason continues his warm-up, preparing to keep pace as our photographer. Meanwhile, Heather and I head to the start and perform stretching exercises.
8:30 - Race time! Jason snaps our photo and we’re off!
Mile 1: 8:19 pace - Phew! A little fast, but I feel ok! Heather had passed me a couple minutes into the race. I'm so proud to see her confidently charging ahead!
Mile 2: 8:37 pace - The first mile was humbling, and I'm feeling it now. I slow my pace as stomach cramps and lower back pain set in. My toes also ache. What's going on!? I continue trudging along and adjust my goal from 26:30 to 27:00. Sometimes you need to reevaluate your target during a race and decide the best course of action. I could slow down and compromise performance, or keep pushing the blistering pace and risk injury.
Mile 3: 8:55 pace - Feeling nauseous, my pace slows. I’m so fatigued! When will this race end!?Keep on trudging, I tell myself. The finish is near.
Last .1: 7:38 pace - I see the finish, pain subsides, and relief envelops me. I sprint it out, giving everything I’ve got, nothing left in the tank. Heather finished 30 seconds ahead of me - the program works! For the second time today, I can say I’m really proud of her! She has become such a strong, fierce, determined runner!
Moment to reminisce: I remember the first time I did this race in 2015, coming off injury, and not knowing this race brought out some of the fastest of the fast in MN. I was so beaten down in confidence that day. I used to get so mad at myself because of how I placed in a race and really lost sight of why I ran, for fun! :-) I was letting my fixation on performance consume the fun out of running! From that race on, I have made it a point to just do my best and have fun! I try to set realistic goals and focus on my own performance, not what everyone else is doing. If I don't reach my goal, I don't let it get me down! It’s a race, and there are plenty more! I have come to understand that making improvements, however small, are still improvements. I have come so far since m
y injuries! They are humbling, but they make me realize my mortality and that there are safe methods to training: train smarter, not harder!
As always, I cannot thank Jason enough for his love and support within my racing. He is always there to either race with me OR run the entire course taking photos! What a great man he is. There is truly no one like him and I am so lucky to have snagged such a great catch!
This coming weekend, I will be running a race in my hometown of Owatonna, MN, the Smokin' in Steele 5k! I cannot wait to tell you how this race goes! Till then, happy runnings!
A new course record was set by Ryan Rutherford with a finishing time of 14:15 and 8 other men finishing in under 15 minutes! wow! Forty other men finished under 16 minutes! The first place woman was Jillian Tholen with a time of 17:20 with 5 women finishing under 18 minutes. Holy Smokes for speed!! It is so amazing to see someone run that fast and think about the hard work and dedication they go through to get their.
My Chip Time: 26:52; 8:39 per mile; 430/543; 145/211 females; 39/42 in age group.
Heather's Chip Time: 26:22; 8:30 per mile; 420/543; 140/211 females; 37/42 in age group.
(I am seriously so proud of Heather and how far she has come in speed and distance since last summer)
Editor: Jason Quarford