This past weekend, Christopher and I tackled what could be considered the premier 5K race of the Sauk Valley—the Reagan Run 5K.
The race features a challenging course that starts at the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan downtown, crosses the Rock River, winds through the woods, again crosses the river and ends in Haymarket Square downtown.
The weather was hot—temperatures in the upper 90s with a heat index in the low 100s—and humid all week, and it remained so for the race. We milled around with almost 1,500 other runners for a bit, then lined up at the top of the hill in front of the Reagan home according to our anticipated pace; Christopher headed toward the 8:00-9:00 corral, while I stayed in the 9:00-10:00 corral.
We set off down the hill. The course ran through downtown, over the Galena Avenue bridge, past the high school and into the woods of Page Park, then back past the high school, over the Peoria Avenue bridge and into downtown. Lots of people lined the course to watch and cheer. The course was difficult: The first mile started downhill and then was relatively flat. The second mile was on a windy, hilly trail through the woods. And the third mile was relatively flat again.
I felt pretty good through the first two miles; I heard a volunteer bellow something around 18:00 or 19:00. I never stopped to walk, except at the water stop, and I crushed the hills.
I felt tuckered out by the last mile; I was hot, thirsty and just plain worn out. I came around a bend and saw Christopher, who hadn’t been feeling well the night before and pushed too hard that morning; we ran the last mile together.
We approached downtown and heard spectators yelling that we were almost there, that we had just two turns left, and then that we had just one turn left before the straightaway to the finish line.
Crossing the finish line was enough for me.
As we dashed toward it, Kayla opened the throttle.
I said, “Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be.”
She yelled, for all the gallery to hear, “No, I’m going to puke!”
Unlike mine, hers was a false alarm.
(From Christopher’s column in the paper earlier this week)
I crossed at around 32 minutes and was done. I huffed and puffed. I gagged. And finally, I stood up, walked around and found some water.
The race results have my time at 32:11, but I estimate it was closer to 31:15 or 31:30. The race featured bib timing, but the timing chips all started when the gun went off, rather than when each runner crossed the starting line.
I waited in line to get our results, and Christopher, who still wasn’t feeling well, went to the car. I picked up some goodies—bananas, granola bars, cookies—and walked the half-mile to the car. Christopher was gone; I figured he must have driven around to try to meet me halfway. I headed back toward the finish area and met up with him there. We grabbed more water, but missed the Culver’s lemon ice by just a few minutes.
All in all, we were really happy with the race, with the exception of the inaccurate bib timing. The organizers did a fabulous job of mapping out a tough but interesting course, providing water along the route and goodies afterward and getting the whole town involved.
… it was an honor to tackle the race that all the kids have been talking about since we moved into town.
And finally, the stats:
Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 32:11 chip time (31:31 Nike+ time)
Average pace: 10:22 per mile