UPDATE 1/12/2010: I have noticed that I have been getting a lot of hits from people looking for results from this race. Well they are finally out! Go get them here: http://www.mbho.org/MBR_Results/MBR_09_Results.pdf
Today was a very nice end to what had been a pretty rough week for me. Given the events earlier this week, I would have told you that there would be no way I would set a personal 5k record in the race today. I just didn’t think I had it in me. But it goes to show that you will never know unless you try.
A little background into the week that was. Sunday morning I drive to Atlanta to attend a course on professionalism (I know there are people I know who would joke that I should have taken this course a long time ago!). I check into the hotel, and after I get settled in, I decide to drive up to a mall I passed to get a bite to eat. Now since I am basically a big ol’ rube, I am super-impressed by the sheer size of this mall’s food court. I mean, they had the traditional stuff you see in every mall, like the Sbarro’s and Chik-fil-A. But this place also had multiple Chinese places, a Japanese place, multiple ‘meat and three’ places (I had never seen a ‘meat and three’ in a mall, ever!) and on and on! It takes me a very long time to decide which place I am going to choose, and that is even before I order. I finally settle on something (and this is typical me, all the places I have to choose, and I go with a grilled chicken sandwich….yawn!). I eat that, and actually it wasn’t really all that good, but whatever.
So after I finish that, I look around some more and decide, what the heck, I am going to treat myself. Company is paying, right? I see a Haagen Daz and think, hey, I’ve actually never had anything from Haagen Daz (Told you I am a rube! Hey, I grew up in a town where it was front page news when we got a McDonald’s. It is what it is.). So I decide to try one of their milkshakes. And it was good. Well at least at the time I thought it was. Little did I know at the time that this was a BIG mistake.
Walking around the mall, I feel my stomach grumbling a little. I thought ‘hmm, strange, but it is probably just because I ate a little more than I am used to’. So I return to the hotel and lie around. My stomach is grumbling more. Still I thought, ‘ate too much, but it will be fine’. I go to bed. It WAS NOT fine! I go through the worst night of my life. I will spare you the details (and believe me, you should thank me for that!), but I will just say, it was ugly! Morning finally rolls around, and I am in a situation where normally there would be no way I would even attempt to do anything that day. But I am on a road trip for a course that’s only offered twice a year and has already been paid for. I feel like I have no choice but to carry forward. And carry forward I did. For two miserable days. At least I managed not to toss my cookies during any of the sessions.
So needless to say I did no running Monday through Wednesday. I go out and try to run Thursday. I did poorly. I only went for 3.5 miles, and I had to walk some. I felt weak and my stomach once again started grumbling. So with race day approaching, I pretty much think I am not going to do much. I decide to map the course out on one of those mapping run websites to see how it looks elevation-wise. I look at the profile and start to hope that the race organizers are going to provide Sherpa’s to help us along the way! Any confidence I have going into today is shot!
Today arrives and at least I feel good. The weather is colder than I would like, but not miserably cold. I get to the race location and at least don’t notice any big hills at the beginning, so that was a plus. So I get a small confidence boost. Then the race begins! And I fly out of the gate (I beginning to get a bad habit of running too fast at the beginning of races I believe)! It becomes clear that the elevation profile was just wrong and this course wasn’t going to be bad at all. The first mile is completed in 7:49. A sub-8 minute mile is smoking fast for me. And I pay for it during the next mile. Additionally, I begin to feel fatigue that I believe is still the result of being ill earlier in the week. So the next mile is more like 9 minutes and I don’t feel particularly strong. But at some point during the last mile, I kind of just reflect on how lucky I am to be able to participate in something that I enjoy doing so much. And I begin to suck it up and pick it up again. Even so, I really don’t think I am going to get a P.R. I just wanted to give a good effort. So I make my way to the finish line and see the clock. I look at it and think ‘what’s that, 25-something’? Oh my goodness, I have a chance!’ I go into a full-out sprint, weaving through a ton of people ahead of me! I pass the finish line as the timekeeper says 26:03, and that my friends is my new PR! What an awesome feeling!
I have to say that I highly recommend this race for those in the Birmingham area. The food they had for the post-race festivities was top-notch! They had chicken tenders from Zaxby’s, pizza from Papa John’s, donuts and other pastries, coffee, hot chocolate, Smoothies (which unfortunately is just not going to go over well when the temps are in the 30’s!), cheeses, crackers, and BBQ pork and BBQ chicken sandwiches from Jim and Nick’s Barbeque. And if you didn’t like BBQ from Jim and Nick’s, they also had BBQ from Full Moon. That’s right, you had your choice of BBQ vendors! Oh, and they had Fondue. Yes, Fondue! How many races do you see that? Needless to say, I stuffed myself! (Hey, PR = reward, right?) Thank goodness I had my appetite back, or I think I would have to have made another trip to Atlanta to kick a certain milkshake maker’s arse!
The course is beautiful. Just enough rolling hills to keep things interesting, but nothing really challenging. I would probably classify it as a fast course actually. Plus you finish along a pretty lake. And they had a ton of door prizes to give away. I tried to hang around for that, as it look like to me that the prize to people ratio was getting awfully close to one-to-one, and I like those odds! But decent running weather was NOT decent standing around and doing nothing weather, and I was freezing. Looking over the prize table one more time, I decided there was nothing there worth getting hypothermia over and left. Maybe next year I will stick around. The fee for the race is actually just a donation of your own choosing to the Alabama Jesus Video Project, and they only suggest a donation of $10, which makes this race a bargain. Two big thumbs up from me.
I am off the racing circuit until January 23rd, where I will be doing my second 10k, the Village-to-Village Run. Should be a lot of fun! Hopefully no illnesses leading into that one!