Greenswell Long John Run. Race #9. 5 miler #2.
I spent last weekend visiting my family in Ohio. Earlier in the week, my dad sent me an email about the “Long John Run.” I think he sent it as a joke, but my interest was piqued. Running in PJs?? OK!
The other reason for signing up was that my training schedule called for a 5 mile run, and I tend to do better either with a group or a goal for these longer runs (although 5 miles is not quite “long” anymore). The other thing about the run was that it was through Highbanks Metro Park, so it would be a definite change of scenery, compared to all the Lakefront runs. I ended up spending the night at my brother and sister in law’s house, they live close to the race location.
Saturday morning was chilly, about 20-25 degrees at 7:30. I packed running gear, and wore a silly pair of boxers over my running tights (I didn’t go full PJs, sorry guys!). Headed out about 8:15 and drove over. The sun was out, it was a beautiful day. It is always great to see people out and committed to activities at 8:30 on a cold Saturday morning. This was a pretty small gathering of people, I’d say under 100 total. The race was broken up in to a 2 mile run and a 5 mile run, but everyone started together. A few people were indeed in their pjs, but there were just as many people in running gear, and a lot of them seemed to be training or from running clubs. FUN!
Race started out at a picnic area in the park, then joined up with one of the wilderness paths. It ran along the Olentangy River path for a bit, then curved in, crossed the road, and joined with what I’m guessing was a main hiking path. The one mile turn around saw most of the younger runners (like 6-15 years old) turning around, and some of the faster, more serious competitors sprinting back. And I was just getting started. 😉
It is just a fact of the matter that running can bring some latent competitive natures to the forefront. This was no exception for me. It was hard to start “towards the back” when there were less than 100 people running, so I was more middle-ish. Immediately, people started passing me. No matter what, that is disheartening. While running along the river, I passed a few people who clearly started too fast. I hit a decent pace. Then we got to the main path. And hills. LOTS OF HILLS. I wasn’t really anticipating what this would do to me, mentally. At this point, the “crowd” really spread out. I had my eye on a couple who were from a training team, they were in bright yellow jackets. They were pretty much my only indication that I was still on the correct path, and they continued to get further away from me. Around Mile 2, I was passed by a woman running in her full winter coat. She stayed ahead of me most of the time. On a huge hill descent, I was passed by two other women, in the same bright yellow. Another training group passing me up. At this point, I stopped obsessing over what everyone else was doing, got a handle on my breath and my stride, and truly started enjoying my surroundings.
It was a beautiful day, and I was out there running, so who cares what everyone else was doing? That turned everything around. At Mile 4, I really did feel completely isolated, there was NO ONE around. Jay-Z and Kanye on the iPod, eyes on the prize of finishing this weirdly difficult race. Saw the finish line and turned it up a notch. Finished strong and felt great. And my time? Ridiculously fast for someone who, one year ago, was nearly 60lbs heavier and out of breath walking 3 flights of stairs.
10:26 pace. My first 5k in July had me at a 13:52 pace and I walked at least a mile. I love seeing progress, and I am proud of myself!